Cougar Connection

Student Services Newsletter - December 2019

Happy Holidays Cougars

Happy Holidays Cougars! As the year winds down, Student Services is gearing up for Course Selection upon returning from winter break. We are excited to meet with our students in the classroom for lessons as well as individually to review course selections. This is one of our favorite times of year because we are able to meet with all of our students on a one-on-one basis. During our meetings, we get to learn about our students' goals while reviewing their academic progress.

December was a short month but full of activity. We offered two brain break activities as well as met as an advisory council to review the Counseling Department's goals and programs. As mentioned above, course selection is on our minds as we plan for January and February. Winter break is a great time to begin the discussion as a family about courses and plans for the future.

Winter break is a much needed break for our students - we hope that each student can relax and enjoy time with family and friends. Have a safe, peaceful break! We'll see in you 2020 Cougars.

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Student Services Highlights

Game Day Brain Break

Students were able to take a break on December 6th during Cougar Flex Time for Game Day! Over 350 students attended Game Day in the main gym, which included five Minute to Win It Game Stations.

Advisory Council

Each year, the School Counseling Department reviews our curriculum and programming through an Advisory Council. The Advisory Council met on December 12th and was comprised of students, parents, teachers, counselors and administrators. Valuable feedback and input was offered and data was reviewed. A special thank you to all of students, teachers and administrators that attended.

Cocoa & Coloring Brain Break

Right before winter break, students were able to gather and relax with our Cocoa & Coloring Event. The event was super popular; we served 400 hot cocoas while students took a break to spend time together and colored away.

Parent Resources

PSAT Score Reports

Starting December 9th, PSAT scores should begin to report. When scores are ready online, the student will receive an email (to the account provided to the College Board the day of testing). The email will contain instructions on creating a College Board account, accessing the online score report, and an access code to view scores. If the student did not receive an email, he or she can access the PSAT scores online at . If they do not yet have a College Board account, one can be created.

More information is available on the College Board website:

You can also find more information on Oakton's website.

Student Tips for Enjoying Winter Break

  1. Enjoy Quality Time at Home - put down the electronics and spend time together as a family, whether on a vacation or at home, play games. Visit grandparents and take time to spend with siblings.
  2. Start Practicing Responsibilities - learn some new skills like cooking, changing the car's oil and laundry. This is a great time to begin the stages of "adulting". To learn more about "adulting," check out:
  3. Don't Worry about School - seriously, take a break from school work and read for pleasure.
  4. Learn more about Yourself - take the time to reflect on your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, etc. Take a free online personality test for fun.
  5. Clean up your Space - clean your room and school bag; get organized. De-clutter when possible and donate extra or unused items.
  6. Explore a New Hobby - take a risk and try something new. It's a great time to relax with a hobby such as a craft or learning to edit a video.
  7. Eat and Sleep - now is a great time to make changes to your eating habits and sleep hygiene.
  8. Set new goals - explore possible goals for the new year that are achievable.

College & Career Center Updates

The College & Career Center has been hopping with activity. College admissions reps continue to visit. Attention juniors and sophomores, we will be hosting rep visits specifically for these grade levels. All visits will be posted in Naviance Student as well as through emails.

Northern Virginia Community College also visits each month offering help to current seniors with the application, testing information, and general first-year tips.

Seniors, please continue to check your email and Naviance about scholarships. There are several scholarships that have been posted electronically as well as in hard copy format in T-35.

Interested in meeting with the College & Career Center Specialists? Students may make appointments with either Ms. Banbury or Ms. Evans via email or swinging by T-35.

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Upcoming Events

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Course Selection for 2020-2021

It is hard to believe but student registration season is about to get underway! To begin this process, students will review course registration information during advisory on December 12 and then again on January 6 and January 7. We will offer optional Electives Fair sessions for students interested in learning more about various course offerings in January, in addition to, our online website that students will have access to highlighting the wide variety of courses.

For each grade level there will be two days of large group lessons followed by individual registrations. Students will be registered in the following order during the approximate windows provided:

  • Rising Seniors: Jan. 6 - Jan. 22
  • Rising Juniors: Jan. 23- Feb. 5
  • Rising Sophomores: Feb. 6-Feb. 18
  • Make-ups: Feb. 19-Feb. 28

We encourage all students to discuss their class schedules with their families to ensure that they are creating a course load that will maintain a healthy balance for students. Families are strongly encouraged to consider not only the academic course load, but a student’s extracurricular and family obligations as well. If you have any questions, please reach out to your student’s counselor.

For more information on registration and course offerings please visit Oakton's website.

Student Online Course Selection

New this year - students will be able to enter their courses into SIS - StudentVue. Counselors will then meet with each student and confirm and lock the course selections. Parents will also be able to view their student's selections in ParentVue.

