President's Message

PRIDE in Counseling
By Lisa Koenecke, WSCA President

Please join us at the Monona Terrace for the annual Wisconsin School Counselor Association's conference. 

Rekindle some friendships and make some new connections!

Inspirational speakers have been arranged for your professional development needs.

Dedicated conference committee members and WSCA board members have made this a conference not to miss!

Everyone will walk away feeling energized about our profession!

As school counselors, we have a Professional Responsibility In Developing Every student to become career, community and college ready.  WSCA’s annual conference in Madison is the place to be February 18-20, 2014.  Last year’s conference was a huge success.  I encourage you to make your arrangements early. If you plan to stay in a local hotel, please ask about the WSCA reserved block.  More lodging information will be on our website at

Your WSCA board of directors is working hard to develop a new strategic plan to ensure Wisconsin school counselors are highly trained practitioners.  We are striving to help counselors become experts in our Wisconsin and national ASCA model.  We want school counselors to be ethical, culturally competent, responsible with technology, and skilled at using data.  Come to the conference and learn more, and I invite you to present as well.  We are always looking for presentations from practicing school counselors at ALL levels.

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Topic of the Month:   Partnerships

Partnerships with Key Stakeholders
By Lisa Koenecke, WSCA President

Partnerships with key stakeholders in your community might not be the first thing that comes to mind as a school counselor.  But if you stop and think about it, we do this every day with our students (PK-Graduate).  If you are not working directly with students, perhaps you are partnering with those making decisions on how you do your job.  Every day we create relationships.  These could be with friends, family, co-workers, or community members.  Quite often these relationships turn into partnerships.  Start locally to partner globally.

Every day we create relationships.  These could be with friends, family, co-workers, or community members.  Quite often these relationships turn into partnerships.  Start locally to partner globally.

I am very fortunate to work in an amazingly supportive building.  Having a strong partnership based on trust with my administrators is paramount to my access to students.  Without this access, I would struggle to be effective in supporting students with their academic, personal/social, and career goal development.  Another positive partnership is with the people in our building.  Students teach me something every day (especially about technology & being culturally competent).  The staff at River Bluff Middle School is the best partners when it comes to ethically using data and evidence-based practices to guide program decisions.

Being an expert in the ASCA National Model allows me to be a collaborative leader advocating for systemic change.  This change can come from partnerships with key stakeholders.  My school board impacts my local agenda. WSCA is working with legislators to impact our state agenda, and we are fortunate to have ASCA impacting our national agendas surrounding education and student success.

As the current President of WSCA I want to be a visionary leader for all school counselors in Wisconsin.  We have an excellent partnership with DPI.  Other partners are our sponsors and exhibitors at our conference.  Other educational organizations that I would love to partner with might include (but not limited to):

AWSA, DWD, WASBO, WASDA, WCASS, PTA.  Lots of letters, but great opportunities to support students and families in Wisconsin, and potentially beyond.  Gregg Curtis (WSCA DPI Education Consultant) and I will be presenting the SPARC-W information at the 93rd Wisconsin State Education Convention.  We’ll have another WSCA sponsored Day on the Hill offered as a Pre-Conference on February 18th, 2014.  What a GREAT opportunity to meet your legislator and promote your quality work as a school counselor?  Thank you for your dedication to our profession.  If you are an emerging leader wanting to become more involved with WSCA, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

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SPARC-W: Spread the Word!
By Kelly Curtis, President Elect
Do your community members know what you really do as a school counselor?  Parents and students might have a pretty good idea, but what about business leaders, law enforcement and others?   As we build our programs, we find that connecting with key stakeholders can have a tremendous impact on our effectiveness and the reach of our programming.  One of the simplest ways to get the word out about what we do is to complete and publish a SPARC-W.
If you’ve been attending the WSCA Conference for the past several years, you have probably noticed increased attention being placed on the SPARC-W (The Support Personnel Accountability Report Card for Wisconsin.)  In 2007 a single school was awarded Program of Promise, and last year 11 schools accepted the honor.  If you’re still in the “what is the SPARC-W?” category, here is a rundown:  The SPARC is a continuous improvement document that gives a school counseling program and student support team an opportunity to demonstrate effective communication and a commitment to getting results.
The SPARC-W serves a vital purpose!  As the need for accountability increases in education, so does the need for accountability in school counseling.  Not only does the SPARC-W give a roadmap for doing this, it also offers a Program of Promise award for those completing the process to a high-degree of excellence.  And starting this year, it is only a two-page document – significantly streamlined from years past.  During the WSCA Conference, attendees will have several opportunities to learn more about the SPARC-W as well as those school counselors who have completed them:
·         Program of Promise Award Presentations;
·         Sectional Presentation on the SPARC-W;
·         SPARC-W documents enlarged and posted for all conference attendees to read.

