Cougar Connection

Student Services Newsletter: January 2020

Happy New Year Cougars

Happy New Year! The month of January seemed to fly by! This month, counselors have focused on course registration for next school year beginning with rising seniors and now rising juniors. Counselors went into both junior and senior classrooms discussing the course selection process. Juniors learned more about post-secondary planning and options for life beyond high school. All juniors received an Opportunities Book that serves as a guide as they enter senior year. Counselors also visited our four middle schools meeting with rising freshmen about the courses they can choose. In February, we will continue our focus on course selection with our rising sophomores.

Student Services Highlights

Curriculum Night

On January 8th, Oakton High School hosted Curriculum Night that allowed rising ninth through rising twelfth grade parents and students to learn more about the courses offered next school year. Rising ninth grade parents learned more about Oakton including graduation requirements and opportunities to ninth grade students.

In the auxiliary gym and cafeteria, teachers and students were available to discuss both curriculum and activities. Below are a just a few photos of the night.

Course Registration

School Counselors presented to both junior and sophomore classrooms in January to discuss course selection. Our big focus is for students to take a curriculum that is well-balanced. We want students to have the right challenge and to develop their talents. One developmental goal for high school students is to discover who they are and what they like. We encourage students to find their passions and to form a positive self-image during these years.

For more information about Academic Advising, check out: .

Up Next:

Rising Sophomore Registration - Classroom Presentation on 2/6 & 2/7 in Biology classrooms and Individual Meetings begin on 2/10 through HPE 9 classes.

Counselors will meet with each student individually. If a student is absent from class or does not have HPE, then the counselor will send a pass for him/her by 2/28.

All schedule change requests are due February 28, 2020.

Middle School Visits

School Counselors went to our four feeder middle schools during the month of January. We delivered a course registration lesson to students and answered questions.

For rising ninth grade parents, the presentation from Curriculum Night is available on the school website:

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Junior Family College Night

Junior families attended Junior Family College Night on January 29th. We hosted several college admissions representatives including the University of South Carolina, University of Georgia, Mary Washington University, University of Kentucky, University of Delaware and Northern Virginia Community College.

The college reps offered information on beginning the college search, components of the application and insight into how colleges make decisions. College Access Fairfax provided information on financial aid and scholarships.

Missed the event? No problem, we will host a Junior Parent Night on March 19th. You can also check out our classroom presentation on the Oakton website:

Post-secondary Planning for Latinx English Learners Workshop

Student Services also hosted Post-secondary Planning Workshop for Latino Families. Spanish-speaking college admissions representatives from the University of Delaware and Northern Virginia Community College joined Oakton Staff in providing important information related to preparing for college and available school resources.

Popcorn & a Movie Brain Break

Student Services hosted another brain break for students on January 30th during FLEX Cougar Time. Over 300 students attended in the aux gym to watch Toy Story, to chat with friends, and to take a break.

Parent Resources

Communicating with Teens

Parenting a teen can be tricky business. Check out this resource for tips on communicating with teens:

Parents can also help to facilitate conversations around bullying. Check out this resource also provided by the PTSA:

Summer Learning Opportunities

The Summer Learning office is excited to share learning opportunities for Summer 2020.

Please read through the information below, and contact the Summer Learning team with any questions.

Summer Learning Opportunities

Online Campus - New or repeat credit (current 7-12 grade students):

· Courses offered: Algebra 2 Head Start, Economics and Personal Finance (not self-directed), Health and PE 9 and 10, Honors Geometry, Geometry, Algebra 2, Chemistry, Physics, Geosystems, Spanish 2 & 3, English 10-12, World History and Geography 1 & 2, VA/US History, VA/US Government (Eligible students must have completed VA/US History or will be sophomores in an International Baccalaureate (IB) school during the 2020-21 school year.)

· Students will need to have a computer with the specifications indicated.

· Registration opened January 6, 2020.

· Dates, testing information, and tuition information can be found here:

CTE Summer Career Academy (current 10-11 grade students)

· CTE Summer Career Academy provides students access to CTE courses in the following areas: Construction Technology, Electrical Construction and Engineering, Health Sciences, Information Systems, and Teachers for Tomorrow.

· These are one credit introductory courses that students may not have the opportunity to take during the school year.

· Registration begins February 3, 2020.

· View addition program information on the program webpage.

