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SCHOOL COUNSELOR

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE FLORIDA SCHOOL COUNSELOR ASSOCIATION

SPRING 2009

MOTIVATING STUDENTS OF COLOR

THE “NO EXCUSES” PHILOSOPHY


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CONTENTS FEATURES

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Advocating for Our School Counseling Programs BY JOSEFINA ESTRELLA, ED.D.

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Don’t Blame Impulsivity for Teens’ Shortsightedness BY SARAH HUTCHEON

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The No Excuses Philosophy: Lessons, Challenges and Success Strategies for Motivating Students of Color BY DARRELL “COACH D” ANDREWS

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How Counselors Can Help Students Seeking Technical Careers BY DIANNE ELY

DEPARTMENTS

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President’s Message

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Vice President’s View: Elementary

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Vice President’s View: Middle School

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Vice President’s View: Secondary

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Vice President’s View: District Level Supervisor

PUBLISHER Florida School Counselor Association P.O. Box 752 Safety Harbor, Fl 34695-0752 Phone or Fax: (888) 785-8611 www.fla-schoolcounselor.org fsca@fla-schoolcounselor.org

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Vice President’s View: Post Secondary

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Region 2 Report

CO-EDITORS Russell A. Sabella, Ph.D. Jessica Metzler

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Legislative Updates

ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE Ken Cibroski ken@adguidance.com (877) 965-7492 (877) 562-9189, fax

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News You Can Use

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Grants and Scholarships


FSCA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

PPRESIDENT Susan Gertel sgertel@cfl.rr.com

IMPLEMENTING THE ASCA NATIONAL MODEL BY SUSAN GERTEL, FSCA PRESIDENT

PAST-PRESIDENT Madelyn Isaacs, Ph.D. misaacs@fgcu.edu PRESIDENT -ELECT Curtis Jenkins jenkins_c@popmail.firn.edu REGION 1 VICE PRESIDENT Ginger Green gingergreen@gmail.com REGION 2 VICE PRESIDENT Nan Worsowicz worsowiczn@duvalschools.org

hat an amazing year this has been. Since last March, membership in FSCA has tripled, we held a successful Summer Academy and we had more than 300 attendees at our first annual convention. As a board, we continue to operate in the most frugal manner possible by using technology for online and phone conferencing meetings, providing resources online through our Web site and partnering with sponsoring businesses like Sylvan and UTI to conduct professional development workshops to meet your needs. Even as our state is in the depths of a funding crisis, FSCA is a strong, vibrant association ready to meet the needs of school counselors throughout the state. In past issues of the Florida School Counselor magazine, I have written about the quadrants of the ASCA National Model, beginning with the foundation quadrant and then discussing elements of the delivery quadrant. Many of us have not moved beyond the basic stage of laying a foundation for the ASCA National Model in our schools. Some have just begun implementing new delivery methods (such as classroom guidance lessons provided by the classroom teachers as the result of our collaboration and consultation.) Wherever you are in the creation of your program for providing services to your students, you should have key elements of the third quadrant of the ASCA National Model, management, in place. Separating the management of your program from the delivery of services can be difficult. After all, we are school counselors, not managers. How do you demonstrate to your administrator the need for a management agreement? How do you go about the negotiation process? Do you really want to have non-counselors advising you on the development of and delivery of your program? Although it is not listed as the first step in the ASCA National Model, the formation of an advisory council often occurs simultaneously with the development of a mission statement and laying the foundation for the program in many schools. By creating an advisory council, you develop a support system for your programs from students, parents, community leaders and local government officials. Conducting surveys, analyzing the data from the surveys and ensuring the delivery of services is consistent with the mission of the department are some of the ways the advisory council can offer system support to the school. In middle and high schools, where there are often multiple counselors, one counselor generally serves as the department representative to the advisory council. The ASCA National Model clearly states the advisory council is not a governing or directing group, but rather a support and recommending group. Equally important to the success of implementing the ASCA National Model is the management agreement. Negotiating the management agreement is just that — a negotiation for the role of the school counselor in the school. Facilitating our role as change agents is much simpler if the administration has a clear understanding of our goals and of how we organize our time to accomplish those goals. If you believe your personal skill set does not include negotiating, solicit the assistance of a key member of your advisory council for this purpose. For instance, a local school board representative or executive from a “partner in education” business can accompany you to the meeting with your

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CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

