July 2020

In This Issue:


Stacy Eslick, WSCA Executive Director

Dear WSCA members, 

I have often said we are currently living through a chapter in a future history book.  Just when we feel like we have some grounding there is another significant cultural issue that arises that demands our attention and response.  The theme for the 2020-2021 conference in November is Change: Renew | Refresh | Embrace.  One thing for sure is that this upcoming year will be yet another year of CHANGE.  As we reflect on this past spring, how can we shift our own expectations in order to EMBRACE this upcoming year?   What do we need to do for our own well-being to RENEW and REFRESH in order to have the capacity to embrace yet more change?

Something that has been helpful for me (I am not a history buff) is learning more about our national and state history and where we are now in relation to the past.  It is easy to be unaware of historical context and cultural underpinnings if you have not lived through experiences or are not impacted by them personally on a regular basis.  Someone shared that our youngest school counselors were not yet born when Rodney King was beaten.  This is something to consider, as watching this on television when I was in college heavily influenced my development and awareness of racial justice. This begs the question, how does our personal lived experiences impact and influence the lens through which we interact not just in our personal lives, but the larger community?  

Looking to history again, watching documentaries about the 1960’s racial protests has been eye opening as I don’t recall being taught much about this when I was in high school.  I recently saw a short video on ESPN about the Wyoming “Black 14” college football players that closely aligns to what has been happening in professional athletics the past few years.  I would encourage everyone to learn more and begin asking ourselves what we can do to start changing history instead of repeating it.

In an effort to answer that question, WSCA is committed to taking action steps to meet the many needs of our members, and we are going to need your support in many different capacities in order to move forward.  We will be creating task forces with thought leaders on Racial Equity and COVID-19 resources to ensure counselor voices from across the state are being heard and resources/supports developed to meet the needs of diverse communities.  We are expanding our professional development offerings to include more online opportunities that will be differentiated based on the needs of the counselors participating.  We are continuing to partner and have conversations with DPI, state Pupil Service Associations, and other School Counselor Association leaders.  WSCA leaders are also working hard to maintain the services and programs that have provided WSCA members with some of the best professional development, networking and collaboration for over 55 years. WSCA is your organization, please join us as we work together to make Wisconsin a place to thrive for all of  our students. 

Whenever spending time with counselor colleagues from across the state I feel RENEWed and REFRESHed as I know that we are in this together. Collectively we can make a difference! Thank you for all you do, it is an honor to be a part of such a great group of professionals. You are truly appreciated and valued.



Tricia Norby, WSCA Board Member

St. James School

Now that most of us have wrapped up our school year, we have a moment to take a deep breath before we start thinking about next year. Without knowing what the start of school year will look like, one area we know that we will need to work on are the many relationships that may need to be rebuilt when we return. Students may not feel as connected to their classmates, teachers, and/or the school itself after such a long absence. Teachers and other staff may also be feel disconnected. 

Teachers and administrators may be feeling the pressure to make up for the missed learning opportunities that occurred due to school closures this past spring. The good news is there is a way to do both—accelerate learning and building relationships. 

In the book, Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Related to Achievement (2009), Professor John Hattie set out to identify what had the greatest impact on student achievement in schools.  He looked at over 50,000 educational research studies on 236 million school-aged students and ranked these from largest effect to smallest effect. In a typical year of instruction, Hattie suggested that a student grows .40 of a standard deviation, equating to 12 months of growth.  Among the top ten interventions listed in his original findings was teacher-student relationships.  Teacher-student relationships have an effect size of .72, yielding almost two years expected growth over one year.  John Wilcott recognized the value in Hattie’s research and developed a program called Significant 72.  

Wilcott surmised that the first three days of school were the most impactful when it came to relationship building. He recommends holding off on the academics in order to build the student-teacher relationship first. To do this, Wilcott recommends three things. First, allow time for students and teachers to explore commonalities through activities such as In My Boat or Choosing Sides. Next, let each child know that you are interested in and care about them. This goes beyond an interest inventory—talk to the students and really get to know them. Lastly, plan engaging and fun teambuilding activities. 

Administration buy in will be an important place to start. Build time not only in the first 72 hours, but throughout the school year dedicated to relationship building. Intentionally create experiences for not only teachers to connect with students but also where students can connect with each other. 

If we’ve learned anything with the experiences from last school year is that students will have a difficult learning without first having a psychologically safe environment (Maslow before Erikson). Creating a sense of belonging will build a sense of safety. I suspect that teachers may have a hard time staying focused on educating if they also don’t feel safe in their environment. There are so many unknowns for the upcoming school year and just as many things that we don’t have control over. Being able to focus on one very important aspect of student success may be what we, as counselors, also need in order to stay grounded in the profession we love (or at least still kind of like after virtual learning). 