I challenge you to increase your understanding of the SPARC-W.  If you thought the document seemed too difficult in the past, talk to Program of Promise winners and ask them to explain their SPARC-W.  If you collected some data, but just didn’t quite finish the SPARC-W, attend a WSCA sectional to get the ball rolling for next year. If this is your first time looking into the process, visit the WSCA Website to learn more.  The scoring rubric and past Program of Promise winners are available at .Your efforts with accountability and data-driven programming will pay dividends in your community.  Spread the word about the effectiveness of your program!

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Defining “Partnership”
By Lori Peacock, Past President

To ensure all students are “future” ready, key stakeholders in every community must find unique ways to work within collaborative partnerships so that ALL students are prepared to take their place in a rapidly changing world. Partnerships are the foundation on which to guarantee children, parents, educators and business, industry and community organizations understand not only the link between education and the world of work, but also create pathways to support student learning, real-world relevancy in classrooms, and develop in students the skills vital to be employable in the 21st century.
Before jumping into “collaborative partnerships” with key stakeholders, it is important for school counselors and their school district colleagues to:
1.      Answer two questions “why are partnerships important to our students’ futures?” and “what do we want or need?” from our partners.
2.      Define “collaborative partnerships.”
3.      Determine the key stakeholders in your community and/or region.
4.      Identify the person or persons who will work with the key stakeholders.
Successful partnerships with key stakeholders are built on relationships and on sustaining these important relationships. Everyone involved should have a solid understanding why you need collaborative partnerships, specifically how the community will benefit from your work together.  Initiating a collaborative relationship with key stakeholders prior to knowing why you are doing so has the potential to create frustration or ineffective partnerships for everyone involved, so do your homework first!
Defining Partnerships:  When you define partnerships for your school and district, the following ideas may provide a good foundation:
1.      Partnerships support programs, services or strategies where the school district and business, industry and/or community organizations are working together to [answer WHY? And WHAT?]
2.      Partnerships develop and sustain high-demand career pathways for all students. (aligns to the District’s Vision)
3.      Partnerships target academic and work-based learning experiences aligned to a career pathway for all students.
4.      Partnerships utilize business, industry or community facilities, staff knowledge & skills, equipment and/or financial resources to develop and sustain career pathways for all students.
5.      Partnerships adequately address next generation work-specific employability knowledge and skills.
6.      Partners commit to developing strong leaders and lifelong learners.
7.      Partnerships create approved, industry recognized certification programs to address workforce shortages or shortages of adequately trained entry-level workers in Brown County and northeast Wisconsin. (supports Senate Bill 331)
8.      Partners invest mutually on agreed upon resources of time, money, equipment, and/or expertise committed by all partners.
9.      Partnerships ensure all students graduate from high school college, career and community ready inspired to succeed in our diverse community. (aligns to the District Mission)
-Provided by the Green Bay Area Public School District, Green Bay, Wisconsin, 2013.

When you define why partnerships are important, who the key stakeholders are, and how the community will benefit from working together, you will have the basis on which to create and sustain professional relationships to effectively prepare students for the 21st century.  Preparing students for the world will require the entire community to come together to support student learning.  As school counselors, we are uniquely positioned to be leaders in developing and sustaining collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders and on behalf of our students, their families, and educators within our school and school district.

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Forming Partnerships for Career Exploration
By Paula Haugle, Professional Development Chair
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box to create career exploration opportunities for your students.  Many counselors work to form partnerships with local businesses.  Whether it’s setting up job shadows, field trips, or Youth Apprenticeships, students and businesses will both reap the benefits.  My school is in a small town, but there are still many businesses in town that have opened their doors for job shadows and career tours.  These opportunities don’t cost anything, but the students gain valuable insight into the world of work and possible future careers.  All it takes to set up are a few phone calls and approval of administration.
To gain approval might be tricky in some districts, but the worth can be proven by collecting and sharing data on student results.  In September 2013, I was able to facilitate a field trip for juniors and seniors that combined a college fair experience in the morning with career tours in the afternoon at one of five businesses in a local community.  After the field trip, 82% of juniors and 95% of seniors were able to identify three or more post high school career options. Additionally, 91% of juniors and 85% of seniors were able to identify two or more career resources to utilize. After the field trip, 100% of the students were able to list at least one option and resource. Another positive outcome was the amount of resources students listed after the career fair became more specific and included a wider variety of categories than was listed on the pre-test.
This is real data that shows how students are benefitting as a result of the field trip, which can justify the cost of bussing.  I share data like this with my principal and with the school board and they appreciate the opportunities created for our students.  Forming partnerships in your community opens so many doors for your program, school, community and students.  Don’t be afraid to be creative and to reach out.  It all starts with a phone call.
Paula Haugle is the 4K-12 School Counselor for the School District of Elmwood in Elmwood, WI.  She currently serves as the Professional Development and Education Chair on the WSCA Board.  Paula can be reached at if you have any questions.


