May 2024

Table of Contents

A Message from the WSCA Executive Director

Our hearts go out to the Mt. Horeb school counseling team, staff, students, and community as they cope with the tragic shooting incident last week.  There aren’t words or actions that will quickly make the memories or hurt go away.  DPI Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly captured our thoughts in her statement below.  We know this brings up many emotions for all of us who work in education; please reach out if you need support; we are here for you.

State Superintendent Statement on Shooting Outside Mount Horeb School
State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly released the following statement regarding the shooting and lockdown earlier today in Mount Horeb.

“My heart broke today with the news of the shooting and death outside of Mount Horeb Middle School. I’m sad for the great sense of anxiety and trauma caused for students, school staff, and the community, and all of us at the Department of Public Instruction stand ready to help in any way we can.

“Our schools should be welcoming places for all students, and they must be safe places for all students and staff.

“I want to especially thank the community’s school staff and first responders for your quick action that likely saved lives. I am so thankful for law enforcement, medical personnel, and district personnel in responding quickly and ensuring the safety of our students.

“I also want to recognize how forthcoming the school district was with information, keeping the community up to date and giving confidence students were being kept safe. Thank you to Superintendent Steve Salerno and all the district’s educators and leaders.”

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is sharing these publicly available resources for schools, educators, and families to help process and navigate this moment.

-The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has a one-page resource intended for families to help process grief and traumatic events.

-The DPI’s Student Services/Prevention and Wellness team has a dedicated webpage with content related to school safety and crisis response.

-The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Office of School Safety (OSS) has resources to support recovery after schools are impacted by or exposed to a crisis event. The OSS provides free consultation, best practice guidance, a vast resource library of handouts & communication templates, intervention recommendations, and local Critical Incident Response team deployment upon request. Interventions are evidence-based and tailored to the needs of the school community. You can request OSS crisis response and recovery support by contacting OSS at 1-800-MY-SUSO-1 (1-800-697-8761), or by emailing them at 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

A Message from the Department of Public Instruction

Aspiring to ASCA National Model Implementation.

Andréa Donegan, DPI School Counseling Consultant

Wisconsin’s comprehensive counseling model, the ASCA National Model, is robust and is most often a work in progress in districts across the state. Obstacles abound as school counselors pursue implementation. As the school year winds down, it is likely that some of our implementation goals and plans have been sidelined as other priorities took center stage. And yet, opportunities abound and can help us dust off those goals and plans to continue our efforts to build, improve, or sustain a comprehensive school counseling program that ensures access and opportunity for all students and is informed by data and revised based on outcomes. Resources are available for Model implementation through WSCA, ASCA, and DPI. Check out and consider how they can support you in this journey. 

Our colleagues across the state are a great source of support as they grapple with some of the same challenges. For inspiration, we can turn to each other and to our new RAMP recipients as they share a bit of their experience and journey implementing the Model and pursuing the RAMP designation. Let’s start with a collective congratulations to Cindy Bourget, Elk Mound Middle School (Elk Mound Area School District), Sarah Flier, Willow River Elementary School (Hudson School District), and Ann DePagter, Regan Haulotte, Steve Schneider, Giselle Simons, Sheboygan South High School (Sheboygan Area School District) for earning the 2024 RAMP designation for their school counseling program from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).  

 How did pursuing RAMP elevate your practice? (Cindy Bourget)

The School Counselor’s role can easily be reactive if we do not use data to make decisions and focus on preventative care. That’s where I was 5 years ago: changing schools because I was so overwhelmed, questioning my decision to be a counselor, and lost in the myth that I was failing because I couldn’t, “fix students.” Working through the pandemic forced me to realize that I needed to do something differently– so I signed up for the ASCA Model Training. Becoming a “Recognized ASCA Model Program,” (a RAMP school) helped my practice to become so much more accessible for all the people I serve, while being something that I could do long term. Over three years, I have been able to grow my practice using academic, discipline, and achievement data as my guide. I now reach more students, have built capacity in my staff and community, and am able to work on systems that will support student growth long after I am gone.

What was most meaningful to you in the RAMP process? (Steve Schneider)

Our team of four counselors took a full day to identify the Mindset & Behavior Student Standards for Success that we felt were most developmentally appropriate for each grade level in our building. Then, we compared that to our existing curriculum and made adjustments to what we are teaching to each grade level in order to best align with the student standards. This was a great collaborative team process and gave us confidence that what we were providing to students through our lessons was aligned with standards that are grounded in research around student academic success. 

