WSCA Board Chair Message: Strength-Based Leadership
By Olin Morrison, WSCA Board Chair

Over the course of the WSCA Board’s exploration of leadership, one thing has become abundantly clear: school counselors must be leaders.  There is no way around it.  The current state of school counseling is such that the challenges facing our profession are surpassed only by the opportunities.  School counselors must answer the call.
Let’s be honest though, it’s not always that easy.  There are roadblocks in the way of school counselors being effective leaders in their schools, districts, communities and at the state level. But if we take that honesty a step further, we should recognize that we are usually our own biggest barrier.  Differing interests and skill sets among Wisconsin school counselors has created inconsistent leadership in the field. 
If we are going to seize the opportunities in front of us, we must reject the notion that leadership can be defined using narrow terms.  Instead of seeking consistency in approach, we must realize consistency in an outcome. 
Here are three strength-based approaches to leading our profession that may not fit the “traditional” view of leadership:

  • The Data Diver.  Let the results speak for themselves, and I do mean results.  Most decision makers speak a data language. Perception data is nice, but results data is where the rubber really meets the road.  See examples of how to take your work with data to the next level by visiting the WSCPAR tab on the WSCA website.
  • The Connector.  Build a network of advocates through personal and professional connections.  If you aren’t comfortable leading large groups or initiatives, consider the profound impact of personal connections.  Push yourself further and form connections to your program by getting going with a program advisory council.
  • Community Champion.  Join the board of a local community serving nonprofit initiatives.  Working with other programs in the community not only builds connections, but it also opens the door for collaboration.

Remember, leadership is not narrowly defined.  If you are looking for how you can be a stronger leader for your profession, start with this question: what are the aspects of my job where I excel?  Then follow your own lead.

DPI Corner: "Warning! Progress Ahead: Transitioning from the WCSCM to the ASCA National Model (3rd ed.)"
By Gregg Curtis, PhD; DPI School Counseling Consultant

All good things must come to an end; and so it is with our professional use of the Wisconsin Comprehensive School Counseling Model (WCSCM). Created by a dedicated group led by my predecessor, Gary Spear, and published in 2007, the WCSCM provided the mechanism for moving away from the Wisconsin Developmental Guidance Model (WDGM) to a service delivery model that was both preventative and reactive. Aligned with the American School Counselor Association’s National Model (2nd ed.), the WCSCM gave counselors a roadmap of how to deliver services to all students using methods to support academic, personal/social, and career development; framed by the overarching themes of leadership, collaboration, advocacy, and systemic change. This was a tremendous development for school counseling professionals in Wisconsin.
Further, the WCSCM Student Standards gave counselors broad-stroke standards, core performance standards, and student-level benchmarks at grades 4, 8, and 12 upon which to base their comprehensive programs. The standards targeted student knowledge and skills in the three domains of development, and counselors designed individual, small group, and classroom activities to assist all students as they developed across their K-12 education.
But…time marches on. Society has changed. Technology has changed. Education has changed. And kids have changed. In many ways we know more, about more, in more ways than ever before. As 2013 gave way to 2015, 2016, and beyond, it became clear than our state model and student standards were losing their rigor. Throughout my travels crisscrossing the state interacting with school counselors during that time, I collected data on what the field felt was the best way to update our practice: update the WCSCM or adopt the newly-revised (2013) ASCA National Model. The results were very clear. Wisconsin counselors wanted to adopt the national model as our state’s vehicle for delivering comprehensive school counseling programs for all students.
In addition, the 2014 “ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors: K-12 College- and Career-Readiness Standards for Every Student” presented an updated version of standards upon which to ground counseling services. They represented ways “successful” kids think and do to achieve positive school outcomes; regardless of whether looking at academic, personal/social, or career development. When asked, counselors around the state preferred these new, more comprehensive standards to our domain-specific grade-bound standards.
So, now, the time has come. We are about to embark on a statewide journey to thank “the blue book” for its service and retire it. WSCA and DPI are partnering with ASCA to provide professional development for practicing counselors that honors the previous learning done through the Level 1, 2, 2a, and 3 trainings. Tools will be developed and resources suggested to help counselors on their journeys to update their practice. As partners in this work, DPI, WSCA, and ASCA will do everything we can to make this transition meaningful, yet painless. For now, you can get a head start on your own professional transition by using the resources and tools linked below:
  1. ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs (3rd ed.)
  2. ASCA national Model Implementation Guide: Foundation, Management, and Accountability
  3. Making Data Work (3rd ed.)
  4. WCSCM Standards Cross-walked with the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors

Topic of the Month:  Taking it to the Hill: Standing Up for the Profession

Taking it to the Hill!
By Andrea Donegan, Government Relations Co-Coordinator
A record high fifty-four school counselors, graduate students, and counselor educators participated in WSCA’s annual Afternoon on the Hill, meeting with legislators in the senate and assembly.  This year was especially critical, given legislative actions being considered.  Participants advocated for school counselors, the profession, and most importantly, for students around the following topics:

