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Leigh Bagwell

SPEAKER AND SCHOOL COUNSELOR

Dr. Leigh Bagwell most recently served as the Director of School Counseling Services at the Tennessee Department of Education. She led transformational work in school counseling throughout the state through the revision of the school counseling model and standards, the creation of a regional peer-support network, and the launch of a dedicated communications channel for counselors, supervisors and administrators. As a school counseling leader, her mission is to provide school counselors with the training and resources needed to deliver high quality, student driven, data-informed comprehensive school counseling programs to all students. She believes counselors and school leaders need to work together to ensure that all students have access to the opportunities and supports they need to successfully move through their elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education into their chosen career.

In addition to her work in Tennessee, Leigh has shared her experiences and knowledge with school counselors and school counseling leaders in Georgia, Texas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Michigan as well as working with the American School Counselor Association. Leigh recently earned her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision at the University of Tennessee and is working as a school counseling consultant. Leigh has authored two books in the 15 Minute Focus Series – Anxiety: Worry, Stress, and Fear and Self-Harm and Self-Injury: When Emotional Pain Becomes Physical and served as an editorial consultant on several SEL children’s books. Her experience includes working as a school counselor and school counselor supervisor in both suburban and urban school districts.

Leigh's Sessions

Anxiety and stress can cause students to feel isolated and overwhelmed, preventing them from learning in the classroom. When students experience anxiety and stress, they need help navigating through it. Rather than tell our students not to worry, our job as educators is to recognize when students are experiencing anxiety and get them the support they need. During this session we will discuss the physiology of anxiety, signs that a student may be in distress, and specific interventions educators can employ to support their students. We will also highlight steps schools can take to prevent an anxious and stressful learning environment. Working together, educators can become powerful advocates for students struggling with anxiety so that they can thrive in the classroom and in life.

Our emotions and relationships affect how and what we learn and how we use what we learn in school, work, family, and community contexts. As many schools and districts integrate social and emotional learning frameworks into their classroom instruction, services provided by student support staff can be especially effective in promoting the school success of children who have social, emotional, and mental health problems that interfere with learning. During this session participants will discuss the specific role of school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses and other student support professionals in supporting the social and emotional learning initiatives that lead to student success.

When preparing students for success in postsecondary education and the workforce it is important that they have academic and content knowledge and training. College and career readiness begins with early exposure and awareness to a broad range of career fields and employability skills. It also includes helping students connect what they are learning in the classroom to their dreams and future career goals. Another important component of college and career readiness is social and emotional development. Self-awareness, self-management and interpersonal skills are critical to students’ transition to postsecondary and the workforce.

College and career readiness continues to focus on the development and refinement of both academic and social emotional skills. It also broadens the scope from just knowing about different careers to exploring the high demand opportunities in their communities, aligning personal interests and aptitudes to career fields, and identifying specific pathways to move successfully from secondary to postsecondary to the workforce. These skills will not only prepare them for success in the workplace, but also success in both secondary and postsecondary education.

Because school counseling programs integrate academic preparation, social and emotional development with college and career readiness, school counselors are uniquely positioned to lead this important work. It begins by ensuring that school counselors have strategies and practices that will deepen their students’ understanding of the world of work and connect it to their school and life experiences. School counselors will increase their capacity to provide high quality school counseling services and support students as they move along their chosen pathways to and through secondary and postsecondary education and on to the workforce.

What does a successful student look like? What are the skills, knowledge, and experiences our students need to transition effectively from education and training to the workforce? Preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s workforce goes beyond the traditional career speakers and “careers on wheels” of days past. More than half of our students will pursue a career that has not been developed yet. College and career readiness begins with early exposure and awareness to a broad range of career fields and employability skills. These skills will not only prepare them for success in the workplace, but also success in both secondary and postsecondary education. When students transition from elementary schools to middle and high schools, they also progress from career awareness to career exploration and planning. College and career readiness continues to focus on the development and refinement of employability skills. It also broadens the scope from just knowing about different careers to exploring the high demand opportunities in their communities, aligning personal interests and aptitudes to career fields, and identifying specific pathways to move successfully from secondary to postsecondary to the workforce.

Using school counseling standards as the foundation, we will discuss the profile of a college and career ready
student. Participants will leave with specific school counseling strategies and practices that will deepen their students’ understanding of the world of work and connect it to their school experience. School counselors will increase their capacity to provide high quality advising and support students as they move along their chosen pathways to and through secondary and postsecondary education and on to the workforce.