Board Chair Message: Welcome Aboard!

By: Kelly Curtis, Board Chair


We had 1160 conference attendees, 84 sectionals, 11 preconference workshops with 687 attendees, and a sold-out exhibit floor, which combined to make for another fantastic WSCA conference! Each year we come away from our February conference renewed and energized with fresh ideas and stronger skills. For so many reasons, we return to our districts ready to serve our students even more effectively. Thank you to the conference committee, coordinators and board directors for making this happen for us each year.
Congratulations to our newly elected WSCA board members!  In February, our WSCA members approved our slate of candidates, in a new process where members vote “yes” or “no” to a slate the Elections Committee selected from the pool of WSCA Board applicants. We welcome our new directors who will represent Wisconsin School Counselors for the next three years.  We are preparing for our transition meeting in April to train new directors in the basic concepts of policy governance, which we have implemented for the first year in 2015-16.  Thank you for participating in the WSCA elections process!


Wanda Melton, Milwaukee
“The perspective that I will bring will come from a school that is diverse in population, services low-income families with traumatic backgrounds, and is surrounded by high poverty and crime rates. I will use a trauma sensitive approach as I do for the students and families I serve. There are many schools in Wisconsin servicing families with similar needs and backgrounds and I would like to help represent them.”
Marilyn Brink, Beaver Dam
“As a WSCPAR trainer, I am privy to some of the struggles school counselors experience in using data-driven practices. As an elementary school counselor with over 10 years of experience in Wisconsin, I will provide a strong voice that represent the unique perspectives of Wisconsin elementary school counselors with large caseloads and/or multiple schools.”
Tricia Norby, Madison
“I have a unique position with Catholic Charities that allows me the opportunity to work in a Catholic School as a school counselor (3k-8), a school counseling program coordinator, and also facilitate groups in public schools (k-12) through two grant based programs. Private schools have been largely underrepresented in the past within the WSCA organization. I believe that my position would allow me to offer a unique perspective to the organization.”

Assistant Board Chair Message: Now Put the Information to Work

By Jennifer Betters-Bubon, WSCA Assistant Board Chair

After a successful conference, it can sometimes be overwhelming to consider what to do with the many important ideas and information you received.  As an assistant board chair, I want to remind you of a few options as you consider meeting the mental health needs of students in your schools.  As a reminder, our mission: The mission of WSCA is to advance the profession of school counseling in preschool through post-secondary in order to maximize the academic performance, career planning, and personal/social growth of every student includes meeting the various needs of all students.
A look into the recently published Framework for Mental Health in Schools (Cowan, Vaillancourt, Rossen, & Pollitt, 2013) helps bring the important role counselors can play in meeting the mental health needs of students. Specifically, as one of the school based mental health staff members (in addition to school psychologists and school social workers), we are called to ensure that mental health services are infused in the learning environment, such that teachers and other instructional personnel are able to create effective learning environments to meet the needs of all students. This requires a working knowledge on the part of all staff related to student mental health needs.  As a result, in addition to putting in place new small groups or universal lessons that you learned at WSCA, why not consider how you can share your learning with others in your buildings?
As advocates and leaders, one of the best ways we can help students in by helping teachers.  As such, here are a few additional resources that might be helpful as you work to inform teachers of how behaviors might be masking mental health needs:

Information is power.  As you return to the busy day-to-day life of a school counselor, try to find a few moments to share the information you learned with others and in particular the knowledge you gained about mental health.

“Supporting Students when a Family Member or Caregiver has a Mental Illness” 

By Angela Goebel, WSCA Director, Hudson Middle School

As school counselors, we work with many students addressing a variety of issues.  A population of our students struggle with mental well-being.  We work diligently to support them whether it is due to ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or some other challenge.  The students in our schools who are diagnosed with a mental disorder are not the only ones who need our support.  There is a population of our students who are impacted by mental illness in that it afflicts a family member or caregiver.  When a family member or caregiver is struggling with a mental illness, it is important to take the time to understand how this affects our students and how we can help.
It makes sense that when one family member or caregiver is experiencing a struggle such as a mental illness that others in the family will feel those effects as well.  A student may experience feelings such as confusion, fear, embarrassment, and loneliness.  When these feelings are stronger than the basic needs of safety, love and belonging, then a student may experience low academic performance and problems with peers.
So how do we support our students who have a family member or caregiver with a mental illness?  We can be aware of change in behaviors. We may see behaviors such as anxiety, withdrawal, or reverting to early childhood behaviors.  Students may take on behaviors of a bully or manipulate peers in order to maintain some kind of control.  Students may appear cautious in such a way that they avoid being noticed. We may find our students taking on responsibilities at home that are inappropriate for their age. The stigma of mental disorders may cause the student embarrassment thus being confidential about home life in order to not have teachers, counselors, or friends know about it.  Understanding these behaviors can give us insight as to how to help our students and their families.
In understanding these behaviors, what can we do to help?    When we have the knowledge that a family member or caregiver has a mental illness, we can gain a better understanding about the specifics of the mental illness and how it is affecting the family member or caregiver’s behavior.  We should also be aware of the sensitivities to cultural differences about mental illnesses. 
Collaborate! Collaborate!  Collaborate!  Counselors can work to form a relationship with family members and caregivers that allows for open communication.  Teachers see students more frequently than counselors or social workers.  Create opportunities that allow for collaboration with teachers.  Helping teachers understand the student’s situation may help them support the student better.  Advocate for the student.  Support them in learning coping skills as well building their self-worth.  When advocating for the student, we can do the following:

  • Help them understand that their situation is not uncommon and they are not alone.
  • Help them understand that they are not to blame for family member or caregiver’s illness.
  • Help them identify a trustworthy person they can talk with when needed.
  • Help them identify a contact person when in a crisis.
  • Remind them it is okay to continue to be a kid and have some fun.
  • Within reason, help them understand the mental illness.
  • Remind them that their family member or caregiver does love them.

We support many students with a variety of issues.  For some students, their greatest challenge is dealing with a family member's mental illness. We can help these students gain resiliency, hope, courage and empowerment.
Koch, J., PH.D., (2009, May/June) The Parental Influence. ASCA School Counselor, Volume (46) pp. 41-43.
Sherman, Michelle D., PhD ( Sept/Oct. 2007) Reaching Out to Children of Parents With Mental Illness, Social Work Today,Vol. 7 No. 5 P. 26

Director Spotlight

Angela Goebel, Director
At about this time last year, I had submitted my application for WSCA Board of Directors. Now, six months into my position as member of the Board of Directors, I have most certainly gained an abundance of knowledge for our organization and am connected with an amazing group of humans.  I am grateful. 
Prior to being a participant on the Board of Directors, my commitment with WSCA was as a member and participant at the annual conference.  Since submitting my name for the WSCA Board of Directors, I am now engaged in a way I never before considered and am making myself a better counselor. WSCA is a strong and amazing organization with which to be associated.  Again, I am grateful. 
While I am engaged in many new ways with WSCA, there are other experiences that continue to build on my learning as a school counselor.  In the midst of my ten years as a school counselor, I work with practicum students and interns.  I share my time with university students at an “Introduction to School Counseling” panel.  I recently took a position as an adjunct professor teaching a one credit course for the graduate program which I find quite rewarding.  As recently stated, I am grateful. 
I am looking forward to the continued learning I anticipate will happen being a part of WSCA Board.  I am so very excited to be a part of the WSCA conference.  I love checking out WSCA page on facebook.  I value the professional development that is offered through WSCA.  And I want more of WSCA.  I hope to meet new people in Madison and that you will be one of them.

Staff Spotlight

Aria Krieser, Professional Development Coordinator
I have always loved being part of WSCA and going to every WSCA Conference I could make it to since I was an undergrad student at UW-Stout. They were filled with passionate people making a difference to everyone they worked with; the excitement was contagious. I couldn’t wait to be one of those passionate, excited school counselors! I spent 6 years at UW-Stout for my Undergraduate Degree and my School Counseling Degree where I learned and grew so much as a person. I then got my first school counseling position for the Rosendale-Brandon School District and I could finally live my dream as one of those school counselors I looked up to. I spent 3 years there, got married, and then moved closer to home and have been a school counselor for the Hudson School District at Hudson Prairie Elementary.
In July 2015 my once internship mentor, Paula Haugle, whom I still kept in contact with over the years reached out to me about a position within WSCA as a Professional Development Coordinator. Even though I had a one year old boy and felt so “busy” I said yes to the opportunity to work with amazing people and help school counselors across the state receive top notch professional development. It was one of the best decisions I have made. Working with and for WSCA has made me a better school counselor and even more passionate about the work we do. A huge shout out and thanks to Paula for pushing me to pursue this with her. If you are interested in helping school counselors receive professional development on relevant topics, please contact me with any questions you may have to I promise, it’s worth it.

