WSCA Board Chair Message: WSCA Full-time Executive Director Announcement
By Olin Morrison, WSCA Board Chair

Greetings Wisconsin School Counselors,

This July, the Wisconsin School Counselor Association Board of Directors met for their Leadership Development Institute (LDI). At this annual meeting, we set our vision for the upcoming year. Last year, our focus was on the topic of School Counselors as Leaders, a topic I have written about here in the past. This year, the board made the decision to focus on two key areas that I would like to share with you today.

Our first focus this year is to find ways to ensure that we are hearing the voice of WSCA members in a systemic and sustainable fashion. The nine people elected to the WSCA Board are in place to serve as your voice. After hearing your voice, it is our job to establish policies that ensure maximum benefit to our members in areas that are essential now and into the future. The important distinction in policy governance is that the board is not nine people elected to be the members' voice, it is nine people elected to represent the member voice.

With this in mind, it is crucial that the board continues to interface with our members so that we can accurately represent you. How we do this was the focus of much of our discussion in July and will continue to be our focus moving forward. Though we are not sure exactly how this will be accomplished, one of the central themes of our conversation was “going beyond the survey” to find more authentic ways to hear member voices. The challenge is in making this systemic and sustainable so that this is not “the year of the member” and next year we move on to something different.

As the year goes on, you should continue to see more and more opportunities to connect with your board members and let your voice be heard. I strongly encourage you to take part. In the meantime, if you have input on how the board could accomplish this goal, please contact me directly.

The second focus of the board this year will be creating a leadership program with the purpose of developing the next generation of WSCA leaders. Again, it is our goal to make this systemic and sustainable. Last year at our annual conference I began this effort by holding a sectional dedicated to educating people on policy governance and the WSCA Board… I had less than ten people attend! Now, I’m sure that was more of a judgment on the topic than on me (or at least that is what I told myself), but that kind of attendance does not lend to the sustainability of effective governance.

Clearly, we have our work cut out for us in this area. Again, as the year moves along, you will see opportunities to learn about WSCA leadership. I strongly encourage you to participate in the opportunities presented, even if you don’t think you have interest in joining. WSCA needs you!


DPI Corner: “Professional Development That Counts: Moving to the ASCA National Model (3rd ed.)"
Stacy Eslick, WSCA Executive Director 
Gregg Curtis, Ph.D., DPI Educational Consultant


The Wisconsin Comprehensive School Counseling Model and its accompanying student standards has provided the essential framework for the last decade.

In 2012, ASCA revised and updated their evidence-based practice model in the ASCA National Model (3rd ed), and in 2015 the ASCA “Mindsets and Behaviors: K-12 College and Career-Readiness Standards for Every Student” replaced the previous ASCA standards. This change left Wisconsin school counselors with an antiquated model of practice and outdated student standards.

Following intentional data collection from the field in 2015-2016 and deliberate, collaborative decision-making by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Wisconsin School Counselor Association (WSCA), the decision was made to adopt the ASCA National Model (3rd ed.) and the “Mindsets and Behaviors” as the delivery model and student standards for Wisconsin. Linked to the DPI School Counselor Evaluation System, (  the new practice model presents an evidence-based framework for effective school counseling programs.

WSCA has been working in collaboration with ASCA and DPI to create a three-year professional development training model to support counselors in the transition to the ASCA model. The first year of training will include three full days of professional development with coaching and feedback on program implementation between training dates. Registration includes three books: ASCA Model 3rd Edition, ASCA Model Implementation Guide, and Making Data Work.

Training series have been confirmed and several more are being scheduled. Check the WSCA website for the most current information on training availability.
Southwest Technical College - Fennimore
Day 1 Friday, November 10th 8:30-3:30
Day 2 Monday, January 29th 8:30-3:30
Day 3 Monday, April 16th 8:30-3:30

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College - Rice Lake
Day 1 Tuesday, November 28th 8:30-3:30
Day 2 Monday, March 5th 8:30-3:30
Day 3 Thursday, May 24th 8:30-3:30

The following training locations and dates still to be finalized:

Mid-state Technical College - Wisconsin Rapids

Gateway Technical College - Racine

Moraine Park Technical College - Fond du Lac

Dane County

Rock County

Milwaukee County

We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming ASCA Model trainings!


This Month's Feature:  Best Groups Ever!


By Tricia Norby, WSCA Director

Small groups allow you to connect with students in a way that isn’t possible in a classroom setting and it is more efficient than seeing students individually. Once you run a few groups, the prep time is manageable. Running groups is also a great way to reach students who all struggle with similar issues—it normalizes their experiences (note: self-harm groups are not recommended).

There is some great group curriculum out there but it is very rare to find one that fits your students’ needs and your teaching style 100%, so plan on tweaking any canned curriculum as needed. Of course, evidence-based curriculum are a good place to start and with Pinterest and counselor blogs there are plenty of other ideas out there as well.

Group Length: Unless you are doing one-time lunch bunch groups (which I love and do 1-2 times per week), most groups will run 6-10 weeks. Six weeks is okay for a friendship and social skills group but is too short for a depression and anxiety groups. Eight weeks tends to work well for family change, study skills, and most other types of groups.

Number of Students: Most groups will have 4-8 students. You want enough students so that students feel that ‘shared experience’ help normalize their feelings around whenever they are struggling with. You might have a group with only 2 students if there just aren’t enough students who share the same struggle but for whom a group might be very important (children with incarcerated parents, students will siblings who have special needs, etc). If your students struggle with attendance you can have groups with higher numbers knowing that you might end up with 6-8 for each session.

When: Other than lunch bunch or friendship type groups, avoid lunchtime groups. Most groups have some amount of activities and it is hard to do them with lunch trays and sticky fingers. Teachers often prefer to have groups rotate throughout the day so as not to miss the same class more than once or twice. If you are lucky enough to have a common recourse period then you will want to take advantage of that time.

Group Ready: This is the most important item in groups—is each student ready for a group: is their behavior manageable, are they respectful to other students, do they want to be there, etc. Interview students individually before the group starts so they know what to expect and are able to manage with the other students. They will probably want to know the other students who might be participating and I usually ask them to wait until the first meeting to find out to respect the privacy of others. I also tell the students that they can try the group out for the first week or two and discontinue if they feel that it isn’t for them. After that, then they must show-up each week—no skipping because they’d miss gym class that week. If a student’s behavior is keeping others from feeling safe physically or emotionally, then they will need to be removed from the group—it doesn’t happen very often but must be done in some cases.

Most groups will follow the same format:

Week 1: This week is almost always the same regardless of the topic. You will go over group rules (created by students but be sure to include respect, right to pass & confidentiality), topic of the group, when, where, and for how long the group will meet, how they will know when to come to group (will they get a pass, do you go and get them, etc), and a fun get to know you game (MnM or toilet paper activity, etc). Best practices also encourages the use of a pre & post-test to check for learning and/or growth.

Weeks 2-9: You will be teaching the content during these weeks. Be sure to spend a few minutes reviewing the previous weeks’ content at the beginning of each session. You might also want to start each session with a ‘roses & thorns’ round share. The use of a prize box can encourage positive behavior and attendance—either choose one name at the beginning of the group randomly and secretly and let the students know that at the end of the group when you reveal the name, if that student participated appropriately, they can choose a prize. You can also offer a ticket to each student for each group that they participate in appropriately and at the end of each group, you draw one ticket for a prize. The tickets stay in each week so the chance of winning goes up each week. Students whose name was never drawn can pick on the last day.

Last week: Doing some sort of craft or fun activity is a nice way to wrap up group (making worry dolls, stress balls, friendship bracelets, goals collage, doing improv activities, etc). Most students love receiving a certificate as well as having an end of group snack (pizza, root beer floats, parfaits, etc). Don’t forget the post-test!

Groups can seem overwhelming at first but once you have a few under your belt, they can be your new favorite way to reach students!


By Tricia Norby, WSCA Director
Tricia Norby is a school counselor at St. James Catholic School in Madison and also serves as Coordinator of the Family Programs for Catholic Charities. This is her second year as a WSCA Board Directo

Staff Spotlight

Paula Haugle
 My name is Paula Haugle (Hug-lee) and I am entering my 11th year as the 4K-12 School Counselor for the School District of Elmwood. I recently served as the Professional Development Coordinator for WSCA for 3 years and was in charge of Summer Academy and Fall Summit. After taking a year off, I am happy to rejoin the WSCA Staff as the Conference Co-Coordinator, leading the committee in charge of Conference Sectionals.

As the sole school counselor for my district, I am passionate about professional development and have had a wide variety of experiences, ranging from regional and state trainings, attending the ASCA national conference twice, and presenting at the WSCA Conference for several years.

Presenting at the WSCA Conference has really helped me grow as a professional. Through presenting, I quickly realized that we all have strengths and resources we can (and should!) share at conference. If you've been thinking about presenting, I encourage you to pursue it! My committee and I will continue to work hard to provide high-quality sectionals that meet the needs of school counselors. If you would like to submit a sectional proposal, please submit it no later than November 10th:

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Director Spotlight

Laura Multer, Board Director
Laura is a school counselor at the Kohler School District at the elementary and middle school levels. About her work, Laura says, “I absolutely love seeing my students overcome challenges. Being able to teach them skills or help them discover abilities that they didn't know they possessed is so rewarding!”She went on to share that because she works in a 4K-12 building, “I am able to witness our students grow, mature and accomplish their goals. It is an honor to be part of the lives of these young people and their families.”

When asked why she decided to get involved with WSCA she stated, “The Wisconsin School Counselor Association has benefited me tremendously over the last seventeen years. WSCA has always provided the highest quality professional development and support. I have presented at the WSCA conference twice and have served on the SPARC-W (now WSPAR) and the Public Relations committees. I am now at a point in my career where I can give back to this amazing organization in a different capacity.”
Just for fun, Laura was asked what she was currently reading. “For enjoyment, I am reading Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes. She is a British author that reminds me of my mom and my extended family in Northern Ireland. As part of my of summer professional work, I am reading The Zones of Regulation by Leah M. Kuypers. It is my intention to weave these concepts into our comprehensive school counseling program and eventually have them integrated throughout our school.”
In her role as a board director, Laura wants to help ensure that the next generation of professionals in our field have the opportunities that she has been provided from the Wisconsin School Counselors Association. School Counselors play such a vital role in the life of our students and in our schools. “I want to do my part to advocate for our profession and increase understanding of our of training and our professional role.”
When not at school, Laura enjoys time with her family. She and her husband of 20 years have two high school age sons and enjoy supporting their interests. She also enjoys home improvement, gardening, sewing, cooking, travel, and reading. This summer, she also devoted time to her yoga practice. She is being mindful of the importance to self-care so that she can bring her best self to those around her, especially the students.


Upcoming Events & Committee Updates

Government Relations Update

WSCA - Working for YOU!
Executive Director, Stacy Eslick, along with the Government Relations Committee joined forces earlier this spring with the School Psychologists Association and the School Social Workers Association to advocate for you.
The Leadership Group at the Department of Public Instruction has been suggesting licensing changes on school staffing. The Full Summary of Preliminary Licensing Recommendations Report, specifically recommends 1(c): Change administrative rules to offer universal licensure for certain pupil service, supplementary, and additional license categories that are substantially similar to licenses offered by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS), such as social workers or speech and language pathologists.  
WSCA, along with the two associations named above drafted a joint letter to Superintendent Evers, DPI, and the Professional Standards Council, as well as meeting with Deputy Superintendent, Mike Thompson to outline several reasons that this licensing change suggestion is not in the best interest of students.  First, our professions require specific preparation for school-related issues, including special education, 504 Plans and gifted education; classroom instruction; program development, management, and evaluation; and comprehensive services for all students in the academic, personal/social, and career domains.  Community clinical psychologists, counselors, and social workers do not have this school-specific training. 
Secondly, the suggested proposed change states that, “In those cases where candidates would need additional training, school districts could provide the professional development or practicum to the employee. This change would provide greater employment opportunities to the license-holder, and would provide districts with a greater pool of candidates in shortage areas.”  The joint letter addressed the reality that school districts seeking a counselor in shortage areas would most likely be unable to provide an experienced mentor and practicum opportunity given the lack of available pupil service staff in rural areas to assist as mentors to specific student services professionals. Thus, the specialized training needed for counselors who are not school-licensed would be absent. 
Lastly, the necessity for student service staff to be Master level trained in order to maintain the quality and integrity of the profession was emphasized, noting that hiring less trained and qualified staff in the name of cost savings was not in the best interest of students and education.  The many pathways that can be taken to receive appropriate school counseling licensure were outlined and encouraged as the appropriate course of action for licensed practical counselors wishing to work in a school setting. 
It is with great enthusiasm that we can report to our WSCA members that our collective, and therefore powerful, voice was heard.  The suggested licensing change has been taken off of the table, ensuring that the integrity of the school counseling preparation and training requirements remain intact. 
The Government Relations Committee, Executive Director, and WSCA Board and Coordinators continue to work tirelessly on your behalf. Stay tuned for additional advocacy regarding current legislative issues. 
Many hands make light work. 
Please contact Andrea Donegan at  if you would like to join the crusade to inspire, educate, reform, improve, and expand our profession through the collective voice of the Government Relations Committee.  Your voice matters.

Professional Development 

Publications Update 

Like what you see? Tweet about it! Include us in your tweets please. @TabithaStelter @WSCAlink

All submissions are due by the 10th of each month to

Upcoming topics include:

November: Trauma Informed Care
December: Social Media Standards for Success
January: Gearing Up for Conference: What's in Store!

Graduate Student Update

The list of benefits for graduate students who are WSCA members is long and diverse. Through WSCA, graduate students have opportunities to network with professionals currently in the field, build connections with peers entering the school counseling profession, receive information and education through WSCA publications, attend our exceptional annual conference, and be a part of their future profession at the state level. Leadership, advocacy, and professional development opportunities abound. If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved in WSCA or your specific university’s school counseling program, please email Holly Kortemeier or Amy Sylvester-Knudtson. Join WSCA today!


The Wisconsin School Counseling Program Accountability Report is continually changing to help the school counseling profession in Wisconsin.  This year is no different as we look forward to transitioning from the WCSCM to the ASCA Model. Look for changes in the upcoming months!
In a recent counseling department meeting, one school counselor (the guy writing this) really felt like the AFLAC duck. Stick with me on this one! You know that AFLAC duck.  The duck that answers questions about insurance and who gets paid when you’re off the job. AFLAC. Who covers benefits when your major medical coverage doesn’t? AFLAC.  As we were sitting in the department meeting all I could think about was the AFLAC duck and how it could be swapped into the WSCPAR. How can we show our school board the excellent work of our school counselors? WSCPAR.  What’s the best way to show our school climate and safety? WSCPAR. How do we know that our students are academically, social/emotionally, and career ready? WSCPAR.  What’s an easy way to show the results of our school counseling program? WSCPAR.
As we near the end of the 2016-2017 school year, please consider doing your school counseling program a favor and complete and submit a WSCPAR.  Application deadline remains October 15, 2017 so there’s plenty of time.

Conference Update

8th Annual Fall Summit 
October 26, 2017
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Register now!

Cardinal Stritch University
6801 N. Yates Rd. 
Milwaukee, WI 53217

Parking: Free
Box Lunch Included

Registration Fees:

Early Bird: $10 discount (does not apply to student fee; ends September 30)
Fees: Member $65; Non-Member $75; Student Member $40
*On the day of the event, any unpaid registrants will be required to pay before entry.
Two Options to choose from:
Title: “Resiliency: Promoting Mental Health in the Schools”

Presenter: Tammy Scheidegger
Title: “Practical Application of the ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors to Your Existing School Counseling Program”

Presenter: Mark Kuranz

For more information and to sign up for this day professional development opportunity click here

Don’t miss out on next year’s amazing professional development opportunity! Be sure to SAVE THE DATE for the 2018 WSCA Conference:
WSCA 53rd Annual State Conference
School Counselors: Agents of Change
Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center 
Madison, Wisconsin
Did you hear from a conference presenter this year that sparked your interest on a certain topic? Do you have an idea that you would love to share with other school counseling professionals?  If you answered yes to either one of those questions, please consider presenting your information and ideas at next year’s conference. There are two ways to be involved in speaking at the WSCA conference:
  • The call for 2018 Preconference Workshop Speakers has begun. We invite you to share your expertise with other counselors! Tell them about the unique programs developed in your school district. The purpose of the conference is to provide new challenges for professional and personal growth. The Preconference Program Proposal forms can be downloaded here and must be submitted by the June 1, 2017 deadline.
  • The Search for 2018 Sectional Presenters is on! The heart of all WSCA Conferences will always be the sharing of material from school counselors in the trenches. Share your latest and greatest practices and ideas at the 2018 WSCA Conference by doing a one-hour sectional. Sectional Proposal Forms are available here.  The deadline for sectional proposals is November 10, 2017.
Please note the following: Criteria used for review and selection of program proposals will be based on the interest in topic, and clarity of the proposal.  Diverse and innovative programs are encouraged.  Programs will be chosen that meet the needs of all levels of school counselors and other professionals and individuals interested in counseling. Presentations encouraging purchase of books, materials or services will be not be accepted.
We are excited to announce the 2018 WSCA Conference Keynote Speakers:
Michele Borba, Internationally Renowned Educator, Best-selling Author and Parenting, Child Development, and Bullying Expert
BRUNCH KEYNOTE SPEAKER (February 22, 2018)
Rosalind Wiseman, Educator, Parent Expert & Social Activist
Looking forward to another fabulous conference
full of ideas on how
School Counselors can be


September 2017