DPI Corner

Dropout Early Warning System (DEWS)
By Gregg Curtis
As State Superintendent Tony Evers put forth in his comprehensive education initiative, Agenda 2017,
“Every child must graduate ready for further education and the workforce. We must align our efforts so all our students are prepared to succeed in college or a career.” Implicit in that message is that students need to progress through their K-12 education developing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to successfully negotiate whatever path they choose after high school. Professional school counselors play a vital role in the three-pronged developmental process leading to students’ post-secondary success: personal/social skill , academic, and career development.
Further implicit in Superintendent Evers’ message is the fact that students must graduate from high school, and that is not always the case. The latest available data on dropouts shows that about 5,300 students dropped out in the 2011-12 school year. In order to help school counselors, administrators, and student assistance teams in their identification of potential dropouts and to target interventions to get students back on track, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has developed a system to assist school in identifying students at risk of not graduating. The Dropout Early Warning System (DEWS), available through the state’s WISEdash tool, helps schools find these children and ensure they can be helped earlier and more effectively than ever before.
The idea of an early warning system is not new. Several large districts, including Chicago, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee, have developed their own systems in the past. Each was initiated at a different grade level, and each used different criteria to identify students. DEWS is unique in that identifies students earlier, uses criteria reported at the state level, and is available to district statewide.
In creating DEWS, DPI subscribed to the principles vital to any effective early warning system. The system must be transparent, scalable, accurate, identify at-risk students early in their education, and be reproducible. Wisconsin’s Dropout Early Warning System uses clearly defined criteria to measure risk for 200,000 middle level students in 1,000 schools. The process can be repeated in future years and provides the same results given the same data.
In order to be as accurate as possible, DEWS uses a predictive statistical model to calculate student scores using a combination of demographic and student outcome measures. Depending on the data available, the factors included in the model will change, as will their weight in predicting the outcome. The system is flexible, so it can expand as new data comes online, and as more longitudinal data is available on student cohorts. The variables currently used are: attendance, disciplinary events, assessment scores, and student mobility.  Every student’s risk is calculated using these variables, and DEWS provides a score from 0-100. The score represents the rate at which students similar to the current student graduated. (Example: a score of 75 means that 75% of prior students with similar characteristics graduated on time.) Currently, DEWS scores are available in WISEdash for current 7th, 8th, and 9th graders.
Students are classified as “at-risk” if their score crosses a threshold set by DPI. These thresholds can be modified as the model becomes more fully developed and more student graduation data is realized. In the example provided above (a DEWS score of 75), this student’s risk level would be classified as “Moderate.”
DEWS is not meant to be the only source of information used to identify students at risk of not graduating. Rather, it is designed to be an educational “check engine” light of sorts; raising schools’ awareness of potential student issues. The school can then use their local knowledge (e.g., academic status, behavior data, teacher input, program context, parent input, and any other special circumstances) to determine the student’s real-time status and design appropriate interventions as necessary.
As schools use DEWS to help them identify at-risk students, there are a few key concepts to keep in mind when using an early warning system. First, focus on effective intervention, not just identification. Finding these students is not the total desired outcome. Finding them and intervening to diminish the barriers to graduation is the goal. Next, recognize and build on student strengths. DEWS only uses four variables in its model. Students are much more complex than can be illustrated in four variables. Third, match resources to student needs; but practice intervention discipline. Intervention overload should be avoided, and the best way to do that is to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions. Finally, remember, teachers and administrators can get started with just the local data currently available in their schools.    
Several resources are available through DPI to assist districts in using DEWS. The first stop for anyone wanting more information should be the DEWS website ( Here you will find some basic information and links to other useful resources; including a DEWS Fact Sheet ( ) and a DEWS checklist (
The most comprehensive resource on accessing, interpreting, and using the DEWS scores is found in the DEWS Action Guide ( ). Additionally, the following link leads to a short video that introduces DEWS and provides some direction on how to access and use the system:

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Board Member Spotlight

Our Technology Chair and Treasurer Positions

Katrina Eisfeldt: Technology Chair
I am currently an 8th – 12th grade school counselor at Spencer School District in Central Wisconsin and I am the new Technology Chair for WSCA.  I am married and have 3 children, who are all teenagers!   I have worked hard in my 6 years at Spencer to create a positive school climate.  I believe that relationships are the key to student engagement and success. 
Stacy Eslick: Treasurer
I am honored to have recently been appointed to the WSCA Board as Treasurer, I like analyzing and using data which will be helpful in my new role.  I have been a counselor for 15 years (currently work at West High School in Madison) and just submitted our schools first SPARC-W!  It is an exciting time to be on the WSCA board and I am looking forward to learning more about the WSCA strategic plan and long term goals.  The conference will soon be here and I am looking forward to seeing you in February.

