As the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting approaches, Jill was interviewed by Voice of America News on the importance of school counselors in school safety planning. The interview will be broadcast later this week as part of the network's coverage of the anniversary.
Currently showing posts tagged Jill
Happy birthday to the love of my life. With each and every passing day, I realize more and more how much you mean to me, to our family, and to those near and far whose lives you touch. I don't know what I'd do without you.
My wife, Jill, is quoted in a New York Times story today on the second season of “13 Reasons Why,” the controversial Netflix series that revolves around a teen’s suicide. You can read the story here or see the relevant paragraphs below.
At the end of each episode, a character in voice-over directs viewers to 13ReasonsWhy.info, a resources site created by Netflix with guidance from nonprofit groups like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American School Counselor Association.
“Netflix is taking their responsibility seriously,” said Jill Cook, the assistant director of the American School Counselor Association. (Ms. Cook says the association has no financial relationship to Netflix.)
Ms. Cook initially contacted Netflix last year to express her organization’s concern that the depiction of adults on the show as clueless — a counselor doesn’t report concerns to the principal, parents have no idea that their kids are having torrid sex upstairs after a school-night family dinner, dads watch DVDs instead of Netflix — would discourage students from seeking help. For the show’s resources site, it helped create the discussion guides, and for its own website it recently posted a template letter that school administrators can send to parents.
Happy birthday to Jill, the person I love with all my heart and soul. Thank you for walking with me on the trail of life's great adventure. We celebrated her birthday today by scheduling the closing of our new house in Old Town Alexandria tomorrow!
If you’d be interested in our current home, it’s on the market...
The American School Counselor Association, the organization where Jill works, recognized its School Counselor of the Year at the Kennedy Center today. I could not be prouder of the work my wife does on this program, which she helped create and has nurtured for more than a decade.
Kirsten Perry, who works at Lawndale Community Academy in Chicago, won the 11th annual award. And, in her first major speech since leaving the White House, former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the event for the third consecutive year.
Mrs. Obama recognized Jill and the ASCA staff at the start of her speech, then focused her remarks on the positives in an uncertain time. Here are a few quotes from the speech:
"While it was nice to hold this event in the White House last year, this was never about the White House. It was never about me or Barack, and it's never about the handful of people who happen to be in power at any given time. Folks who model decency and dignity and integrity for our kids every single day, see, that's who we are. That more than anything is what shapes our children and that's what makes America great.
"Trust me, I know this work isn't easy, especially right now. I know there's a lot of anxiety out there. And there's no denying that our kids, what they see on TV, the kind of behavior being modeled in public life — all of that, yes — impacts their behavior and their character. But at times like this the work you are all doing is even more urgent. It's even more critically important. See, you all have the power to teach our kids what it means to go high when others go low. You have that power.
"Our counselors and educators have a far bigger impact on our kids' lives than any president or first lady. ... You all serve as living, breathing examples of the kind of people they should aspire to be. You don't get dragged down by the headlines, by the false claims about our children and our neighborhoods, you don't have time for that nonsense because you're out there doing the work.
"No matter what's going on right now, out there, all that noise, you know that our young people are the future, and the most important thing we can do as individuals and as a nation is to believe in all of them, to invest in all of them and to build schools and communities worthy of their boundless promise."
In case you’re wondering what Jill does when I’m gone for two weeks… She jumped out of an airplane with the Golden Knights as part of her work with the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion.
In her role with the American School Counselor Association, my wife Jill has been fielding a number of calls about the ongoing controversy surrounding Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why,” the TV series about a teen girl’s suicide.
Earlier this week, she appeared on the National Public Radio show On Point, which you can stream here. Last week, Jill was part of a webinar that included representatives from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Association of School Psychologists.
The webinar, titled “A Teachable Moment: Using 13 Reasons Why to Initiate a Helpful Conversation about Suicide Prevention and Mental Health,” drew more than 1,500 participants. You can stream it here.
Very proud of my spouse and the work she is doing on this extremely important topic!
This is Emma's birthday tribute to her mom. There is no disputing who the best writer in the family is...
Back in the beginning of December, I was a few months into my freshmen year of college. While I love Point Park, some things were inevitably hard to cope with. Throughout my time here I have received care packages from my parents, always accompanied by an encouraging message (which I could tell my mom had written). These packages are sent out through the school, with all of the notes prewritten back in August.
It was during this time in which I was struggling with a few things that I decided to get a tattoo with the quote "This too shall pass." I told my mom about this idea, and she loved it. A few days later, I received another care package. When I opened it the first words on it were "This too shall pass."
My dad has always said that my mom and I are very similar, but it wasn't until reading that message that I truly knew how much. I'm beginning to realize that she probably understands me better than I understand myself. Everything she does is to protect and support the people she loves. She is so hardworking and strong, and it inspires me to do the same and always work to be a better person.