What was most meaningful to you in the RAMP process? (Sarah Flier)

It is meaningful to me to be able to bring this recognition to an amazing group of kids, staff, and families here at Willow River. I have staff and parents who work in a close, trusting relationship to help support their students with classroom lessons, small group and individual work; an incredible advisory council whose feedback improves the program each year; and a principal who ensures my schedule allows me to spend time using the specific set of skills school counselors have.  I may have been the one to submit the materials to demonstrate a RAMP-worthy program, but it is my school community who made it all possible.

How are your students/school/program different as a result of implementing Wisconsin’s adopted ASCA National Model? (Cindy Bourget)

I am so grateful for Wisconsin’s adopted ASCA National model–  it provides a focus for my program and a roadmap to use. With the use of the ASCA Student Mindsets and Behaviors to shape my student services I have a guideline to select topics for my universal lessons and set goals for individual students that are structured in a stakeholder friendly way. I am able to talk about my work because the Student Mindsets and Behaviors link seamlessly into what the teachers are working to do in the classroom. As we strive to work together and make sure that the limited time we have with students every day is spent well, we can work together to help students meet their academic, discipline, and attendance goals.

What else do you want to share that will resonate with educators, partners, and WI residents? (Sarah Flier)

School counseling has evolved dramatically in the past several decades. From our research-based Mindset & Behaviors standards to our proactive instruction based on academic, attendance, and discipline in our buildings, our profession functions much differently than from what I even recall as a K-12 student in Wisconsin growing up. I have had the honor of learning from and collaborating with dozens of incredible Wisconsin school counselors who are changing the lives of our kids each day. Your support in our work is essential to our ability to continue this great work!

What else do you want to share that will resonate with educators, partners, and WI residents? (Steve Schneider)

It seems that many people are surprised to learn that there is a set of Student Standards that are specific to school counseling. These standards are the heart of a school counseling program, helping define the curriculum taught, as well as the desired outcomes of small groups and individual work with students. School counselors also are able to measure the impact of their work when they show that students are attaining the standards, and that academic achievement is improving.

As we congratulate these school counselors on their outstanding achievement, we look forward to this collective journey of providing a robust school counseling program through implementation of the ASCA National Model in schools across the state.

A Message from the WSCA Board of Directors

Hello WSCA Members!

As we wrap up the school year, we look forward to summer and planning for the year to come. Within our School Counselor roles, we calendar out our year to ensure we follow the ASCA Model and create effective programming for our students. Likewise, the Board also calendars out our upcoming year during the April Board Meeting. As we focus on collaborating with key stakeholders and ensuring our ENDS are aligned with the state of the profession, everything comes back to connecting with and supporting our members.

Throughout the year, we seek input directly from you, our members. Over the past few years, we have consistently heard that students are struggling with their mental health more than ever. Advocacy and leadership have also continued to be a priority as we continue to help our administrators/staff, parents, and communities understand our role. We will continue to connect with other professional organizations and professionals in the state to support our ENDS, and you!

In just a few months, we hope to see you all in Green Bay at our Summer Academy! Our key topics covered in our workshops include: School Refusal and Anxiety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Support (including the UPDATED suicide prevention curriculum now available from the DPI), and ASCA Model Implementation. This is a great opportunity to work with your team, and also collaborate with other counselors from throughout the state.

While we have our awesome in-person events, we will also continue to provide virtual opportunities for you to connect with each other, and your WSCA Board! We offer multiple SIG groups and online learning topics throughout the month, and as always, your WSCA Board is available to support you! Please reach out anytime!

Thank you!!

~Erika Spear

ASCA Connections

Share Your Feedback on Standards

ASCA is seeking feedback about the ASCA School Counselor Professional Standards & Competencies, which outline the mindsets and behaviors school counselors need to meet the rigorous demands of the school counseling profession and the needs of pre-K–12 students. Please complete this questionnaire to provide your insights on the standards by May 31 to guide the committee’s revision work.

ASCA-Certified School Counselor (ACSC) Certification

The ASCA-Certified School Counselor (ACSC) certification demonstrates school counselor knowledge in designing, implementing and assessing a school counseling program. School counselors who hold the ACSC demonstrate their commitment to the highest levels of professionalism, ethical practice and continuing professional development in their school counseling practice. Because this certification requires completion of the Praxis, it’s a great opportunity for graduating students to show potential employers their documented expertise.  Learn more about how to apply.  ACSC applications are accepted twice per year: Jan. 15 (awarded in May) and June 15 (awarded in September).

Feature Article – Paradigm Shift: Seeing Choices Differently

Paradigm Shift: Seeing Choices Differently

Joseph Wiesner, School Counselor, Lincoln High School, Manitowoc Public School District

A student enters my office, visibly distressed, expressing an inability to attend class due to overwhelming anxiety. They recount a recent breakup, feeling like they’ll never find love again. As they pour out their troubles, I listen intently, allowing them time to share what they value in their world. Sometimes, I offer a simple acknowledgment, “You’re right,” which often surprises them, leading to a deeper reflection on their truth.

