Board Chair Message: Summer Academy a Success!
By: Olin Morrison

Thank you to all those who attended the Wisconsin School Counselor Association Summer Academy.  What a powerful day filled with top notch professional development!
Recently, I had the pleasure of listening to Lieutenant General Russel Honore at the American School Counselor Association Annual Conference.  In his speech, he echoed a common message.  We are teaching the young people who will need to solve the complex and imminent challenges of today and tomorrow.  Even though these were words that I, like you, had probably heard countless times before, somehow it seemed to ring truer in the light of recent events.
It is beyond doubt, our country is facing some tremendous challenges.  However, Ghandi said, “a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.”  When I turn off the 24 hour news cycle and interact, I am met by strong hearts and beautiful souls.  I refuse to stop believing that our country’s culture is strong.  Few things are more indicative of this than a room full of school counselors volunteering time during their “summer vacation” to enhance their own cultural competence.  My hat is off to you Wisconsin School Counselors, you are catalysts for change and warriors for good.

Executive Director Message

By Stacy Eslick, WSCA Executive Director

It is so hard to believe that summer is almost over!  I hope you were able to rest and recharge for the upcoming school year. As we begin thinking about the upcoming year, I wanted to share some of the learning and planning that WSCA has been working on over the summer.
I was honored to represent WSCA along with Board Chair Olin Morrison and Assistant Board Chair Angela Goebel at the ASCA Leadership Development Institute in New Orleans.  WSCA is viewed as a leader among school counselor associations and shared our best practices in implementation of the Policy Governance Model, Government Relations advocacy, successful partnerships and amazing conference.  WSCA also has the amazing Lisa Koenecke serving on the ASCA Board of Directors.
WSCA hosted our own Leadership Development Institute for the Board of Directors and Coordinator teams in late July.  WSCA will be focusing on providing more advocacy on behalf of school counselors by increasing the knowledge and understanding administrators, staff, parents and the community have about the role of the school counselor. 
The WSCA Board of Directors has charged WSCA Staff with ensuring all WSCA members are culturally competent. As racial tensions rise in our country it is critical that school counselors do our own work to understand our internal lens/biases and learn from others that have different experiences.  WSCA partnered with the RTI Center to begin the conversation of cultural competency for school counselors at the WSCA Summer Academy.  WSCA believed it was critical to take the learning on cultural competence and incorporate it into a comprehensive school counseling program.  Mark Kuranz, retired ASCA Director of Education and Training, spent the afternoon helping counselors create action plans to implement when they return to school in a few short weeks. WSCA was flattered to have Richard Wong, ASCA Executive Director, attend Summer Academy to learn more about how WSCA is providing professional development to counselors in the area of cultural competency.
In 2014 Michelle Obama spoke to school counselors at the ASCA conference in Florida about the Reach Higher initiative (  Over 30 states have come on board with this initiative and created state leadership teams.  Due to Wisconsin being a local control state there has been no movement in the creation of a Reach Higher Wisconsin.  WSCA was approached by  Michigan leaders, who created the Reach Higher Midwest Collaborative and asked to provide leadership in the creation of a statewide team.  WSCA excitedly assumed this role and hosted the first Reach Higher Wisconsin leadership team meeting in June!  Reach Higher Wisconsin is also a member of the Reach Higher Midwest collaborative.  WSCA has been the planning team for the Reach Higher Midwest convening at Michigan State University in August.  Look for more information about this project in the upcoming months!
The WSCA membership team has been working hard on a special membership drive project.  If you renew your membership by September 30th you will receive a free WSCA t-shirt.  We will also have these t-shirts for sale at WSCA events (Summer Academy, Fall Summit, etc.). 
The above is just a snapshot of all the work done this summer by WSCA.  Our team is looking forward to an amazing year!  

