December 2016

Olin Morrison

Board Chair Message: “How We Respond Makes a Big Difference”

By Olin Morrison, WSCA Board Chair

Though I have not been around for too many presidential votes, I can honestly say I have never witnessed a political campaign so fraught with mudslinging and so devoid of character.  The blatant and unashamed ugliness in such a public forum has left me relatively speechless, and the result of the election left me with even fewer words to respond.  So to find solace, I had to look at how different leaders have responded.  I read a lot of responses, from all around the world, here are three that stood out to me:

President Obama said, “We are all now rooting for his success,” as he shared how he has instructed his staff to treat the transition with the same grace that President Bush’s staff did when he was elected.

Hillary Clinton said, “We spent a year and a half bringing together millionsof people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American dream is big enough for everyone.”  These remarks came as she talked about our responsibility to continue to live these beliefs every day and not just “every four years.”

Pope Francis tweeted, “May we make God’s merciful love ever more evident in our world through dialogue, mutual acceptance and fraternal cooperation.”

President Obama’s grace, Hillary Clinton’s determination, and Pope Francis’s love have shaped my response. Thanks to them, I feel more determined than ever to live my personal mission to foster a climate of character and a culture of acceptance, so that all students have an opportunity to learn and grow in an environment that supports their individual excellence socially, academically, and emotionally.  However you choose to respond, remember, our children are watching and how you respond makes a big difference.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorites, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:21

Now is the time for advocates and upstanders.  Now, more than ever, is the time for school counselors.

Gregg Curtis

DPI Corner:  Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon

By Gregg Curtis, PhD, DPI School Counseling Consultant

In the coming months there will be several developments that could affect your work: Academic and Career Planning (ACP), Pupil Services Evaluation, and the move from the Wisconsin Comprehensive School Counseling Model to the ASCA National Model (3rd ed.). Each of these developments strive to bring relevance, accurate accountability, and a comprehensive approach to your work.

The ACP Leadership Conference takes place December 3rd and 4th at the Monona Terrace in Madison. While last year’s conference focus was primarily messaging the “what” and “why” of ACP, this year’s conference will present abundant opportunities to explore “how” a district/school could effectively implement the many aspects of ACP.  Most sectionals are being presented by districts/schools doing this work; including a session of district administrators discussing leadership, a session that integrates ACP with personalized learning, creating an ACP culture, and building student/staff engagement. The entire DPI ACP Team hopes to see you in December. (More info found here:

The school counselor evaluation workflow and documentation process have been updated, and they are going to be available for use in three formats: Microsoft Excel, Google forms, and the My Learning Plan platform (MLP). (Note: since the demise of Teachscape, both the DPI evaluations and the CESA 6 Model evaluations are housed on MLP.) The current version of the evaluation is available now in Microsoft Word fillable form format here:; and it will soon be replaced by links to the Excel and Google formats.

In the DPI evaluation, one of the key differences between the pupil services evaluations and teacher/administrator educator effectiveness is in the outcome goal statements. Teachers and administrators use Student/School Learning Objectives (SLOs) as their targets, while pupil services professionals use Student or Program Outcomes (SPOs). SPOs are rigorous, achievable goals developed collaboratively by pupil services professionals and their evaluators. These goals are based on identified student or program needs across a specified period of time (typically an academic year). Pupil services professionals will develop one SPO annually, for a minimum of one to three SPOs available as evidence toward their final SPO score in their Summary Year, depending on how many years are in their Evaluation Cycle. For school counselors, SPOs may target academic, social/emotional, behavioral, or career development progress.

Finally, DPI and WSCA are collaborating to “retire” the Wisconsin Comprehensive School Counseling Model (2007) and adopt the ASCA National Model (3rd ed.) as the key service delivery model. We are aware that this transition may impact your work; especially as you align your counseling curriculum and prevention programming with the current WCSCM Model Standards. Rest assured that DPI and WSCA will continually collaborate to design resources (i.e. a crosswalk of the WCSCM Standards with the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors, messaging materials, and trainings) that will build on, not supplant, the investment you and your districts have made in the implementation of the WCSCM.

