School Counselor CONNECT!

December 2015

Resources and information provided in the School Counselor CONNECT! are for communication purposes only. Listing these resources and information does not constitute endorsement by either the Office of Counseling and Guidance or the Alabama State Department of Education.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
As we continue to be thankful for all of the blessings we have personally and as a nation, we are mindful of the critical role that public education plays in developing our students and the future of our great country. As professional school counselors, we all play a critical role in that development! It is with sincere admiration and appreciation that members of our staff extend our holiday wishes to you and your family! We truly appreciate all of the amazing work you do for those you serve!

Counseling and Guidance Advisory Board

Members of the Counseling & Guidance Advisory Board met on Thursday, December 10 to begin the strategic planning process for school counseling programs across the state of Alabama. This advisory board is a representative group of professional school counselors from elementary, middle, and high school grade levels, as well as counselor education programs. The board will review and advise on school counseling program goals, review school counseling program results, develop new and innovative school counseling program activities that are appropriate and relevant, and make recommendations for best practices related to school counseling programs.

In the coming weeks, professional school counselors, counseling coordinators, and school/system administrators will have the opportunity to provide input on the vision and direction of school counseling programs. We look forward to hearing from you during this important process!

School Counseling Program Components

Counseling & Guidance Curriculum

Curriculum Update
Plans are being finalized for providing curriculum resources to school counselors at all grade levels. If you are interested in sharing your talents and resources with other school counselors, please submit your contact information here.

Elementary and Middle School Resources
What-every-school-can-learn-from-preschools is a quick read article that addresses the need for social skill development at all levels. It includes a link to an anger management through social problem solving curriculum for upper elementary students called "Tools for Getting Along" and "Brainology" curriculum that teaches middle school students the basics of neuroscience and the connection to motivation.
Individual Student Planning

Alabama Career Planning System/KUDER
The Alabama Career Planning System provides education and career planning resources to help you build a successful future. Whether you're searching for higher education or training, exploring career options, or creating a professional portfolio of materials for the job search, the system can provide you with the tools you need.

The Alabama Career Planning System provides the Kuder Administrative Database Management System to assist educators with connecting directly with students and making informed, real-time educational program decisions.

Contact your school system's Career and Technical Education Administrator for information about the Alabama Career Planning System.

Four-Year Education Plans
One of the most valuable components within the Alabama Career Planning System is the Four-Year Education Planning tool. Professional School Counselors, Career Preparedness teachers, and CTE Career Coaches use the four-year education plan when helping students address their individual academic and career interest needs. PLAN 2020, the strategic plan for education in Alabama, requires that all Alabama public school students enter Grade 9 with a completed and approved four-year education plan.

STEM Resources
A comprehensive Web site with Pre-K -12 STEM resources can be found here.
Responsive Services

The Prevention and Support Services Section focuses its attention on assisting school systems and schools with Alcohol and Drug Prevention, Attendance, Bullying Prevention, Character Education and Positive Behavior Supports, Discipline (SIR), Dropout Prevention, Graduation Rate, Health Services and School Nursing, and School Safety.

There are a number of valuable resources that can be used with students of all grade levels. To learn more, visit the Prevention and Support Services Section webpage.
System Support

CTE Career Coach
Your high school's CTE Career Coach is a valuable resource to support your school counseling program. Contact your school system's Career and Technical Education Administrator for information on how your Career Coach can assist you with career development activities for your students.

Conferences and Professional Development

Alabama Career Development Conference
The 11th Annual Alabama Career Development Conference will be held on Thursday,
January 28, 2016, at First Baptist Church of Gardendale—South Campus. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to learn from education and workforce development experts on a variety of career development topics, as well as network with other professionals throughout the day. This year’s conference theme, “Connecting Alabama’s Future Workforce,” truly embodies the work you do in helping students pursue their passions and future career aspirations. No matter the grade level(s) of students you serve, we know you will benefit from the dynamic content sessions planned throughout the conference schedule.

Attached to this month’s issue of CONNECT!, you will find conference details, including registration information and potential content session titles. Registration, including the $50 conference fee, must be postmarked by January 14, 2016.

Professional Organization Membership

If you have not done so, be sure to join or renew your membership with your professional organizations. The Alabama Counseling Association, Alabama School Counselor Association, Alabama Career Development Association, and the Alabama Association for Career and Technical Education not only provide outstanding conferences and other professional development activities, but also advocate for school counselors at the state and national levels.

Career Cluster Spotlight

Hospitality & Tourism
Hospitality & Tourism is all about welcoming people to Alabama and making their visit as pleasant and rewarding as possible. Professionals in this cluster include those on the frontline who meet and greet as well as the managers, cooks, housekeepers, and other workers who back them up. Hospitality & Tourism is one of the top five industries in the state, pumping more than $9.3 billion a year into Alabama’s economy and providing more than 169,000 jobs.

Need-to-know facts and figures about real Alabama jobs, salaries, and education options in Hospitality & Tourism or any of Alabama's 16 Career Clusters can be found on the Alabama SUCCESS Guides Webpage or by contacting Judy Brown, Education Specialist and Hospitality & Tourism Career Cluster Manager, at or at 334-242-9651.

School Counseling Insight

The Facts are on Your Side
You can’t underestimate the importance of reading and math. A student not reading at his or her grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate high school on time – six times less likely for students from low-income families. (Annie B. Casey Foundation)

A 2012 study revealed that reading and math ability at age 7 was linked to quality of life a full 35 years later. Participants with higher reading and math skills as children had higher incomes, better housing and better jobs in adulthood.
(2012 University of Edinburgh study published in Psychological Science)

Tim Elmore, noted author of Habitudes, uses the iceberg as a visual of personal leadership. The 10% of the iceberg that can be seen represents our words and actions while the 90% that cannot be seen represents our character that is a sum total of our:

1. Self-discipline - The ability to do what's right even if you don't feel like it.
2. Core values - Principles you live by that enable you to take a moral stand.
3. Sense of Identity - A realistic self-image based on your gifts and personality.
4. Emotional Security - The capacity to be emotionally stable and consistent.

How do you and your fellow educators measure up as role models? How is your school counseling program and school initiatives addressing these critical aspects of personal/social development for adults and students?

Counseling & Guidance State Staff

Sean J. Stevens
Education Administrator--K-12

Willietta E. Conner
Education Specialist--High School

Wanda Langley
Education Specialist--Elementary and Middle School

Sherry Herron
Administrative Assistant