School Counselor Connection

Tips for Success, Volume 5, September 2020

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September is Suicide Prevention Month

This month's newsletter is dedicated to support you in your planning of social emotional learning activities. You will find a few toolkits with pre planned activity ideas you could launch as schoolwide events, along with ready to go lessons, infographics for SEL activities, and samples of surveys and lessons. At the end of the newsletter you will also find free professional development opportunities offered by OCDE and Hatching Results. Everything in the newsletter is worth exploring. However, if you are short in time and would like to focus on a few items at a time, I recommend you start by exploring the items with an asterisk* first.

Each Mind Matters: Suicide Prevention Week Activities

This year, in support of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week, World Suicide Prevention Day and National Recovery Month, all held in September, we are encouraging a special focus on the intersection between suicide prevention, alcohol and drug use and efforts that foster resilience and recovery. The activity guide is intended to help organizations across California with planning and implementation of Suicide Prevention Week activities. For additional support and questions, please email

Download Activity Guide to help you plan your month's activities

*Get Ready For Back To School With MHA

Mental Health America (MHA) has developed its 2020 Back to School Toolkit to help students, parents, and school personnel navigate the uncharted waters of COVID-19.

Many children who return to school will be lonely, having been isolated for months. Many who remain at home will feel even lonelier and more isolated as they see members of their peer group out and about. Loneliness can translate to poor sleep, high blood pressure, greater risk of suicidal ideation, and even alcohol and drug use. Depression, anxiety, and fear can also increase.

Download the Toolkit and access to activities, worksheets, self-care tips, parent and teacher resources, and so much more!

*Youth Suicide Prevention Resources

A listing of resources to help school districts address the need for youth suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention, including a model youth suicide prevention policy for local educational agencies (LEAs).

Click here for more information.

*Role of the School Counselor in Student Mental Health

*Poster Worthy! Share with key stakeholders!

Reopening Guides

EdWeek Summit: How Do We Go Back To School

Noteworthy summaries of important conversations related to:

  • Measuring and Addressing Learning Loss
  • Supporting Student's Social and Emotional and Mental Health Needs
  • How can Remote Learning Improve this Fall?
  • What Teachers Jobs Will Look Like this Fall?

CASEL Resources You Cannot Miss!

CASEL Guiding Principles

"Our task as an educational community is to afford students and adults the opportunity to feel a sense of belonging, to heal, and to thrive. A robust body of research tells us that when evidence-based SEL programming is implemented well, academic achievement increases as does student well-being!"

Durlak, J. A., R. P. Weissberg, A.B. Dymnicki, R.D. Taylor, and K.B. Schellinger, “The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta- analysis of school-based universal interventions,” Child Development, 82 no. 1 (2011): 405-432.

(Adapted from Hatching Results, 2020)

CASEL Guide: for Middle and High School

The 2015 CASEL Guide applies a systematic framework for assessing the quality of SEL programs. Specifically, the Guide identifies and rates well-designed, evidence-based SEL programs with potential for broad dissemination to schools across the United States. The main purpose of the Guide is to give educators information for selecting and implementing SEL programs in their districts and schools. The Guide also describes the significant advances the SEL field has made in the past decade, establishes new definitions of SEL at the secondary level, provides suggestions for future research and practice in SEL, and describes innovative approaches to educational practice (e.g., programs that promote mindful awareness) that may also contribute to students’ social and emotional development.

CASEL Tools and Resources

SEL District Resource Center

Resources from districts where SEL programs, practices, and policies are working to support high-quality SEL implementation.

Schoolwide Guide to SEL

Guidance for systemic SEL implementation in a school.

SEL State Resources

Sample policies and practices that support SEL.

SEL Assessment Guide

Guidance to choose and use an SEL assessment.

Program Review Guides

Recommendations for selecting high-quality SEL programs.

SEL Starts at Home

Resources to bring SEL into your home and community.

