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March 24, 2016

Table of Contents

Dates to Remember

  • April 1: Deadline for Summer Externship Applications
  • April 1: Deadline for CTE Program Cover Design Scholarship
  • April 8: Deadline for Student Essay Contest
  • April 8-21: Regional School Counselor Meetings
  • April 19: Statewide ACT Assessment Day
  • May 15: Deadline to submit proposal for SCALI
  • Sept. 25-27: School Counselor and Administrator Leadership Institute

Nominate an Outstanding School Counselor

Each month we want to recognize the important work of school counselors in our school counseling newsletter School Counselor Connection. We will showcase high quality, student-driven, data-informed practices that are aligned to school, district, or state goals and lead to strong outcomes for students or advocate for the school counseling profession in Tennessee. If you would like to nominate a school counselor please click Nominate a School Counselor to complete the nomination form.

Clanci Tipton

Ridgeview Elementary School, Washington County

Ridgeview Elementary School, located in a small rural community in east Tennessee, serves nearly 700 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Clanci Tipton is the school counselor responsible for meeting the academic, social and emotional, and college and career readiness needs of each of those students. Managing such a large caseload of students with a wide variety of developmental needs is a challenge many school counselors encounter. Clanci has developed a way to effectively meet that challenge.
Clanci developed a counseling referral system that mirrors the RTI2 process. All student receive Tier 1 services through school-wide initiatives and classroom guidance lessons. At the beginning each school year, every teacher completes the referral form by listing his/her students that need additional support or intervention in either Tier 2 or Tier 3 under Academic, Behavior, or Personal/Social. Mrs. Tipton meets with Tier 3 referrals weekly to get them established with a counselor outside of the school. She meets with Tier 2 students bi-weekly. Her small groups are planned using the data from the tiered referrals. At the beginning of the second semester, Mrs. Tipton has the teachers complete the forms again. While this is just her first year using this process, Clanci has already seen significant results. 80 percent of students who were listed as Tier 3 have moved into lower Tier, and 40 percent of the Tier 2 referrals have been moved into Tier 1.
“With a caseload of approximately 710 students, this allows me to make sure students who are in need are not slipping through the cracks. I also do a needs assessment and still accept referrals at all times regardless of the student’s tier placement. I felt I was still only meeting a small portion of the kids’ needs or only having them referred to me when they were in crisis, as opposed to a preventative service. It has been a very successful tool and I am eager to see the data it provides in years to come.”
We recognize Mrs. Tipton for her innovation and creativity in developing this promising practice to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of her students.

School Counseling Advisory Council

Thank you for your interest in the inaugural School Counseling Advisory Council. We received an incredible number of high quality applications and are pleased to announce the following individuals will be serving on this year’s advisory council:
Lauren Baker, School Counselor, TSCA President-Elect, Collierville Elementary, Collierville Schools
Dr. Cynthia Brame, Parent, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Mary Ann Christian, Assistant Principal, David Crocket Elementary School, Lawrence County Schools 
Dr. Nicole Cobb, Counselor Educator, Vanderbilt University
Brandi Eason, School Counselor, Riverside High School, Decatur County Schools
Bailey Ford, Student, DECA State Officer, Stewarts Creek High School
Amy French, Associate Director of College and Career Counseling, Niswonger Foundation
Dr. Melinda Gibbons, Professor and Program Coordinator for Counselor Education and School Counseling, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Troy Grant, Executive Director, Tennessee Higher Education Commission
Paul Haynes, Executive Director, Nashville Career Advancement Center
Cheryl Janzen, Teacher, Walker Valley High School, Bradley County Schools
Dr. Leisa Justus, Administrator, Blackman High School, Rutherford County Schools
Hillary Keith, School Social Worker, Tennessee Association of School Social Workers, President, Knox County Schools 
Amanda Murphy, Teacher, Stoner Creek Elementary School, Wilson County Schools
Janna Ramsey, School Counselor, Eakin Elementary, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Dr. Daycia Smith, School Counselor, Millington Middle School, Millington Municipal Schools
Dr. Greg Wallace, Supervisor of School Safety and Mental Health, Johnson City Schools

The advisory council will meet on April 7. We are excited about the investment the advisory council will make in the transformation of school counseling in Tennessee.

TN School Counselor and Administrator Leadership Institute – Call for Presenters

Planning is well underway for the 2016 TN School Counselor and Administrators Leadership Institute (TNSCALI), being held Sept. 25-27 at the Embassy Suites and Middle TN Convention Center in Murfreesboro. This year’s theme is “Transforming School Counseling so All Students will be Ready!” The heart and soul of our conference are the breakout sessions at which many of our own Tennessee school counselors and administrators present.
The Call for Presenters online application is now active and ready for submissions. If you have information you think would be beneficial to institute attendees, please consider submitting a session proposal. The deadline for submissions is May 15. Please follow this link (here) to review the topics of interest and submit a proposal.
Our room block at the Embassy Suites is . You can reserve a room from our block by visiting the “Accommodations” section of the emerging TNSCALI webpage (here). 

