CCHS administrative team receives award from OSCA
During an extremely challenging two years in education, Crook County Schools has set itself apart by providing innovative ways to meet their students' educational needs in the face of adversity.
The district, specifically the Crook County High School administrative team, was recognized by the Oregon School Counselor Association (OSCA) for a distinctive award, the 2021 Administrator Team of the Year. OSCA has been chartered as the Oregon state division of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) since 1967. The mission of the Oregon School Counselor Association is to serve the needs of Oregon school counselors.
The OSCA recognized Dr. Joel Hoff — assistant superintendent for Crook County School District — and the Crook County High School administrative team for the Award at the OSCA Annual Conference held at Oregon State University on Nov. 5. According to the CCSD website, "The Oregon School Counselor Association thanks Dr. Hoff and the high school administrative team for their support of their counselors in providing comprehensive school counseling services to Crook County High School students."
Crook County High School counselors include Brittney Haddon, Ann Kasberger and Darin Kessi. In addition to the counselors, the administrative team further consists of CCHS Principal Michelle Jonas, Assistant Principal Jake Huffman, Assistant Principal Jason Ritter, and Athletic Director Rob Bonner. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Joel Hoff also received the award, being recognized as part of the team in his capacity as a representative of the district office.
Ann Kasberger, counselor for CCHS, said that the counseling team nominated Joel Hoff and the administrative team through their work with the Oregon Department of Education.
"It was exciting to hear the team was receiving the recognition," she said of learning that the district had won the award."Part of our team was at the OSCA convention and was able to receive the award in person."
Hoff has been the Assistant Superintendent for the Crook County School District since 2019. Prior to his current role, he served as a high school administrator, middle school instructor, coach, and athletic director. One of his top priorities is to ensure that each student receives a high-quality academic education, as well as a well-rounded and rewarding school experience. Hoff collaborates with the school board, district administration, principals, teachers, support staff, and families to continuously improve the schools' level of service.
"We were super excited and so honored that we were able to get that," remarked Hoff. "We definitely were grateful, and it really is a whole team award —and that is what I think makes it especially special. It's not just for one person, but all of us coming together and working hard."
Hoff noted that although he works at the District Office, he works extensively with the CCHS team to make sure students stay on track and organizes projects to ensure each student is successful.
Huffman, the assistant principal at CCHS, indicated that the administrative team's role at the high school is to provide support and encouragement and to work alongside counselors to identify improvement areas and help facilitate action plans leading to improved student supports and outcomes.
"This award is validation we are putting our efforts into the right work — the work for the kids," commented Huffman. "We looked internally at ways to improve systems and make our counseling center more efficient so they could provide the services students need from social-emotional support to career and academic guidance. We are very grateful for the counselors' willingness to push hard and improve. Our students are lucky to have such a great team of counselors working with them at CCHS."
Assistant Principal, Jason Ritter, also commented that the award is confirmation that he works with a team of such quality and dedication, that they are willing to work tirelessly to the benefit of the students and families whom they serve.
"Everyone understands that the last couple of years has been extremely challenging in the area of education, but this team has distinguished itself with its limitless advocacy and innovation in order to support students through safe, in-person education," Ritter said. "To know that our students have been better supported than almost any district in Oregon, which resulted in minimal learning loss for our students, is tangible evidence that my adoration for this administrative team is well-placed. From the School Board to the Superintendent's Team to the (administration), teachers/counselors and support staff at the building level, the Crook County School District has adapted its practices to meet the needs of students, and this award is representative of that work. It is an incredible feeling to know that if a light is shone at any level of CCSD, one would come away with a similar picture of endless innovation and extreme dedication. I work with the best administrative team in the state of Oregon, and I hope this recognition helps to fuel their continued efforts to serve our community."
Jonas exclaimed that the award came as a surprise, and the team was unaware that it had been nominated by the CCHS counseling department.
"We were surprised, because we didn't know that we had been nominated for the award, so it was a complete surprise," she added. "It was kind of unexpected and exciting to be recognized at the state level."
Jonas said that the counseling department has been working with a consultant from Oregon Department of Education (ODE), which consisted of an auditing process to seek improvement in the counseling center.
"Through that, we added some staffing to the counseling department, and we did a complete remodel. We have been focusing, during this COVID time, on looking how we could improve services to students. We went through this process with ODE, and so the counseling department nominated us based upon our wiliness to improve," Jonas added.
Jonas noted that the team reached out to teachers and students to self-reflect on how to better support them and allocating funding to ensure the staffing to support those services. As a result, they have added a counselor to the team, and they also added a staff dedicated to scheduling, freeing up counselors for more student support.
"It's been really positive," said Jonas.
Kasberger added that the CCHS Counseling Program completed the extensive audit starting last spring.
"Through this audit, the counseling program was able to reevaluate what supports and services were being offered and realign with the Oregon and National School Counseling frameworks," noted Kasberger."Although a fantastic process to go through, without the support and dedication of our building and district administration change would not have been possible. Changing and growing to continue to offer the supports that our students and community needs most is our top priority. By investing in our counseling staff and prioritizing mental health, our administration makes this doable. We are excited and grateful for the acknowledgement of the work our team is doing."
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