WSCA Executive Director Message: WSCA "At the Table"
By Stacy Eslick, WSCA Executive Director

It is hard to believe that the end of the 2016-17 school year is almost here.  It is always inspiring learning about the work being done by school counselors across Wisconsin.  Most of you are aware of the tremendous member benefits that WSCA provides through conference, summer academy, fall summit, newsletters, WSCA social media, scholarships, professional recognition, WSCPAR, Afternoon on the Hill and graduate student support just to name a few.
I wanted to share how your membership also supports WSCA being “at the table” representing Wisconsin school counselors.  Much of this work is being done behind the scenes, but is tremendously valuable to increase knowledge and create partnerships with other organizations and systems that interface with our profession.

  • Reach Higher Wisconsin- WSCA is the Wisconsin State lead for the Reach Higher Wisconsin team.  Through these efforts over 30 organizations have been brought together to begin action planning what supports school counselors need to increase student access to all forms of post-secondary education. 
    • WSCA is leading the Reach Higher Wisconsin subcommittee on school counselor professional development in the area of Career and College Readiness.  The team is looking at other state models and resources as well as ensuring this maps on the ACP.  State and national partners have been established surrounding this project.
  • WISElearn - WSCA “stamp” – WSCA has been contracted with DPI to support the development of curriculum materials for the new DPI sharing resource, WISElearn.  WSCA will create a rubric and begin identifying exemplar school counseling materials with an official “WSCA” stamp.
  • ASCA Model Implementation – WSCA, in collaboration with ASCA, is creating a three-year training model for ASCA model implementation in Wisconsin.  This plan will include a series of training as well as the development of an endorsement/certificate process.
  • Trauma Informed Care- WSCA has been a partner in providing Trauma Informed Care professional development in three counties.  WSCA is seeking approval to be listed as a TIC provider on the DPI website.  Various levels of training will be offered as well as the opportunity to earn endorsements/certificate of completion.
  • Partnership with Wisconsin School Psychologist Association (WSPA) and Wisconsin School Social Work Association (WSSWA) - WSCA has been working closely with WSPA and WSSWA to advocate against the DPI licensing proposal to grant community clinical providers a school based license with no school based training or experience.
  • Advocacy- WSCA has been working diligently contacting DPI and state legislative representatives on issues related to school counseling.  WSCA is actively working on changing the DPI budget proposal that only allows reimbursement for mental health services by school employed staff to school social workers.  WSCA has met with key DPI leaders such as Mike Thompson, DPI Deputy Superintendent and Jeff Pertl, DPI Senior Policy Analyst to share concerns about proposals that are not in the best interest of school counselors.
  • Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health - Collective Impact Executive Council - WSCA is now a member of the Collective Impact Executive Council, which has a mission to create an integrated system of care so that every child is safe, nurtured and supported to promote optimal health and well-being.
  • QEC Conference – WSCA was selected to present at the summer school administrator conference on the topics of school counselors’ role and trauma informed care.  WSCA will also be able to write articles on these topics that will be published in upcoming school administrator newsletters.
  • DPI Javits Grant -  Addressing disproportionality in gifted education. WSCA is on the statewide leadership cadre looking at ways to address gaps in identification and services in gifted education.
  • ACP Professional Development- DPI will be hosting the last ACP conference this summer.  WSCA has been offering ACP professional development for years.  WSCA will continue our current ACP professional development as well as begin planning for increased PD and support to ACP teams.
  • UW-Whitewater Counselor Workshop- WSCA is a partner with the UW-Whitewater Admissions office hosting a spring high school counselor workshop. 
  • INSPIRE Wisconsin- WSCA has met with several INSPIRE Wisconsin leaders and is working on creating a system and structure for school counselors to be included in regional INSPIRE teams.
  • College Goal Wisconsin- WSCA is now on the College Goal Wisconsin board of directors.  It is exciting to bring a statewide counselor perspective to the amazing work of this group.