Reflecting back on my days in graduate school, I recall a pivotal lesson on counseling theories and understanding human behavior. This learning led me to develop a tool to engage with students struggling with their emotions and choices. The concept of taking responsibility for our feelings, thoughts, and perspectives became a cornerstone in my approach to guiding students through challenging times.

Mental health has emerged as a significant concern, with many students grappling with issues like anxiety and stress. Unlike my childhood, where discussions on mental well-being were scarce, today’s students are more aware but often lack coping strategies. As students share their struggles, I help them realize their role in managing their emotions and actions, sparking conversations that empower them to navigate their challenges.

In my early career, a simple coffee cup adorned with a whimsical SpongeBob design became a powerful metaphor. By asking students to describe how they see SpongeBob’s smile on the cup, we delve into the notion of paradigms – how our perspectives shape our reality. This exercise prompts students to consider diverse viewpoints and understand that differing opinions can coexist without conflict.

Through discussions around the coffee cup analogy, students learn the importance of acknowledging alternate perspectives. They discover that being open to different viewpoints enriches their decision-making and fosters empathy. Embracing this shift in paradigms allows them to break free from limitations, empowering them to take control of their choices and chart a course toward personal growth.

In essence, navigating life’s challenges involves recognizing that what we perceive as ‘right’ is subjective and influenced by our unique paradigms. Embracing diverse perspectives opens up new possibilities, enabling us to make informed decisions and cultivate fruitful relationships. By turning the metaphorical ‘cup’ of our perceptions, we embark on a transformative journey of self-awareness and empowerment.

DPI Connections

CONGRATULATIONS!  Wisconsin Granted State Reciprocity for RAMP Recognition

The Wisconsin School Counseling Program of Excellence (POE Award) is a joint collaboration between the  Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Wisconsin School Counselor Association  (WSCA) to recognize school counseling programs that demonstrate an exemplary data-informed and outcome-based comprehensive school counseling program. The application process is an all-inclusive collection of 10 components that align with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model, Wisconsin’s adopted comprehensive school counseling program model. Schools that earn the Wisconsin School Counseling Program of Excellence Award state recognition will be eligible for ASCA RAMP (Recognized ASCA Model Program), which is awarded by ASCA as the highest national recognition for a school counseling program. 

Wisconsin School Counseling Program of Excellence Award Benefits 

  • Applications reviewed by Wisconsin reviewers with extensive knowledge of ASCA RAMP prior to your application being forwarded to ASCA for ASCA RAMP* 
  • Communication sent to your school’s principal and superintendent informing them of your exemplary school counseling program recognition 
  • Template press release to individualize and send to local press 
  • Certificate suitable for framing and displaying on your office wall 
  • School recognition at the annual WSCA Conference 
  • Recognition at a WSCA reception 
  • Recognition in the WSCA School Counselor Newsletter and on the WSCA website
  • Recognition in the DPI Newsletter and website 
  • Invited to be on a panel during a sectional at the Wisconsin State Education Convention 

* Note that recognition by ASCA is contingent upon ASCA’s receipt of the ASCA application fee payment. School applicants will be responsible for the ASCA RAMP application fee to ASCA. 

Look for details about the POE award and how to apply in the next few weeks. 

DPI Recognizes 3 Schools for Earning ASCA RAMP Designation 

Review the press release shared highlighting the three Wisconsin schools recognized with the ASCA RAMP Designation.

Out for Safe Schools™ Badges

Out for Safe Schools™ badges are:

  • A way to identify an adult ready to talk about LGBTQ+ issues
  • A source of information for adults and youth
  • The size of an employee or student ID to be worn on a lanyard

Badges are free and can be requested from the Wisconsin DPI by emailing Learn more about the badges here

Additional information on LGBTQ+ concepts and best practices are available here via on demand modules.

School-Based Suicide Prevention Gatekeeping Module

A series of suicide prevention modules are available, with additional modules currently in development (Postvention, Policy Planning) for education professionals to increase their knowledge of suicide prevention and skills in responding to youth with suicidal ideation.

You Spoke, We Listened

Legislative Updates

Legislative and Advocacy Updates for May 2024

Preconference Workshop: Advocacy 101 and Beyond – School Counselor State Level Advocacy

Registration and event details for our Advocacy 101 & Beyond Preconference Workshop are on our Preconference Schedule webpage.

2023-2024 Professional Development

Counselor Connections

Conference Information & Updates

Members Corner