Cougar Connection

Oakton High School Student Services Newsletter: May 2020

Greetings Cougars! Spring weather is finally upon us and it's nice to get outside to enjoy it. Messages about COVID-19 continue to develop as we slowly approach the reopening phases. Stay connected with the latest information and do what's best for your family.

As we head down the home stretch, we can all take a collective breath. We are weeks away from the end of the school year. The last day of class for seniors was Friday, May 29th and for underclassmen is Friday, June 12th.

Congrats to all the students who completed AP Exams from home. Students who are scheduled to take make-up exams can check out this update from College Board here.

A Special Message from Student Services

As a Student Services team, we would like to echo Dr. Brabrand's and Ms. Lane's sentiments. We want to acknowledge the outrage, uncertainty, and pain that exists within our community and in our country. We strive for inclusion, compassion and hope for the future. We value the pursuit of learning, understanding and embracing each other's differences.

Our nation is hurting right now but will get through this together. The Oakton Student Services team is committed to supporting our community. It may be a struggle for families to understand the racism and violence occurring. Teens may be experiencing a range of emotions such as anger, sadness, confusion, fear and hopelessness. We recognize that many parents may be looking for ways to talk to your children about these recent events.

There are a number of resources available to discuss these important topics; here are three that may be helpful:

How Do I Talk to My Kids about Race and Racism

Teaching Tolerance - Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent's Guide To Preventing and Responding to Prejudice

Embrace Race - 10 Tips for Teaching & Talking to Kids about Race

We are committed to supporting families through these difficult times. Should your family need assistance, please contact a trusted adult such as your school counselor, teacher or administrator. We here for you, we see you, and you are a valued member of the Oakton community.

Course Requests Changes for 2020-201

Course request for the 2020-2021 school year are viewable in SIS ParentVue and StudentVue. Please review your student’s course request to determine if any changes are needed. If you wish to make a change, please email your student’s counselor. Course request changes will be determined on a case-by-case basis only when space is available. Deadline to request a course change is June 16, 2020. We will provide another opportunity to request course changes when counselors return to work on August 6, 2020. If you have any questions, please contact your student’s counselor.

Student Services Highlights

Junior Curriculum and Meetings

At the beginning of May, counselors reached out to all of their juniors with junior curriculum updates and with the opportunity to schedule an individual meeting with their counselor. Counselors have been scheduling meetings either through Google Meet or Blackboard Collaborate with junior students to discuss post-secondary planning.

Missed a meeting? No problem - juniors can access one of the many resources including the Counseling Department's Class of 2021 Google Classroom and a voiceover video on recent college admissions updates. Students can also attend the workshops provided June 8 -12.

Click here for the Preparing for College Admissions During COVID-19 video and here for the slideshow. This resource is based on admissions trends from early May and some of the information may have already changed. The college admissions landscape continues to develop. Stay informed by attending virtual college tours as well as reviewing College Board and ACT Student for up-to-date news on college entrance exams.

Rising Senior Workshops: June 8, June 10, and June 12

School counselors will be offering virtual workshops for rising seniors to prepare for senior year. Students have the option to attend three possible sessions at two different times. Please only register for the session that is most convenient.

Students who register will receive a Blackboard Collaborate Invitation via their FCPS email address 1-2 days prior to the workshop.

Can't make it? Materials will be available in the Student Services Class of 2021 Google Classroom and on the website.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Senior Materials Session - This workshop will focus on preparing for the college application including the senior profile. Students will receive information regarding Oakton's procedures for requesting transcripts and the deadlines for next year.

To register for the AM Session (10-11am), click here.

To register for the PM Session (1-2pm), click here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

College Application Work Session - This workshop will focus on college application accounts. Students are encouraged to create accounts and begin to complete them. They can get their questions answered from school counselors.

To register for the AM Session (10-11am), click here.

To register for the PM Session (1-2pm), click here.

Friday, June 12, 2020

College Essay Brainstorming Session - This workshop will focus on brainstorming essay ideas with several interactive activities that students will be expected to complete during the session.

To register for the AM Session (10-11am), click here.

To register for the PM Session (1-2pm), click here.

Supporting Your Teen in a Pandemic Parent Coffee

Our school psychologist, Ms. Erica Evert, and social worker, Ms. Rachel Cherian, teamed up with counselors to present a parent coffee on supporting teens during the pandemic. Topics included strategies parents can use with their teens to encourage resiliency, manage anxiety and conflict and to develop a new norm at home.

To view the recording, please click here.

To read a Child Mind Article on Teens and Reopening, click here.

Navigating the New Normal Workshop for Students

Counselors offered the Navigating the New Normal Workshop for Students on May 20. During the workshop, students learned about time management, prioritization, mindfulness and maintaining relationships.

To view the recording, click here and students can access the slideshow here with their FCPS schools account.

Navigating Naviance and Constructing a Career Pathway Workshop for Students

Counselors offered a workshop to students discussing the features and tools that Naviance Student offers which includes career interest inventories, strengths explorer, resume builder, and college research. All students and parents have access to this resources through Blackboard.