Your annual membership and participation in WSCA events help support all of these efforts.  It has been an honor to serve on behalf of WSCA and I am grateful that I have been entrusted with this role.  There is a tremendous team of volunteers and passionate advocates that support our work. It is exciting to think about all the opportunities ahead when looking at the work that has just begun.
Warm regards,

WSCA Assistant Board Chair Message: Program Evaluation
By Angela Goebel, WSCA Assistant Board Chair

It is finally spring, and the end of the school year is fast approaching.  As always, there is still a lot to do and no time to think about that last day of school.  Instead, we continue to advocate and provide support for our students and families with individual, small group, and classroom guidance through the variety of programs we lead in our individual buildings.  Though it is imperative that we support and advocate for our students, we must continue to advocate for our profession as school counselors as well. 
With the end of the school year forthcoming, reviewing and evaluating our program is a part of the timeline.  Our program goals are revisited, our data is analyzed, and the effectiveness of our program is assessed.  In this time, it is important to reflect on what we have done in order to help others understand our role as school counselors.  We need to hold ourselves accountable and demonstrate our effectiveness in the realm of education, not only for ourselves, but also for our stakeholders. 
There are many ways to validate the impact of our program through evidence based practices and data.  A Wisconsin School Counselor Program Accountability Report (WSCPAR) is one avenue to demonstrate our program’s effectiveness.  The intent behind the WSCPAR is to show the positive results our individual program yields for students and how it creates change in our school system.  WSCA provides several opportunities to learn more about WSCPAR.  Please keep your eyes and ears open for those possibilities.  If you decide to put your efforts into a WSCPAR, enjoy indulging in the fruits of your labor. 
For more information about WSCPAR, go to:

Topic of the Month:  Preparing to Review Your Program's Effectiveness (Year-End Program Audit)

Reflect on the Effectiveness of Your Comprehensive School Counseling Program
By Alissa Darin, Board Director-Elect, PK-12 Lead School Counselor, Kettle Moraine School District and Alyssa Pon-Franklin, Publications Co-Coordinator, High School Counselor, Oregon Area School District
The countdown is on. The end of the school year is approaching.  With all of the final tasks to be completed before we send our students off to summer break, it’s difficult to think about adding one more to our plates.  However, this is a great time to reflect upon your program’s effectiveness. Reflection is an important piece of continuous learning for each of us as professionals. It also helps us, and our teams, to trim the excess and make the most of our valuable time and resources.  If you are committed to the ASCA National Model Implementation, then you also know that evaluation of your program is essential to its effectiveness.
When analyzing a program’s successes and growth areas, it’s important to consider evidence and data from multiple sources. By utilizing the three main types of data (process, perception, and outcome), you can develop a clearer picture of your program’s effectiveness. 

  • Process data refers to the whos, whats, and whens - for example, who attended an event, what lessons were taught, or how many sessions were held. It provides the first layer of information about a program: who you reached and what topics you covered.
    • Tip: This is a GREAT PLACE TO GET STARTED! Using a program goals results document, as designed by Trish Hatch, compile all of the program delivery that occurred over the last year.  Then, find the data you currently have that aligns to those program delivery components.  Your goal is to put a quantitative number on “What did the counselors do and for whom? (Hatch, T. The Use of Data in School Counseling”.
  • Perception data goes a little deeper. It refers to evidence of people’s opinions of an event, feelings about a program, or impressions of how an intervention affected them. It also reflects the skills, knowledge or attitudes that a student has as a result of the activity or lesson.  Gathering this data may take the form of a pre/post survey or a needs assessment. 
    • Tip: Compile the parent and student feedback surveys from evening events, classroom curriculum  and individual/group conferencing. Additionally, if you have not compiled this type of data throughout the year, plan ahead for next year by creating pre and post tests for your classroom curriculum as well as other measurement surveys to gauge what your stakeholders are receiving from your program.
    • Tip: Consider creating a perception data survey for the staff in your building about important initiatives such as social-emotional learning or ACPs.  Although this can be scary, it can help assess staff support of your programming and provide feedback for potential professional development that the School Counselors can lead to increase the staff support.
  • Outcome data is less subjective than perception data; it refers to achievement, attendance, and behavior.  It shows the impact that your program has had on students’ overall academic success at school. This data can be the most powerful at times, especially when you are showcasing the “So What?” of your program to your administration, your school board and your community.
    • Tip: Using your student information system (ex. Infinite Campus, Skyward), examine what potential outcome data your program may have impacted.  Did you teach lessons to address a social-emotional competency?  Did it result in less behavioral referrals to the office? Did you run a small group session for study skills which impacted attendance or decreased failure rates in that grade level? 
    • Tip: The National Clearinghouse provides statistics on districts’ graduates, their enrollment and completion of post-secondary programs. This can give you insight into the long-term effectiveness of your program on student achievement. With the ACP initiative becoming a requirement this fall, graduate data can play a vital role in determining how you align your yearly action plan to the ACP outcomes.