  • Comprehensive School Counseling - meeting the needs of ALL students 
  • Mental Health in Schools
    • the role of school counselors
    • DPI’s 2017-19 biennial budget request to Governor Walker which includes a new $3 million categorical aid program to fund the hiring of school social workers to expand mental health support for students, while excluding school counselors and school psychologists from the funding. While additional funding to support student mental health will benefit students, funding needs to be expanded to include the hiring of school counselors to deliver these services. Including school counselors will broaden the pool of applicants and result in the most qualified professional being hired to deliver these mental health services.   
  • Academic and Career Plans/College and Career Readiness - the significant role school counselors play in the development and implementation of ACP’s. 
  • Local issues impacting districts and schools 

Following the event, participants debriefed at a local establishment and networked about continued advocacy and support of the profession.  It was a wonderful way to cap off an amazing Afternoon on the Hill!

Thank you to all of the participants who made the commitment to Afternoon on the Hill.  Your voice has already made a difference and WSCA appreciates your advocacy!  As a result of the conversations during Afternoon on the Hill and some intensive behind-the-scenes work by the Gov’t. Relations Committee and WSCA’s executive director, several action steps have been taken to create amended language in the mental health in schools portion of the biennial budget request that will be proposed to legislators.
Please consider getting involved in advocacy at some level to support school counseling and the students we serve!  Please contact me if you would like additional information about advocacy opportunities.
Andrea Donegan
Government Relations Co-Coordinator

Director Spotlight

Katie Nechodom, Professional Recognition and Scholarship Coordinator
Katie Nechodom joined our WSCA coordinator team as the Graduate Student Co-Coordinator last year and decided she couldn't get enough of WSCA! She is now our Professional Recognition and Scholarship Coordinator. She is a first year school counselor at New London Middle School.
Katie didn't always want to be a school counselor. In fact, she wanted to be a veterinarian up until her first college chemistry exam when she realized that maybe vet school wasn't the best fit for her. She had many great mentors that guided her to becoming a middle school counselor. From her undergraduate internship supervisor, Betsy Klinger to her graduate student adviser, Kelli Saginak and her  middle school site internship supervisor, Tracy Schmidt they allowed her opportunities to learn, grow, and pursue her goals. She truly believes in the power of having great mentors and supervisors as a counselor in training because they have the power to shape future school counselors.
As a school counselor, Katie enjoys having the opportunity to think outside the box in her district and is able to bring her therapy dog in-training, Ruger, to school. The students learn through Ruger's resilience and they enjoy having a furry friend with a great listening ear. Katie has a passion for working with students and helping them see their highest potential.
Katie's main reason for joining the WSCA coordinator team was to get connected and be a change agent as a graduate student. She wanted to be able to have a voice and advocate for the profession. Now, as the Professional Recognition and Scholarship Coordinator, she is amazed to read all the incredible things school counselors and educators are doing in the state to advocate for their students. 

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Staff Spotlight

Rebecca Schneider, Public Relations Co-Coordinator
Rebecca Schneider is our newest member to join the WSCA board and serves as our Public Relations Co-Coordinator.  She has been a school counselor with DeForest Area High School for seven years.  Before that, she was an ATODA Counselor, Mental Health and Crisis Counselor in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. 
School counseling seemed like a natural fit for Rebecca.  She grew up the youngest of four sisters and was the one that observed behaviors from a young age.  Her parents exposed her to many diverse cultural events;  from a young age became empathetic and open to the world around her.  From early on, this wealth of experiences allowed for her creativity and empathy to grow and mature.  As a high school student, Rebecca's school counselor told her that she should not go to college because she wasn't one of the Top Ten students in her class.  She remembers thinking about the thousands of students that were affected by that school counselor.  What if all those students listened to that pessimistic, old-school thought?   Rebecca wanted better for herself.  With that comment from her counselor tucked away, Rebecca worked to achieve her goals.  Now, she wants better for her students than she received in high school.  Rebecca brings empathy and open-mindedness and strives for a positive relationship with her students and parents through good communication and a positive outlook. She is passionate about working with students and enjoys helping them plan for their future.
Rebecca's main reason for wanting to be part of the WSCA Board was to expand her connection with positive people in the world of school counselors. She loves working with the WSCA members and feels a healthy and positive connection about her work and the future of school counseling.  Our jobs can be emotionally draining and it's wonderful to have people to connect with that "get it", appreciate it and work through it.  