To catch the recording, click here and slideshow here, which is available to students via their FCPS account.

College & Career Center

Senior Survey

The deadline for the Senior Survey was on May 22; however, if you have not completed this required task, you may do so in Naviance.

Each year, all FCPS seniors complete a brief, 8-question survey at the end of their Senior year. The survey is online in Naviance Student and usually takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. This is how Student Services sends the final transcript to the college students are attending. If you are pursuing employment, military service, career education, a year off, etc., this is how we celebrate you!

Northern Virginia Community College Updates

NOVA held several parent meetings recently that were available to parents of all grade levels. This link has all of the recordings and information for the NOVA Parent Meetings.

NOVA also just added two more webinars on their transfer programs:

Dear Parents,

Thank you again for participating in NOVA’s first parent Zoom with President Kress. Based on your feedback we are holding two additional Zooms to discuss NOVA transfer options in more detail. Registration information for the two sessions are listed below.

Topic: NOVA Transfer Programs - Parent Chat, June 8th 5:00pm - 6:00pm

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


Topic: NOVA Transfer Programs - Parent Chat, June 10th 5:00pm - 6:00pm

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Seniors who plan on attending NOVA next year, can attend Zoom Live Sessions to learn more about registration and next steps. Check out the NOVA-Annandale Live Sessions Site.

NOVA is also offering a program for graduating seniors called JumpStart. This program offers free college classes for college credit only. Check out their site to learn more info. Questions about this program can be directed to NOVA directly at

I'm Determined Youth and Parent Summit

The I'm Determined Youth and Parent Summit is a three-day event held each June. It is provided by the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). Youth with disabilities from across the Commonwealth meet to network and discuss issues of importance to youth and young adults with disabilities.

This year, due to travel restrictions and guidelines put in place by the governor, the event is being moved online. The Virtual Summit will follow a similar feel to the face-to-face events from the past. It will include a welcome from VDOE representatives, sessions for youth, which have been prepared with help from our state youth leaders, sessions for parents, a keynote address, and exhibitor information focusing on Virginia resources for youth with disabilities.

The Virtual Summit will take place during the week of June 8-12, 2020. All sessions and information will remain available beyond the week of the event to allow those who cannot attend during the scheduled week to access the information. The event will be open to all who wish to participate, as self-determination skills are beneficial to all youth and adults. We hope that you can participate in this exciting event!

When: June 8-12, 2020

Where: Online! You can find information on how to access the Summit at the link below.

Who: Anyone! The Youth sessions are created for youth 13-21 years old and the parent sessions are created for parents. All information is open to anyone.

There is no need to apply in order to participate in this Virtual Summit!


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Enrichment Programs

Students frequently inquire about summer enrichment programs. The county does post opportunities in Naviance under the Enrichment Programs. Students are also welcome to search for pre-college programs at colleges; however, many programs may require a fee. There are some opportunities that are available at no cost.

An example of an opportunity is this one below:

DMVHacks is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing free interactive online programming classes and workshops to students of all ages. Our classes feature small group teaching, and some classes even feature one-on-one and one-on-two mentoring! Many of our mentors go to top STEM schools and have received USACO awards. If you are interested or know any students who are interested in learning Python, Java, web development, Scratch, or Machine Learning, please spread the word! Please visit our website at for more information on how to sign up for the coding classes. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at

Students may also explore free online college classes. There are several colleges that will allow students to enroll in classes for free; however, they are not generally for credit. These classes are referred to as MOOCs. To learn more about options, read this Business Insider article: "54 Free Online Courses from the Best Colleges in the US."

Upcoming Events

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Summer Learning Opportunities

As you may know, summer learning will look differently this year. You may have read that the online campus still will offer instruction as well as self-directed economics/personal finance. Credit recovery will look different - credit recovery is a program for students who do not pass a class required for graduation. This allows students to recover credits. This year's details are still being finalized. Please stay tuned for more information.

To check out all of the summer learning opportunities, please check out the FCPS Summer Learning site.

Counselor Spotlight

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Charles Grausz

Mr. Charles Grausz received his Master’s Degree in Counseling from GW and is currently finishing his 23rd year of school counseling. He started out in middle school at Hughes Middle School and helped open Rachel Carson in its first six years. He took two years in private practice to work in mental health counseling and returned to school counseling full time. He has been serving Oakton the last ten years.

Mr. Grausz grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a Philosophy Degree. During his youth, he spent more time on the ice than on dry land. On top of his ice hockey, he takes great pride in recounting how he could walk across the lake to classes in college.

“I think my “why” is twofold: First it is to help young people succeed without having to do everything the hard way (like I stubbornly did a good deal of the time). Secondly, I want to help people follow their own paths to satisfaction and self-worth, empowering them to think outside the box.”

College Signing Day - #CelebrateYourPlan

Snapshots of Student Services celebrating College Signing Day! Congratulations Class of 2020!