School Counselor Connection

Tips for Success Vol 6, October 2020

Focus: Equity and Inclusion

What is our responsibility as educators?

Of course, we all want to create inclusive classrooms and foster equitable teaching practices, but it's hard to do so without a fund of knowledge, skills, and practice. We ask ourselves where do I even start? Can one person make a difference? Isn't it kinder to treat all children the same? This newsletter tries to address some of these critical questions and offers a wealth of resources, from articles to webinars to a TED talk to a website filled with all the resources you need to grow as an educator committed to equity. We start with defining terms.
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion... are they synonyms?

This article focuses on the tech industry, but it gives thorough explanations about what each of these terms mean, along with accompanying thought exercises. How can we transfer this knowledge to our own classroom and school settings?

What can I say to kids right now, in this hard moment?

Here are three simple tips for how to talk with children about shattering events like the death of George Floyd.

State of the Students Report 2020

Report indicates that overall, African American and Latinx students lag behind all indicators. Student groups such as EL, Foster, McKinney V, SWD also show consistent gaps throughout all indicators.

Celebrating Every Student

Our inherent biases sometimes cause us to see student behaviors in ways that can be unfair to the student -- this was a painful lesson that I learned in my second year as an intervention school counselor. This article offers a helpful framework.

Does Your Classroom Have Both "Windows & Mirrors"?

Great resource to share: Does your curriculum, projects and assessments, selection of independent reading, posters, even your bitmoji classroom offer students a reflection of who they are (mirrors) and people who are different from them (windows).

How to Create An Anti-Bias Environment

Click here for a fantastic, in-depth exploration of how to approach curriculum and assessment across all age levels from an anti-bias perspective.

Knowing What to Say

It’s not easy to know how to correct or confront any of the constituent members of our school community when we see/hear evidence of stereotyping, whether one-on-one or in group settings. Here’s a how-to guide for speaking up.

Culturally Responsive and Inclusive Instruction

As ASCA recommends, 80% of our practice should be focused on universal supports for students, including schoolwide core curriculum, and schoolwide programs and activities .

Below you will find some great resources I invite you to explore further to enhance student engagement during your lessons.

Check out our latest article!

OCDE Newsroom Article: OCDE helps local districts create positive school-wide behavior

Shelley Moore: Transforming Inclusive Education
Supporting Schoolwide Culturally Responsive Practice

Let's Talk About Diverse Books

If you're looking to do some reading for yourself or in a book group, here's a list for you.

If you're looking to diversify your classroom library, check out this list.

If you are interesting in engaging in conversation about literature and what to teach, at all age levels, follow @DisruptTexts on Twitter.

Here's Just the Webinar You Need!

This list of free on-demand webinars courtesy of Teaching Tolerance is unparalleled. Whether you want to learn about a particular group of people, or a particular subject area, get ideas for the age group you teach, or get resources for leading change & difficult conversations, or all of the above, you need look no further!
Lastly, why it's not good to be color-blind.

If you only read one thing in this newsletter, read this article, which details how the practice of not seeing color/race can actually be counter-productive, even harmful, for students of color.

SEL as a Lever for Equity

As a pandemic and nationwide fight for racial justice amplify longstanding inequities in education and other sectors, CASEL released a new report, Emerging Insights on Advancing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) as a Lever for Equity and Excellence, featuring five insights based on efforts in 20 school districts across the nation.

Supporting Students with Unique Needs

"My Counselors Were Never There"

An eye opening research article that will give the perception of Latinx students regarding the support received in high school.

Legal Updates! Senate Bill 860: Approved September 2020

SB 860 (Beall)-Requires the Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program to coordinate efforts to ensure completion of the Application for Federal Student Aid or the California Dream Act Application for foster youth pupils who are in grade 12.

Please continue to be intentional about reaching out to our students in the foster care system, and students experiencing homelessness. Below are some resources to help inform your approach and services.

Questions to Consider:

1. Do schools have plans in place to respond to increased trauma caused by extended shelter-in-place orders in unsafe living situations and increased economic stress?

2. If distant learning will be part of re-opening, are schools prepared to ensure students experiencing homelessness can access the internet, devices, meals, tutoring and mentorships?

3. Are community collaborations robust, so families and students can receive additional services that support educational success?


· Sample Student Needs Assessment Form


· Schoolhouse Connection Preparing to School Re-opening and Recovery

· Keeping in Touch During School Closure- includes Identification Strategies

Google Folder to Financial Aid Resources: here

Identifying and Supporting our Military Connected Students

“Ask the Question” and make a difference to begin to identify this invisible student population.

So what are the next steps?

Here’s how you can help us to start the conversation:

· Watch and share the attached short video; How can you identify military connected students?

· Ask the question! Help to spread the word and the need to identify these students in all OC schools. Emergency or student information card; McKinney-Vento form; behavioral health/counseling or tiered support intake forms; add a questions to online registration; all of these were identified by our attendees as great places to collect this data.

· Share the need with decision makers: there is an identified need to work with administration to understand the need and train all support staff that offer mental health and other support services to students and families.

Help relay the need to create a system and follow-through for documenting and using this information in tiered support services.

· Find all meeting flyers, power-points, video, articles and sample forms available at

College Related Updates and Reference Guides

FAFSA and CA Dream Act Applications are now open!