Committee Updates & Upcoming Events

Professional Development 

2017 WSCA Summer Leadership Academy Registration is now LIVE!
Two full-day workshops are being offered on Tuesday, July 25th, 2017 at UW-Stevens Point

Topics:  ASCA National Model Implementation and Academic and Career Planning (ACP's).
Location:  UW-Stevens Point
Time:  9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Price:  Early Bird Special until May 31st - WSCA Member: $55, WSCA Non-member: $65

Don't miss out on this professional development! Please check out this page for more information and to register for this event!

Professional Recognition and Scholarship Update

This year, WSCA received over 30 professional recognition nominations, over 260 high school scholarship applications, and 17 graduate student scholarships! The Professional Recognition and Scholarship committee are excited to announce the award recipients.

Career Cruising/Method Test Prep High School Scholarship Winners
Charlie Fischer - Kimberly High School
School Counselor - Tracie Halfmann
Elizabeth Henriksen - Nekoosa High School
School Counselor - Rachel Seevers
Sydney Karch - Amherst High School
School Counselor - Shelley Swanson
Kaleigh Wink - Somerset High School
School Counselor - Katie Francis
Mike Troy Graduate Student Scholarship
Cynthia Estrup - UW Oshkosh
Brian Linscott - Mount Mary University
School Counselor of the Year
Karen Grieve - Elementary and Middle School Counselor
Bayfield School District, Bayfield, WI (Top Winner - Will be going on to ASCA SCOY)
Jennifer Holle - Elementary School Counselor
Cooper School, Burlington, WI
Amy Medema - High School Counselor
Randolph High School, Randolph, WI
Sarah Kronberger - Middle School Counselor
Chequamegon School District, Park Falls, WI
Mary Gehrke-McAllister Award
Denise Broulliard - UW Stout, Menomonie, WI
Supervisor of the Year
Nicholas Kohn - Franklin Public Schools,  Franklin, WI
Secretary/Support Staff
Joyce Price - Franklin High School, Franklin, WI
Friend of School Counseling
Mike Hanson - Retired School Counselor, Madison, WI
Counseling Team
Marci Kuhn & Sara Greenwood - Mishicot Middle & High School, Mishicot, WI
Research Award
Jennifer Betters-Bubon - UW Whitewater, Whitewater, WI
Jerome Henning Legislator Award - Press Release link
Senator Kathleen Vinehout, Madison, WI

Questions, please contact Katie Nechodom, Professional Recognition and Scholarship Coordinator, at

Publications Update

50% of survey respondents said that they would like “WSCA to recognize the work that you and your school do to support school counselors” by having an article about it in WSCAlink.  If you’re unsure of your writing skills, please don’t let that stop the members from hearing of your school counseling program!  Contact and we will work with you to get the necessary information and help write the story of support for school counseling.  You are a better writer than you think!  If not, we have an amazing committee that can craft your words into a powerful report of the work being done in your building/district. Share your energy, ideas and successes please.  Be brave, be published!

May WSCAlink: Preparing to Review Your Program’s Effectiveness (Year-End Program Audit)
Deadline is April 10

WSCAlink: AODA Programs of Promise
Deadline is May 10

WSCAlink: ACP Effective Practices
Deadline is June 10
In the meantime, send questions/articles to and the Editorial Board will let you know when it will be used.


Graduate Student Update

The list of benefits for graduate students who are WSCA members is long and diverse. Through WSCA, graduate students have opportunities to network with professionals currently in the field, build connections with peers entering the school counseling profession, receive information and education through WSCA publications, attend our exceptional annual conference, and be a part of their future profession at the state level. Leadership, advocacy, and professional development opportunities abound. If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved in WSCA or your specific university’s school counseling program, please email Holly Kortemeier or Amy Sylvester-Knudtson. Join WSCA today!


The Wisconsin School Counseling Program Accountability Report (WSCPAR) Committee would like to help school counselors begin the process of starting a WSCPAR! Shannon Schindel, School Counselor from the Appleton School District, WSCPAR committee member and presenter, submitted the following steps to help guide your application process.
Step by Step Tips for WSCPAR Beginners:
1. Go to WSCA website (
2. Click the "WSCPAR" tab at the top of page
3. Print out WSCPAR Rationale-Requirements-Guidelines - walk through this document step by step
4. Complete the document/header first (check off each bullet point to make sure you have all required parts)
5. Communicate with your principal on the programs/efforts you are doing/putting in place throughout the year - but save the “Principal’s Comments” section for last
6. Brainstorm programs, groups, lessons, etc. you have implemented & delivered (or plan to deliver) to meet students’ needs during the school year.  Write these examples down.
  • Small Groups and/or SAIG
  • Peer Helper Program
  • Peer Mediation
  • Mentoring Program
  • CICO
  • Specific lesson/curriculum delivered to students
7. Brainstorm methods of data collection you can develop and deliver, as well as data collected and accessible to you in your school.  Write these examples down.