As a board, we are also building relationships with school counselors across the state in order to best serve you. In the last year we have done this with listening sessions during conference, both during the Wednesday lunch and again during the scholarship recipients reception. Many of us also participate in Summer Academy, Fall Summit, and the Virtual Brown Bag Lunch discussions. During our board meetings, we spend time disseminating data from the member’s survey that is sent out each year. Based on member’s voice, we will be continuing the equity work that began last year with two summer reads, Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson and, White Fragility, by Robin Diangelo. By learning more about ourselves, we are better able to connect with our students, staff, and WSCA members. 

Resources: https://www.significant72.com/resources.html

~Tricia Norby

WSCA 2020 Summer Academy Moves Online Only

WSCA Leadership has made the decision to move the 2020 Summer Academy ONLINE ONLY due to the recent Dane county mandates and increase in Covid-19 cases throughout the area. Your health and safety are our top priority!

Get ready for the 2020-21 return to school in our “new normal” by engaging in professional development through the 2020 WSCA Summer Academy! 

This year we have created 12 different professional development opportunities, focusing on the themes of Social Emotional Learning, Leadership/Advocacy, Post-Secondary, and Equity. Instead of sitting through one main session all day like in past Summer Academies, this year you will choose 4 different 90-minute sessions in which to partake virtually. This format will work especially well in our online only format, allowing you plenty of time to take breaks, stretch, and grab lunch.  Mix and match any sessions you wish to create the professional development day that works best for your needs!

Additionally, WSCA has decided to provide registration to attend any Summer Academy session(s) free of charge to your administrators. If you see a session (or a few) that seem like they would open up discussion and collaboration within your building/district, please encourage them to register! 

If you have any questions, please reach out to Stacey Endicott, WSCA Director of Professional Development, at profdev@wscaweb.org. For more information and to register, please go to /conferences/2020-summer-academy/ 

We look forward to “seeing” you there!

~Stacey Endicott

 Teen Vaping: Is It Just a Bunch of Smoke?

By:  Ashleigh Nowakowski, Executive Director, Your Choice to Live, Inc. & Katie Morrow, Prevention Specialist, Your Choice Prevention Education

In Wisconsin e-cigarette use, also known as vaping, among teens has been steadily increasing for the past three years. According to an advisory released in January 2019 by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, e-cigarette use among teenagers increased 154% between 2014 and 2018. It is estimated that one out of every five Wisconsin teenagers engage in regular e-cigarette use, but the students that we work with tell us that number is much higher. Your Choice has been working to educate youth, parents and community members about the dangers associated with e-cigarette use, including the types of devices used, ways students conceal it, and health risks. 

One of the major concerns about vaping is that e-cigarettes can be used as a delivery system for other drugs. Any type of drug can be vaped, but the most common substances are nicotine and marijuana. According to the DHS health advisory, about one third of middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes used them as a delivery device for marijuana.  

There are hundreds of different vaping devices available on the market today. Some devices are designed for vaping nicotine, others are specific for vaping dry marijuana, while other devices are designed for smoking THC concentrates. Pod style devices such as JUUL, Novo, Alto, Sourin Drop, Edge or Air are popular among teens because they are easy to conceal, draw activated and produce little to no vapor. 

Devices for vaping marijuana include dry herb, dabs/wax and cartridge devices. Dry herb devices allow a user to put traditional, leafy green marijuana in the chamber of the device which gets hot enough to turn the marijuana into a vapor. These devices are expensive, ranging from $150-$500 for a device. 

The more popular vape devices that found in a school setting are dab pens and THC carts. These types of devices look like any other vape devices, making it difficult to tell a nicotine vape device from a marijuana device. Like the pod style devices, these devices don’t produce large vapor and they hide the smell of marijuana making them easy to use anywhere without getting caught. Some of the newer devices on the market, such as the Airis, allows a user to vape nicotine on one end and THC concentrate on the other.  