Regional Meetings for School Counselors

In coordination with the Tennessee Counseling Association (TCA) chapters, the department has planned regional school counseling meetings in our CORE regions to give counselors an opportunity to review the updated school counseling standards and models of practice. Please click here for specific meeting information.

April 8                 Northwest, Union University, 9–11 a.m.
April 9                 Southwest, University of Memphis, 10–12 p.m.
April 12               South Central, Richland High School, 1:30–3:30 p.m.
April 12               Mid Cumberland, Argosy University, 5:30–8 p.m.
April 14               Upper Cumberland, Cane Creek Elementary, 3–5 p.m.
April 19               Southeast, Chattanooga, 6–8 p.m.
April 21               First Tennessee, Greeneville PD Center, 12:30–3 p.m.
**School counselors in the East TN CORE region had the opportunity to review the revised standards and model at the Smoky Mountain Counselor Association Conference.  

Postsecondary Planning Tool

It’s never too early to start planning for postsecondary. This Federal Student Aid Checklist is a valuable tool to share with parents and students, even in elementary grades, to promote and plan for entering postsecondary after high school graduation. You can even create your own checklist to specifically target your student population. Click on the hyperlink provided above for more information. If you have questions about postsecondary access and success, please email     

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

May 5 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. This year’s theme, “Finding Help. Finding Hope.” explores how communities can improve access to behavioral health services and supports for children, youth, and young adults with mental and substance use disorders and their families.  To learn more about this event and how your school can participate, please visit the event website. Start planning your activities now. We will be sharing ideas through the newsletter as we get closer to May 5.

TalentEd Project

The Tennessee College Access & Success Network introduces a new, first-of-its-kind resource that puts your high-potential students at the front of the line to be recruited by top colleges and universities. The TalentED Project helps lower-income and first-generation college-goers match themselves with schools that are a good fit by directly connecting you to college admissions recruiters. Vanderbilt, Swarthmore, and Butler are among the growing list of select institutions on the site. Start building your profile today and help your juniors get noticed first when the portal is launched to colleges and universities nationwide next month.
Built by UBS, the Tennessee College Access and Success Network, and Discovery Education, The TalentED Project is free for all users, and offers you the opportunity to:
  • save time by searching for colleges recognized for affordability and retention;
  • enable students to highlight their unique strengths using our powerful storyboards; and
  • build professional networks with peers across the country who are also helping students get to college.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Wendy Blackmore, Senior Director of External Affairs at the Tennessee College Access and Success Network at  or 615-983-6909. 

Study Abroad Opportunities for Students

The MissTennKy Area AFS sends high school students and teachers on foreign exchange study abroad programs.  Students who may be interested in studying abroad next year for a semester, year, or summer can visit their website (here) for application and scholarship information.
The team needs adults who love people and working with many cultures to become registered volunteers, to support the students in the area and their host families. Click here to register. For additional information about the study abroad or volunteer programs, please contact Becky Heywood at or (615) 473-4389.
Families interested in hosting a visiting student may submit applications by going to Contact Sandy Rich at and (865) 617-0665 or Dr. Barbara Y. Wills at byw1010@aol.comand (931) 378-7258 for more information.

Student Scholarship Opportunity:
Design the Program Cover for the 2016 Institute for CTE Educators

High school students have the chance to earn a $1,000 scholarship to the Tennessee public postsecondary school of their choice for designing the program cover for the 2016 Institute for CTE Educators. All design specifications and application requirements are listed in the 2016 Program Cover Design Application.

Completed applications should be submitted to by April 1. The winning design will be announced by May 1. Scholarship funds will be given directly to the postsecondary school designated by the winner upon enrollment.

AP Honor Roll

The Office of Early Postsecondary is pleased to announce and recognize the following school districts for their exceptional work around increasing access to and enrollment in Advanced Placement (AP) programs—such that it leads to an increase of high school students within their districts earning a 3 or higher on the AP exam.
According to the College Board, achieving these goals is the ideal picture for a district’s AP program because it indicates that the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are likely to benefit most from rigorous AP coursework.
Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the 6th Annual AP Honor Roll:
Blount County Schools*
Bristol Tennessee City School System
Campbell County School
Dickson County Schools*
Greeneville City Schools*
Hawkins County Schools
Kingsport City School District*
Maryville City School District*
Rutherford County School District
Sumner County School District
*District has achieved the honor for multiple years.
For additional information about The AP Honor Roll, please click here. To learn more about Advanced Placement and other early postsecondary programs you can offer in your district, please visit the department’s Early Postsecondary website or email

2016 Essay Contest: "My teacher inspired me to..."

Every year we are proud to host an essay contest to honor our talented teachers through student voices. This year’s contest celebrates how great teachers inspire their students every day with the prompt: "My teacher has inspired me to …" All Tennessee public school students in grades kindergarten through twelve are eligible to participate. The complexity of the essay will vary by age; K–2 students should record their thoughts on video. One winner will be selected from each of the following grade bands: K–2, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12, and the winning students and honored teachers will be celebrated during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-6.

