January 2017

Executive Director Message:  School Counselors – Answering the Call to be Leaders

By: Stacy Eslick, WSCA Executive Director

The WSCA Coordinator team spent a beautiful fall Saturday together a few weeks ago to plan the annual WSCA conference.  It is an honor and privilege to work with such a dedicated, innovative and hardworking group of leaders.  As WSCA begins looking for new leaders on the Board of Directors and Coordinator teams, it is critical that we build capacity for School Counselor leaders across the state to fill these roles.

When you think of being a leader as a School Counselor, what does this look and sound like? Anita Young wrote an article in the July/August 2013 ASCA School Counselor Journal encouraging School Counselors to label their advocacy, partnership development and collaboration skills as leadership skills.  School Counselors tend to be a humble group, however, I challenge you to promote your leadership skills and be at the table on behalf of the students and families you serve.

Young shares “When school counselors accept the responsibility to lead, they are able to fully engage in transformative tenets and identify system barriers impeding academic success. School counselor leaders:

  • use multiple strategies and resources to solve problems
  • build partnerships and engage all stakeholders
  • navigate through the politics of systems
  • advocate for equitable services for all students with a courageous stance
  • excel in the use of appropriate accountability strategies to challenge the status quo
  • persuade colleagues and build consensus
  • identify and accomplish goals with confidence
  • exceed expectations when accomplishing tasks
  • accept the responsibility to lead
  • acquire a leadership mindset

Your challenges may be many; however, leadership will help you overcome the obstacles. Build your leadership capacity to increase your ability to analyze data, advocate for all students, collaborate to form partnerships and affect systemic change. Decide to lead.”


If you have a leadership mindset please consider getting involved in WSCA, as our organization is dependent on your leadership to continue moving forward.

Warm regards,

Angela Goebel

Assistant Board Chair Message: WSCA Elections

By Angela Goebel, WSCA Assistant Board Chair

It is time for advocates and upstanders.  It is time for school counselors.  It is time for WSCA 2017 Board Elections!  Our Elections Committee is preparing information to share with you about our prospective Board Candidates.

We are entering our second year with a new system for elections.  The election format allows current Board Members to select new candidates for the three open Board of Director candidate positions.  The elections committee is in the process of reviewing the candidate applications and selecting applicants that will best represent our Wisconsin school counselors.

Our Elections Committee will be looking for school counselors that are interested in having a significant impact on our profession and that will represent the diverse needs and perspectives within our state.  Our WSCA membership will vote in February for the slate of new Board Directors candidates.  If the membership votes are 85% for “yes”, the election for our three new Board Directors will be complete.

WSCA is a strong and amazing organization with which to be associated. The Board of Directors, in conjunction with our Executive Director and our Committees and Coordinators, works very hard to maintain the strength of the organization.  In part, it is through the amazing Board Candidates that are presented every year that we are able to maintain that strength.  We look forward to our membership participating in the WSCA elections process.

Please feel free to review the board of directors position description in order to better understand the roles and responsibilities. Additionally, to build understanding of the WSCA Board focus, please review the WSCA ENDS Policies. 

Transitioning Back to School After a Long Absence

By Jennifer Binneboese, School Counselor, Department Chair

Washington Park High School | Racine, WI

Students are absent from school for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes students will miss extended periods of school due to illness, hospitalization, truancy or even childbirth.  The transition back to school can be very difficult and requires support from the school staff.  School counselors play a key role in helping students have a smooth transition back to school and helping them feel safe and supported during this often vulnerable period of time.

One of the frequent reasons students miss school for an extended period of time is due to a hospitalization related to a mental health issue.  The local hospital where some of our students have been admitted for self harm, depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns, has an educational liaison who notifies us of admission and reaches out to the counselor to find out if there are any unique educational needs.  We are able to communicate with her about concerns we have had at the school recently and can email or fax schoolwork to her.  She communicates with us about the anticipated discharge date and if the student may discharge to a partial hospitalization program.  If the student is going to be returning directly to school, we try to schedule a meeting with the parents/guardian, student, school counselor, social worker, psychologist and possibly nurse if medication will be taken at school.  We discuss if the student’s schedule needs to be altered/reduced, whom the student can seek out for support in the building, what type of message the student and parent/guardian feel comfortable sharing with their teachers about their return, and how to utilize support staff as needed.  If the student didn’t receive all of their coursework while they were gone, we work with their teachers to obtain the missing work and set deadlines of when the work should be completed by.  In some instances, if the student transitions to outpatient treatment, we give the parent a release of information form so we can share school progress with their therapist and/or psychiatrist to help coordinate their care.