While the long-term health risks from vaping are still unknown, there are some health risks that we do know. Here is what know:

  • Vape juice – studies show that once the ingredients in vape juice are heated, they turn to formaldehyde (known to cause cancer), acetaldehyde, acrolein, particulates and toxic metals.
  • Chemicals – the proponents of vaping argue that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes because the ingredients in the vape juice are food grade ingredients such as propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, which we eat every day. While it’s true that we eat those ingredients, putting them in your stomach is much different than putting them in your lungs. A person’s stomach contains stomach acid which breaks down those ingredients and carries them away. The lungs do not have that cleaning mechanism so those ingredients can coat the bottom of the lungs making it harder for the body to retrieve oxygen. 
  • Explosion – while not super common, devices can explode leaving a person with third degree burns on their face, hands, or legs. Some explosions have been powerful enough to crack a person’s jaw.
  • E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI)  – a inflammatory response in the lungs triggered by inhaled substances. It may occur as pneumonia, damage to tiny air sacs in the lungs (alveoli), or an inflammatory reaction called fibrinous pneumonitis. As of February 25th, 2020, 69 people have died from EVALI and 2,807 have been hospitalized. 
  • Nicotine – Youth who use nicotine can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control. It’s also a highly addictive substance that can prime the brain for future addictions.
  • Marijuana – even though states are legalizing the substance, it’s important to understand that there are risks, especially for teens. Teens who smoke marijuana can become addicted, get lower grades, are less likely to graduate high school and less likely to go to college.

There are many ways that teens are able to conceal vaping. In general, vaping is much easier to conceal than traditional cigarettes, and many teachers, parents or other adults may overlook vaping paraphernalia items and signs because they are unaware of what to look for. Here are some of the most common ways teens conceal vaping: 

  • Full Lung HitOne common misconception is that vaping produces a strong noticeable smell or a large cloud of smoke. It is important to note that not all devices produce clouds. Most of the devices used in school settings are the pod style devices, which do not produce any clouds. Vaping can be concealed by holding the hit into the lungs as long as possible, which absorbs most of the odor. 
  • Stealth Vaping DevicesThere are many vape devices marketed as “stealth vaping devices.” These are vape devices designed to look like everyday items: watches, makeup compacts, lipstick, asthma inhalers, flash drives, pens, phone cases and more.  
  • VapeWearThese are hoodies designed to conceal vaping. One string of a hoodie is connected to a vape device. The other string is used as the mouthpiece, which allows the user to discreetly vape wherever and whenever they wish. 
  • Concealment ContainersThere are many hidden containers on the market that are designed to look like real items, but have secret compartments in them so that teens are able to hide devices. These containers are marketed as ways to hide valuables, but teens may use them in lockers, backpacks or rooms as ways to hide substances and devices. 

Vaping is relatively new among teenagers and has taken many parents and schools by surprise.  

For more information and resources, view this E-Cigarette Letter to Schools from the Wisconsin DPI.

DPI Proposed Changes to PI 34 Update

In May, WSCA shared information about DPI PI 34’s Scope Statement regarding licensing changes that impact school counselors.  WSCA continues to monitor the process closely and wants to share the recent updates along with gathering interest from our members to get involved now so we have a timely coordinated response when needed. The original scope statement can be found here: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/scope_statements/all/030_20

The chart below shows the process moving forward regarding the proposed changes to PI 34. WSCA will be asked for feedback and input on the rules revisions at some point in July (the process has been delayed due to DPI needing to redirect resources to school re-entry planning and support).  There will also be multiple other opportunities for input into the rules revision process over the next few months. 

WSCA needs to hear from you in order to better advocate for our members and school counselors across the state. Your voice matters! If you are interested in providing feedback or even the possibility of sitting at the discussion table with key stakeholders in the future, please fill out this form https://forms.gle/VgFcBhRo5chvQBu36 so we can continue to connect with you and keep you informed as we continue through this process. If you’ve always wanted to get involved but haven’t been sure how – this is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door! We look forward to hearing from you!! 

If you have questions or want more information, reach out to Kelly O’Connell, the Government Relations Director, at govrelations@wscaweb.org

~Kelly O’Connell


WSCPAR Submissions Temporarily Suspended

A common theme by WSCA leaders is the tremendous amount of change that impacted schools this past spring and that will undoubtedly impact counseling programs this coming year.  The WSPAR Review Committee met in June for our annual review of materials and updates.  Some of the concerns raised by committee members is how challenging it was for counselors to collect information and data on interventions that were cut short or stopped due to school closures.  

After considerable discussion the committee decided to take a year off from WSCPAR submissions.  We will resume reviewing WSCPAR submissions in November of 2021 and will allow counselors to submit data from both the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years in hopes that between both years counselors will have the opportunity to demonstrate the results of the interventions and programs in your schools.  

The WSCPAR committee will focus their efforts this year on increasing awareness and support for counselors that are interested in submitting a WSCPAR and/or RAMP application at the front and middle of the process in hopes that counselors have feedback and support to earn the WSCPAR Program of Promise and RAMP recognition the first time or without having to resubmit.  Look for additional information on how to access this support in the next few months.

If you have questions or want more information, reach out to Stacey Miller & Sarah Flier, Data & ASCA Model Co-Directors, at data@wscaweb.org

~Stacey Miller & Sarah Flier