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Oxford School District counselors to receive specialized training

Counselors with the Oxford School District began an intensive training program last week that will take two school years to complete.

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model Training began for OSD counselors on Sept. 12. The program consists of six full-day training workshops which will be spread over the next two years. The training facilitates each school in the district in attaining Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) status.

“These counselors are going to be taking a look at specific student goals to help achieve the “95 in Five” goals set by Oxford’s administration,” Deirdra Williams said. “Whether at elementary, middle or high school, a counselor’s work plays a role in academic support, career development and social-emotional work.”

Williams is a certified trainer with ASCA and presented last week’s training session.

The workshops will require counselors to evaluate their current practice and to work with their administration to adopt nationally recognized best practices. Last August, OSD superintendent Brian Harvey announced the “95 in Five” program. It was a challenge to all faculty and staff pertaining to the future goals of the district. Those goals include achieving a 95 percent graduation rate, proficiency on state assessments and in other various academic areas.

The graduation rate for Oxford High School’s 2017-18 school year was 89.6 percent.

“This work is critical to ensure our school counselors are focused on the work which students most need to be successful in their academics and life,” said OSD Director of Career Technical Education, Dr. Steve Hurdle. “This training will assist us in developing and implementing a district-wide counseling plan to serve our students, families and staff at all age-levels and developmental stages.”

Im addition to the partnership with ASCA, OSD has entered into a partnership with the University of Mississippi’s counseling department. The partnership with Ole Miss will provide extra resources for social and emotional support for Oxford students.

Beginning this semester, schools will have access to Master’s Mental Health Counseling candidates to help support students who may be experiencing mental health concerns. The school district’s counselors will be coordinating with a Ole Miss counseling doctoral candidate who will serve as the supervisor for the counseling interns.