Below are some resources to help your students navigate college admission process and virtual college fairs.

Coalition for College

Introduction to FAFSA Webinar by Coalition for College

The Coalition is hosting two more virtual fairs this fall, both opportunities to connect with more than 120 smart college choices. You can find more information, and registration information at the links below.

University of California

UC of California hosted a few webinars. Check them out here

Quick Reference Guide to UC Admission

UC Freshman Application Data

UC Conference PDF Presentations

California State University

Counselor Resources

Be sure to attend our Orange County Counselor Symposium Breakout Session titled College Admissions: How the Pandemic made the Process Pivot! and hear directly from a panel of regional admission officers. Please submit your questions to them here

Parent/ Caregiver Resources and Tools

Lately, I am hearing many students are struggling with back to school anxiety. Below are some resources you can share with your families/ teachers on how to navigate anxiety in school aged children.

Let's begin by defining anxiety.

Psychology Today: What is Anxiety

CDC: Anxiety and Depression in Children

Parent Back to School Update for Teachers/ Counselors here : This form is a good tool staff could use to learn how the student is doing during distance/hybrid learning.

Surveys for School Counselors here: Find ready to go samples of needs assessments and check-in forms.

CASEL Resources:

  • CASEL CARES: Webinar on Social Emotional Learning in Spanish

Adults Needs Self-Care too!

If adults are dysregulated, children will become dysregulated. Remind parents to take care of themselves too. Below are some resources you may share (and practice yourself).

Handout: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself

Anxiety Workbook for School Counselors

Resource for School Counselors

Explicit SEL Activities/ Content

Google folder to explicit SEL instruction. Please use this in complement with your SEL systemic implementation.

Educator Tools: Listen to and Learn From Families

Families of students have wisdom to share about how to support children academically, socially, and emotionally. The Culturally Responsive Education Hub includes a tool for educators to have conversations with families during this time, including sample emails, call scripts, and follow-ups in English and Spanish.

Use these tools to help you engage your families and meet your LCP Engagement priority goals.

This is a difficult time but, "You are Doing a Good Job"

We acknowledge this is a difficult time and heightened emotions and stressors are among us. I want to end this newsletter by taking a moment to validate and acknowledge your hard work, and share a video that I know will warm your heart. Share with everyone who needs to hear this!
Alicia Keys - Good Job | Cover by One Voice Children's Choir | A Tribute to Covid-19 Heroes


OCDE Professional Learning Opportunities

Find out professional learning opportunities in OCDE

2020 Virtual Orange County Counselor Symposium

Registration is now open! The event will be free. Click here to learn more

To Know Better!

Orange County Human Relations Commission needs your help in creating an inspiring campaign to stop hateful vibes and wrongful bias fueled by the pandemic. Seven awesome student winners attending middle or high school in Orange County will earn $5,000 toward anti-hate initiatives at their schools. Plus, their campaigns will be publicized in Orange County and beyond. This is an incredible opportunity not only to make a difference, but to stand out from the crowd in college/job/internship applications.

  • Schools that submit a completed entry are eligible to receive a $500 reimbursement after the contest winners have been announced.
  • Each team must submit an anti-hate multimedia project (one submission per team) encouraging fellow students to 1) practice acceptance and inclusivity, 2) keep social distance, and 3) wear a mask during the pandemic. Participants may choose from a variety of multi-media projects but can only submit one file type (.mp4, .jpeg or .pdf). Recommended teams should be made up of 2 – 6 students from the same middle or high school, but this is not mandatory. Teams of students from different schools are not permitted.
  • There’s no limit to how many teams can enter for each school. Each school will receive a maximum of $500 total. If schools have multiple teams, the grant will be split among them.

Presentation for Parents & Students

Together4Teens: An interactive conference for youth and parents/caregiver to address the needs of youth today

Goal: Promote awareness and understanding about the challenges youth are facing, and increase access to support for students and adults

Conference Topics: Parents/caregivers -Teen Mental Health & Wellness and Social Media/Digital Parenting During COVID.

Teens - writing your story, self-care, exploring your future, resources for coping and support, etc.

Target Audience: Middle and high school students (teens) and their parents/caregivers

Dates: November 10th, 11th, & 12th

Additional organizations on this conference committee include:

1. Bloom Foundation

2. Tilly’s Life Center

3. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)

4. Olive Crest

5. Cal Optima

6. Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC)

OCDE Support & Resources

Instructional Continuity Website- find resources to support your students and families

OCDE Newsroom and Updates

Be Calm Session- guided meditations led by Dr. Vezzuto

Crisis Response Network:

Meghan Gruppo, M.A., CCTP, Interim Program Lead

Family Engagement Program:

Sheree Newman, Program Specialist

Student Mental Health

Lina Bender & Virginia Joseph, Ph.D

Social & Emotional Learning

Colleen Ferreira, Coordinator

Restorative Practice:

Toby Jean Espley M.Ed, Coordinator

McKinney Vento Homeless Information & Support:

Jeanne Awrey Coordinator

​Student Services (CWA/SARB):

Terrance Dunn, M.Ed., Coordinator

Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program:

Raina K Lee, Coordinator

Check Out Our Previous Newsletters HERE

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Luz M. Arellano, Ed.D

K-12 School Counseling Services Coordinator

Educational Services

Orange County Department of Education