The Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE’s) School Counselor Advisory Council (SCAC) learned about new initiatives for postsecondary readiness and social-emotional learning when members met virtually on Dec. 8.
The council is designed to give Kentucky Education Commissioner and Chief Learner Jason E. Glass direct input from those who serve as counselors in Kentucky public schools.
Heather Bushelman, program coordinator for comprehensive school counseling in KDE’s Office of Teaching and Learning, told members KDE’s Individual Learning Plan (ILP) Committee has been meeting since February to update documents relating to ILPs. As required by law in Kentucky, ILPs are used to help students in 6th through 12th grades engage in coursework and activities that will prepare them to become contributing, successful members of their communities.
The updates include a playbook for elementary school educators to prepare students for creating an ILP later in their lives, “getting our kids ready and talking about (ILPs) when they are at the elementary level,” she said.
According to Bushelman, the playbook for students in kindergarten through 4th grade will focus on employability skills, potential career opportunities, students’ strengths, talents and more.
Additionally, the council heard about the creation of a school counseling multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) model.
“We are working with our Kentucky MTSS plus School Counselors for MTSS to ensure we have a researched and evidence-based template for you to consider when you’re building your programs … that will come out in February,” Bushelman said.
Regional cooperatives across the Commonwealth also are creating a social-emotional learning (SEL) implementation guide.
The SEL implementation guide will provide education leaders with ideas on implementation of SEL into existing curricula and teaching. According to Bushelman, the goal of the guide is to promote sustainable SEL instruction.
“We’re hoping it’ll be released in the spring,” she said. “Kentucky will soon have a nationally recognized guide for our districts and schools.”
Other documents, including the School Counselor Framework, currently are undergoing changes, with plans for release early next year.
In other business:
- Shraman Kar, a member of KDE’s Student Advisory Council (SAC), joined the meeting to share his perspective on current school counselor-related topics. The SAC discussed school counselor services during their Nov. 22 meeting.
- Jim Tackett, healthy schools project director in KDE’s Division of Student Support Services, summarized results from Kentucky’s 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
The council will meet again on Feb. 9.