Focus: Special Populations
May 19, 2020
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Special Populations

During these trying times, it is imperative that we continue to reach and support ALL students. Our special populations often face unique barriers that can be exacerbated during these challenging times. Goals for some of these subgroups should be found in your district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). On the CASC COVID-19 website under the Special Populations tab, you will find resources to help you serve the following subgroups: students with disabilities, foster youth, English language learners (ELLs), homeless, chronic absentees, LGBTQ youth, and undocumented students. 

San Diego Resources for Special Populations
In addition to the state and national resources posted on the CASC COVID-19 website, San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) would like to curate a list of school counselor resources that are available locally for students and families in San Diego County, especially as they relate to our special populations. Below are one or two resources that have been gathered, however, we know that this list is not complete. If you have a local or regional resource that you would like to add, please email Tanya Bulette .

In addition, SDCOE Student Support Services team is working on an LGBTQIA+ Resource Guide for schools and want to ensure this resource meets the needs of school counselors when you are assisting students and families. Please provide your input by completing a short survey by Friday.
English Language Learners, Immigrant, and Undocumented Students

SDCOE has created a transnational/undocumented student task force to explore the needs of and design supports for this vulnerable community. The task force includes educators, advocates, and community representatives from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Resources will be shared through this newsletter once they are available.

How can schools and districts ensure that ELLs and their families are included in all communications and school closure plans related to COVID-19? Colorin' colorado!, a bilingual site for educators and families of English language learners, has gathered resources to support ELL and immigrant students navigate through this time:

LGTBQIA+ Students

Supporting LGBTQ Students During the Pandemic: Tips for School Counselors
In partnership with ASCA, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released a  tip sheet for school counselors on how they can support LGBTQ students and mitigate some of the emerging challenges these students face while social distancing. This new resource provides actionable steps, recommendations and important considerations for school counselors to use when working with LGBTQ students in virtual settings.

San Diego Resources

Native American Students

San Diego Resources
SDCOE has developed  instructional continuity learning considerations and support  for Native American students as part of our ongoing work to support this community.

Employees are also working with Native American community partners to design:
  • A survey to be shared with a variety of stakeholders regarding the impact of the pandemic on California's Native American students
  • A California Indian Education for All website that will house resources, curriculum units, lesson design templates, district planning templates, and professional development to support districts across the state in meeting the needs of Native American students
  • A distance learning summer school program in a culturally responsive format for San Diego County students in grades 3-8

Once these resources are available, they will be shared through this newsletter.


RCOE School Counselor On-the-Go Webinar Series
This week, our webinars will focus on bridging successful transitions from elementary school to post secondary in a virtual and distance learning environment. We are thrilled to announce our presenters, ASCA 2020 National School Counselor of the Year, Laura Ross and Bill DeBaun from the National College Access Network (NCAN). Both are national leaders who are eager to share tools, tips, and resources as we all continue to find creative and effective outreach strategies in our current environment. 

All webinars are all scheduled from 11 a.m. to noon.

To ensure the security of each webinar and in order to track needs for future topics, RCOE asks participants to register for each session through the related OMS link by 5 p.m. the day before the scheduled webinar. You will then receive an e-mail with the Zoom link to use for the webinar or you can dial in.

To access previous webinars and resources, follow these  directions to create a free account on the RCOE website.

Financial Aid and College Planning Workshops
Understanding how financial aid works and how to navigate families through the process can be complicated. SDCOE is hosting two webinars in partnership with Sallie Mae, a company that offers free college planning tools, private education loans, and online banking to students and families. The new learning opportunities are designed to support school counselors' understanding of financial aid offers and find ways to help students and families plan and pay for college.  Participants will need to download Skype for these webinars.

Navigating Financial Aid Offers/Award Letters
Wednesday, May 27
2 to 3 p.m.

  • How to understand financial aid offers
  • Key items to compare between offers
  • Explore grants, scholarships, work study, and student loans
  • Calculate the remaining balance
  • Learn about helpful tips and resources such as the such as Sallie Mae's Paying for College Resource

College Planning Tools and Resources
Thursday, May 28
2 to 3 p.m.

