Counselor Connection--May 17

Education Service Center Region 15

Meet our New VISTA College and Career Readiness Data and Information Collection Specialist

We are excited to have Stephanie Soto join our team for the next year! She will be collecting information and helping us with several projects related to College and Career Readiness/Career and Technical Education. If you hear from her, please help answer her questions! Learn more about Stephanie below.

Stephanie graduated from Angelo State University last week with a Bachelor of Health Science Professions, focusing on public health. She previously worked at West Texas Counseling & Guidance as an Intake Specialist part-time while in school. She also worked in the hospital setting and is a Certified Nurse Assistant.

When Stephanie applied for this position, she stated, "I have always had a passion to help others. One of the reasons I am interested in applying to AmeriCorps is because I believe it will be a great experience in order to help me achieve my long-term career goal in becoming a health advocate for underserved communities. I want to aid in improving lives, strengthening communities, and fostering civic engagement."

School Counselor Spotlight

Abby Winchester is the Behavioral Interventionist and a Licensed Professional Counselor for Ballinger ISD. She has been licensed since 2017 and in Ballinger since 2022. What she loves most about her job is the variety each day. She says, "Working for the district allows me to see Kindergarteners to Seniors for individual counseling. I'm able to learn an immense amount from my students and feel this makes me a better therapist." She likes to use sand tray with adolescents as a tool in her work.

Abby's advice to others is to have the awareness that every choice has consequences, both positive and negative. To decompress, she likes to spend time with family and put her phone on Do Not Disturb!!

Abby has been married to her husband, Kevin, since 2017 and they have two sweet kiddos, Gemma (4) and Wriggs (2).

May is Mental Health Month!

Counselor Chelsey has some great freebies that are great for promoting mental wellness across your school community, whether with families or directly with students!

#1: Mental Health Awareness Handout

#2: Self-Care Tracker

#3: Worry/Anxiety Handouts

#4: Gratitude Mindfulness Scripts

#5: Anxiety Posters

TxCAN Request: Advising Capacity Research

The Texas College Access Network (TxCAN) has contracted with Dr. Matt Giani, Research Associate Professor at UT Austin, to administer a survey to assess advising capacity in Texas. I strongly encourage you to complete this survey so funders, policymakers, researchers, and advising staff can have a clearer picture of advising needs across Texas. It should take 15-20 minutes to complete. Neither I nor our organization will ever see your individual responses. Additionally, after completing this survey, you may enter for a chance to win a gift card to thank you for your participation!​

If you are a district level personnel who oversees counseling and/or advising, central office staff of a college advising program, counselor, or an advisor you are ELIGIBLE to complete the survey.

Survey link:

You are welcome to email Dr. Matt Giani at if you have any questions or concerns about the survey.​

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)

Shannon Medical Center has had a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program for many years. Through a partnership with the Texas Teleforensic Remote Assistance Center (Tex-TRAC), we will expand our availability to victims ages 13 and older by conducting sexual assault forensic exams with guidance from a SANE via Telehealth cart starting May 17, 2023.

Currently, sexual assault victims in Tom Green County and surrounding counties may wait for extended periods for a forensic medical exam with one of Shannon’s Certified SANEs. This delay may compound the traumatic stress on the victim.

Tex-TRAC, part of the Texas A&M Health Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing, was established with federal grant funding from the Office for Victims of Crime and state funding from the Office of the Attorney General to provide a SANE telehealth program to serve rural and underserved communities in Texas.

Tex-TRAC TeleSANEs, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, provide a seamless interaction with the hospital nurses and the victims during sexual assault forensic examinations using a telehealth cart with specially designed software. The TeleSANEs, via a secure internet connection, can advise and assist hospital nurses as they conduct the lengthy sexual assault exams, which are known to take on average three to six hours to complete.

For more on Tex-TRAC, go online to

For more information on Shannon Medical Center, go online to

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Where has this website been my whole life?

Dr. Russ Sabella has lots of handouts and other documents that you may find useful. Check them out!

Find out the Real Deal on Fentanyl

AdCouncil recently released an advertising campaign called the Real Deal on Fentanyl to educate 13-to-24-year-olds about fentanyl – an artificially produced drug that is contributing to the US opioid epidemic. In the U.S., deaths from drug overdoses in the past two years have increased by 52%, with 108,000 deaths in 2021 alone. Fentanyl has been the greatest contributor to these deaths. In 2020, 76% of drug deaths in people ages 14-23 involved fentanyl.-CDC The drug is much stronger than heroin and morphine.

One Pill Kills Campaign

Fentanyl is a growing threat to the health and safety of Texas youth. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), within the last two years, teen overdose deaths related to fentanyl have tripled. Fentanyl can come in many forms and even the smallest amount can be lethal. Governor Abbott launched the One Pill Kills campaign to raise awareness of this crisis.

The Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Education Agency, and the CDC, have resources including flyers, letter templates, videos, and suggested social media posts and images to help you educate students and parents about the dangers of fentanyl.

Resources from the Texas Department of State Health Services

Resources from the Texas Education Agency

Resources from the Centers for Disease Control

The “Cost of Beauty”

Dove just released this short film that tells the true story of a young person whose mental health was affected by social media. This is part of Dove’s campaign to push for legislation to provide safeguards for kids’ online experiences and limits their exposure to harmful content.

Free Tobacco Prevention Resources

The Community Prevention Program provides a variety of physical and digital tobacco and e-cigarette prevention and cessation resources for free to all communities across Texas. These resources can be implemented within schools, college campuses, and community-based organizations. The program offers infographics, tobacco-free property signage, and posters to encourage youth and adults to quit smoking or vaping.