Our school district does have a population of school-aged parents.  We are fortunate enough to have a School Aged Parenting Program (SAPAR), which is available to all students under the age of 21, and includes three registered nurses.  Each of our three comprehensive high schools has one nurse assigned to the program, and they work closely with our expectant students and students who are current parents.  When a student has a baby, she is excused from school for up to six weeks.  Some students do return to school sooner, but some do need the six weeks for recovery.  Some students are out longer than the six weeks because they have to be on bedrest leading up to the birth.  Depending on how long they need to be on bedrest, we will see if the student qualifies for homebound services.  Usually the student, SAPAR nurse, social worker and counselor work together as the student’s due date nears to communicate with teachers and get schoolwork for the student.  The SAPAR nurse brings work from school to the student’s home.  Depending on the time of the year that the student is going to deliver and be out of school, things like final exams may need to be adjusted or exempted.  Sometimes, as a counselor, I meet with the student, parent and SAPAR nurse to discuss what the student’s schedule should look like.  This might include changing their physical education class to a different semester or having the student take the class online.  These minor schedule tweaks can help students tremendously.

When we have a student who has been chronically truant, we try every way we can to get in touch with the parent/guardian.  When we finally connect with the parent/guardian, we try to set up a meeting with the counselor, social worker and sometimes the assistant principal.  We will discuss why the student hasn’t been at school and brainstorm ways to remove these roadblocks in order to get the student to school.  These roadblocks could be transportation, issues in specific classes, bullying/harassment, illness or mental health issues.  Often, students have missed so much school and gotten so far behind in their classes that they have given up and see returning to school as pointless.  As a counselor, I review their transcript and help them determine how far behind they really are.  I discuss alternative programs that might be available to them in the district.  If it is a diagnosed medical or mental health issue, we may look at if a 504 plan is appropriate.  There have been times that I have given a student a reduced schedule for the remainder of the semester in order to get them back into the building and enrolled them in after school credit recovery and/or virtual learning courses to help supplement their reduced schedule.  This has helped get the student back in the building and back into a routine of coming to school daily. It is important to check with your district policies to determine what criteria is required to be eligible for a reduced schedule.

While we know that no plan or protocol is a one size fits all, being willing to think outside the box and advocate for what is best for that student can help make the transition back to school after an extended absence easier for a student.  That transition back to school is always going to be difficult, but as a counselor, letting the student know that you are available for them and willing to help advocate for what is in their best interest shows them they have someone in their corner when they come back to school.

Tricia Norby

Director Spotlight

Tricia Norby, WSCA Director

I am excited to serve on the WSCA board and after six months it seems a little less scary! The road that led me here has been filled with twists and turns. After college, my husband and I decided to attend graduate school in Chicago. I wasn’t aware that in IL you had to be a licensed teacher for two years before entering a school counselor program. Since I wasn’t interested in community counseling, I transferred schools and started a dual education program (teacher certification and MA in educational leadership). After finishing my masters, we moved back to Wisconsin where I found out that I wasn’t eligible to teach without another year and a half of schooling and six more weeks of student teaching.  Ugh. I decided to take a few years off and stay home with my two kids and become a foster parent. After six years, 28 foster kids, and another child of our own, I was asked to help start a local preschool. For four years I was lead teacher at a Christian preschool. During the 3rd year, I decided that if I was going to follow my original dream of being a school counselor, I had better get to it! I went back to school and graduated in 2010 with my MS in School counseling. I had two long-term substitute counselor positions and was then hired by Catholic Charities as an AODA program coordinator and school counselor.