*SEL Curriculum and Activity Ideas

*CASEL: Sample Teaching Activities to Support Core Competencies of Social and Emotional Learning

*County Offices of Education Leadership for School Counselors (COELSC): A group of county leads, including CASC, and Hatching Results came together to create a wealth of resources for school counselors. Below are some links to just a few of the great resources you can find in our shared google folder.

**Greater Good in Education: Find ready to go activities and lessons for K-Adult. Search by grade level, SEL core competency and duration. (Great resource for teachers as well!)

*Wakelet: Curated list of ideas, infographics and contingency plans to help with your universal and supplemental supports

Ditch that Textbook:

70 eLearning activities, templates and tutorials you can use tomorrow

Trauma Informed Learning/ Toolkits

Distance Learning Tools

*Virtual School Counseling Tools

In partnership with California Association of School Counselors (CASC) "School Closure: Virtual School Counseling"

Presentation given by Capistrano Unified School District

Presenters: Dr. Rebecca Pianta & Beatrice Nguyen

Presentation goes over technology tools and considerations when developing a virtual school counseling program.

Audio/ Video Recording of Presentation

Slide Deck

Professional Development Opportunities

FREE Suicide Prevention and Risk Assessment Training

Participants will gain an understanding of warning signs and risk factors for suicide, and learn how to perform a suicide risk assessment and build a safety plan with a suicidal client.

Target Audience:

Pupil personnel services, school administrators, nurses (anyone who will be directly involved in completing risk assessments).

September 17, 2020

9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

No Cost, Virtual Training

Register at:

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Let's discuss ways School Counselors can Support Students During Distance Learning..

The Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan (LCP) was created for the 2020–21 school year in the midst of the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. LCP replaces the LCAP for the 2020–21 school year.

The new legislation initiated by SB 98, and now codified as EC 43509, states districts will not be required in 2020-21 to submit the standard Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) , but will now be submitting a Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan (LCP).

LEAs need to describe how instruction will occur this year and services which will be offered to offset the impact of learning loss, lack of engagement in distance learning and the mental health needs of staff and students among other topics.

Join this session to learn how school counselors can support your district's Learning Continuity and Attendance Plans.

September 15, 2020

9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

No Cost, Virtual Training

Register at:

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Training Meant to Support During Distance Learning

Feel free to share this resource broadly. Click here to see a list of available upcoming training meant to support you during distance learning. There is a whole section dedicated just for school counselors!

Role of the School Counselor in MTSS (FREE Webinars)

​​​​​​​OCDE contracted with Hatching Results, LLC to create online learning modules for school counselors to engage in an independent study of the Role of School Counselor in MTSS. The learning modules are free and housed here on the OCDE MTSS webpage. District leaders are encouraged to access the learning modules in order to facilitate professional learning across the district school counseling department. There are four modules in all. The expected time to complete the modules as an individual is approximately 16 hours but of course longer if learning as a group. Earn CEU units for these modules!
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Webinars on Demand!

Contact Luz M. Arellano, Coordinator of K-12 School Counseling Services at Orange County Department of Education to access these modules at

California Association of School Counselors (CASC) Virtual Conference

Previous Newsletters

OCDE Support & Resources

Instructional Continuity Website- find resources to support your students and families

Distance Learning Training

OCDE Newsroom and Updates

Be Calm Session- guided meditations led by Dr. Vezzuto

Crisis Response Network:

Meghan Gruppo, M.A., CCTP, Interim Program Lead

Family Engagement Program:

Sheree Newman, Program Specialist

Student Mental Health & Social & Emotional Learning:

Interim Lina Bender & Virginia Joseph, Ph.D

Restorative Practice:

Toby Jean Espley M.Ed, Coordinator

McKinney Vento Homeless Information & Support:

Jeanne Awrey Coordinator

​Student Services (CWA/SARB):

Terrance Dunn, M.Ed., Coordinator

Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program:

Raina K Lee, Coordinator

Luz M. Arellano, Ed.D.

K-12 School Counseling Services Coordinator

Educational Services

Orange County Department of Education