It is an exciting time to be a professional school counselor. Stakeholders and policymakers have taken a keen interest in the work we do. You, as a professional educator, should be ready, willing, and able to answer the call for leadership in ACP implementation, advocacy for a valid evaluation, and transition to a current delivery model. WSCA as an organization of and for school counselors, as well as I in my role as your consultant, will continue to lend a counselor voice at the state level and provide assistance in your daily work.

Enjoy the holiday season. Make sure to practice some self-care during your time away from school, and keep your eyes on the horizon for more developments.

Tammy Holtan Arnol

Using Social Media for Professional Development

By Tammy Holtan Arnol, WSCA Director

As a digital immigrant, I was not an early user of social media. I’m still no expert, but, professional development is what has driven me to take the leap. I love the instant access to great resources and articles on Facebook, and Twitter has exposed me to innovative educators from all over the globe. Pinterest has inspired bulletin boards, projects and lessons in my practice, and I have dabbled in some of the other social media, as well. Here, I’ll share some of my favorites from Twitter and Facebook.


Twitter drew me in before any other social media. I like the short format and the simultaneous connectivity and anonymity. And, I find Twitter chats to be a reliable source of professional development. In a Twitter chat a group of people come together on Twitter for a period of time, typically an hour, to follow a hashtag (#) and answer questions posed by a moderator. For example, WSCA (#WSCAchat) and ASCA (#ASCAchat) do Twitter chats from time to time. One way to find hashtags that you may be interested in is to search the hashtags of your followers and people who follow you. For example, I see that WSCA executive director, Stacy Eslick, recently shared tweets with #sschat, #wscachat, #ReachHigher, #AUconnectsdots, #NACAC16, #answeringthecall, and more!

Dave Burgess is a teacher who wrote the book, Teach Like a Pirate, and started a #TLAP movement. I love participating in his Twitter chats because the educators who are part of his movement are so enthusiastic. Paul Solarz, a #TLAP follower, was inspired to write Learn Like a Pirate and started a #LLAP Twitter chat. Thanks to Twitter, I’ve read both of their books, and others in the series, and shared them with educators in my district.

Twitter is also fun and useful during professional conferences. I have followed hashtags at both WSCA and ASCA conferences, and it has helped me know where to go and what to do. I’ve also connected to sectionals that I couldn’t attend, and, it’s been fun to share and see happy photos of school counselors having a great time!


Facebook is a great way to receive information and to seek help from other school counselors. WSCA has a dynamic and helpful Facebook page where you can find all of the details of WSCA events, as well as posts from counselors sharing their great work. Please consider making a post today!

I am so impressed with the responsiveness of members of the Caught in the Middle School Counselors and the Elementary School Counselor exchange. Routinely, you’ll see someone make a post asking for help with a lesson plan or a resource, and dozens of people will rise to the call with specific suggestions and links. It’s inspiring to see the level of support that exists in our profession! The High School Counselor Network and School Counselor Exchange are similar networks.

As a trainer of the Nurtured Heart Approach®, I follow the NHA public page. There, NHA users share their successes and struggles and NHA trainers give support and suggestions to help parents and teachers grow their NHA practices.

Other Platforms

Blogs, YouTube, Google+ and SCOPE (School Counselor Online Professional Exchange) are other social media platforms that are used for professional development. They haven’t yet worked their way into my limited digital time, but perhaps you have recommendations as to how to use them and others. I encourage you to share your favorites on the WSCA website.

YOU and Social Media

I am most likely to share information on the Nurtured Heart Approach on Facebook and Twitter because it’s a topic where I feel like I can be useful. I hope that you’ll take inventory on your school counselor practice and consider sharing your greatness on social media. Your lesson, program, resource, parent night, experience, bulletin board etc. could be of great help to other school counselors. You signed up to be a school counselor, which let’s us know that you like to be helpful. You are doing that in person, and through social media, you can help hundreds or thousands of other school counselors by sharing your practice. Looking forward to following you and your hashtag soon!