Lastly, one more great “to do” for the end of the year program evaluation is a “Use of Time Assessment” (ASCA template).  Completing the “Use of Time Assessment” for several days or a week can help your team understand whether direct services, indirect services, program management or other school tasks is occupying the day.  With that information, your team can plan next year accordingly in order to meet the needs of your students and families. 
The process of collecting and examining your program’s data may have a learning curve...but don’t get discouraged.   The toughest step is to BEGIN.  Once you get started, reaping the benefits of data discussion and planning on your team, you will want to make this process a “must-have” in your annual end of the year activities!

The following articles previously appeared in the July 2015 issue of WSCAlink.

Educator Effectiveness & School Counseling

By Lisa Koenecke, Professional Relations Chair
WSCA has put together an ad hoc committee of board members to work with Gregg Curtis from DPI on creating an evaluation tool specifically for school counselors.  WSCA is excited to give back to the membership a tool we feel your supervisor/administrator can actually evaluate our unique role.
As you know, DPI did not push for our positions to be evaluated this year.  Only principals and teachers had to use the Educator Effectiveness (EE) tools.  In Stoughton, our administrators did want the school counselors to go through the process.  We used Teachscape.  Other WSCA board members on the ad hoc committee used the CESA 6 model for evaluation.  In developing the WSCA evaluation tools, we tried to incorporate both versions, a hybrid, if you will.
Many meetings and collaborations with a variety of school districts in Wisconsin and other states have produced a template.  One big change that you will see is that we refer to SLO (Student Learning Outcomes) as SCO (School Counseling Outcome).  In the School Counseling Outcome Template, where you can record your Professional Practice Goal (PPG), information will guide you through your data collections.  Please also note that ASCA's new Mindsets and Behaviors have changed our domain of Personal/Social to Social Emotional so you will see that terminology included along with career and academic goals.
As you complete the School Counselor Evaluation Plan Rubric, we tried to show you examples of how that specific rubric score could also be used to complete part of WSCA's WSCPAR (Wisconsin School Counselor Program Accountability Report)...kind of a two for one special!  The rubric includes the following:
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Assessment
  • Program Planning and Management
  • Program Delivery
  • Professionalism
Some of the elements are optional as we understand not every school district uses their school counselors the same.  For some elementary school counselors, it might be quite difficult to collect career data.  Together, there are 19 Core Competencies/Themes.  The critical elements will be scored as Emerging, Basic, Distinguished and Exemplary. 
There will also be a workflow guide, similar to that of a teacher.  In Wisconsin, school counselors belong to a group called WAPSO (Wisconsin Association of Pupil Services).  This process has been in discussion for over three years trying to determine how to evaluate school counselors, school psychologists, school nurses and school social workers (WAPSO).   Your WSCA president has been attending these meetings with our DPI School Counseling Consultant for years.  Our proposed Wisconsin Pupil Services Evaluation includes the following workflow:
  • School Counselor Self-Review
  • School Counselor Evaluation Plan: Here is where the SCO, artifacts, evidence and your PPG will be
  • School Counselor Practices will include announced and mini observations keeping student confidentiality at the forefront
  • End of Cycle Summary
So, as you can see, if you've read this entire article, a lot of work has gone into creating a School Counseling Evaluation for Wisconsin.  As we continue to work with DPI and the Educator Effectiveness department, our goal is to have this tool available later this summer.  We will also be providing more information to our membership as the 2015-16 school year begins and at other WSCA professional development events.
Thank you all for your continued dedication to improving our profession.  Our goal is to truly show our relevance in the academic, career and social/emotional development of every Wisconsin student.
Embracing the "Spirit" of Educator Effectiveness
By Olin Morrison, Director
Congratulations! You made it through another school year. Now it’s time for the offseason. You have, no doubt, already assessed your on-the-job performance based on the required competencies needed to to fulfill your building’s needs (yes, that is just a fancy way of saying you thought about how things went). Over the summer you will brainstorm how to improve your performance and that of your school counseling program. Come August, you will likely have plans for what to focus on professionally and programatically. This is the basic process behind educator effectiveness: reflect, brainstorm, plan. The Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness (EE) System is a performance-based evaluation system designed to improve the education of all students in the state of Wisconsin by supporting guided, individualized, self-determined professional growth and development of educators.
So here are some of the questions that I asked myself while working on the Wisconsin School Association Educator Effectiveness Committee.
  • How would job satisfaction change if school counselors were evaluated based on what they should be doing?
  • How does a school counselor’s day-to-day change if he/she is evaluated based on comprehensive school counseling program outcomes?
  • How does the relationship with administration change with increased communication about the school counseling program?
  • How will it look when school counselors direct their own professional growth?
  • How do students’ lives change as school counseling programs develop an increased focus on student outcomes? 
If you are like me, the answers to these questions bring a mixture of excitement and trepidation. I am anxious because of one word: more. As we all know, there is only so much you can add to the plate. My excitement, however, is two fold. First, highly effective school counselors are already actively engaged in the process of reflecting on and adapting their school counseling programs. This means that EE is not an addition, but an adaptation. Second, the impact of school counseling programs on students across Wisconsin is greatly improved when school counselors and their administrators communicate and collaborate on school counseling program outcomes.
I know for some the words “Educator Effectiveness” bring about an immediate negative and visceral reaction. My hope is that you will join me in embracing what I have come to find as the “spirit” of Educator Effectiveness: better outcomes for Wisconsin kids. 

