November 2022

Table of Contents

A Message from the WSCA Executive Director

Dear WSCA Members,

For all of you that were able to attend the WSCA conference last week, I hope you have returned to your school rejuvenated and with new resources to further help your students! It was so wonderful seeing all of you, the energy and enthusiasm of us being together was invigorating. 

It is easy to fall into the busyness of “getting caught up” after being out of the building for a few days and then don’t make the time to apply our learning from conference.  WSCA created a simple conference reflection and action plan for attendees this year that is designed to help you capture your learning, planning, and networking to help you remember and implement all your great ideas! 

One of the questions that I have been asking WSCA leaders is what was your favorite part of the conference?  Most of them have been sharing about relationships and people they enjoyed spending time with. My favorite part of conference was that so many of you felt comfortable enough to share your stories, challenges, and successes with me.  WSCA is all of us, when we come together and do our best to support one another we all do better.  

Please continue to engage and be involved in all that WSCA has to offer throughout the year.  There are so many opportunities outside our flagship conference to support the tremendous work you are doing on behalf of your students, schools, and communities.  

~Stacy Eslick

A Message from the WSCA Board of Directors

It’s November, and we just had the Wisconsin School Counseling Association Conference, which is like a holiday for school counselors! The WSCA Board enjoyed talking to school counselors at the conference last week with the purpose to hear from you about how WSCA best serves all school counselors with an emphasis on our Ends Policies (see below)

WSCA Ends Policies: 

The Wisconsin School Counselor Association exists so there are conditions enabling Wisconsin School Counselors to practice with the highest level of effectiveness using an equity lens to the extent that justifies available resources.

  1. School counselors (active and pre-service) have the knowledge necessary for effective school counseling practices to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive school counseling programs.
    1. School Counselors have the knowledge about current ethical and professional practices and their application.
    2. School counselors are knowledgeable about trends in school counseling and education.
    3. School counselors are knowledgeable about leadership and advocacy principles.
    4. School counselors are knowledgeable about equitable and culturally responsive practices.
  2. Key Stakeholders (including but not limited to) school administrators, policy makers, and community members will understand the impact made by the school counselor implementing a comprehensive school counseling program.

Look for a summary of what we learned from all of you in the December WSCAlink! 

A reminder that we are seeking nominations for the Board, and applications close on December 16th.  If you are interested in learning more about being on the board, please join the Nominations and Elections committee on Monday, December 5th, at 4:00 pm for a virtual meeting do discuss the work of the board, the application process, and answer any questions you may have (log into the members-only page to access the zoom meeting link). 

I have been serving on the WSCA Board for a little over a year and really like being part of a group of people who want to ensure your association is equitable and meaningful for all. 

I hope the end of fall going into winter is one that is full of professional and personal growth!

~Aria Krieser

2022-2023 Professional Recognition Highlight

Cindy Bourget, Elk Mound Middle School, Elk Mound School District

WSCA 2023 School Counselor of the Year Award

John Muir Middle School, Wausau School District

Heidi Schmidt, Jena Treu, Susan Holster, Nicole Melander, Suzanne Huss

2023 Wisconsin School Counseling Team Award

Sarah Elmore, East High School, Madison Metropolitan School District

WSCA 2023 Equity In Action Award

Feature Article – They're Anxious, So Now What?

They’re Anxious, So Now What?

Andrea Berlin
Central High School, Sheboygan Area School District

Anxiety. To be honest, I am anxious while writing this article. Ha! But in all seriousness, we have all seen and felt the pressure of the increase in students presenting with anxiety in our schools. As school counselors, we are fixers and barrier-removers and the main point of support for many of our students. Knowing that this is not a quick fix is often overwhelming for us. We’ve rearranged their schedule, we’ve given them a fast pass to the office for when they are feeling anxious, and we’ve given them fidgets. So why aren’t they just coming to school? If it were just that easy, right?  

I work at an alternative charter high school, serving approximately 200 students in grades 9-12. Prior to starting at our school, the principal and I meet with all of our students and families to learn more about them and what they need to be successful at school. During those meetings we are often told that due to their anxiety they struggled to get to school, their previous school was too big, they felt lost, and they tried to get out of bed to go to school but just couldn’t do it. In all cases they want to do better, they believe they can do better, and most importantly they want to feel better. They have seen a therapist; they are on medication; the student and loved ones just don’t know what to do anymore. You can see the shame and guilt on their faces. They are willing to try anything. I’m sure you have seen this same scenario yourselves over and over again. 

But where do we begin to provide support for our anxious students? One helpful way is to validate their feelings. What they are feeling is real to them. We cannot relieve their anxiety, but we need to acknowledge it and say it’s ok. We work through the “what ifs” and recognize that their worst-case scenario may cause pain, but what if the best-case scenario happens? For example, I was talking with a student who was anxious to go on a field trip because they didn’t know anyone, and what if no one talked with them or sat by them? I then asked about the student’s best-case scenario, and the student said “making a friend”. This led me to remind them that if they only seek ways to be comfortable they will miss out on opportunities to grow and be challenged. We can’t hide from anxiety so let’s get through it. Additionally, we work with our school staff to expand their circle of support that provides safety and empowerment to help them feel that they are not alone. Are these things the cure? Not all the time. Do we have 100% success? No. But through our crucial conversations with students, we have begun to form relationships that create an environment where students can build their confidence and know that it is okay to not be okay all of the time; where going to school feels attainable, even if we are taking one step forward and two steps back. We are with them, and we believe in their success!

You Spoke, We Listened

Legislative Updates

2022-2023 Professional Development

Counselor Connections

Conference Information & Updates

Members Corner