Nate Rice

Coordinator Spotlight

Nate Rice, Governmental Relations Co-Coordinator

I have worked as a high school counselor for over 21 years (ouch!) beginning with a practicum at Philadelphia Regional Alternative High School and a post-master’s internship at William Penn High School in Philadelphia. Since then, I have worked for Community Services West Upward Bound and Harper High School in Chicago, West Perry High School in Elliottsburg, PA, and the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District. I spent thirteen years at Nathan Hale HS before transitioning to West Allis Central HS in the summer of 2014.

I became involved with WSCA after attending the annual conference the first winter I spent in Wisconsin in 2002. Colleague and school counselor extraordinaire, Barb Reisner, convinced me to attend the conference to accept a WSCA scholarship on behalf of a student who wrote an essay about how my predecessor, school counselor Herb Seils, helped her transform her life. Driving to Steven’s Point through a bitter winter storm one evening after work and pulling into the parking lot with about a foot of snow on the ground, I recall the welcoming, warm oasis of the Holidome, amazed at how many passionate school counselors turned out to learn, network, and celebrate our profession. Truly inspiring!

When my term as Government Relations co-coordinator ends this spring I look forward to continuing to serve on the committee, participating in Afternoon on the Hill, and working to “purge the G-word” from our profession.

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Committee Updates & Upcoming Events

Government Relations Update

Afternoon on the Hill


Free Pre-conference Sectional: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 1:30 – 4:00 pm

Come join us for “Afternoon on the Hill.” Last year, nearly 30 colleagues and graduate students took advantage of being in Madison for the annual WSCA conference and visited their legislators to raise Now is your chance to connect with policy makers and advocate for the profession.  It all starts at Monona Terrace where we will discuss the concerns, triumphs and issues affecting our profession.  This is a great opportunity to learn about the hot topics affecting school counseling in Wisconsin. Together, we will plan and then practice how to effectively address topics important to you with legislators. From there, it’s off to the Capitol!  School counselors experienced with legislative visits will be available to partner up and support you during your visit. Once there, you will meet with your legislators to educate, collaborate and communicate with them about school counseling in Wisconsin.  Appointments will be scheduled for you.  WSCA needs you to continue the momentum from last year and build legislative partnerships in Madison.  Please join us in this rewarding, exciting and fulfilling “free” pre-conference.  Register using the WSCA Conference registration materials.

Please note: If you are attending the morning ACP pre-conference at WSCA, please consider joining us for “Afternoon on the Hill.” It will be incredibly powerful to share with the legislators the ways you are providing leadership in the ACP process which was enacted under the Education for Employment Administrative Ruling. Legislators need to hear how school counselors are integrally involved in delivering the ACP to all students.“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  ~Margaret Mead

Social Media Update

We now have a WSCA Conference app!  I am so excited to be the first to let you know about the free WSCA conference app that will be available for download in January.  The app will feature the conference agenda, allow you to schedule the sectionals you wish to attend, have a spot for you to take notes, help you to navigate the conference center with a map of rooms and exhibitors, give you the ability to watch our WSCA Twitter feed,  and provide you with announcements throughout the conference.  This is an exciting technology initiative that we hope you all take advantage of. Watch WSCA on social media for more information in the coming months.  In the meantime, don’t forget to register for the conference.

Still need help with technology?  Put the WSCA Social Media Committee to work for you!  Eric Mueller and I will be offering a half day pre-conference session titled: “Interactive Hands-On Technology Instruction for School Counselors”.  This sectional is for counselors in the middle/high school setting.  Have you always wanted to use more technology but were unsure where to start or how to begin the process? Come participate in this hand’s-on pre-conference workshop on the integration of technology into a comprehensive school counseling program. It doesn’t matter if you have never signed onto Google Docs before or don’t even have a Facebook Account.  We will walk you through each and every process from start to finish.  This experiential sectional will focus on a variety of technology including but not limited to social media (Facebook, Twitter, Remind, Instagram), Google Apps for Education, including Google Drive, Sites, Classroom and so much more. Prior to the workshop we will send out a survey for specific input on the technologies that we will spend additional time exploring and setting up for your building.   What you need to participate: Patience and a device (preferably a laptop).  With everyone at a different stage in the technology process this will be both group and individual instruction.