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SPRING 2009

REGION 3 CO-VICE PRESIDENT Tina Bulled tina.bulled@ocps.net REGION 3 CO-VICE PRESIDENT Danielle Exposito REGION 4 VICE PRESIDENT Claire Cousins ctcounsins@aol.com REGION 5 VICE PRESIDENT Sharon Dolinsky missg1963@yahoo.com DISTRICT LEVEL SUPERVISOR VICE PRESIDENT Karalia Baldwin baldwink@pcsb.org ELEMENTARY LEVEL VICE PRESIDENT Shirley Redcay sredcay@hotmail.com MIDDLE LEVEL VICE PRESIDENT Susan Stabile susan.stabile@sdhc.k12.fl.us SECONDARY LEVEL VICE PRESIDENT Chris Smith savonasmith@.yahoo.com POST SECONDARY LEVEL VICE PRESIDENT Mercedes ter Maat, Ph.D. mbtermaat@comcast.net

EDITORIAL POLICY FSCA welcomes unsolicited articles and letters deemed to be of interest to the members. Submissions will not be returned and may be edited for purposes of clarity and space. Use email if possible. Always include your name, address, daytime phone number, fax number and e-mail address with your submission. Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the association’s membership, volunteers or staff. ADVERTISING POLICY FSCA reserves the right to edit copy and to refuse advertisements it deems objectionable. The publication of an advertisement in the Florida School Counselor is not an endorsement of the advertiser or of the advertised product or service. FSCA is not responsible for any claims made in advertisements. To determine accreditation status of educational institutions, consult the state and regional accrediting directories or the state department of education. MEMBERSHIP FSCA membership dues are $30/year, of which $5 is for a subscription to the Florida School Counselor. The Florida School Counselor is published five times per year in July, August (Back to School Issue), October, January, and April by the Florida School Counselor Association Inc., P.O. Box 752, Safety Harbor, Fl 34695-0752.

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ADVOCATING FOR OUR SCHOOL COUNSELING PROGRAMS BY JOSEFINA ESTRELLA, ED.D.

t is an ordinary Tuesday, and it has been about 20 minutes since the 3 p.m. bell signaled the end of the school day. It is much quieter now, and I hurry while trying to finish some tasks that were not even started or were left half done because of the need of having to take care of more urgent tasks. For example, a teacher showed up unexpectedly to discuss a possible child abuse concern involving one of her students; another teacher came to my office without prior notice to discuss concerns about a student having difficulty with social skills; a parent visited without an appointment; the principal called requesting feedback about a case I have been working; individual and group counseling sessions; a couple of emergency phone calls from disgruntled parents that I had to take immediately; and two students who needed urgent mediation to resolve a conflict before it became physical altercation. In other words, the usual challenges of the day. As I said before, it is just an ordinary Tuesday. During after-school hours, I am happy to be able to take advantage of the noninterrupted moments to work on other important tasks of my job — that is, unless a parent, who is picking up her child in the after-school care office sees my door open, steps in and sits down to discuss a concern that “must” be addressed immediately. No, no parent so far, so I try to rewrite (more clearly) those frantically scribbled teacher-counselor and parent-counselor conference notes and formally document them on the proper forms; read and answer email messages from teachers and parents; print needed information from the school-data computer screen for nextday meetings; go over the next-day scheduled guidance sessions and counseling appointments to gather needed materials; write future counseling appointments for students referred by

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Yes, “they” are asking questions about us: “Are school counselors really ‘indispensable’” or “Do they actually contribute to students’ achievement?” themselves, their parents or their teachers and place the notes in their teachers’ boxes; return some parents’ phone calls; take care of some issues pertaining the School Support Team (SST) meetings scheduled for the next day; and attend to other tasks that absorb my attention for a quite awhile. After about an hour and a half into my after school selfimposed tasks, I force my inner myself to realize that I’ve done enough and that tomorrow will be another day. I pick up and prepare to depart while I am conscious that I leave behind lots of things to do…for the next day. I also know that I will never be able to catch up with everything I need to do. So many students in need and so many pending tasks…Isn’t this a familiar scenario for most school counselors in Florida on an average school day? As I’m driving home, on my daily 45minute commute, I reflect on this day and other similar days as an elementary school counselor in my 20th year in this field. Time has passed by so quickly. I think of my fellow school counselors who are experiencing similar (or even much more complex) situations in their schools. So far, this has been a particularly difficult school year for all of us. With the nation’s economic crisis, onthe-rise crime, gangs, bullying, violence, soaring school drop-out rates, divorce, unemployment, there are so many things affecting our students. It must be true

