President's Message

Fostering Resilience in Youth
By Lisa Koenecke, WSCA President

Fostering resilience in youth speaks to all families.  The family is the first support system to foster resiliency.  I think about how we ALL are responsible for promoting the growth or development of, and encouraging new ideas in our youth.  Quite often the schools are the hub of a community.  Think about the other support systems there might be for our youth:  Faith-based options, Youth clubs (YMCA, Boys & Girls Club), skate parks, musical groups, and ultimately families.  Even if your community does not have all of these resources, we all have families.  Perhaps we as school counselors need to do a better job of educating our families on how to foster resilience in our youth. 
How about using the 40 developmental assets, or Love & Logic, or Second Step (bully prevention)? We should educate all school-based providers and educators on the critical role of family support.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could talk about Social Emotional Learning as being included in our curriculum?  With the standards and new initiatives especially in math in literacy, wouldn't it be great if we could also teach/foster resiliency?  Perhaps we need to engage our communities more.  Educational skill building and counseling should be culturally relevant and maybe even providing literature at different reading levels to reach everyone.  Our words, actions and behaviors do matter.  I think it all comes down to love, that is how I foster resiliency. 
If you’d like another professional development opportunity, check out a former ASCA board member’s webinar on the topic.  Log onto and go to the professional development section under webinar series.  Tammy Davis spoke at WSCA a couple of years ago, and she has some great information for all of us:
Fostering Resilience and Strength in Students
Positive psychology can be a great tool in working with students. Specific counseling activities and strategies will be shared as well as the results of a project with adolescents to increase happiness. Copies of activities will be offered that can be used with students immediately.
Learning Outcomes
Learn the basic tenets of positive psychology and the research on flourishing.
Discuss resilient characteristics of youth and how to foster and maintain those characteristics.
Gain knowledge of specific interventions and activities that foster resilient characteristics and strengths in students.
Tammy Davis, Ed.D., is a professor in the counseling program at Marymount University in Arlington, Va. Before coming to Marymount in 1999, she was an elementary and high school counselor for nine years. She is a former president of the Virginia Association for Counselor Education & Supervision and of the Virginia School Counselor Association. She was on ASCA Board of Directors from 2010-2013.  Register: May 19, 2014, 3:30 p.m. Eastern

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Topic of the Month:  Student Resilience

Crisis Response
Olin Morrison:  WSCA Elementary Vice President
We probably all have a “Crisis Response Manual” somewhere on our shelves, likely with varying depths of dust on them, but how many of you feel comfortable with your district's current readiness for crisis?  As school counselors we play a vital role in responding to crisis, and should in-turn, play a significant role in preparing for them.  
Recently, I planned and designed a crisis and grief response exercise for our districts Crisis Response Team.  Unfortunately, our district has seen far too much need for crisis response in the last three years.  As a result, we have become fairly good at responding to it, or so we thought.  What we found from this exercise was that we were much better at identifying areas to improve in our team and our process, when we weren't actually responding to a crisis.  With the intent of learning as much as possible from this exercise, we invited three outside evaluators to observe the process and offer feedback.  One of our evaluators is also a trainer in the PREPaRE model for crisis response and spoke to the effectiveness of the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
Admittedly, I am in the very beginning phases of learning about NIMS, but from what I have gathered so far I anticipate our District Crisis Response Team will find ways to incorporate the NIMS structure into our practice.  Here’s why:  
1.)  NIMS provides a systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity.  In education, we call that "common language" and we are quite fond of it.  
2.)  NIMS provides a structure for responding to events with clearly defined roles and responsibilities for all players.  This allows different people to fill different roles at different times, therefore ensuring appropriate response regardless of who is available to respond.  Redundancy is key.  Everyone knowing everyone else’s roles is essential for effective, appropriate and timely response.
For more information on NIMS please visit

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Building Resiliency in School-Aged Kids
Anne Kieslich:  WSCA Elementary Vice President Elect
As school counselors, we play an important role in the emotional, social and academic success of the students we work with.  One of our key roles is helping to build resiliency in the students we work with.  Unfortunately, there is no shield that will protect our students from the emotional stress that they will encounter.  Our students may be facing challenges that range from death, illness, divorce, trauma, violence, bullying and abuse.  So how do we help students successfully navigate these situations?  We help them develop resilience.
Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficult situations and experiences.  This is not a trait that children either have or don’t have.  Resilience includes thoughts, behaviors and actions that can be developed in all children.   When children are resilient, they are capable of responding to the challenges through all developmental stages, and are able to successfully navigate in adulthood.   It is important that we help our students learn how to manage stress, learn appropriate coping skills and develop problem solving skills. 
We can help children build resilience in our every day work.  First, we can teach students to be problem solvers.  We can do this by asking children how they might solve a potential problem, and engage them in figuring out how to deal with challenges.   With multiple opportunities to problem solve, children will begin to figure out on their own what does and does not work.
Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficult situations and experiences.  This is not a trait that children either have or don’t have.  Resilience includes thoughts, behaviors and actions that can be developed in all children.
Second, help students learn to manage their emotions.  Children need to realize that all feelings are ok.  When children experience those feelings that make them feel “uncomfortable” they need to think through what they are going to do next.  It is important that we help children develop positive and effective coping skills.   Children may need to be reminded that certain behaviors are unacceptable when dealing with strong emotions.
Third, children need to believe they are competent.  This is the feeling of knowing they can handle a situation appropriately and effectively.  We can help build competence by helping our students identify their strengths.  We can also empower students to make their own decisions.  It is also important that we recognize children when they have done something well, by giving specific praise about their achievements.
Last, it is important to model resiliency and encourage families to do the same.  Children learn a lot from observing the important adults in their lives. 
Resiliency will help children navigate the unavoidable challenges of youth with greater success.  Children who are resilient grow up to be resilient adults and are more likely to succeed when faced with life’s unavoidable stressors.  It is our responsibility as school counselors to help our students develop the skills to successfully deal with challenges, to become capable adults and to become more resilient. 

DPI Corner

“Update on Academic and Career Planning Services Initiative (ACPs)”
Gregg Curtis, PhD; DPI School Counseling Consultant
Wisconsin §115.28 (59) mandates school districts to ensure they are providing Academic and Career Planning services (ACPs) to all students grades 6-12 beginning in the 2017-2018 school year. In addition to this mandate, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is directed to create administrative rule informing districts as to the form and content of the academic and career planning services. Also included in the law is the provision of $1.1 million in 2014-2015 to fund the procurement and maintenance of a software technology tool and professional development/training supporting statewide implementation of ACPs. As DPI works to address the ACP mandate, progress has been made in the areas of rule, tool, and training.
In preparation for the drafting of the administrative rule, DPI has created the ACP Advisory Council. This council is comprised of a variety of interested stakeholders representing K-12 education, higher education, state agencies, advocacy groups, community agencies, and business and industry. The first meeting of the council was March 17, and the objectives were for participants to 1) understand the department’s vision, plan and timeline for ACP, and 2) provide feedback on development of the ACP rule, training and guidance. The process of this initial meeting garnered vital feedback from all perspectives as to what should and should not be included in the administrative rule. In addition, stakeholders contributed input on several aspects of professional development and training; including who will need training, the topics for the training, and how they might be delivered in an effective and audience-friendly manner. Further, it was evident from the council’s feedback that there was common enthusiasm and optimism across the various groups for the ACP initiative.
As for the career development tool, a Request for Information (RFI) on career development web-based tools was published on March 24, 2014; and responses from venders are due April 15. Shortly thereafter, a DPI internal group will gather to examine the responses and make a decision regarding the next steps in the procurement process. The plan for procuring and piloting the statewide software system is by fall of 2015.
Some key reminders:
1.      The mandate that districts have ACPs in place for all students grades 6–12 is 2017-2018. Though many districts are providing a wide variety of services now, and the hope is to have the administrative rule in place by 2016 for districts to work towards, full-fledged ACP implementation isn’t required until 2017-2018.
2.      Information regarding ACPs can be found on DPI’s ACP webpage:
3.      A list-serve dedicated to pushing out real-time information updates to the masses has been created. To subscribe go to Simply enter your email address and check the “acplist” box in the “Other” section at the bottom of the page. Then click “subscribe.”
ACP Practice Tip:
As you work with students and their parents/guardians, remember to frame your references to the options and choices about what comes after high schools as student-oriented goals (“What do you want to do?” and “How do you get there?”): not a college-only orientation (“What college do you want to go to?”). This goal-oriented paradigm validates all types of post-secondary options; not just 4-year college.

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Board Member Spotlight

Craig Rismon: WSCA Middle School Vice President
Winding down the final days of serving as the Middle School VP brings mixed emotions. In my two years as WSCA board member I’ve been stretched, challenged and have learned a ton from my fellow board members. The passion I see in my fellow board members is truly refreshing and confirms my belief in school counseling.  I encourage all Wisconsin school counselors to get involved in some way with WSCA; it will be a positive life changing experience for you.  Of my 27 years in public education this is my 22nd year as a school counselor. I am currently a middle school counselor at Northland Pines School District.  I am so thankful that I get to work with the most amazing people in the world, kids. The chance to work with students, help them understand themselves, and realize their potential has been the most rewarding experience of my life. 
Jenna Matkze: WSCA Middle School Vice President Elect
My journey with WSCA began as a school counseling student at Lakeland College.  I attended the WSCA conference annually and enjoyed meeting new people and learning best practices in the school counseling field.  In an effort to keep the WSCA Conference spirit year round, I decided to run for Vice President Elect.  I wanted to have ongoing involvement with the professional development organization to keep me connected and “in the know” regarding state and national agendas regarding school counseling.  My experience has exceeded my expectations as I have met a number of energizing and forward thinking school counselors who are problem solving and planning for the changes and challenges school counselors are experiencing.  I am a Middle School Counselor at Lombardi Middle School in Green Bay Wisconsin.  I feel being a member of the WSCA board benefits my school because I have WSCA as a resource regarding up and coming school counseling programs and initiatives. 

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Upcoming Events & Announcements

Make plans to attend WSCA's 8th annual Summer Leadership Academy on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.  This year's academy will be hosted at the Memorial Student Center on the UW-Stout campus in Menomonie.  The focus is on Data Driven Counseling with the Accountability Report (formerly SPARC-W), SLOs, and RAMP.  Instruction and work time will be provided for your choice of focus.  Register by May 31st & receive a discount - Click Here 

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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Continue the learning at Fall Summit, generously sponsored and hosted at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.  The day of learning and work time will be Thursday, October 23, 2014.  Academic & Career Plans will be covered, in addition to Data Driven Counseling with the Accountability Report (formely 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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Big changes for the SPARC-W

In an effort to better reflect the role of the school counselor in the SPARC-W process, and because it is sponsored by WSCA, the SPARC-W committee has decided to rename the SPARC-W document. Beginning this year, the SPARC-W will now be called the Wisconsin School Counseling Program Accountability Report, or Accountability Report for short.  Click Here to view 2013 Award Winner Data

With the name change, there will also be changes to the scoring rubric.  There will still be four sections: Principal's Comments, School Climate and Safety, Student Results and School Counseling Program Goals.  The new rubric has been released and will provide more clarity and a streamlined rating process. Click Here to view the rubric

To help serve districts pursuing an Accountability Report Award, WSCA is now offering certified training for the Accountability Report.  Certified trainers can provide a day of training with work time, along with up to two additional hours of individual consultation time per school building.  Interested parties can contact Paula Haugle at or check the website for more information.

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MAY 2014

In This Edition

President's Message
Topic of the Month:
Student Resilience