  • Saving for college
  • Calculating financial need with the FAFSA
  • Finding and applying for scholarships and grants
  • How you can access Sallie Mae’s free tools and resources such as Sallie Mae's Paying for College Resource

Strive Virtual College Exploration
Over the next two weeks, join the Strive Virtual College Exploration Program to learn more about college opportunities in STEM and the liberal arts. Counselors are invited to participate and can share this opportunity with their students:

May 19-21

Presentations on careers; women in STEM; research, internships, and co-op; plus information sessions with 31 STEM-focused colleges and universities.

May 26-28

Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL) is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the ideal of the student-centered college search. Learn more about this distinctive group of liberal arts institutions. Join CTCL's executive director and board chair for presentations on CTCL's history and its members' approach to the college admission search. They will offer perspectives on the value of a liberal arts education as well as data beyond the typical rankings. Plus, join 39 CTCL member colleges and universities for their information sessions.

Wednesday, May 27
7 to 7:45 a.m.

Join Colleges That Change Lives' executive director, Maria Furtado, and four members of CTCL's board of directors - all high school-based counselors - to learn more about this distinctive group of liberal arts institutions. The session will discuss CTCL's history and approach to the college admission search. The session will offer perspectives on the value of a liberal arts education and give tips on how to "sell" liberal arts education to skeptical students and families.

Beyond Standardized Tests: Using Performance Assessment in College Admissions
Wednesday, May 27
11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

A growing number of colleges and universities are expanding the ways they evaluate student admissions applications in order to gain insight into students’ deeper learning skills, such as collaboration, problem-solving, and communication. These skills are best demonstrated through performance assessments, such as student portfolios and capstone projects, that have not traditionally been used in most college admissions processes.

This webinar will look at the outcomes of a pilot program at City University of New York (CUNY) that uses performance assessments to admit qualified applicants with scores below the threshold on college entry exams.The discussion will be based on findings from a Learning Policy Institute report on the use of these assessments for equity and access in the CUNY system.

Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network - Live on Instagram
Thursday, May 28
2 to 3 p.m.

GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) is the nation's largest homosexual advocacy group focused entirely on reaching public school students as young as kindergarten age. GLSEN works to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment. Together we can transform our nation's schools into the safe and affirming environment all youth deserve.

This Mental Health Awareness Month, join GLSEN for a free, live webinar where the organization will report on the research findings from Supporting Safe and Healthy Schools , which overviews the work of school-based mental health professionals’ – counselors, psychologists, and social workers – to support LGBTQ youth, and calls attention to the need for more LGBTQ-specific preparation. We are only beginning to understand the mental-health effects related to the rapid switch to online learning during COVID-19. GLSEN’s Education Manager, Becca Mui, will moderate a panel discussion with school-based mental health providers and LGBTQ students. The panelists will discuss their experiences with distance schooling and potential challenges to mental health, describe their school-based advocacy efforts, and share best practices. 

Youth Voices Community Forum: Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Youth with Disabilities
Thursday, May 28
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) will host a youth-led panel discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on youth with disabilities. Youth with disabilities from across the country will talk about the impact the current pandemic has had on their lives, communities, and access to supports to ensure that they can continue to thrive. 

IEL has been developing leaders and partnering with communities since 1964. For the past thirty years, they have focused on supporting youth and young adults with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, to advocate for their rights, and to live independently. IEL continues to put youth voice first and we look forward to discussing with speakers the impact of the pandemic, and the changes needed to ensure that young people with disabilities do not have to face this challenge alone.  
The weekly newsletter and resources created by the SDCOE have been posted on the SDCOE COVID-19 website on the "Resources for School Counselor and School Social Workers" tab under "District Resources." They are also published each week in this newsletter.

The following communication tools and resource guides have been created for districts and school sites to distribute and use:

Important websites for school counselors:

If you have any questions or comments on the San Diego County School Counselor Network newsletter, please contact Tanya Bulette, counseling coordinator, at .
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