SPRING 2009

what they say — schools are a reflection of the society. We are dealing with so many issues at school these days and in addition to everything else, budget cuts are also affecting our education system. Suddenly, I am filled with an gigantic sense of apprehension while thinking about the large amount of students who count on their school counselors to listen to them, encourage them, help them find solutions to problems and formulate plans of actions, make decisions, develop school success skills, personal and social skills and life skills. I think about these uncertain times when many school jobs are in jeopardy and counselors’ positions are being questioned. Yes, “they” are asking questions about us: “Are school counselors really ‘indispensable’” or “Do they actually contribute to students’ achievement?” Those are serious questions for us. I surmise that that all counselors agree with me — that we are indispensable, indeed. We know all we do for our students. We know how students are different because of our interventions. Many students, teachers and administrators may also agree with us. I believe we are truly privileged to have such unique position and perspective in our worksites. School counselors have a special professional preparation with the ideal combination of mental health and education that permits us to understand all the factors surrounding the singular situations of the schools of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Perhaps some stakeholders would agree that we greatly contribute to our students’ success. But would those people who are making decisions about who is and who isn't essential in schools not agree? In summer 2008 when our district school board was considering eliminating a significant number of elementary counselors’ positions and middle school TRUST counselors to help balance the school budget, I advocated for my fellow

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school counselors: “Beginning with the elementary, following with middle and continuing with secondary, school years are crucial in the creation of a solid academic foundation; the formation of strong character; and the development of lifelong personal, social and learning skills. School counselors assist teachers, parents and administrators in achieving these goals for our students. School counselors are responsible for implementing the comprehensive School Counseling and Guidance Program as mandated by the State of Florida. We address the needs of all students in school. We are student advocates. We provide direct services to our students. We are barrier kickers, problem solvers and dream builders. We are integral part of the school team that strives to give our students their best chance at the beginning of their journey through life.” I concluded by saying, “In a time of enormous challenges for our students, I feel that if you vote to reduce the number of counselors, we are failing our children.” Fortunately, with the help of many school counselors, who also spoke out, and the understanding of some school board members, by a tight margin, we were able to save the positions — for the moment. Usually, when I am driving back home from work, I reflect on my kind of day at school, but today, I am thinking differently. I am thinking about something we desperately need — advocacy — and not the kind of advocacy that we, as school counselors, usually perform for students and even for parents. I am thinking about this other kind of advocacy that is also part of our repertoire, and it seems to be of enormous importance at this particular time. It is the kind of advocacy that highlights the importance of our roles as counselors in our schools. I am thinking advocacy for our school counseling programs. Unfortunately, the shocking facts are these: (a) our profession may be in jeopardy of disappearing; (b) many coun-

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We must take active part in the professionalization of the school counseling field starting right now, right here, in our own schools, communities and districts. selors’ positions have been eliminated or have been very close to being eliminated; (c) the state of Florida has a mandate for school counseling programs in schools but does not have a mandate for certified school counselors to be solely in charge of running these programs; (d) despite research support (and not too many people know about it), we are still in the process of demonstrating accountability and positive results linked to academic success; (e) there is limited funding for education; (f) the main focus of schools is on academic skills development involving reading, writing, math and science; (f) there is less emphasis in helping to remove barriers that prevent students from achieving academic goals; (g) there is less importance placed on personal/social development and learning/study skills. What is the meaning of these crude facts for school counselors? In my opinion, it means that we have to take immediate action to take control of our profession, to enhance our profession and to make sure we are not considered dispensable. I certainly believe it’s in our hands. We have universities preparing counselors-to-be, unions that defend teachers (and we are considered teachers, although we are not teachers), professional associations such as ASCA and FSCA that fight for us, and give us guidance and support, but the bottom line is that the responsibility falls on each one of us. We must take active part in the professionalization of the school coun-

SPRING 2009

seling field starting right now, right here, in our own schools, communities and districts. We must advocate for the students to continue receiving the benefits of adequate counseling programs that serve the needs of all students in Florida. We must advocate for our positions as the professionals who implement and coordinate school counseling programs. We are leaders in the school community; we also must be leaders when fighting for our counseling programs. It is important that we work with others; know our weaknesses and strengths; earn the trust of all stakeholders: students, parents, teachers and administrators; and elevate the professional level of our field. We must continue improving our skills in collecting and using data to demonstrate the results of our actions. We must fight for greater support from our districts regarding accountability measures, program improvement, networking opportunities and the better use of our districts’ student services Web sites to provide uniformity to the counseling program. I wish these words would convey a sense of urgency because I believe this is an extremely urgent matter. Taking in consideration personal knowledge acquired throughout my 20 years of school counseling experience, the intense work of three years in my doctoral program at Nova Southeastern University, countless Internet searches, books and articles read, information provided by our professional associations ASCA and FSCA and meaningful conversations with fellow counselors about our profession, I have gathered some ideas that may be helpful in advocating for our own counseling programs. Although these are not new ideas, and we all may have heard them before, the important thing is that we put them in practice because our jobs and the services we provide to our children may depend on how well we demonstrate that our counseling programs are important. How can you be an advocate for your