Committee Updates & Upcoming Events

Government Relations Update

Here’s what the Government Relations Committee is doing for school counselors and the school counseling profession…
Day on the Hill (DOH) – About thirty school counselors met with WI representatives to discuss hot topics in school counseling and build relationships with these key stakeholders.  School counselors connected around issues such as college and career readiness, Academic and Career Plans, school safety and mental health, the Comprehensive School Counseling Model, and local issues affecting counties/school districts. One DOH goal was to ask representatives to utilize school counselors’ expertise by inviting them to review prospective bills and join the conversations before bills are drafted. 
Thank you to all the DOH participants who passionately and eloquently spoke on behalf of all the phenomenal school counselors in Wisconsin.  Your advocacy makes a difference and your voice elevates the profession!
Advocacy Subcommittee – A subcommittee of the Government Relations Committee was formed and many passionate school counselors signed on during the WSCA conference to help address issues that affect school counselors, the profession, and the students we serve.  Subcommittee members will be informed as pertinent issues arise and will be encouraged to contact their representatives at the state and federal level through emails, letters, or phone contacts.
We Need You! Contact Government Relations Committee Chairs for more information or to sign up for the Advocacy Subcommittee.  It’s a great way to stay abreast current issues affecting the school counseling profession and get involved in a meaningful way.  The commitment is minimal, the impact profound!  Please join us in being the voice of school counselors in Wisconsin and protecting the profession we love and proudly serve.
Co-chair Contact Info:
Nate Rice:  (262) 893-3880
Andrea Donegan:  (262) 763-0220
Stay Tuned – We’re Getting Connected! – The government relations committee is reaching out to Inspire, WI, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to help students achieve their career goals by bridging the gap between school and the world of work ( The committee’s goal is to have representation at the Inspire, WI programming meetings to ensure the expertise of school counselors is utilized to advocate on behalf of students. In addition, we are reaching out to a variety of organizations and groups to network and make connections that will help school counselors as they work with students, their families, and their community.

Public Relations

February 1-5 did mark National School Counseling Week with the theme, "Recipe for Success" and WSCA’s Public Relations Committee has been busy spreading the word about the amazing work we do every day! Lisa Koenecke has been on two Madison television stations promoting National School Counseling Week.  It's a good thing, she's a morning person!   Our Executive Director, Stacy Eslick was also on Channel 58 (CBS) in the Milwaukee area.
The PR committee would like to thank the following departments for submitting photos of during National School Counseling Week: Madison West HS, Madison LaFollette HS, James Madison MS (Appleton), Cottage Grove Elementary, Appleton School District (31 peeps), Franklin, Kimberly, Valders, Elkhorn (every day), Kohler, Arcadia, Monona Grove HS, Parkview, East Troy, Stevens Point, Menomonie, Crandon and River Bluff (Stoughton).  Who did I miss? 
Press Releases were sent out to the WSCPAR winners as well as some of the award winners.  The rest of the award and scholarship winners will be recognized in the upcoming weeks.  Andrea Donegan (Burlington) represented Wisconsin at ASCA's 2016 National School Counselor of the Year Ceremony at the White House.  Michelle Obama was stunning!  Check out the photos on WSCA's Facebook page.
Wanna join our amazing committee?  Let Lisa know by contacting her at or 608-877-5511.

Professional Development 

2016 Summer Academy- Cultural Competencies in Comprehensive School Counseling Programs
CESA 1 Conference Center – Pewaukee
Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (includes lunch)
Session Details:   The Wisconsin RTI Center will share their newly released Cultural Competence model.  Participants will leave with the knowledge and skills to integrate this cultural competence model into a comprehensive school counseling program!
Registration Fees:   
Early bird special until May 31st, 2016: WSCA Member $55; Non-member $65
  • WSCA Member: $65           
  • Non-Member: $75
  • Grad Student Member: $40
** One Graduate Credit will be offered through Viterbo University for $200.00
Course payment & registration are separate from the workshop registration.

Thank you to our host site CESA 1!

If you would like to learn about sponsorship opportunities for WSCA’s Summer Academy, please contact Aria Krieser, Professional Development Chair, at:

Publications Update

Please consider submitting! Check out this prezi for tips on how to write an article for this newsletter:

We want your submissions in the following areas:
  • Feature Articles:  There are monthly topics related to WSCA’s Ends Policies (upcoming topics to be covered include The Ethically Minded Professional School Counselor and Mental Health in Our Schools). Articles tend to be no more than 2 pages in length, 12 font double-spaced.
  • Tips for Best Practice: Anyone can submit for this section!  It should be no more than 500 words (roughly two pages, double-spaced) and offer practical ideas that can be implemented right away. Examples include an innovative small-group idea that worked well for your students or a great classroom management strategy that you’ve used during lessons.  Short and easy to use is the goal for this writing.   
Send questions/articles to and the Editorial Board will let you know when it will be used. Don’t be afraid, be published!

Scholarship and Professional Recognition Update

WSCA is proud to announce our continued partnership with: 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 $2,000 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 14, 2016 and can be found at

March 2016

Board Chair Message: Welcome Aboard!

Assistant Board Chair Message: Now Put the Information to Work

Committee Updates & Announcements