A Message from the WSCA Executive Director
Dear WSCA Members,
It is hard to believe we are going into our third school year with COVID still in state and national headlines. It appears we will be dealing with the impact of COVID for much longer than any of us had initially anticipated and will continue to balance supporting students and schools while also taking care of ourselves and our own families.
I have been thinking of all of you the past few weeks as students are returning to school. It was wonderful hearing how counselors across the state truly took time over the summer away from work. It also sounds like many of you came back to last minute changes and stressful situations in your schools that you have had to navigate and deal with. There have also been heartwarming stories on how working with your students has helped you recenter and bring joy even in stressful times.
Our Director of Operations team met for our annual Leadership Development Institute in August and spent a great deal of time reflecting on how we can best support you. There is so much that we can’t control so how do we create a community of school counselors to help each other through yet another year of COVID? Know that your WSCA leaders care deeply about your well being and are working to provide space and opportunities just for you.
WSCA leaders are looking forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming annual conference in November at the Kalahari. We also know that it may not be possible for you to attend in person so we have created a virtual option for you to still feel connected to our largest annual event.
Please know we are here for you! Reach out, connect, and let your community support you.
Members, are you looking for a way to get involved in WSCA without a big time commitment? Join the Scholarship and Professional Recognition Committee! We are looking for committee members to help us review Professional Recognition Award applications and Scholarship applications during fall and winter. The time commitment is only 5-10 hours for the entire year!
Our first committee meeting will be held virtually on September 21st at 4:30pm.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to join. We’d love to have you!
– Lauren & Katy
A Message from the WSCA Board of Directors
Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year from your WSCA board!
The summer seemed to fly by, but we hope you had a chance to practice your 4 R’s this summer.
We know that the 2020-2021 school year was filled with many challenges and that we have a lot of work to do as school counselors as we begin a new year. However, we know that as Wisconsin School Counselors you are up for those challenges and WSCA is here to support you as you dive into the important work of the school year.
Our board had an opportunity to gather together this summer for our summer leader development institute. As a new board member, I was able to immerse myself into the work of the WSCA board and the way the board leads our organization. The WSCA board uses a policy governance model, created by Dr. John Carver, to lead. (If you want to learn more about this model, here is a resource: https://www.carvergovernance.com/model.htm.) As a part of this model, the board focuses on our purpose (ends). Our ends drive all that we do as an organization. I thought I’d share them with you as we begin the year.
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.
- School counselors (active and pre-service) have the knowledge necessary for effective school counseling practices to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive school counseling programs.
- School Counselors have the knowledge about current ethical and professional practices and their application.
- School Counselors are knowledgeable about trends in school counseling and education.
- School Counselors are knowledgeable about leadership and advocacy principles.
- School Counselors are knowledgeable about equitable and culturally responsive practices.
- 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.
To sum these up, the purpose of the WSCA board is to assist you as school counselors:
- To use an equity lens to develop, implement and evaluate your comprehensive school counseling programs.
- To be knowledgeable about current ethical and professional practices, trends in school counseling and education, leadership and advocacy principles, and equitable and culturally responsive practices.
- To ensure key stakeholders understand the impact of a comprehensive school counseling program.
Each and every one of you is WSCA and we look forward to connecting with you throughout the school year!
Feature Article – 10 Tips for Promoting Social and Emotional Learning at Your School
10 Tips for Promoting Social and Emotional Learning at Your School
School District of Waukesha
The first few weeks of school can set the tone for the year. Having routines in place, working to develop relationships and creating a safe and supportive environment are critical steps towards a successful year. With that in mind here are some tips to help you start the school year right:
10 tips for promoting social and emotional learning at your school
- Model healthy problem solving and coping skills for your students and colleagues.
- Get a pulse for the day by checking in with your students (and staff). Recognizing strong emotions early in the day and addressing them can build relationships and avoid dysregulation later in the day.
- Incorporate literature, activities, announcements or displays that promote equity, empathy, and compassion for others. Weaving SEL into academics and the environment increases connections for students and builds social awareness.
- Offer opportunities for service to the school and community. Students thrive when they have purpose and responsibility.
- Include mindfulness in your routine. This is a great way to start the day or ease into learning after a transition.
- Create a calming space for students to practice coping skills and self-management. Calming corners, mindful mazes or safe places throughout the building can help students reflect and refocus.
- Take advantage of teachable moments and create situations for restorative justice. Make sure disrespect among students is addressed with empathy, but also set the stage for forgiveness, positive change and relationship building.
- Highlight and praise prosocial behavior throughout the day. Reinforcing skills and connecting our daily interactions to social emotional learning is very powerful.
- Encourage reflection by having class meetings or facilitating respectful problem solving among students. Journaling can also be a powerful reflection tool and boost social and emotional learning and self-awareness.
- Remember how connected our emotional and physical health are. Taking care of yourself is crucial so that you are prepared to care for others.
You Spoke, We Listened
Social Emotional Learning
Resource Shared From: The National Equity Project
You may have read that there are concerns that Social Emotional Learning does not meet the needs of all of our students, especially those historically marginalized by educational systems. The National Equity Project provides guidance and resources for schools to ensure SEL is infused within an equity framework.
