June 2024

Table of Contents

A Message from the WSCA Executive Director

It is hard to believe that yet another school year has come to an end. You all continue to inspire us with your dedication and continuous support for your students and school communities. We have heard from many of you that the struggle to effectively do your work continues, with non-counseling duties, a lack of understanding of your role, and keeping pace with the volume of needs from your students.  

My hope for you is that you will take a hard break from anything school-related during your unpaid time off. We are team players and want to support our students and schools, even when we are on breaks. Try to disconnect for at least a few weeks to give yourself space away from school counseling. I promise that if there is a true emergency, your administration will find a way to get in touch with you!  

I would also encourage you to think about your school counseling program systems.  We talk a lot about this in the ASCA model implementation training; systems are most helpful when we are most stressed as they give us something to fall back on.  What are some systems that you can develop to start the school year?  Remember, not every situation is an emergency. How can you triage and scaffold the needs you are responding to in schools?  Who can you find that is an ally to your school counseling program and will help take some things off your very long to-do list?  Consider using the ASCA template for the Annual Administrative Conference to meet with your principal and share your goals and action plans for the upcoming year.  Advocacy comes in small bites, and every time you have a chance to educate and share what your role should look like you are taking steps towards educating and shifting how others view your program. 

My wish for all of you this summer is that you have at least one thing that brings you joy and relaxation. I can’t wait to hear all of your stories when we reconnect this fall!

~Stacy Eslick

ASCA Connections

WSCA Named ASCA Pinnacle Award Finalist

The ASCA Pinnacle Award recognizes state/territory school counselor associations for innovative projects that benefit the school counseling association, profession or membership.  Congratulations to the 2024 Finalists. The 2024 Pinnacle Award will be named at the Leadership Development Institute in Kansas City, Mo.

Three Wisconsin Schools Awarded ASCA RAMP Recognition

This year, 138 schools in 25 states received the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) designation. In July, these schools will be honored during a special ceremony at the ASCA Annual Conference in Kansas City, Mo., for making an exemplary commitment to their school counseling programs.

The RAMP designation, celebrating its 20th year, recognizes schools committed to delivering a comprehensive, data-informed school counseling program and an exemplary educational environment. Since its inception, more than 1,600 schools have been designated as RAMP recipients.

“This year’s RAMP honorees have shown their commitment to students and the school counseling profession,” said Jill Cook, ASCA executive director. “These schools used data to drive their program development and implementation so all students can achieve success. RAMP designation distinguishes these schools and encourages school counselors nationwide to strive for excellence.”

Position Statement Public Comment

The ASCA Position Statement Committee has revised eleven position statements. Please share any comments you have for the Position Statement Committee by May 31, 2024.  

ASCA 2025 Annual Conference Proposal Submission Portal Open

Have an idea for a 2025 ASCA Annual Conference session? Submit your proposals by Aug. 25, 2024.

Submission begins May 1, 2024 at 7:00 AM ET

Submission ends August 25, 2024 at 11:59 PM ET

Feature Article – Trust Your Own Counseling

Trust Your Own Counseling

Elizabeth Janners, Messmer High School, Messmer Catholic Schools

As an educated woman and a working school counselor, I am very aware of what a partnership is all about. I was curious, though, about which synonyms might appear in the thesaurus: collaboration, alliance, union, connection. The January/February issue of ASCA’s School Counselor magazine focused on the collaboration between the school counselor and principal.  Throughout that issue, those four words caught my eye: collaboration, alliance, union, connection. 

However, are we always so lucky to have those traits in our administrators? Unfortunately, no, and I can speak from experience.

I’ve been told that I have an inspiring story of resilience and perseverance through some really difficult times with my previous administrators. After graduating with my master’s degree, it took me four years to finally get a school counseling job, and my first two positions were at private schools. It didn’t take long for me to know that I was going to be teaching them about the role of the school counselor. At both schools, I struggled with my administration not trusting me to do my job and not trusting my expertise.

Ultimately, I was terminated from both schools. Attorneys told me that I would have had a case had the terminations not been from a private school. I had explained my stories to several other school counselors and other professional colleagues who assured me that I had done nothing legally or ethically wrong. 

I felt defeated. I felt angry. I felt hopeless. I wasn’t sure what to do or how I was going to move on. Have any of you felt this way? I’m betting you have. I knew I had to move on, though. I had worked TOO hard in graduate school and the four years prior to stop believing in myself or the profession now. What made it easier to move on was having several others validate that I had done nothing wrong, and I also went to therapy to process the loss so I could get back on track. 