As always don’t forget to follow WSCA on Facebook (WSCA), Twitter (@WSCAcounselor), Instagram (wscasocial) and Tumblr (wscacounselor)!

Professional Development Update

2016 – 7th Annual Fall Summit was a success!

  • WSCA just hosted the 7th annual Fall Summit at CESA 4 in West Salem, WI with record breaking attendance! The topic was “Mental Health in Schools” with a focus on anxiety, depression, and non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). Our speaker was national expert on NSSI, Dr. Jennifer Muehlenkamp, UW-Eau Claire professor.
  • In the morning part of the day, attendees learned about identifying anxiety and depression in our youth, and also strategies to help students cope with anxiety and depression. In the afternoon, attendees learned about the signs of NSSI and ways to talk with students and parents about NSSI.
  • The day was informational and Dr. Muehlenkamp was a great speaker on these topics. Thank you to all that attended this event hosted by WSCA!
  • SAVE the Date for our 2017 Fall Summit – Thursday, October 26, 2017

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Publications Update

January WSCAlink:  Transitioning Back After a Long Absence (Chronic Truancy, Major Illness, Teen Parent) – Deadline is December 10
February WSCAlink: Mindfulness – Deadline is January 10
March WSCAlink: Motivation and Success-How Counselors Support Student Achievement – Deadline is February 10

In the meantime, send questions/articles to and the Editorial Board will let you know when it will be used. Don’t be afraid, be published!

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Graduate Student Update

WSCA seeks graduate students to present their scholarly work at the WSCA Conference! Any original work- class projects, curriculum, research, compilations, are all examples of great poster presentation topics! Click Here for more information about how EASY it is to submit a poster proposal. You can receive volunteering credit for presenting a poster for one hour. It’s also a great step in finding a school counseling position! Questions? Contact our Graduate Student Coordinators

Conference Update

WSCA Conference 2017

Feb. 21-23 – Monona Terrace, Madison, WI

With the Wisconsin winter season upon us, school counselors across the state are dug deeply in our work supporting students and families and are eagerly looking forward to winter break. We hope that during a well-deserved break you can take time to finalize plans to attend the 2017 WSCA Conference. Whether you are a conference “regular” or you are attending for your first time, there is something planned for everyone!While most of the experiential learning at the conference will happen during the sectionals, we also encourage you to round out your conference experience and attend one or more of the pre-conference workshops. This year’s workshop topics include: Academic and Career Planning, Career Cruising, ASCA Model Implementation, Cultural Competency, Identifying & Addressing Trauma, Using Data & Technology and more. The full list of pre-conference workshops can be found HERE.Although it may be challenging to find the funding and the time to be away from our schools, there are a few things you can do in order to make sure you are in attendance at the conference this year:

  1. Secure a funding source by checking with your administration, department chair or district office. Also, consider checking with community groups or school partnerships that might be able to provide funding for your conference registration.
  2. As you look over the pre-conference workshops, keynote speakers and sectional information in the conference brochure, consider what ideas and topics you could bring back to share with your school community.
  3. Check in with your principal and find out how you can make a request to attend a conference. Be sure to share the information you would be learning at the conference and what specific learning opportunities you will be able to bring back to your school.

If your time in Madison will require hotel accommodations, WSCA has secured a limited number of rooms at a reduced conference rate. Be sure to visit the Hotel Accommodations page and make your reservations by January 20th to receive the discounted conference rate.

With over 1,100 school counseling professionals attending this event, we realize that parking can be a challenge. WSCA will again be providing shuttles to and from various parking locations near the conference. Stay tuned for more information!

As you can tell, the WSCA Conference elves have been making their lists and checking them twice to ensure that everyone has a great conference experience this year. Now it’s time to make YOUR conference list and put being in attendance at the top!

2017 WSCA Conference Links:

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