As I grow up I'm more and more grateful for my parents, and everything they have provided for my siblings and me. I love you so much mom. I hope you and dad have an amazing time in Venice. Happy Birthday.
20 years. Where has the time gone? It has flown by so fast, and today, our last child finishes her last day of high school and goes to prom.
20 years of memories, travels, adventures, happy times and (a few) heartbreaks. Four young adults we've worked to raise.
20 years. Happy anniversary to the great love of my life. Here's to many more adventures together.
The day after I saw this humorous advertisement touting the Breaking Bad ticket for 2016, Jill had an opportunity to scratch an item off her bucket list. With her co-worker Amanda Fitzgerald, she had the chance to meet and have a picture taken with Bryan Cranston at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's annual Hope Awards in Washington, D.C.
As much as we might want a Heisenberg/Pinkman ticket, we'll have to settle for Cranston's portrayal of another president instead. The four-time Emmy winner won a Tony Award for his outstanding portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson in the play "All the Way." The movie premieres later this month on HBO, and it looks like Cranston could walk back onto the award stage again.
First Lady Michelle Obama honored Katherine Pastor of Flagstaff, Ariz., as the 2016 School Counselor of the Year during a ceremony in the East Room at the White House on Thursday. Obama has honored the past two winners of the American School Counselor Association program at a White House ceremony and will host a third event before the administration’s term ends next January.
Pastor, who works at Flagstaff High School, was introduced by one of her former students, Wyatt Whitegoat, a Navajo Indian who lived in a dorm on campus. Whitegoat is now in his senior year at Cornell College in Iowa, earning degrees in kinesiology and psychology.
Also speaking at the event was John King, acting secretary of education. Among the attendees: former Duke and NBA basketball player Shane Battier.
Pastor and the others recognized by their states will conclude several days of events in the nation’s capitol tonight with a banquet at Union Station.
Note: As many of you know, my wife, Jill, has coordinated this program for ASCA since its inception. The program is one of the largest of the year for the organization, and would not be possible — or as successful — without a total team effort from the entire staff. It was nice (and a bit overwhelming), however, to hear the First Lady give my wife a shout out by name in her speech on Thursday.
To see more photos from the event, visit my Facebook album here.
So, given my history of not-so-great Hallmark holidays, Jill and I have intentionally low-keyed this one. Friday we had a lovely meal in Old Town after I picked her up from the airport, and last night we ate takeout Chinese and watched a movie. Today is taxes, grocery store, and gym.
After all of the respiratory "fun," travel, and general craziness surrounding the start of 2016, a low-key Valentine's Day is the best of all. (Taxes, of course, are another story.) The one thing I did to formally mark the occasion was give her Jon Dee Graham's new book, Love Notes from the Bear, which is a great gift for anyone who falls into the significant other category.
Here is one of Graham's drawings that he posted today. And it pretty much sums up how I view this life and the relationship Jill and I have 21 years into it.
Given that we had three kids in a year and somehow survived that. And given that all of them now are age 18 (for the next 16 days at least), I think it's time to give a shout out to Jill, who has unfailingly given all of them her love, support (in times good and bad), and ultimately, their gentle and kind souls...
Through her work with the American School Counselor Association and the First Lady's Reach Higher Initiative, Jill has been spending quite a bit of time at the White House this year. Today, she was there to help launch the "Better Make Room" campaign that seeks to provide educational opportunities for students around the United States. #Bettermakeroom
Very proud of my lovely wife...
Jill is featured in this video with Tim Gunn and others discussing domestic violence and teen dating abuse. The video was put together as part of Liz Claiborne’s “A Time to Talk Day,” which was focused on the company’s “Love Is Not Abuse” curriculum available to schools. For more information, go to www.breakthecycle.org.
Jill's father, Bob McFarland, died yesterday morning in Chapel Hill, N.C. Thanks to everyone who has sent kind thoughts, words, and prayers.
Jill is featured in this anti-bullying piece that was produced by NBC News. The piece aired on a number of NBC-owned stations this week.
First Lady Michelle Obama honored 2015 National School Counselor of the Year Cory Notestine of Alamosa, Colo., as well as the finalists and semifinalists in a first-ever ceremony at the White House’s East Room on Friday. The ceremony was hosted by actress Connie Britton, who received Emmy nominations for her role as a school counselor on “Friday Night Lights.” My lovely wife, Jill, helps to coordinate the eight-year-old SCOY program for her organization, the American School Counselor Association, and allowed me to tag along with my camera.
For more photos from this and other events I've shot, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/events.
Congratulations to Jill, who attended and spoke at a White House convening on ways to strengthen school counseling and college student advising at San Diego State University. Now all she has to do is present the National School Counselor of the Year award and then she comes home!
What happens when the travel gods and Mother Nature conspire to do a pre-holiday test run affecting the nation’s airlines? Think of it as taking a stress test while running uphill on a treadmill powered by six gerbils and a ferret.