Nurtured Heart Approach: A Critical Tool to Building Our Students
By Tabitha Stelter

As a former middle school counselor, I know the importance of self-worth in a child during the barrage of insults that he/she might face during adolescence from cruel peers.  Add to that the probability of a mental illness of 1 in 5 between the ages of 13 through 18 years old (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2014; and one is left wondering what can be done.  One handy tool that educators can wear in their belt is the Nurtured Heart Approach® .
Nurtured Heart was presented by Tammy Holtan Arnol and Robin Marsden, schools counselors at the Verona Area and Monroe School Districts respectively in 2015 at the WSCA Conference in Madison.  That one-hour sectional left me wanting more! I wasn’t the only one apparently. This past conference it was a full-day pre-conference workshop. A buzz-word? It works, whether it is just a fad or something that proves to stand the test of time.
The reason for the popularity is not only because of its effectiveness in building up a child’s “inner-wealth™” and reducing difficult behaviors, but the power of positivity that this approach and Tammy Holtan Arnol spread.  A former French teacher turned school counselor for the Verona Area School District, Holtan Arnol is now a Positive Practices Coach.  This allows her to train and coach staff in the Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA), and because she has turned so many colleagues on to NHA the district boasts 26 Trainers (one high school staff member most recently completing the Certification Training Intensive in Fargo at the end of July). This also gives other districts, community members, and parents the opportunity to learn the approach through workshops like the one I attended in June.
The workshop was two full days with both sit and get and experiential activities so attendees left with some practical tools to put to use right away.  I attended with a group of four other educators from my school district and I think that was helpful.  The five of us were pretty excited to implement the approach throughout the 4K-7th building that we inhabit, so one of us will hold the others accountable in actually carrying out the strategies! 
Aside from the lecture combined with activity, which is what most good workshops look like, this training had another caveat.  The format was two smaller groups for the majority of the information sharing, but then we came together as a large group for the experiential components.  This provided the opportunity to practice with different attendees and it kept me alert with a hint of awkwardness.  It went back and forth like this both days, so by the end I was pretty comfortable delivering the different levels of recognitions to any of the 60+ attendees in the room with me.
Now what are recognitions you ask and what is this Nurtured Heart business all about? I’ll give you a very brief run down, but in the event you want to learn more I have referenced a few of the texts at the end.  Also, Ruth Greiber wrote an amazing article in the May 2016 WSCAlink, which is linked here. If you haven’t already read her journey to greatness with NHA please take the time to do so now.
The Nurtured Heart Approach® is based on The 3 Stands™:  Stand #1: Absolutely No!  I will not energize negative behavior.  Stand #2: Absolutely Yes! I will relentlessly energize positive behavior. Stand #3: Absolute Clarity: I will provide complete clarity regarding rules which have fair and consistent boundaries and consequences.  Within each stand, attendees learned well-illustrated examples to help to reinforce the “upside-down” energy delivery that we are all guilty of as educators and, especially, as parents.  I know that I am constantly telling my children “don’t do this or that” and if I’ve told them enough times, you can imagine how far from calm I am in my directive.  Most children, mine included, seem to grow less and less willing to comply when they get little praise in return.  They enjoy the energy that comes with that exasperated tone of voice or increased volume.  When a simple “good job” is doled out like the endless tootsie rolls at every parade, the praise just isn’t as juicy.
The second stand shares four different levels of recognitions or types of praise.  I will not describe each of them here, but know that they range from simply acknowledging what the child (or spouse for that matter) has done to actually detailing the misbehavior that they chose not to do and then attaching character qualities.  The very difficult children could also benefit from the “creative recognitions™” in which you can help him/her to find success and make them feel that it was their choice all along.  This enables him/her to believe you a little more when you tell them about the quality they have.
The third stand is a no-brainer, but not something that recent educational approaches have endorsed much in the height of Positive Behavior Interventions/Supports.  This is where we are absolutely clear in behavior we don’t want to see happening in our students/children.  So many times we are asked to frame rules into a positive statement.  For example, “no running in the hallway” might be phrased as “Walking on the right” in your PBIS matrix.  With NHA, the expectation for behavior is short and sweet and leaves no wiggle room.  The keys to successful implementation is that first of all, you have spent the time front-loading Stands #1 and #2 so you have the trust and respect of the child. Secondly, you have delivered the rules early, often and have explained what will happen if the rules are broken.  In the event that a rule isn’t followed, don’t energize negativity or embarrass the child but simply deliver the “time-out”.  No, not sitting in the corner or even isolated from peers; just a chance for him or her to re-set. 
You want to learn more, I know it!  There is no way that I could describe the approach in its entirety for you in this article.  I recognize that you read through all of this and are still eager to learn more- that shows your desire to grow in your positivity and the knowledge that you can affect others’ sense of inner wealth.  To your greatness journey, I’ll leave you with one more amazing revelation.  Holtan Arnol shared that she and her family practice the approach at home by limiting the time they allow each other to complain about things outside their control.  This leaves more time for nurturing each other and I look forward to having that same attitude in my home.  Wouldn’t the world sleep better and happier if we all adopted this?!?!
Books by NHA Authors:
Bravo, L., Block, M. L. & Glasser, H. (2012). Notching Up: The Nurtured Heart Approach The New Inner Wealth Initiative for Educators Workbook. Tucson, AZ: Nurtured Heart Publications.
Bravo, L., Bowdidge, J. & Glasser, H. (2013). Transforming the Difficult Child Workbook: An Interactive Guide to The Nurtured Heart Approach for Parents, Teachers, Practitioners and All Other Caregivers. Tucson, AZ: Nurtured Heart Publications.
Stafford, C.  (2012). Nurture My Heart: A Nurtured Heart Approach Handbook. Snohomish, WA: Greatness Grows Publications
You can find more resources and information on the Children’s Success Foundation’s website:

Staff Spotlight

Holly Kortemeier, Graduate Student Coordinator
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater


My name is Holly Kortemeier, and I am one of the new co-coordinators for the WSCA graduate student committee. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Ripon College and am currently in my second year in the Counselor Education program at UW-Whitewater. I chose to pursue a career in school counseling because I love working with children and adolescents, and I believe that helping young people build a solid foundation early in life effectively propels them toward healthy, successful futures! Becoming a co-coordinator for the WSCA graduate student committee seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn how to best assist my future students and to network with experienced, professional school counselors. I look forward to working with everyone in WSCA this year!

Committee Updates & Upcoming Events

Professional Development 

2016 Fall Summit Information

Friday, October 21st, 2016 - 9:00a.m.-4:00p.m. (includes lunch)
CESA 4 Conference Center – West Salem, WI

Session Details: Mental Health in Schools: Jennifer Muehlenkamp is a national expert on suicidal behavior and non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) in youth.  Participants will learn best practices and interventions to support students with non-suicidal self-injury, depression and anxiety in the school environment.

One Graduate Credit will be offered through Viterbo University for $200.00.

Registration is now open 

Membership Update

Don’t forget about our current membership promotion and earn a FREE t-shirt!

From now until September 30, 2016, WSCA will be offering a FREE School Counselor t-shirt to anyone that becomes a member or renews their membership! This is a great way to promote our roles as SCHOOL Counselors!! Besides receiving our awesome new t-shirt, by becoming a WSCA member or renewing your membership, you will also receive all of our member benefits including:
  • Reduced rates for all professional development opportunities (INCLUDING SUMMER ACADEMY AND OUR ANNUAL CONFERENCE!! -Just a reminder that the discount for the annual conference alone pays for the annual membership fee.)
  • Access to Counselink and WSCALink
  • Members Only online resources through
  • Advocacy and legislative updates
  • Scholarships and professional recognition
Once you submit your membership application, please keep your eye on your email for a message from our Membership Coordinator, Erika Spear! She will contact you directly regarding your t-shirt!
Please contact Erika Spear ( if you have any questions regarding our current membership promotion!

