Virginia Capitol Connections Winter 2022

Virginia Capitol Connections, Winter 2022 28 have been level-funded now for several years. In 2018-2019 out of the 214,086 credentials taken by students (students could take more than one credentialing exam) 158,452 credentials were earned by the 74% of eligible students taking a credentialing assessment. The 2021 General Assembly funded the following: more than $1.8 million for industry certifications examinations such as Serv-Safe, Automotive Service Excellence, Certified Nurse Aide, Cosmetology Licensure and Network+. Another $308,655 was spent onWorkplace Readiness Skills Assessment as well as $500,000 for industry credentialing for students and professional development for instructors and another $1.3 million for information technology credentials. It is important for the General Assembly to increase last’s year funding by at least $1.5 million and continue funding for CTE teachers to attain Virginia Board of Education—approved industry-recognized certifications. And more importantly support initiatives at the secondary level that enable high school students to earn one or more credentials before furthering their education or going to work. The final Policy Issue that I will highlight is the expansion of elementary school CTE Career Awareness that create opportunities for student exposure to career pathways. By the time a student reaches the 10th grade, it is often too late for them to successfully complete their graduation requirements and enroll in CTE courses that lead to a completer/finisher sequence. By integrating career awareness at an earlier age, students will have time to explore multiple career choices Counselors Bridge the Gap By LILA ORROCK HILTZ It seems like every time you turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper/magazine this Fall there is a story about the impact of COVID-19 and school closures on the mental health and education of our youth. This is a worldwide concern with documented increase in anxiety and decrease in developing academic skills. At the Elementary school level, students from Kindergarten through Second Grade have not had a “normal” school year in their academic careers, no class of Middle School students has had a full “normal” school year in that setting; and in High School, Seniors only had their Freshman year School Counselors are the professionals at this intersection, working to bridge the gap of the past 18 months and prepare students for success. They are the ones within the school focused on academic, career, and social emotional support. The passing of legislation over the past few years to address counselor caseloads and use of time has proved invaluable as they navigate this school year. Budget increases combined with legislation to reduce school counselor to student ratios allowed for additional school counseling positions to be added across the state this year. School Counseling core curriculum lessons are focused on building these crucial skills and helping students navigate relationships with peers and adults. Virtual, hybrid, and modified inperson schooling resulted in less social interaction and opportunities to build foundational social emotional skills and practice critical problem solving and conflict resolution. Actions that once would have seemed like a small interpersonal infraction quickly escalates to a conflict, resulting in a rise in disciplinary actions. School Counselors are specifically trained to address this skill building initially as a whole school and to develop additional support and interventions to support students who experience additional struggles in these areas. Social Emotional curriculum is supported by the school counselors both directly and indirectly, as classrooms and schools work to build community. Small group, individual support, and plan out their high school courses in a more informed manner. Also, this earlier exposure gives local business and industry partners and opportunity to participate with their potential future workforce. In summary, CTE should remain a high funding priority if we in Virginia are to successfully move forward meeting the needs of students. The retention of qualified teachers for these programs should be high priority as well. Virginia needs CTE now more than ever before to fill the employment void. For more information, the full Issues and solutions document can be found on our website at 1How Much are Teachers Paid in Your State. Wheelwright, 2021 2Here’s how much every US state pays its teachers and how much they spend on each student. Perino, Kiersz , and Hoff, 2021 Darla Miller is Virginia ACTE’s new Executive Director. She started her new position August 1. Miller recently retired after 17 years as Principal of Valley Career and Technical Center in Fishersville. In addition to her teaching experience, she served as Director of the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant for Augusta County Schools and an assistant principal for Valley Career and Technical Center. She has served in various leadership CTE roles during her career. Most recently, she has been member-at-large on the VACTEA Board. and crisis management provided by School Counselors digs deeper into these gap areas. School Counselors are generally the first contact when a student is in crisis, working with the individual and often the family. Small groups and individual sessions are developed to address specific skill deficits, providing tiered intervention support. Academic support is provided through these tiered interventions, in addition to, course advisement and coordination of additional academic opportunities. While school counselors do not provide direct instruction in core academic areas, they do provide support for students in and out of the classroom. School Counselors assist students with study skills, organization and time management, emotional regulation, and strength identification to help with their success in the academic setting. Consultation on behavior management strategies and plan implementation is often managed by the school counselor as well. As higher rates of students are deferring secondary education and lower numbers of students are applying for financial aid in the past 18 months, the School Counselors focus on College and Career development is crucial. Students work with counselors from elementary school through graduation to identify areas of interest and strengths that can help in determining a career focus. School counselors work with the student and families to help explore pathways for individual success after high school, meeting all students where they are and working to overcome any barriers. School Counselors are critical to the success of all students, and even more so, as we transition into this school year. All students need additional instruction and support in social emotional, academic, and college/career domains. Student success is directly impacted by their ability to access this critical role. Legislative and community support of the role of School Counselors helps all of Virginia’s students. Lila Orrock Hiltz is an Elementary School Counselor with Henrico County Public Schools and was honored as the 2020Virginia School Counselor Association Elementary School Counselor of the Year. She serves as co-chair of the Virginia School Counselor Association’s Advocacy and Government Relations Committee. Lila Orrock Hiltz is an Elementary School Counselor with Henrico County Public Schools and was honored as the 2020 Virginia School Counselor Association Elementary School Counselor of the Year. She serves as co-chair of the Virginia School Counselor Association's Advocacy and Government Relations Committee. Teaching Future Teachers from page 27 V V