Self-Directed Economics & Personal Finance (current 8-12 grade students)

· Session 1: Wednesday, April 22 – Monday, June 22, 2020

· Session 2*: Monday, June 29 – Friday, July 31, 2020 (*Self-Directed Economics and Personal Finance is the only course students can take with an Online Campus course during Session 2)

· Registration dates

o Session 1 registration: Monday, January 6 – Friday, April 10, 2020

o Session 2 registration: Monday, January 6 – Friday, June 12, 2020

· Tuition (discounts based on free/reduced lunch status)

o Full $140

o Reduced: $70

o Free: $14

College & Career Center Updates

January was also a busy month for our College & Career Center. They hosted college admissions reps and specific programs such as Virginia Tech Engineering.

The College & Career Center has several events featuring Northern Virginia Community College coming up:

  • February 11 @ 9 am - NOVA General Info Meeting (application, classes, placement tests)
  • March 12 @ 7:50am - NOVA Math Placement Test (register in T-35 by March 2)
  • March 16 @ 7:50am - NOVA English Placement Test (register in T-35 by March 9)
  • April 21 - NOVA Discovery Field Trip (more info to follow)

The College and Career Center-Trailer 35 will be hosting a presentation by The Coast Guard Academy on Feb.5, 2020 during Cougar Time. If students are interested in attending please RSVP to Mrs. Banbury.

On February 21 at 11am, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers by George Mason University will present about engineering majors and careers.

Also, the College & Career Center Specialists are working on college admissions rep visits specifically for tenth and eleventh grade students. They will also be holding mini classes during Cougar Time on topics such as interviews, resumes and navigating Naviance Student.

Students are encouraged to check their emails with updates. Interested in scholarships? Summer Opportunities? Check out T-35 or make an appointment with one of our career center specialists.

ASVAB Military Entrance Exam and Interest Inventory

The ASVAB is a job placement exam for those who wish to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Oakton HIgh School will be hosting the ASVAB Exam in the College and Career Center-Trailer 35!

Date: March 10,2020

Time: 8:00am until you finish

The ASVAB Interpretation will be held in the College and Career Center-Trailer 35

Date: March 30,2020

Time: 11:30am

Additional information regarding sign up, etc. will be sent out the first week of February, please feel free to stop by the College and Career Center-Trailer 35 if you have questions or direct them to Mrs.Banbury:

Upcoming Events

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National School Counseling Week

National School Counseling Week 2020, "School Counselors: Helping Build Better Humans," will be celebrated from Feb. 3-7, 2020, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. National School Counseling Week, sponsored by ASCA, highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.

To learn more about National School Counseling Week, visit

African American History Month

As a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson, like W. E. B. Du Bois before him, believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. His hopes to raise awareness of African American’s contributions to civilization was realized when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming: Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.

By the time of Woodson’s death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration. At mid–century, mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week. The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all color on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first African American History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. Since then each American president has issued African American History Month proclamations. And the association—now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)—continues to promote the study of Black history all year.

(Excerpt from an essay by Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University, for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History)

To learn more check out:

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

During February, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Months provides an opportunity for prevention and healing for teen victims of violent relationships.

According to the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, approximately 1.5 million high school students in the United States experience physical abuse from a dating partner. One-quarter of parents don’t talk to their teens about domestic violence.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month encourages parents and adolescents to take an inventory of their relationships. Abuse includes physical, psychological or sexual abuse. Visit,, for conversation starters and resources.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of dating violence, free and confidential help is available 24 hours a day through the National Dating Abuse Helpline.

Boys and Girls State Summer Opportunity


Are you interested in government? Are you looking for leadership opportunities? Consider applying for a slot to participate in the American Legion Auxiliary Virginia Boys/Girls State!

Boys/Girls State is an opportunity to practice and develop leadership skills; to study local and state government; and to live, work, and associate with other young leaders from across the state. Candidates must be of the rising senior class (current juniors) and have an interest in municipal and state government.

To get more information and/or an application, please see Ms. Sherrill in trailer 31. You can also visit their website at or if you would like to learn more.

Girls/Boys State applications are due to Ms. Sherrill on February 21st.

Counselor Spotlight

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Ms. Ashleigh Sherrill has been a School Counselor for five years; she is a National Certified Counselor. Ms. Sherrill likes to keep busy- on top of working at Oakton, she works in Human Resources for a major company and has provided career counseling to returned Peace Corps volunteers. In 2016, Ms. Sherrill was awarded and recognized as the FCPS Outstanding School Counselor.

Ms. Sherrill’s “why”, “I believe that each student, given the appropriate support can achieve at high levels and are capable of personal growth and self-direction. As a School Counselor, I am a fundamental piece in helping students reach those goals. I enjoy talking to students, getting to know them, and figuring out how they can reach their post-secondary goals.”

Counselors in Action Photos