Professional Recognition and Scholarship Update

The Professional Recognition and Scholarship Committee is excited to announce a new Professional Recognition Award! This year, we have added a School Counseling Team Award for a team of school counselors who go above and beyond for their students. Additionally, we are excited to announce our continued scholarship sponsorships with  Educators Credit Union, Career Cruising, and Method Test Prep. Be on the look out for our scholarship and professional recognition applications to open up. If you are interested in joining the Professional Recognition and Scholarship committee, please contact Katie Nechodom, Professional Recognition and Scholarship Coordinator, at
High School and Graduate School Scholarship applications are due November 1, 2016. Professional Recognition applications are due December 1, 2016. These applications are now available on WSCA’s website, with a direct link to the applications on the WSCA home page.
The process for selecting WSCA School Counselor of the Year has adjusted this year. Nominees and applicants will apply through the WSCA website. The WSCA School Counselor of the Year will then proceed to the American School Counselor of the Year through the ASCA website. The deadline is to nominate or apply is December 1, 2016.
Individuals can nominate others or even self-nominate. We encourage applicants to start the nomination process early because the WSCA School Counselor of the Year will be able to apply for the ASCA School Counselor of the Year, which a very extensive process. If you have any questions, please contact Katie Nechodom, Professional Recognition and Scholarship Coordinator at
High School App Link -
Graduate School App Link -
Professional Recognition Nomination App link -​

Publications Update

September WSCAlink: Anxiety and Depression Needs of our Students Deadline August 10
October WSCAlink: WSCPAR Questions Answered Deadline September 10
November WSCAlink: ACP with All Staff Buy-In & Support Deadline October 10

More topics to be announced soon via Twitter @WSCAlink! Follow WSCA on Facebook too for WSCAlink topic updates and deadline reminders- WSCA (Wisconsin School Counselor Association).
In the meantime, send questions/articles to and the Editorial Board will let you know when it will be used. Don’t be afraid, be published!

Conference Update

WSCA Conference 2017

Feb. 21-23

GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE!!!!  The Wisconsin School Counselor Association and its members have done such a good job of educating key stakeholders about the positive impact that school counselors can have on students, that those same stakeholders are now calling on school counselors to be leaders in education across the state!!!!
  • Building principals are recognizing that in order for school climate to respond to PBIS initiatives, it is imperative that they have strong school counselors heavily involved in the development, delivery, and management of those interventions.
  • After hearing testimony from school counselors, state legislators have recognized the importance of career development in the PK-12 system, going so far as to mandate Academic and Career Planning for all 6-12 grade students starting in the fall of 2017.
  • Superintendents are beginning to ask school counselors to lead the ACP process in their districts, acknowledging that school counselors are the only educators specifically educated and trained in Career Counseling.
  • Business leaders in communities across the state are seeking to form strong working relationships with school counselors in order to be better informed of the opportunities that exist for their companies to be involved in the K-12 educational process.
  • Parents are becoming more and more aware of the many educational options beyond the K-12 system, and are asking school counselors to help them and their children navigate through all the options in order to make the most informed decisions for their children.
Even at the national level it is apparent that more and more people are recognizing that school counselors are a significant part of a quality PK-12 educational system.
  • At the federal level, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA--which replaced No Child Left Behind, NCLB) has new language that expressly names school counselors in several areas (which NCLB did not).  This is an acknowledgement that school counselors are being called upon to be a significant part of helping students succeed.
  • First Lady Michelle O’bama has called upon school counselors to be a major part of her Reach Higher Initiative.  To further express the importance of school counselors, the President and First Lady have hosted the School Counselor of the Year event at the White House.
So, you get the picture.  We have been very, very successful in convincing lots of people that school counselors are critical to student success.  And having done such an effective job, all those people are now calling on our profession to be leaders in education.  This is a pivotal moment for school counselors.  We need to show evidence that we are not all talk and no game.  It’s time for us to ANSWER THE CALL!
The 2017 WSCA Conference will be focused on providing school counselors with tools, ideas, and resources to most effectively Answer the Call.  Check out the keynote speakers we have lined up for you:
·         Keynotes -

Make sure you put the WSCA Conference on your calendar right away, and get the dates cleared with your administrators.  February 21-23, 2017.

We know there are so many terrific things being done by school counselors all across the state.  We’re calling on you to share your expertise with your colleagues.  We need quality sectionals for elementary, middle, and high school levels.
Just click here to get to the WSCA Sectional Proposal page:

Sectional proposals are due by November 11th.  Please consider adding your ideas and energy to the conference by doing a sectional.  It’s what makes the WSCA conference so powerful!

August 2016

Board Chair Message: Summer Academy a Success!

Executive Director Message

Committee Updates & Announcements