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Upcoming Events & Announcements

2014 WSCA Annual Conference – “School Counselor Pride” 
February 18-20, 2014 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin.
In the proud tradition of past conferences, the Board of Director and conference committee has planned a great professional development experience. Visit for all the latest information on conference speakers, programs, registration and hotel accommodations.
Conference attendees to do list:
  • Deadline for early registration is January 24, 2014.
  • Make/confirm hotel reservation. Be sure to use;  to reserve a room through the WSCA hotel block. Reserving through the block benefits you and the association. The Hilton is already sold out.
  • Plan ahead for parking needs. Please use; and the parking link to explore and plan your parking possibilities. In 2014, the Monona Terrace parking structure is reserved only for WSCA attendees.  PLEASE PLAN AHEAD!
  • There are no WSCA shuttles running from the hotels in the WSCA block of rooms.  Hotels continue to operate their shuttles.
  • Submit purchase order to school financial office and follow-up before you come to make sure your registration was sent.
  • Again, visit the; site to locate information about conference registration, hotel rates, hotel reservations and parking options
  • Connect with your alum groups  on Wednesday night from 5:15-6:15 at the WSCA & Exhibitor Social Networking Reception, (Level 4 – Grand Terrace) Cash Beverage Bar & Hors d’ oeuvres | Raffle Drawing:  Must Be Present to Win.  After the drawing, you can go out and have more fun!
  • Register for your Pre-Conference now!  WSCA's Day on the Hill is FREE! more information at

Celebrate National School Counseling Week in your school.  Browse our promotional link click here regarding activities to celebrate National School Counseling week.

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Purchase a new counseling t-shirt for you and your department staff.  Click Here for Order Form

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Mug Shots Wanted

At our annual conference, recognize your department per building or per district with a photo of the wonderful and talented personnel who make up your counseling department.  Email this photo to our Public Relations committee chair at  In the email, identify your included personnel and the district in which you work.  At the conference, find your photo and turn it into our WSCA booth for a free gift in honor of your hard work.  Photo submissions due by 2/7/2014

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Creative Counselor Corner Idea Entries

What do you know?  What can you share? What can we learn? In each newsletter edition, we want to recognize and share the hard work that you and your fellow counselors do each and every school day.  It also allows us to promote new ideas that we all may want to incorporate into our own programs.    Submit your Creative Counselor Corner idea entry (in 250 words or less) to our Public Relations chair at by the end of the month to possibly win a $25.00 gift card and a published entry in our next month’s newsletter.

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Save the Date:  Wisconsin School Counselor Association 8th Annual Summer Leadership Academy : Data Driven Counseling with SPARC-W, SLOs, and RAMP 

Where: Memorial Student Center, UW-Stout Campus-Menomonie, WI                                                  
302 10th Ave, Menomonie, WI 64751                                                                                
When:  Wednesday, August 6, 2014 from 9:00a.m.-4:00p.m (includes lunch)  

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Save the Date: Wisconsin School Counselor Association 2014 Fall Summit: Academic & Career Plans and Data Driven Counseling with SPARC-W                                                                                                                         
Where:  North Central Technical College, Wausau, WI                                                                                               
1000 W. Campus Dr., Wausau, WI 54401                                                                                                                  
When: Thursday, October 23, 2014 from 9:00a.m.-4:00p.m. (includes lunch)

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WSCA is proud to announce our newest sponsor: Educators Credit Union!

We are thrilled to partner with ECU and want to spread awareness about their incredibly generous scholarship opportunity for high school seniors, read on for more info!

Educators Credit Union awards twenty-five $1,500 scholarships, based on a student’s academic record, participation in school and/or community activities, and demonstration of one or more of the core values of Educators Credit Union, which are respect, integrity, community, passion, and stewardship. Additionally, students must attend a Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington, or Waukesha County High School.
The completed scholarship application is due by March 15, 2014 and can be found at

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In This Edition

President's Message
School Counseling PRIDE!
By Lisa Koenecke