Perception Data (attitude, skills, and knowledge gained/learned from our students from a lesson, unit, group, or activity we implemented)
  • School-wide climate survey (given in Fall and in Spring)
  • School Climate survey resource - WINSS (great site to use if you don't already have a climate survey you use)
Pre-Post Test/Surveys (small groups, delivering lessons, etc.)

Results Data (students’ ability to use attitudes, skills, and knowledge gained to change their behavior - PROOF OF BEHAVIOR CHANGE)
  • Office Discipline Referrals (ODRs)
  • Suspensions
  • Attendance Reports
  • CICO progress
  • Homework completion rates
  • Standardized tests
School climate section (2 examples) and student results section (academic, social/emotional, career - 3 total examples, 1 for each domain)
Example Outline:
  • School Climate & Safety: Started up a Peer Helper Program
    • Data: School Climate survey (compare results from Fall to Spring)
    • Data: ODRs (decrease at the primary level grades)
  • School Climate & Safety: Social Skills/Self-Regulation Group (targeted group of students)
    • Data: ODRs (the desired outcome is a decrease in these specific student’s ODRs)
  • Academic Domain: Organization and Study Skills Group (targeted group of students)
    • Data: Homework completion
  • Social/Emotional Domain: Self-Regulation Curriculum delivered to a targeted grade level
    • Data: Pre/post-test/surveys (desired outcome - increase in student knowledge & skills)
    • Data: ODRs (desired outcome - decrease in ODRs in this grade level - knowledge & skills transferred into behavior change)
  • Career Domain: Career Event at the Technical College for 5th and 6th grade students
    • Data: Pre/post-test/survey
9.  Create the data collection pieces needed (if they do not already exist - ex: pre/post-test/survey)
10. Begin collecting data that is available to you to make your life easier (to prevent from having to collect it all at the very end)
  • The relationship between the data presented and the school counseling program should be clearly stated (ex: if there was a decrease in ODRs how did the school counseling program efforts help to create this behavior change?)
  • A great way to start this process is to pinpoint the academic and behavioral concerns present in your school and create a list of interventions or things that the school counseling program could implement to help create a positive change in behaviors.
We hope this helps!  As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.  Give the WSCPAR a try and we hope to see you on stage in 2018.

Conference Update

The 52nd Annual Wisconsin School Counselor Association conference in Madison this past February proved to be a great experience for many attendees. The conference committee takes your feedback very seriously and strives to make each conference a better experience than the last! Here’s some of the positive feedback that was shared from this year’s conference survey:
"This was my first WSCA conference--a great conference!"
"I absolutely LOVE that all the handouts are available online. During every sectional, there was at least one other one I wished I could go to. Being able to print the handouts from the sectionals I didn't attend is a way for me to at least get some of the information."
"I haven't been to the conference in a few years and this was just what I needed to get refreshed and excited!"
"The conference for me this year was truly awesome!! Looking forward to next year!"
"Great sectional topics this year!!"
"This was the best conference I ever attended! Learned SOOO much new info, shuttle was great, wifi worked well!"
"I really enjoyed all the sectionals that I attended. There were many good options to choose from, which made it difficult to make a choice on one." 

Don’t miss out on next year’s amazing professional development opportunity! Be sure to SAVE THE DATE for the 2018 WSCA Conference:
WSCA 53rd Annual State Conference
School Counselors: Agents of Change
Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center 
Madison, Wisconsin
Did you hear from a conference presenter this year that sparked your interest on a certain topic? Do you have an idea you would love to share with other school counseling professionals? Then consider presenting your information and ideas at next year’s conference. There are two ways to be involved in speaking at the WSCA conference:
  • The call for 2018 Preconference Workshop Speakers has begun. We invite you to share your expertise with other counselors! Tell them about the unique programs developed in your school district. The purpose of the conference is to provide new challenges for professional and personal growth. The Preconference Program Proposal forms can be downloaded here and must be submitted by the June 1, 2017 deadline.
  • The Search for 2018 Sectional Presenters is on! The heart of all WSCA Conferences will always be the sharing of material from school counselors in the trenches. Share your latest and greatest practices and ideas at the 2018 WSCA Conference by doing a one-hour sectional. Sectional Proposal Forms are available here.
Please note the following: Criteria used for review and selection of program proposals will be based on the interest in topic, and clarity of the proposal.  Diverse and innovative programs are encouraged.  Programs will be chosen that meet the needs of all levels of school counselors and other professionals and individuals interested in counseling. Presentations encouraging purchase of books, materials or services will be not be accepted.
We are excited to announce the 2018 WSCA Conference Keynote Speakers:
Michele Borba, Internationally Renowned Educator, Best-selling Author and Parenting, Child Development, and Bullying Expert
BRUNCH KEYNOTE SPEAKER (February 22, 2018)
Rosalind Wiseman, Educator, Parent Expert & Social Activist
Looking forward to another fabulous conference
full of ideas on how
School Counselors can be


April 2017