Fast forward to a year later, and I am now at a school with a very supportive administration. From my previous experiences, I learned that I needed to be more proactive and communicative. At my current school, this more assertive style has been well-received. Both my principal and one of my assistant principals spoke about trust when I asked them how they build positive relationships with their school counselors. Shenora Jordan, my current principal, explained that she “builds trust by understanding their dreams and aspirations,” and Ken Klatkiewicz, one of my assistant principals, revealed that “…I never want them to second guess their decisions… not micro-managing their days, and trusting them to do their job is a sign of respect that leads to a positive relationship.”

I was hesitant to work at Messmer High School because it is also a private school, but this administration has helped me have faith in the school counseling profession. They have helped me continue to believe in the work we do and in myself! 

As we all know, challenges with administration are not limited to private schools. Therefore, the question is, when faced with unfamiliar challenges in different schools, how do you keep going? You must ask yourself: Do I love the work I’m doing enough to stick it out, OR do I need to find a more supportive environment?  In my case, I DO love the work I’m doing and was fortunate that a more supportive environment acknowledged my abilities.  If you find yourself in a similar situation, be comforted that you are not alone. Trust yourself. You deserve to be affirmed for your knowledge, your compassion, and your ability to significantly improve the mental health of our next generation.

DPI Connections

Supporting Students in Filing the FAFSA for Post-Secondary Funding

Do you know a student who dreams of pursuing higher education? Now is the time for high school seniors and returning college students to submit their 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form, an application that students and families need to complete to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study funds, loans, and sometimes a requirement for private scholarships. Supporting FAFSA completion can help students attain the financial support necessary for pursuing their post-secondary plans, such as trades and skills certificates, two-year college, and four-year college.

Wisconsin currently has a 27% completion rate and is ranked 35th in the country. With the update to the FAFSA application and process, the submission window opened in late January instead of October 1st contributing to the decrease in FAFSA completions.

Governor Evers is joining the effort to promote FAFSA completion. “Higher education should be affordable and accessible to all those who choose to pursue it. Completing the FAFSA® is the first step toward qualifying for financial aid to pay for college, graduate school, and career training programs,” said Gov. Evers. “I encourage all high school seniors, college students, and Wisconsinites interested in pursuing higher education to complete the FAFSA® and necessary steps to unlock and access additional financial aid resources that can help support their success in higher education.” See his full press release for additional information.

Schools have access to the 12th-grade student Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion. This student-level data is now available in WISEdash for Districts. The US Department of Education gives states limited access to student-level FAFSA application status data which allows school counselors and homeless liaisons to support students with filing the FAFSA. Data sharing agreements filed with DPI are required for districts to access this data. If you have already completed a data-sharing agreement, you do not need to complete another one.

To view the dashboard titled “FAFSA Completing Status by Subgroup,” districts will need to opt in by signing a District FAFSA Data Sharing Agreement.

Schools can also support students and families by sharing this link to access the FAFSA form. For more information about the FAFSA process, check out StudentAid.gov. Users can click “Español” at the top right side of the page or choose Spanish as their preferred language if they have a StudentAid.gov account.  Additional resources can be found on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

School Counselor Named Wisconsin Teacher of the Year

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction announced five educators from across the state have been named 2025 Wisconsin Teachers of the Year. The group received the honor for their dedication to the education profession and for the impact they have on their students as learners and individuals. The group was notified of their selection by State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly at separate surprise ceremonies at their respective schools throughout the last two weeks. 

“This group of educators are a tremendous source of inspiration to their students, their schools, and everyone across Wisconsin,” Dr. Jill Underly said, “They go above and beyond to support students in many unique ways, providing a safe, inclusive environment for kids to unlock their potential and grow as individuals. It was my honor to travel across Wisconsin to surprise each of them in front of their students, colleagues, and families. I congratulate them on being named Wisconsin Teachers of the Year, and I thank all our state’s incredible teachers for all they do for our students and our communities.”

Ana Báez, a bilingual counselor at South Division High School (Milwaukee Public Schools), was named one of the teachers of the year.  Báez is the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, growing up in Milwaukee and graduating from Milwaukee Public Schools. At the state’s largest bilingual high school, Báez supports students in achieving their full potential through career and job preparation. Through her work at the school, Báez helps English language learning students identify and remove barriers to pursuing and achieving academic success. Prior to working at MPS, Báez was a bilingual case manager, advocating for bilingual families so they could receive education on receiving healthcare services.

You Spoke, We Listened

Legislative Updates

Legislative and Advocacy Updates for June 2024

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) released its Final Rule under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. According to the USDOE, the final regulations promote educational equity and opportunity for students across the country as well as accountability and fairness, while empowering and supporting students and families.

 Read more from the USDOE here. The new rules go into effect in August 2024.

The unofficial version of the final regulations is available here. In addition, the Department has released a fact sheet, a summary of the major provisions of the final regulations, and a resource for drafting Title IX nondiscrimination policies, notices of nondiscrimination, and grievance procedures.

2023-2024 Professional Development

Counselor Connections

Conference Information & Updates

Members Corner