I have been a part-time school counselor at St. James School in downtown Madison for over five years and coordinate the school counseling program for Catholic Charities (as part of my role as Coordinator of Family Programs). Last year, I also finished my 3000 hours and became a Licensed Professional Counselor, opening a private practice over the summer. Of all the different hats that I wear professionally, my favorite days are those I spend at St. James School. I love being a school counselor and I feel that those of us in private schools have been underrepresented in our state association in the past. We have some unique challenges when it comes to support and funding but have the gift of being able to reach our students in a way that isn’t an option at public schools. Since we serve students 3K-8, I am able to see the tremendous growth that occurs during this span and get to know our school families very well.

Being a part of the WSCA board has been a tremendous asset in the work I do as a school counselor. Being a leader in my school and now for the profession will help as I advocate, statewide, for the mental health needs of all students, including those in private schools.

Coordinator Spotlight

Todd Hadler, WSCPAR Coordinator

“This is really cool,” I said to myself, while sitting through a presentation in one of the poolside rooms at the Wisconsin School Counselor conference in Stevens Point. Bob Tyra was leading the presentation (hosted by Steve Schneider) and talking about the Support Personnel Accountability Report Card (SPARC) with a couple of counselors he brought with him from California.  They spoke about the data, the public relations, and the validation of the great results/impact their school counselors had on students.  At that time, data for school counselors in general was still in its infancy. Following their presentation, I had the opportunity to meet with Steve, Marilyn Brink, and others to start the process of forming the SPARC for Wisconsin (SPARC-W) committee. Today, the Wisconsin School Counseling Program Accountability Report (WSCPAR) continues to evolve from the SPARC/SPARC-W it was modeled after with improvements to continue moving our profession forward.  We will highlight 10 Program of Promise award winners on the stage at the WSCA conference in February.

I’ve been the school counselor at Monroe Elementary School in Manitowoc since graduating from Minnesota State – Mankato in 1998. My wife Karla is a 1st grade teacher at Monroe, our daughter Kasey attends UWEC and is studying Speech & Language Pathology, Tanner is a junior at Lincoln HS, and Brady is a 5th grader at Stangel ES in Manitowoc.  If we’re not at our house, there’s a great chance that you’ll find us on a baseball or football field somewhere in the state.

I’m so proud of WSCA, the WSCPAR committee (or as Erin Wood calls us “Data Nerds”), and of the counselors in the state.  Let’s keep advocating for our profession and working toward accountability through data. Consider learning more about the WSCPAR at our booth and through the ‘Intro to the WSCPAR’ sectional on Wednesday after our keynote. I’ll see all of you in Madison for the 2017 WSCA Conference!

Committee Updates & Upcoming Events

Professional Development

Results Data for the High School Counselor: Student Post-Secondary Enrollment and Retention Webinar

The National Student Clearinghouse is a data exchange center that provides high schools with a program, StudentTracker, to accurately gauge the college success of their graduates. This webinar will explain what services and reports NSC will provide to a high school and how it can support your counseling program. Post-secondary enrollment, retention rates, and transfer rates can be used as results data for APC planning, RAMP, or WSCPAR.  This webinar is also suggested to any counselors looking forward to the Trish Hatch or ACP pre-conference or sectionals at WSCA.

  • When – January 26th, 2017 at 2:00pm Central Standard Time
  • Type – Webinar
  • Cost – Free
  • Length – One Hour

Register Here

Government Affairs

Afternoon on the Hill


Tuesday, February 21, 2017 1:30 – 4:30 pm

  • Are you making a difference in the lives of students and families?
  • Are you passionate and knowledgeable about school counseling issues?
  • Are you involved with college and career readiness and Academic and Career Plans?
  • Do you believe school counselors are a critical need in educating children?

Then help share this important message with legislators who make decisions about education! 

When constituents talk, legislators listen…

The time to register for Afternoon on the Hill (AOH) is now!