The National Equity Project states that “…to build equity consciousness and capacity, we need to create significant time for professional learning, reflection, and collaboration so that educators have regular opportunities to:
- increase their own self-awareness of how their various social identities in terms of race, class, gender, language, etc. shaped their own educational experiences and shape their definitions of success and their interpretations of student behavior
- build their knowledge of and reflect on the history of race, racism, and exclusion in the United States and build their skill for discussing this history with students in the context of lessons and class discussions
- deconstruct, reflect on, and design lessons that support the active valuing, engagement, and development of the whole child
- learn about the neuroscience of learning; those signals that trigger a “threat” response especially for students of color as well as strategies explicitly designed to decrease stress and generate a sense of calm and well-being
- develop a repertoire of approaches for building trust, especially across race, class, and culture.”
You can also find a resource guide that highlights pitfalls and recommendations for educators seeking to implement SEL to make progress on equity and inclusion here. Learn more about SEL and Equity on the National Equity Project website https://www.nationalequityproject.org/frameworks/social-emotional-learning-and-equity.
Excerpt from “Protecting Pupil Rights”
Resource Shared From: Carolyn Stone, writing for ASCA Magazine
This month we are highlighting an excerpt from a very important article that Carolyn Stone wrote for the March/April 2021 ASCA Magazine, Protecting Pupil Rights. This article walks through all the laws and legal guidelines that need to be taken into consideration by schools and counselors in supporting students’ emotional well being, including the use of screeners. You can find the article in it’s entirety at https://www.schoolcounselor.org/Magazines/March-April-2021/Protecting-Pupil-Rights.
Scenario: An increasing number of your students appear to have more mental health concerns since the start of the pandemic. You want to require all students to complete a survey about any mental health problems, suicidal ideation, counseling needs, psychological problems and family mental health issues they may have. Are there any legal and ethical considerations in conducting this survey?
In 1978, Sen. Orrin Hatch sponsored the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), commonly referred to as the parental consent amendment. If a school district wants to require students to reveal personal information about themselves or their family, the school must first obtain written parental consent. PPRA expressly requires schools receiving federal funding to obtain written consent from parents/guardians and non-federally funded schools to give notice before requiring minor students to participate in any “survey, analysis or evaluation that reveals information concerning the following areas:
- Political affiliations;
- Mental and psychological problems potentially embarrassing to the student and the student’s family;
- Sex behavior and attitudes;
- Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating and demeaning behavior;
- Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
- Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians and ministers;
- Religious practices, affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parent;
- Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program” (United States Department of Education, 2020).
PPRA applies to all educators, not just school counselors, and applies to instructional materials regardless of the format of the material: printed, audio-visual, electronic or digital. The exception is academic tests, which was tried in court when parents insisted on viewing state tests in advance. In Triplett v. Livingston County Board of Education, KY Court of Appeals, 1997, the court stated, “Parents do not have the right to opt out of state tests, since none of the questions of those tests would trigger the protections of the PPRA.”
To reiterate, compliance differs based on funding streams. If the survey involves information from any of the eight protected categories and is from a school receiving federal funds, then written parental consent of the survey is required. If the school doesn’t receive federal funds but the survey still deals with highly sensitive information, the parents must still be notified in advance and given the opportunity to opt their child out of participating.
A New School Year, New Resources for Students
By: Wisconsin Technical College System
If you haven’t visited the Wisconsin Technical College System’s website for a while, you may be surprised when you get there. Earlier this year the System combined two websites into one, providing one-stop shopping for everything from program information, to System initiatives, to graduate outcomes.
Combining these sites into one, www.wtcsystem.edu, provides a comprehensive place for information to help you better serve your students. Now you can visit one site to find which colleges offer which programs and what the outcomes are for students in various pathways or apprenticeships. You can see the median salary for apprenticeships, for example, is over $81,000/year, based on real-world outcomes from the 2019-2020 apprenticeship completers. Additionally, you can find information on how to attend a WTCS Board meeting, find contact information for the technical college of your choice, and learn more about the System’s most recent initiatives.
While we have been busy revising the website and available content, we are also keeping with tradition and preparing to send out the annual guidebook and career posters. These materials have been updated to include the latest information on the technical colleges, including the name change of a college in Northwest Wisconsin to Northwood Technical College. We are also printing career posters in English, Spanish and Hmong to display in your offices or classrooms.
We mailed postcards this summer to the schools on our most recent mailing list requesting advance orders for these materials. If for some reason you did not receive this request or you didn’t have a chance to place an order, it’s not too late. You can still place an order online at www.wtcsystem.edu/order and receive your materials shortly after school starts. Even though many things have changed in the past year, we will continue to print the guidebook and posters and will accept orders throughout the year.
We wish you well as you launch into the 2021-22 school year. Be sure to check the website this fall to view the new interactive version of the guidebook – www.wtcsystem.edu/guidebook
WSCA’s Afternoon on the Hill
We are so excited to have counselors join us again for our annual Afternoon on the Hill event! It is critically important that school counselor voices and stories are heard by our state legislature.
Come learn how to effectively advocate for the profession you love and put it to practice! This opportunity will provide an overview of how to get your message out to your legislators about what you do, the difference you make, and how they can help support our mission. Following an interactive training session, we will meet with legislators during scheduled appointments at the Capitol. This event is an outstanding opportunity for professional leadership and advocacy. Over the years, our presence on the Hill has paid, and will continue to pay, dividends for WSCA and all school counselors statewide! Join us, and keep the positive momentum growing!
Want more information?
Register to participate in WSCA’s Afternoon on the Hill
Ask a question and/or join WSCA’s Government Relations Committee