Starting January 6th, students will have access to select their courses. Students will receive more information through the classroom visits including the correct course numbers. Below is a snapshot of the directions.

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Electives Curriculum Review

In January, our students will have the opportunity to learn about Oakton's electives during Cougar Time. Students are welcome to attend the elective sessions they are interested in learning more about. The sessions will be in the auditorium.

The schedule:

  • January 8 - English and Capstone Electives (including Film Studies, Journalism, Shakespeare Studies, The Center, Creative Writing, Photojournalism, etc.)
  • January 9 - Math and PE Electives (including Computer Science, Statistics, Advanced PE, Personal Fitness)
  • January 13 - Social Studies (including Psychology, Human Geography, Combating Intolerance, European History)
  • January 14 - 16 - CTE (including Business, Marketing & Tech Ed courses)
  • January 21 - Fine & Performing Arts
  • January 22 - Science

For more information on electives:

Curriculum Night - January 8, 2020 at 5:30-7:30pm

Please join us for Curriculum Night on Wednesday January 8, 2020 from 5:30-7:30pm. The purpose of Curriculum Night is to give parents an opportunity to speak with Oakton staff members about course offerings to help their students make the most informed decisions in the registration process. We have outlined the schedule and opportunities for the evening below.

  • 5:30-6:00pm, Parents of Rising 9th Graders and students are welcome to join us in the Auditorium for a presentation on the transition to freshman year.
  • 6:00-6:30pm, A Special Education General Curriculum Information Session is being offered for interested families in the library.
  • 6:00-6:30pm, A Special Education Adapted Curriculum Information Session is being offered for interested families in Room 158.
  • 6:00-7:30pm, Parents of Rising 9th Graders, Parents of current 9th-11th Graders, and students can meet faculty members in the Cafeteria and Auxiliary Gym to learn about course offerings. Several courses and departments will be represented in a fair style environment.

FCPS Academy Open Houses

Oakton students can attend one of four high schools designated as an "academy" for career and technical courses. Students interested in an academy course can speak with their counselor for more information such as arranging a tour and completing the application.

The academies will be offering Open Houses in which families can learn more about specific courses:

  • Chantilly Academy - January 16 @ 6pm
  • Falls Church Academy - January 9 @ 6:30pm
  • Fairfax Academy - February 4 @ 6:30pm
  • Marshall Academy - January 29 @ 6pm


Junior Family College Night - January 29, 2020 at 6pm

Junior families please mark your calendars for Junior Family College Night. This event is for both junior students and their families to hear directly from the admissions representatives in a panel format with breakout sessions.

Topics include:

  • Finding the Right Fit
  • Components of the College Application
  • How Colleges Make their Decisions
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Starting the College Search
  • Paying for College
  • Northern Virginia Community College Info

On January 6th and 7th, counselors will be visiting US/VA History classrooms to provide information on Post-secondary Planning and Course Registration. Presentations will be provided online later that week.

Junior parents will also have the opportunity to meet with school counselors for Junior Parent Night on March 19, 2020.

Post-secondary Planning for Latinx English Learners Workshop - January 29, 2020 at 5:30pm

Student Services will be offering a Post-secondary Planning Workshop for Latino Families. Spanish-speaking college admissions representatives will be join Oakton Staff in providing important information related to preparing for college and available resources. More information to come.

Post-secondary Planning Events

  • Gap Year Fair - February 4, 2020 @ 6pm - Marshall High School
  • US Military Academies/ROTC Night - February 25, 2020 @ 7pm - Woodson High School
  • ASVAB Test at OHS - March 10, 2020
  • Northern Virginia College Fair - April 1, 2020 @ 6:30pm - GMU Eaglebank Arena

Counselor Spotlight

Ms. Magaly Rivas Wyatt

Ms. Rivas Wyatt has worked as an educator since 2007 when she became a certified Montessori teacher in Miami, FL. After moving to Virginia, she became an interpreter and a parent liaison for FCPS. Her desire to learn more and provide additional support to students and families led her to pursue a master’s degree in education. This is her third year as a counselor. Prior to changing careers, she worked in television covering news for Hispanic media outlets and as a Press Secretary for Congressman Xavier Becerra.

Ms. Rivas Wyatt earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Broadcast Journalism and a Minor in Spanish from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Ms. Rivas Wyatt's Why: Having raised three children and quickly understanding the support that young students need today, I felt compelled to be of help and support for other young students who didn’t have guidance and/or who didn’t understand the American education system. My sense of accomplishment comes from knowing that I provide compassionate, objective and practical support for my students with a healthy dose of perspective. I believe in promoting communication and engaging all members of our community to improve the lives of our students and their families.

Ms. Rivas Wyatt was born and raised in Yucatan, Mexico, a place she loves and misses deeply.

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Winter Stress? Check out these 5 Tips for Teens

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