Cougar Connection

Student Services Newsletter: September 2019

Welcome Back Cougars!

Welcome to another great year at Oakton! It's an exciting time of year in the Counseling Department. The hallways are now filled with vibrant energy as students settle into their routines. For the past few weeks, school counselors have worked to ensure that each student has a schedule that meets their needs as well as welcomed many new families to the Oakton community.

Last year, Student Services began posting monthly newsletters that were available on the Oakton website. We hope to continue to connect with our community this year. The purpose of the newsletter is to share the activities and events that we offer as well as provide resources for students and parents. We enthusiastically look forward to a great year with you all.

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Stay informed with Student Services

Follow us on Instagram: @oaktoncounselors


Google Classrooms for Juniors and Seniors: School Counseling Resources

Student Services Highlights

New Student Orientation and Cougar Kick-off

On August 20, we greeted over 600 new students at New Student Orientation. Students arrived to an energetic welcome with the cheerleaders, drum line, dance team and leadership students. The theme of the day was to 'get involved' as members of administration, student leaders, and counselors offered suggestions on how to adjust to high school. New students were able to meet their counselor, receive their schedule, learn the new FCPSOn initiative, and go on self-directed tour of the building to meet their teachers.

On August 22, Oakton's leadership students and sponsors hosted Oakton's annual Cougar Kick-off that highlighted over 70 clubs and organizations that students can join. Students were able to sign up with clubs as well as handle housekeeping items such as purchasing PE uniforms and checking in with their counselor regarding schedules.

Senior Curriculum

Each fall marks the beginning of the college application season. For senior families, this experience can be an exciting yet overwhelming time. School counselors are here to help. We began our senior classroom presentations earlier than before - the second week of school. We discussed post-secondary planning with a focus on four-year colleges and the application process. Each senior met individually with his/her counselor September 9 - 20. School counselors also hosted Senior Parent Night on September 12.

New this year, all seniors have been invited to the School Counseling Department's Google Classroom. On this site, seniors can access all of the required forms, college updates, checklists, and much more. We encourage all seniors to review the site for more information.

Missed Senior Parent Night? Both the presentation and video of the program is available here:

Freshman Parent Meeting

Welcome Oakton Parents - Class of 2023! Back to School Night offered counselors an opportunity to introduce freshman parents to topics such as graduation requirements, extracurricular activities, Oakton resources, and insight into the transition to high school. If you missed the parent meeting, please click here:

Schedule Change Update

Our staffing decisions and the number of courses offered were based on the classes students selected during the registration period. To maintain the best possible program for our students and one that is most responsive to their educational needs, schedule changes will be limited to space available. Below is the timeline for schedule changes for this school year.

Timeline for Schedule Changes:

  • August 28 - September 16: School counselors will make schedule change requests based on space available
  • September 17 - November 1 (end of 1st quarter): No schedule changes
  • After November 6: Any student requesting a schedule change will need to fill out the schedule change request form, signed by parent, student, teacher, school counselor and administrator. If approved by the administration, schedule changes will only be processed if there is space available.
  • There will not be any schedule changes, regardless of space available, after the end of the 3rd quarter.

Resource Corner

Mental Health & Resiliency Resources

Discover the foundation for building solid mental health and resiliency. FCPS offers a wealth of information and resources for students and parents on wellness and safety tips. It may be helpful to review strategies to help your student develop effective stress management techniques and grit. Check out the link for more information:

FCPS Mental Health and Wellness Conference

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will host its sixth annual Mental Health and Wellness Conference beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, October 5, at Fairfax High School in partnership with Inova and Kaiser Permanente. More information can be found here.

National Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month

The School Counseling Department would like to show our support in celebrating National Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month.

This is an excerpt from

"Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period."

Counselor Spotlight

Meet Dr. Jessica Vilbas

Jessica Vilbas has worked in the education field for twelve years. Jessica is excited for her first year at Oakton! Previously, she was an elementary teacher, elementary school counselor, and an enrollment advisor for a university.

Jessica earned a Bachelor of Arts from Lycoming College in Psychology and Elementary Education, and she earned a Master of Arts and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Education from George Mason University specializing in Counseling & Development.

Jessica enjoys cooking, baking, and exercising with her two kids. She became a school counselor because she wants to help students enjoy learning and succeed in school.

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Upcoming Events

Fall Luau Brain Break - October 3, 2019

Attention Students: Need a break? Join the School Counseling Department for our first mental health break activity: a Fall Luau. This theme is to coincide with Homecoming Luau and will focus on outdoor games and activities.