For contest details, click here. If you have questions, please email Educator.Communications@tn.govAll submissions must be received by the Tennessee Department of Education office by 5 p.m. CDT on Friday, April 8.

Please encourage the students in your school to participate. We look forward to hearing about the many ways that Tennessee teachers inspire their students!

Public Comment on Response to Instruction and Intervention Behavior Framework 

The department is seeking educator and general public feedback on the first draft of the Response to Instruction and Intervention for Behavior (RTI2-B) Framework. The RTI2-B Framework was developed by a task force of educators and school leaders from across the state to align behavioral interventions into one comprehensive, problem-solving framework that is effective and sustainable. Feedback from educators and leaders is critical to the development of the final version of the framework.
A draft of the framework is available to download from our website (here).
Feedback should be emailed to Comments should be specific about the content of the document and must cite the page number(s).

Celebrate ACT Strategies and Successes

Celebrate your district's and/or school's ACT successes and strategies by tweeting @TNEdu #ACTReadyTN. We look forward to highlighting your work!

Promising Practices for ACT Preparation

As schools and districts make final preparations for this year’s ACT exam, we are continuing to highlight resources and promising practices for ACT improvement. The Soulsville Charter School in Memphis and Fairview High School in Williamson County are two of many schools in Tennessee working intentionally to build students’ knowledge and skills and create a strong postsecondary culture. See their promising practice documents here and here.

Statewide Externship Program

We are now accepting applications for the 2016 School Team Externship Program. Selected school teams will spend one week in June with a Tennessee company learning about current industry technologies and applied skills.
This year, the externship program will follow a school-team model. Each team is required to have one CTE teacher, one general education teacher, one counselor, and one administrator. This summer’s externship placements will be hosted at Eastman Chemical in Kingsport, Music City Center in Nashville, and Unum Group in Chattanooga. Priority will be given to school teams who apply from the same region as the host company they select.
Applicants will be chosen on a competitive basis, and selected externs will each receive a $2,500 stipend. To review the requirements for the 2016 School Team Externship program, click here. To submit an application click here. A school team should only submit one application. The application period will close at 4 p.m. CST on April 1. Applicants will be notified of the status of their application by April 11. Please direct questions to

School Counselor Competencies

The ASCA School Counselor Competencies are the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that ensure school counselors are equipped to effectively meet the ever-changing and diverse needs of our students.  Competencies are aligned to each of the components of a comprehensive school counseling program: School Counseling Program, Foundation, Management, Delivery, and Accountability.
School counselors will continue to grow and learn throughout their career. The School Counselor Competencies can serve as a tool to evaluate and reflect on their current practice and develop a professional growth plan. As school counselors master these competencies, they will be able to provide more effective counseling programs.
ASCA is currently reviewing the School Counselor Competencies to ensure that they continue to align with the national school counseling model and student needs. If you would like to provide feedback click here to participate in a short survey. The survey closes March 28.

Connect to School Counseling

We have a new email address for school counseling. Please use if you have questions about developing, implementing, or growing your school counseling program. In addition to answering your general questions, this email address is also where we will be accepting promising practices from across the state to review and share through our newsletters. If you have a successful counseling program in your school or district, please complete this Promising Practices capture sheet and email it to

If you are on social media follow Leigh @LeighBagwell on Twitter for news and announcements in school counseling. Join the conversation by using #TNSchoolCounselors to share pictures, events, and great ideas.

Changes to Email Address

Many Tennessee school districts experienced changes to their email addresses over the holiday break. If your email address has changed, please contact to ensure that you continue to receive the School Counselor Connection and other important department communications. 

Share Link to Sign Up for Newsletter

You are receiving this newsletter because you are interested in school counseling in Tennessee - you are a current k-12 school counselor or a representative from a partnering community organization or higher education institution. As we move to this new communications tool, please help us spread the word. Share this with your colleagues and other stakeholders and encourage them to sign up to receive the monthly newsletters as well as any other information we may send out. The following is the sign-up link:

Also, if you would like to unsubscribe from this newsletter, please click the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of this email. 
Leigh Bagwell, Ed.S. | Coordinator of School Counseling
Office of Student Readiness and Early Postsecondary
Division of College, Career and Technical Education
710 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 244-4034
(615) 418-4527
Copyright © 2016 Tennessee Department of Education, All rights reserved.

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