Learn More and Request Resources

College, career, and military readiness resources

2023-2024 Perkins Planning Amounts

2023-2024 Perkins Planning Amounts are available. Attached below is a list for our ESC. The link to TEA for amounts is

ESC 15 has completed the ADC form on TEAL to be the fiscal agent. Schools are now able to join the SSA as a member.

CCMR Verifier

The College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) Verifier will be available in the TEA Login (TEAL) Accountability application from Thursday, May 24 to June 21. The CCMR Verifier provides districts an opportunity to verify the accuracy of their CCMR data and, if needed, submit official documentation to correct data. CCMR indicators determined by TSDS PEIMS submissions are not eligible for corrections, and therefore, will not be shown. The CCMR Verifier will contain data for 2021-22 annual graduates and non-graduating 12th graders

Tarleton Today - Dual Credit Program

Tarleton State University has launched a new program offering dual credit in agriculture, engineering, and math. Please see the flyer below for more details.

Contact Matt Underwood, Director of Tarleton Today, or 254-968-9103 for more information.

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Tutor.Com for Military Families for U.S. Military Families, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) General Library Program and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance, is a program that provides on-demand, online tutoring and homework help at no cost to eligible service members, civilian personnel, and their dependents. Those who fund the program determine eligibility for its use. Eligibility can change, and program availability is dependent upon available budget and is not guaranteed.

Where can I find information on how my campus will account for military enrollment for my 2023 graduates?

A TAA was sent on September 8, 2022 regarding a DD Form 4: CCMR Credit for Military Enlistment, Beginning with 2023 Graduates | Texas Education Agency.

The submission window for 2023 annual graduates will occur in spring 2024. Districts will submit the completed DD Form 4 via a secure upload process through the TEAL Accountability application. The process will be similar to the CCMR Verifier system.

Personal Financial Literacy

See the FAQ below for a refresher on Personal Financial Literacy as you are preparing schedules for the fall.

Professional Development

Meet ADVi: Texas’ Virtual Advisor

ADVi is a virtual advising chatbot – backed by a team of trained advisors – designed to support Texas students with postsecondary planning. Students can text ADVi questions about college, college admissions, and more! High school seniors can also sign up to receive timely texts throughout the college admissions process.

Visit the Professional Development page for full descriptions of all of Texas OnCourse offerings.

Upcoming Sessions at ESC

We've got some really great sessions this spring and summer designed to support you this school year. You can simply click on any of the graphics to register.
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Open Registration: Little Changes = Big Results Conference

Registration is officially open for the Little Changes = Big Results Conference. This two-day conference is meant to tailor your needs and availability! You will receive a certificate for each session that you attend during the two-day conference, being able to earn up to 12 hours of CPE. Just like last year you get to choose the tools you need in your toolbox to get you ready for the upcoming year. This conference is for anyone that works with students: Admin, Gen Ed, SPED, Mental Health, Paraprofessionals, etc. This year we will have a variety of local presenters training on a variety of topics: Autism, Behavior, learning, classroom management, sensory, mental health, and so much more. Please share this with all your listserve, and with anyone that you feel will benefit from this conference. Looking forward to seeing you all this summer!

Our Key Speaker is Ashley Mohesky. Some of you might have even worked with Ashley Mohesky during your education career.

Ashley Mohesky is a graduate from San Angelo ISD. Ashley has a neurological disorder called Cerebral Palsy that affects her ability to walk and talk. Due to brain damage caused at birth, doctors predicted that she would not have a quality of life and at three years old, she was placed in special education. Ashley was evaluated for a communication device and after using it for a short time proved to excel at her studies and was transferred to general education. As Ashley reports, “During my time in school, I did everything that other kids my age did. In fact, I was voted prom queen during my senior prom. I also was on a bowling league for people with disabilities throughout college.” Ashley graduated high school and attended Howard College where she received her Associate degree in General Studies. Ashley went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Angelo State University.

Hotel Block is Open

If you will be attending the Counselor Retreat, please contact the Fredericksburg Inn and Suites to make your reservation. You must secure the reservation with a major credit card at time of booking. The group rate is not available online. Contact the hotel at (830) 997-0202 and ask for the ESC Region 15 Counselor Retreat. The rate is $98 per night and cut-off date for this rate is June 11.

CTE Professional Learning Dates

I wanted to share with you all several opportunities for professional development this summer. Last year, TEA created training geared toward new counselors and administrators and asked ESCs to conduct regional convenings. ESC 15 partnered with ESCs 14, 16, 17, 18, and 9 and held training at ESC 14. This year, these sessions will be available here at ESC 15. In addition to the new counselor/administrator training, TEA is releasing a series for experienced counselors and administrators. Please know you are welcome to attend any and all training regardless of your experience level or role. Counselors serve in many different capacities and you are welcome to attend administrator training. Registration is open for all sessions. Flyers have been attached detailing each session. Additional resources will be provided if applicable to the session.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Hope to see you this summer.


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Emergency and After Hours Resources

This list is of known providers of particular services. The providers on the list are from a variety of sources. The list is being provided as a courtesy, for information only, and the user should understand that no assurances or guarantees regarding the providers on the list are being made by providing this list. We do not endorse, approve, or recommend any specific provider listed below. This list is not inclusive of all community agencies, services, or organizations that provide the particular service, and the omission of an agency, service, or organization from this list does not imply disapproval. It is the responsibility of the user of this list to determine whether any of the content is of value to them and whether or not the agency, service, or organization meets their specific needs.