Throughout the year, school counselors will be offering different activities and breaks during the Flex Cougar Times. Students will have an opportunity to relieve a little stress from their day.

PSAT - October 16, 2019

All sophomore and junior students will take the PSAT free of charge. Seniors will participate in Candidate's Day and Freshmen will participate in a College and Career Exploration Program. For more information please click here:

New Student Event - October 17, 2019

All students new to Oakton this year will be invited to attend a Meet & Greet with the Counseling Department. More information to come.

ALCANZA College Fair @ George Mason University - October 23, 2019

Juniors and Seniors are invited to attend ALCANZA College Fair for Latino Students on Wednesday, October 23. Students will have the opportunity to learn more about the college admissions process and meet with representatives from more than 200 colleges and universities.

This is a school-sponsored field trip and students will attend from 9am until 1:30pm. The first 80 students who return the field trip permission form to the Career Center are eligible to attend.

To obtain a field trip form, please see Ms. Banbury in the Career Center, T-35. The deadline is October 9, 2019 at 1pm.

Angst Documentary at Oakton - October 28, 2019

Oakton High School, in cooperation with the PTSA, will be presenting the movie Angst on Monday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m. in the school auditorium.

Angst is an IndieFlix Original, a documentary designed to raise awareness around anxiety. The film includes interviews with kids, teens, educators, experts, parents and a special interview with Michael Phelps.

The goal specifically is to help people identify and understand the symptoms of anxiety and encourage them to reach out for help.

Stay tuned for more information.

Legos & Eggos Brain Break - October 30, 2019

School Counseling's next brain break theme is Stranger Things - Legos and Eggos. More details will come.

AP Exam Registration Information

Important AP Exam Information

October 1 - Opt-out forms will be distributed in fourth period classes to students. Students who do not have a fourth period can see their counselor for the form.

October 25 - Deadline to return the opt-out form. Forms must be returned directly to Ms. Buscemi, Ms. Warehime or Ms. Calvello in T-31.

This is the last day to also turn in the non-enrolled exam form.

National Education and Health Awareness in October

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College & Career Center News

College & Career Center Updates

The College & Career Center is a great resource for all students. There is a lot of information available to research and review from the military to internships to enrichment programs. Students can also learn about local part-time job opportunities. Throughout the year, the College & Career Center will host different events such as the ASVAB Test, classroom visits, admissions reps, and will meet with students upon appointment.

Parent Access to Naviance Student


You can have access to Naviance Student too. Please follow the instructions listed here:

Admission Representative Visits

Attention Juniors and Seniors: Admissions representatives from over 100 colleges and universities will be visiting Oakton High School this fall. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about a specific college, to ask questions, and to meet the admissions rep who will evaluate our school's applications. The visits typically last 30 minutes or less and are located in the College & Career Center in T-35.

Students must register for the visits prior to the appointment time through Naviance Student. They can either print out or screenshot the registration confirmation, which will serve as a pass out of class.

Students can also see a hard copy of the college visit calendar located outside the Aux Gym, across from the football office. A daily reminder email of the colleges visiting that day is also being sent.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

On October 1, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) becomes available. It is recommended for all seniors who plan on attending either a four-year or two-year college to complete the FAFSA. Financial aid is a first come, first serve basis and colleges have different deadlines that it must be completed.

The Career Center also posts weekly updates to the scholarship lists. The list includes both national and local scholarships. We strongly encourage seniors to check the Student Services Class of 2020 Google Classroom and Naviance Student.

All students are strongly encouraged to check their emails regularly for Career Center updates, which include rep visits, programs, enrichment programs and job opportunities.

FCPS College Fair

Sunday, Oct. 20th, 7:30-9:30pm

11750 Fair Oaks Mall

Fairfax, VA

All FCPS students are invited to attend the annual College Fair at Fair Oaks Mall. This event typically hosts 400 colleges. It is a great event to start the college research process.

Summer College Application Boot Camp

July 30 - August 1, 2019 at James Madison High School

This past summer, Oakton High School paired up with James Madison High School and hosted a Summer College Application Boot Camp. Over 140 seniors attended one of two 3.5 hour sessions for three days. Seniors were able to get a head start on their applications, participate in a mock admissions committee, craft a resume and interview with admissions staff and school faculty as well as begin the college essay.

Admissions representatives from the University of Georgia, the University of Missouri, Indiana University and George Mason University offered their expertise on the college application process and best practices on submitting applications.

Oakton Snapshots