Oakland Counseling Association

2017-18 Vol. 2

The Oakland Counseling Association is a not-for-profit, professional and educational organization that is dedicated to the growth and enhancement of the counseling profession.


The mission of the Oakland Counseling Association is to enhance the quality of life in

Oakland County by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the

counseling profession and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity.

Oakland Counseling Association Awards

It is that time of year to start nominating your colleagues for the 2018 Counselor of the Year Award and 2018 Terry Hood (Lifetime Achievement) Award.

Both the nominator and nominee must be OCA Members.

House Bill 4181

By now you have probably heard about House Bill 4181. We have been hearing about this bill for quite some time now and thanks to the work of Dr. Patrick O'Connor and our Legislatures, it has finally passed. I reached out to Dr. O'Connor for more information and have included an article he wrote that goes into more detail.

"The next step in providing more professional development opportunities for counselors lies with the Michigan Department Education, which will decide what activities will meet these new requirements. MACAC hopes this will include offering SCECHs for activities like a structured tour of college campuses, skilled trades facilities, and other places where counselors can see how students are engaged college and career activities. The guidelines for these visits will have to be established, but we’re hoping that many of the activities counselors already complete now—without any SCECH credit—will start to count." Patrick O'Connor

Oakland Counseling Association will continue to keep you up to date as more information becomes available next year and we will work to offer professional development to meet the needs of our members.

Need Counselor-Focused PD? In Michigan, There’s a Law for That

You’ve been through this one too many times. You get through the first nine weeks of school, and you’re truly looking forward to the in-service day. You have all kinds of ideas about what you could do with the day—online seminars, visiting a college campus, talking to local mental health professionals about community needs— and you’re just about to run these ideas past your administrator, when the agenda for the day hits your inbox:

9-11:30 Learning the new online grading book

12:30-3 Reading across the curriculum

Important? Yes.

Good to know, so you can be a more supportive colleague for classroom teachers? You bet.

Directly applicable to your work as a school counselor? Absolutely not.

PD budgets are tight, so the school wants to get the biggest bang for their buck. That means the day is scheduled to help the 93% of the educators in your building who teach in classrooms, and the other 7% is just going to have to grin and bear it. Again.

That’s likely to change in Michigan in the next few years, thanks to a bill that was signed into law yesterday. House Bill 4181 was created in response to three clear needs. The first need came from state business leaders, who felt the state was putting too much emphasis on the value of a four-year college degree. Since students didn’t learn about vital career options in fields like manufacturing and skilled trades, businesses found themselves with thousands of vacancies in jobs that required as little as six months training, many with starting salaries of $40-50,000 a year.

The second need came from the public in general, who also had the feeling that maybe four years of college wasn’t the cure-all for Michigan’s economic woes. Polls showed an overwhelming majority of citizens felt the quality of college and career advising had a long way to go—and even though many realized part of the problem was due to the huge caseloads counselors worked with, there was still a sense something more could be done.

Combined with the frustrations of school counselors who were looking for professional development opportunities that spoke to their professional needs, House Bill 4181 found the essential support needed for passage. Michigan school counselors have long needed to complete 150 hours of professional development every five years to maintain their license or certification. This bill keeps that number at 150 hours, but requires that 25 of those hours focus on updated training in college counseling, and 25 hours focus on training in career counseling, with 5 of those 25 focused on careers in the military. The remaining 100 hours of professional development can be in anything else—including topics focused more on teachers—but the 50 counselor-focused hours is a big change, and a good start.

The bill now requires the state to develop guidelines for what kinds of professional development will meet these new requirements. Testimony on the bill focused on activities like counselors using professional development days to visit college campuses and job sites, participating in online seminars and “make and take” workshops, and taking greater advantage of the free professional development options that already exist in the state.

There are already enough free PD options in Michigan to have counselors meet these new requirements for the next 15-20 years. House Bill 4181 is expected to free more counselors from the bonds of teacher-based PD to take greater advantage of these programs, and the new ones that will come about as a result of the bill’s passage—all for the betterment of Michigan students, and Michigan’s economy.

For more articles from Dr. Patrick O'Connor please visit his blog:


Coffee, Counselors, Conversations

by Lisa Kurowski

Coffee with the Counselors, or also known as Counselors and Conversation, is an excellent strategy to help promote Parental Involvement, Community Outreach, and Communication to achieve the Counseling Department goals.

This simple program involves inviting parents in for open discussions. These discussions are centered on a counselor-determined topic, or may be determined by the parents to address a common need. For example, each fall the Counseling Department may decide to host a Coffee and Counselors discussion with senior parents to discuss questions about graduation, college applications, and financial aid. The conversations can be directed by either a presentation from the counselors or a more casual discussion format.

The dates and times to schedule Coffee with the Counselors are determined by the building needs. Some have found it successful to have the meetings at the start of the day as parents drop off students in the morning. Other communities may need to have these meetings in the evenings or rotate between day and evening.

Topics range from a variety of topics to meet the needs of the building. Specialist may be brought in from Community agencies to offer insight into specific topics.

Meetings can be scheduled monthly, quarterly, or in any format, that meets the needs of the counseling department. Parents are invited through an email and the events are advertised in the building and on the website to reach out to as many parents as possible. A Google survey can be used to survey parents as to what topics they would like to discuss or to determine what times work best.

Coffee, Conversations and Counselors is a great way to open up communication and increase parent awareness and involvement. It is a great technique to use to help promote the Counseling Department and share expert information with our parents and community.

College and Career Ready through CTE

Full documents are available at the end of the newsletter.

Oakland Technical Early College

Did you know that Oakland Schools Technical Campuses offer Early College? See the pictures below for more information.

Full documents are available at the end of the newsletter.

2017-18 Memberships are Still Available

Are you looking for relevant, but inexpensive, professional development options?

Look no further, because becoming a member of the Oakland Counseling Association is the perfect answer. You will be joining a group dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Oakland County by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing in the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity. This year’s topics will include Solution-Focused Brief Counseling, Human Trafficking, Post-Secondary Alternative Education Options, and Suicide Prevention.

For a small fee you can become a member, and be eligible to attend a variety of workshops at a discount. Simply go to www.oaklandcounselors.org and click on the membership link on the left hand side. Current memberships are available at $20 for individuals, $50 for departments, and $10 for students. So don’t delay and sign up for your Oakland Counseling Association membership today!

Oakland Schools Technical Campus Documents

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