Sorry for the visual analogy, but given the adventure my spouse and I have been on over the past 24 hours, I think you’ll understand eventually.
This morning, after flying to Atlanta Monday and returning Tuesday, Jill had to leave again for an eight-day work trip that includes a stop at the California school counselors association conference, a White House convening on the profession, and the eventual presentation of the 2015 National School Counselor of the Year award.
Unlike me, my spouse is extremely organized, and she planned the two trips well in advance down to the last detail. Except, when we got to the airport an hour before her departure, she realized she had forgotten her wallet in the bag she took to Atlanta and had left behind at home.
With an hour before the flight was scheduled to board, I flew back home while Jill nervously waited at the airport. Fortunately no representatives of Virginia's law enforcement community were on the roads at the time, and alternate routes enabled me to get around the work zone cones of shame. I made it home in record time and got the wallet back to her at the airport.
And … her flight was delayed. So much so, it turns out, that Delta had to book her on another flight to San Diego, with stops in Detroit and Los Angeles. It was little disconcerting, but the idea was that she would still get to San Diego in time for the meeting.
In Detroit, weather prevented the flight from taking off. On the runway, the pilots had to turn around because the crew already had worked too long to be considered safe, according to federal regulations. So the plane made a U-turn and, more than seven hours after leaving D.C., Jill was able to get on to a flight in Los Angeles, where she arrived at almost 2 a.m. EST — 15 hours after we left our house.
The good news is that she’s there safe, even though her baggage is MIA. The bad news is that first thing tomorrow, she has to get on another plane so she can finally make it to her destination.
Good luck with that.
Tomorrow, Jill leaves for a White House Convening meeting on school counseling and college admissions, the third in an ongoing series of sessions this year involving First Lady Michelle Obama’s office.
Mrs. Obama’s “Reach Higher” initiative, which promotes student access to our colleges and universities, has placed a terrific — and much needed — focus on our nation’s school counselors. The profession has evolved greatly since Jill and I met in the mid 1990s, and I’m extremely proud of the role she and the American School Counselor Association have had in leading that evolution.
If you’re interested in reading more, check out “Not Your Mother’s School Counselor,” an article I wrote on the evolution earlier this year for ASCD. It was made available this week for non-members, and I glad to see that a piece so near and dear to my heart is getting some extra exposure.
Why that title, you ask? It feels like it's been that long since I've had a moment to write, even though I've been writing steadily for the past two months. It's just not on Facebook or this blog, which I've made a commitment to keeping up to date.
However, keeping that commitment has been difficult amid one of the busiest falls I can remember, which is saying something given our ongoing reality show. So to catch you up, here are a few highlights from just the past month in the whirlwind.
• Jill was gone for nine days during the first three weeks of November, attending meetings in Atlanta and San Diego, a White House convening on school counseling and college admissions at San Diego State University, and then a presentation of the 2015 National School Counselor of the Year Award in Colorado.
• During that time, Jeremiah was in final rehearsals and starting tech for MSA’s production of “The Nutcracker,” understudying the title role and performing as the Mouse King. Performances were this past weekend.
• Emma finished her Lake Braddock dance team obligations just in time to jump into — in her words — a “buttload” of schoolwork that would make anyone drown. She also worked on the annual Frosty Follies with Jeremiah and her boyfriend, James. That premieres this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
• Ben went from the “Newsies” opening in Philadelphia to Cleveland for two weeks and then Louisville. Last night they opened in Pittsburgh and move onto Baltimore next week. After making trips to upstate New York and Connecticut last month, I’m planning to drive Sunday to get him in Pittsburgh (weather permitting).
• Kate has worked her way through her senior year, doing her studies, part-time job five days a week, and frequent babysitting. Meanwhile, she and a friend have started making plans — and are actively looking — to get an apartment next summer.
• Nicholas, in the midst of his senior year, performed in his final fall concert with Vital Signs, among myriad other tasks that come with completing your final months in college. He also joined us in Philadelphia for the opening night, along with Ginno.
Just watching them makes me tired. But in the midst of this, I’ve been reporting, writing and editing on what seems like a 24/7 basis since the middle of September. Freelance is feast or famine, and I've been squirreling away assignments in anticipation of things getting (somewhat) quieter in December and January.
Clients during that period have been three national education associations (AASA, NASSP, and NSBA), the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and the University of South Florida. I’m also starting work on two stories for ASCD, another client, that are due in mid-December. That does not include three photo shoots for clients, plus the dance team and MSA pictures.
Recently I saw a sign that read, “This Christmas I want my family and friends to be happy and healthy,” and immediately lowered my expectations a bit. After this busy fall, I just want to survive the fact that all four of my kids have birthdays in December.
Look who is on the front page of the Comcast Newsmakers website. You can see the interview here: http://comcastnewsmakers.com/2014/09/23/school-counselors-2.