Counselors from schools across the Shelby County School District participated in a Professional Learning Conference held February 8 at the Shelby County Instructional Services Center. The all-day event featured a variety of speakers and topics.
“School counselors encounter very diverse topics and issues within their schools; therefore, to best serve the needs of their students, it is important for counselors as professionals to stay informed on current trends and on local community resources,” said Kim Bailey, Counseling and Testing Supervisor. “Each year, this conference allows counselors to increase their professional knowledge and better meet the needs of our students.”
Sean Stevens, the new Administrator in the Office of Counseling and Guidance at the Alabama State Department of Education, was the speaker for the opening General Session.
Stevens spoke to the counselors about the counseling plan and support available at the state department, including a new counseling page on the ALSDE website that will include shared lessons, frequently asked questions, and additional resources.
The counselors also attended breakout sessions and met in grade-level Professional Learning Community (PLC) groups. Breakout session speakers included Amanda Keller from Birmingham AIDS Outreach who spoke to counselors about support and resources available for students who identify themselves as LGBTQ. Pat McCay, Secretary of the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force and Chair of the Huntsville-Madison County Human Trafficking Task Force, also educated the group about the problem of human trafficking in Alabama created by the interstates that run through the state.
Aubri McClendon, the district’s Career Coach, led breakout activities on the practical applications of the career assessment website Kuder and teaching soft skills to students from the ground up across the K-12 grade spans. Roxanna Cazer-Traylor, Learning Supports Counselor, led a session on the effect of poverty on students, which also included an online poverty simulation game through playspent.org. Lauren Woolley, Technology Program Area Specialist, led sessions on using Google Classroom and Gmail.