OCDE to recognize school counselors and counseling advocates at 10th annual symposium

The Orange County Counselor Symposium will return on Feb. 7 to honor the unique contributions made by local school counselors and counseling advocates while equipping them with strategies to ensure student success.

In celebration of National School Counseling Week, the Orange County Department of Education will invite local counselors, school staff and administrators to its 10th annual event next month to hear from leaders in education and connect with their peers through sessions that build on the theme, “Empowering Students: Navigating Each Step Together.”

2024 Orange County Counselors Symposium

Organized by the Educational Services division and hosted at the Anaheim Hilton, the symposium will highlight two keynote speakers and 40 breakout sessions featuring six distinguished speakers. Educators can register here by Feb. 2. 

“This year’s sessions are meticulously tailored to each American School Counselor Association counseling domain, empowering counselors with strategies to guide students toward success in their careers, college and life success,” said Margaret Llamas, OCDE coordinator of college and career readiness. “Featuring cutting-edge topics like artificial intelligence, this symposium serves as an invaluable platform, inspiring counselors to expand their expertise and enhance their impact on shaping successful futures for their students.”

Commending the tireless work that counselors and their colleagues do to support their communities, the Orange County School Counselor Recognition Program will award seven counselors and one counseling advocate in the TK-12 school system along with one counselor and one counseling advocate serving community colleges. 

Led by OCDE, this awards program was created six years ago to highlight Orange County’s top professional counselors and their positive impact on student development.

The symposium will kick off with a keynote address from Dr. Shree Walker, former director of special education and the special education local plan area for Los Angeles County, who will share how to find resilience while facing adversity. 

Educators in attendance will have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the counseling domains — academic, social-emotional and career — through sessions with guest speakers including OCDE Coordinator of Community Schools Lara Kain, and former OC School Counselor of the Year turned adjunct Concordia University faculty member Laurie Tristan.

The symposium will also welcome keynote speaker Dr. Jacqueline Sanderlin, a former educator with 30 years of experience. As the K-12 national education leadership executive manager at Apple, Dr. Sanderlin will share her expertise on building equity in school communities while supporting students’ social-emotional needs. 

Registration for the Feb. 7 Orange County Counselor Symposium is $329 per person. For more information and to see the schedule of activities, visit the event website. The symposium will be held from 7:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and include breakfast and lunch as well as free parking. For questions about the symposium content, contact Annabel Arreola at aarreola@ocde.us. For questions about registration, contact EventsandPartnerships@ocde.us