February 2023

Table of Contents

A Message from the Department of Public Instruction

With Awe for School Counselors, the School Counseling Profession, and the Students They Serve

Andrea Donegan for ConnectEd

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Awe is in the eyes of the beholder — a dazzling golden sunset, an intricately decorated wedding cake, a dew dropped fern on a forest path, ice spraying as a skater lands a triple axel, the haunting melody of a solo violin. Yet, it is courage, kindness, resilience, and strength — the goodness in others — that most often evokes awe, according to Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley. As National School Counseling Week (Feb. 6th – 10th) is celebrated, this sense of awe strikes a chord.

Awe inspiring is the student who has faith and trust in their school counselor to share the triumphs and tragedies of their life, seeking and accepting support. Awe is the school counselor who starts a friendship group to create a place for an isolated student to be welcomed and accepted. Awe is the school counselor’s advocacy for a student to access the right curriculum, services, and programs to succeed. Awe happens every day in every school, as students and staff learn, grow, struggle, succeed, fail, shed tears, and find laughter and joy. School counselors are awed by the resilience, spirit, individuality, passion, and potential of the students they serve. In turn, the support, empathy, advocacy, kindness, and impact of school counselors provokes awe.

National School Counseling Week, Helping Students Dream Big, is a perfect time to notice, acknowledge, and celebrate the impact school counselors make for students, staff, the school, and community. School counselors are tasked with working with all students, supporting their academic, social emotional, and career development. They can be found teaching classroom lessons, facilitating small groups, counseling students, mediating conflicts between peers, consulting with staff and community agencies, collaborating with parents, advising students on career related topics, planning school-wide programming, delivering professional development, participating on school and district committees, improving school mental health systems, and advocating for equitable, child-centered, trauma sensitive policies, practices, and programs.

According to Keltner, “over 95% of the moral beauty that [stirs] awe world-wide [results from] actions people [take] on behalf of others.” We are so thankful to our Wisconsin school counselors, who inspire awe in us every day with your countless actions to Help Students Dream Big. Happy National School Counseling Week!

A Message from the WSCA Board of Directors

Happy National School Counseling Week!

We hope you are finding ways to celebrate our exceptional profession and the incredible work you do as a school counselor. It is also time for our members to vote to elect the slate of new Board of Directors candidates with a “yes” or “no” vote. The Board of Directors met on Saturday, January 28th, to approve the three qualified candidates below who consented to have their names on the slate.   If 85% of those who vote select “yes,” the election for our new Board of Directors will be complete, and they will begin their terms on July 1, 2023.  The new Board of Directors will represent WSCA for a 3-year term.  Please take the time to vote using the ballot that was sent via email on February 1st.  You can find it again by searching “WSCA elections” in your inbox.

Karla Vinci

Karla Vinci is a 6-12 school counselor with over 20 years of experience who is currently working in the Bayfield School District.  When Karla was asked why she was interested in serving on the WSCA Board in her application, she stated, ” This is a new era in schools, communities & homes. In every area of life we find ourselves in uncharted waters. Roads not traveled. In this arena, we look to our leaders to listen to our concerns, walk with us, support our efforts, understand we have needs & provide the leadership we need/want. Serving school counselors in WI during this time in our history seems overwhelming & challenging, especially when we are tasked to serve all students fairly & equitably. It would be my honor & privilege to appreciate, support & advocate for school counselors in our great state.”

Charity James

Charity James is a school counselor at Bayside Middle School in the Fox Point-Bayside School District.  When asked why she was interested in serving on the WSCA Board, Charity shared “Being a school counselor is the perfect mix of teaching, working with students in an individual and group setting, and supporting all members of the learning community. I strongly believe it is the School Counselor’s professional obligation to advocate for equitable treatment and opportunities for all students, families, and staff. I have been interested in holding a WSCA Board position for several years. I know I am viewed as a leader in my school, community, and amongst professional mental health providers. I would love the opportunity to share my talents, experiences, and expertise with the School Counseling Community by holding a position on the WSCA Board.”

Sue Nueske

Sue Nueske is a k-8 school counselor who is currently working for iForward, a Wisconsin online charter school. Sue has previous leadership experience working with the Minnesota School Counselor Association.  When Sue was asked why she was interested in serving on the WSCA Board, she stated, “Having been an empathy sponge most of my life has given me an innate calling to try to put my heart into how I talk, treat, and act towards others, not only the students I have had the privilege to serve, but also the gamut of age groups I have worked with over my crazy life journey. Over twenty years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed serving on the Minnesota School Counselor Association Board, and I would consider it an honor to be chosen as a board member here in Wisconsin as well. If chosen, I will put my heart and soul into serving one person at a time.”

~Carly Roth, Board Member

Feature Article – Finding Daily Joy in Your School Counselor Work

Finding Daily Joy in Your School Counselor Work

Susan Arvidson
Lead Elementary Counselor for Saint Paul Public Schools in Saint Paul, MN

“Recognize the potential for stress and secondary trauma. Practice wellness and self-care through monitoring mental, emotional, and physical health…” (ASCA Ethical Standards 3.B.h). School Counselors are well aware that they have an obligation to students, families, and colleagues, but do we remember that we also have an obligation to ourselves?

This may seem like a strange way to start an article about celebrating school counselors, but the reality is that sometimes we need to dig deep to feel authentic joy. We need to incorporate celebration and joy in our daily well-being. With needs as intense as we have experienced in the past few years, it is intentional work to seek that joy rather than wait for it to show up on its own. We are making a positive impact on our students every single day. If we can move our focus from our to-do list to our students, we will find a reason to smile (and hopefully belly laugh) every day. 

I hope you can use one or two of these ideas to help you find daily joy and celebration:

  • Start your day with gratitude; not emails.
  • Look at your list for the day – is it manageable? If not, prioritize, reschedule and ask for help.
  • Be present – see your “fair share” duties as a chance to connect – are you looking up, making eye contact, and smiling?
  • Find a colleague who can help you see the positive. (It is always easier to find a colleague who will help you see the negative, isn’t it?)
  • Take a break from work each day – Eat lunch, spend a few minutes alone or with a friend.
  • At the end of the day, get back out into the hallways. Connect with students in a joyful way.
  • Carve out time at the end of your work day to reflect – think about the students you touched. Follow up on any small tasks like tracking data, sending a quick email, and planning your priorities for the next day.
  • Go home. Look for and notice the joy in your life – your partner, kids, friends, pets, nature, exercise, a great book, a funny show, good food, a nap – it is there, but some days you really have to seek it out.
  • End your day with gratitude and get some sleep. 

Once you have established a daily routine of joy and celebration, it is easier to find the energy to bring that to others. National School Counselor Week is a perfect time to do this! Celebrate this amazing career that we all have.  This year’s theme is “Helping Students Dream Big!” Print out the downloads and plaster them all over the place.  Bring treats to the lounge. Write a thank you note to a colleague who has been a support to you this year. There are so many ideas big and small (check out Pinterest) that will bring you a feeling of celebration that week.

You deserve to feel joy and celebration. School counselors have the privilege of working closely with students each day – demanding, frustrating, heartbreaking, but also hilarious and joyful work. Find a reason to laugh each day.

You Spoke, We Listened

Legislative Updates

Save the Date for Our Spring Virtual Afternoon on the Hill!

2022-2023 Professional Development

Members Corner

Conference Information & Updates

Counselor Connections