Coordinator 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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Coordinator Spotlight

Steve Schneider, WSCA Conference Co-Coordinator
I'm completing my 20th year as a school counselor.  The last 13 years have been at Sheboygan South High School.  In recent years, I've enjoyed being part of DPI's Academic Career Plan (ACP) Task Force.  Sheboygan South High School is a great place to work, as we have embraced the ACP process and have made progress in making it a school-wide effort "by all, for all."
I also enjoy being one of WSCA's Conference Coordinators.  Helping plan this professional development opportunity for school counselors across the state is a labor of love and one way for me to give back to the profession.  Tracking what is trending in education and how those trends impact school counselors is energizing and keeps me fresh, even after 19 years!


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!

Publications Update

We are currently seeking topic ideas for WSCAlink! Send suggestions

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!

June 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 is continually changing to help the school counseling profession in Wisconsin.  This year is no different as we look forward to transitioning from the WCSCM to the ASCA Model. Look for changes in the upcoming months!
In a recent counseling department meeting, one school counselor (the guy writing this) really felt like the AFLAC duck. Stick with me on this one! You know that AFLAC duck.  The duck that answers questions about insurance and who gets paid when you’re off the job. AFLAC. Who covers benefits when your major medical coverage doesn’t? AFLAC.  As we were sitting in the department meeting all I could think about was the AFLAC duck and how it could be swapped into the WSCPAR. How can we show our school board the excellent work of our school counselors? WSCPAR.  What’s the best way to show our school climate and safety? WSCPAR. How do we know that our students are academically, social/emotionally, and career ready? WSCPAR.  What’s an easy way to show the results of our school counseling program? WSCPAR.
As we near the end of the 2016-2017 school year, please consider doing your school counseling program a favor and complete and submit a WSCPAR.  Application deadline remains October 15, 2017 so there’s plenty of time.

Conference Update

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 that you would love to share with other school counseling professionals?  If you answered yes to either one of those questions, please 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.  The deadline for sectional proposals is November 10, 2017.
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


May 2017