  • To sign up to participate in AOH during pre-conference and for the WSCA conference, click here 
    • You need to be a member and login using your WSCA login and password to register online
  •  Those preferring a paper registration form (and nonmembers) click here

Agenda for Afternoon on the Hill:

  • Overview of hot topics in education by WSCA representatives
  • Detailed information to help your legislative visit go smoothly, including time and location of appointment
  • Handouts distributed to guide your discussions and to leave with legislators
  • Planning time
    • To partner up and collaborate with other participants meeting with the same legislator
    • To prepare for the meeting and get questions answered
  • Participants take a beautiful walk to the Capitol together
  • A room is assigned at the Capitol for participants to prepare and debrief
  • Apres-legislative gathering at a local watering hole (Debrief and enjoy a beverage compliments of WSCA Government Relations Committee)


Questions or Comments?  Please contact the Government Relations Co-Coordinators:

Andrea Donegan                                                         Nate Rice
adonegan@basd.k12.wi.us                             nrice@wi.rr.com or 262-893-3880

Membership Update

WSCA would like your ideas regarding the needs of School Counselors in Wisconsin and enhancing WSCA membership benefits.

Please complete our WSCA Counseling Needs Survey to share your thoughts. Your responses provide direction in the planning of our professional development programming, as well as focus for our state organization.

The survey should take less than 10 minutes and your responses will be reviewed by the WSCA Governing Board to assist in developing our goals and initiatives. In appreciation for your time, please enter the drawing for a $25 Amazon.com gift card at the end of the survey. The survey closes on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 10:30am. Gift card winners will be announced at the Annual Conference President’s Brunch.

To access the survey follow this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YHJ6VSD

Please contact Erika Spear (wscamembershipchair@gmail.com) if you have any questions regarding our annual member survey

Professional Recognition and Scholarship Update

WSCA is proud to announce our continued partnership with: Educators Credit Union! We are thrilled to partner with ECU and want to spread awareness about their incredibly generous scholarship opportunity for high school seniors, read on for more info!

Educators Credit Union awards twenty-five $2,000 scholarships, based on a student’s academic record, participation in school and/or community activities, and demonstration of one or more of the core values of Educators Credit Union, which are respect, integrity, community, passion, and stewardship.

The completed scholarship application is due by February 27, 2017 and can be found at https://www.ecu.com/community/student-scholarships/ecu-scholarships-vision-and-mission/

Questions, please contact Katie Nechodom, Professional Recognition and Scholarship Coordinator, at nechodomk@gmail.com

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Publications Update

March WSCAlink: Motivation and Success – How Counselors Support Student Achievement – Deadline February 10
April WSCAlink: Standing Up for the Profession – Deadline March 10

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

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Social Media Update

Coming Soon – 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)!

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, 2017 – Monona Terrace, Madison, WI

The countdown to the 2017 Wisconsin School Counselor Association Conference is on! The conference committee has been hard at work to ensure that school counselors from across the state will have a great time at the conference this year. Hopefully you’ve had the opportunity to make your plans to join with other school counseling professionals on February 21-23 for the conference. If not, now is the time to register in order to avoid the late fee for registrations submitted after January 20th. Whether you are a conference “regular” or you are attending for your first time, there is something planned for everyone!Pre-conference workshops (both half day and full day) are offered on Tuesday, February 21. 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.This year’s keynote speaker, Trish Hatch, Professor, Author, and Leader in the School Counseling Field, will kick off the conference on Wednesday, February 22, followed by a day packed full of sectionals. Thursday, February 23 will include a few morning sectionals and a brunch followed by keynote speaker Daniel Lerner, teacher, speaker and strengths-based performance coach, who will speak about “Positive Excellence: Using Positive Psychology for Excellence and Success”.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 the January deadlines 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!An exciting new feature of the 2017 WSCA Conference will be the opportunity for conference attendees to utilize a conference app. This app will bring American School Counseling Association Conference technology to Wisconsin through its innovative and user-friendly design. Conference attendees will be able to launch this technology this year and utilize key features such as planning a personalized conference sectional agenda, locating rooms and vendors on the map and receiving timely conference updates.This year’s conference will be packed full of learning, information sharing and networking opportunities. Be sure to finalize your conference plans now so you won’t miss out on these wonderful professional opportunities. We can’t wait to see you there!

2017 WSCA Conference Links: