President's Message

By Kelly Curtis, WSCA President

Now more than ever school counselors need a strong connection with their administration.  With budget cuts and job descriptions that sometimes expand past the school counselor role, we need to be clear about our purpose as school counselors, what we are trained to do well and the strong impact our programming has on our students.

The ASCA National Model offers a roadmap for how to advocate our comprehensive school counseling program with our administration.  Two sections assist directly with ways to advocate for your program with your principal:

  • Management - outlines the steps that will help to keep your principal informed about what is happening in your counseling program, through assessments, annual agreements, advisory councils, use of data, action plans, and annual and weekly calendars.
  • Accountability – to demonstrate the effectiveness of the school counseling program in measureable terms.

WSCA offers the perfect way to demonstrate accountability in your program, thus advocating for it with administration, parents and the community.  Learn how to complete the Wisconsin School Counseling Program Accountability Report (WSCPAR), at
WSCPAR applications are due December 19, 2014

Topic of the Month:  Advocating for Your School Counseling Program

Advocating for Your School Counseling Program

Written By Olin Morrison

Member surveys from September indicated a desire for the Wisconsin School Counselor Association to increase advocacy for school counseling at the school district level.  Through the work of the WSCA Government Relations Committee we are advocating for school counseling at the State level.  As an association we advocate for counseling at the district level when and where we are able, but true advocacy at the district level must come from you.  So how do you do that?  Here are 6 quick tips for effective advocacy within your own district.

Tip 1:  Self - Education.
As much as possible, engage in trainings, online professional development (free tool = twitter), and read articles with current research (free tool = ASCD Smartbrief).  Don’t stop there, educate yourself on what is happening within your district in different areas: technology, evaluation, crisis response, school climate, common core, RTI, etc.  Increasing your knowledge will help you to determine what is truly important for your program and how it connects within your district.

Tip 2:  Communicate regularly with decision makers.
In order to effectively advocate for your program, you must seek to develop and maintain a positive and trusting relationship with your principal built on open dialogue.  Consider scheduling regular check-ins with your principals to keep them abreast of current research, what’s happening with your program, your successes, as well as your gaps.

Tip 3:  Be clear about what you’re asking for.
We are all very busy people these days, don’t count on having a lot of time to make your case. Be ready to clearly articulate what you are asking for and why you are asking for it.  Try to get down to your most pressing 1 to 3 items, but no more than that.

Tip 4:  Check the war stories at the door. 
We all get frustrated at times, but those who lead change exhibit self-management of emotions and empathy for leadership positions.  Remember, advocacy is not complaining about the current state, but supporting a change to it.

Tip 5:  Speak the language of data.
Present data relevant to what you’re advocating for.  Not sure what data you should be looking for or how to get it? Check out ASCA’s publication Making Data Work, or the WSCPAR page on  Remember, principals have to be big-picture thinkers, so make sure to clearly articulate any connections between your data and the mission of your school or district.

Tip 6:  Don’t run the well dry.
Think strategically.  Frequently advocating for every little thing may make it harder to get something when you really need it.  Make concessions where and when you feel you can, keeping in mind what you have determined to be really important.  “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do,” Michael Porter, Professor at The Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School.

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DPI Corner

Make a WISH: Opportunities for Professional Development
Guest Author: Tracy Herlitzke, Director, Wisconsin Safe and Healthy Schools Center

This month’s article highlights a resource for professional development in several area salient to the work of school counselors: the Wisconsin Safe and Healthy Schools Center (WISH). A collaborative project between DPI and the CESA Statewide Network, the WISH Center builds the capacity of Wisconsin public school districts to implement programs that effectively prevent and intervene in alcohol and other drug abuse and violent behavior among students in order to reduce these barriers to learning.

Top 10 Things Every Counselor Should Know About the Wisconsin Safe & Healthy Schools Center:

10.  Our Vision is Every Child Safe, Healthy, and Connected.

9.  We are a collaborative project between the DPI and the CESA Statewide Network (CSN) and provide resources on a number of barriers to student success; including AODA issues, bullying, trauma, and grief. (

8. Since our creation in 2012, we have trained 1,279 educators in a variety of safe and healthy school topics including mental health, emerging drugs, bullying prevention, and behavior interventions.

7. We have 4 Regional Coordinators who care deeply about schools and children. (

6. Every year we conduct a needs assessment survey that collects feedback from school staff on topics for professional development that are important to them.  We use this information to plan our training calendar.

5. We do everything we can to keep the cost of our trainings as low as possible.

4. In partnership with the DPI and other state partners, we will be offering PREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training Workshops 1 and 2 in every CESA in the next year.

3.  We can provide trainings on QPR Suicide Prevention at your school. Contact your Regional Coordinator.

2.  This year we are offering training and technical assistance in School SBIRT (Screening Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment).  This is an effective, BRIEF intervention that could be used for a variety of student behaviors from alcohol and other drugs to attendance, classroom behavior, and mental health.

1.  You can find all of the information listed above on our website:  The best way to stay connected is to sign up for our monthly newsletter on our homepage.

Please feel free to contact Tracy Herlitzke, , the Wisconsin Safe and Healthy Schools Center Director for more information, to suggest training topics or ideas for technical assistance.

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Board Member Spotlight

Jennifer Betters-Bubon: WSCA Post Secondary VP-Elect
It has been almost 9 years since I last served on the WSCA board.  Back in 2004-2006, I was an elementary school counselor in Verona, Wisconsin. During that time, I enjoyed working on the WSCA board as it brought me closer to the latest initiatives on the state and national level.  Now, I serve as the post-secondary VP-elect, having moved from my elementary school position to a faculty position  in the Counselor Education department at UW-Whitewater 3 years ago.  I absolutely love working with school counselors in training and it is through my work on the board that I am able to best prepare students to work in within the ever-changing landscape of the public school system.  Throughout, I have been amazed at the transformation that has taken place at the state level with the WSCA board and am continually energized by the work we do.
Rachel Berg – WSCA Secondary VP Elect
From the beginning, even as a grad student at UW-River Falls (go Falcons!), attending the WSCA conference, hearing keynote speakers talk about the importance of our profession and attending sectionals has been so inspiring! What we do makes a difference, and I’m so excited to not only be a member of WSCA, but the Secondary VP Elect of the WSCA Board.  Even though I am just beginning my adventure on this board, I’m learning that there is so much more to WSCA than just the conference and I cannot wait to continue learning and help impact our profession.
I have been a school counselor for 8 years, 7 years at Luck High School, in Luck, WI in my current position as the 7-12 counselor. Being in a small district, I enjoy the amount of time I get to spend with my students.  Career and college readiness is a passion of mine, and I am always seeking to help students have the knowledge to make informed decisions and be prepared for life after high school!

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Upcoming Events & Announcements

The Search for 2015 Conference Presenters…

Have you ever considered presenting at the WSCA conference, but something got in the way? Perhaps you became too busy or the nerves set in and you started questioning yourself? You’re not alone. Why not make 2015 your year? The sectional sessions are the heart and soul of our annual conference.
To continue the conference’s rich tradition of providing outstanding professional development, the Conference Committee needs practicing school counselors to share their expertise and best practices by submitting sectional proposals. Following the conference each year, we receive feedback from our members, and each year school counselors are asking for more sectionals presented by practicing school counselors. To do this, we need YOUR help! Presenting a sectional at the WSCA conference not only is a great way to give back to your profession and share your hard work with those who are eager to learn, but it can also be a very rewarding experience for you both personally and professionally.

Click Here to Download the 2015 Call for Sectional Programs (PDF) - Deadline 11/14/14



November 2014

President's Message
By Kelly Curtis

Topic of the Month:
Advocating for Your School Counseling Program

Board Member Spotlight

Upcoming Events & Announcements