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profession? You should consider the following guidelines to advocate for your role as a school counselor and the success of your counseling program. ■ Cultivate a positive “can do” attitude and disposition. “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier,” as General Powell once said. ■ Embrace your role as a leader in your school. You are a leader. ■ Have vast knowledge of your counseling program and provide the best possible implementation despite obstacles. ■ Take a critical look at your own program’s implementation and evaluation. ■ Sharpen and frequently practice your collaborative and communication skills. Be a team player. ■ Become an expert in problemassessment, problem-solving and behavioral interventions. ■ Don’t be afraid of trying innovative ideas and putting them into action in your school (Three years ago, I shyly launched the “Nutrition and Fitness Week,” which has become an annual celebration in my school). ■ Dare to step out of your comfort zone (During the first year I started conducting parenting workshops 19 years ago, I was afraid that I would not be able to articulate a word in front of the group of parents. None of that happened. I survived the trial and got more and more self-confident over the years). ■ Inform your administrators and teachers about the components of your program (curriculum, responsive services, individual student planning and system support). ■ Inform administrators and teachers about the way your counseling time should be divided as recommended by ASCA, according to your level (elementary, middle and secondary) and in terms of the above-mentioned components of the program. ■ Perform your counseling and coun-

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seling-related tasks to the best of your ability and respectfully question non-counseling tasks. A word of caution: be wise, this is not the time to say “no” when asked to help with non-counseling tasks. These are rough times for everyone at the school level. Inform parents about your program. Give a presentation about your program to the Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Conduct parent workshops to help parents improve their parenting skills. Be visible, efficient and organized. Practice good public relations, but don’t socialize too much. It may give the impression you don’t have too much to do. Participate in professional development activities. Keep your skills sharp. Know your weaknesses and take the steps to get better. Know your strengths and share them with other counselors. Be informed of the latest research, professional updates and relevant information. Belong to your professional associations and take advantage of member privileges (e.g., access to materials and information). Establish a very good connection with your administrators. Their support is essential to the well functioning of your program. Be aware of the impact of your professional image, appearance and attitude. Image matters — dress, speak and act professionally at all times. You are a role model. Utilize the school Web site to present information about your program. Prepare a brochure highlighting the features of your counseling program. On school open house night, be visible and distribute flyers about your program as well as other relevant

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information for parents. Create a school counseling advisory committee with representatives of teachers in all grade levels, special classes and an administrator. ■ Be a problem-solver. When you go to the administration with a concern, also offer ideas and possible solutions. ■ Be an active member of the school committees (e.g., Educational Excellence School Advisory Committee/ EESAC, Leadership Team, School Improvement Plan /SIP) ■ Be willing to contact your senators and representatives when there are issues that pertain to the welfare of our profession. ■ Analyze information on school surveys relevant to your counseling program to learn how others perceive your services and your program. Make changes as needed. ■ Present the results of your interventions to the stakeholders at the end of the year. Share successes and also consider improvement needed. Results don’t have to be perfect. At the end of the day, after reflecting about these important issues, I am ready to go to sleep so I can reenergize for another day. I feel hopeful. I know we have great people in the counseling profession. It is our responsibility to take action now to strengthen our school counseling programs. Our students need us. They are the citizens of the future who will be running this country in a few years. They need school counselors who help them achieve their dreams. It is the right moment to continue doing our important jobs and let people know that we are indispensable. It’s in our hands. ■ ■

Josefina Estrella, Ed.D., is an elementary school counselor in the Miami-Dade Public Schools District. She is a member of the FSCA Advocacy Committee. She can be reached at jestrella@dadeschools.net.

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DON’T BLAME IMPULSIVITY FOR TEENS’ SHORTSIGHTEDNESS BY SARAH HUTCHEON

ccording to popular stereotype, young teenagers are shortsighted, leaving them prone to poor judgment and risky decision-making when it comes to issues like taking drugs and having sex. Now a new study confirms that teens 16 and younger do think about the future less than adults, but it explains that the reasons may have less to do with impulsivity and more to do with a desire to do something exciting. The study, conducted by scientists at Temple University, the University of California, Los Angeles, Georgetown University, the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Colorado, is published in the January/February 2009 issue of Child Development. The researchers looked at more than 900 individuals ranging in age from 10 to 30 and from an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse group to determine how people of different ages think about the future consequences of their decisions. They used a new questionnaire and an experimental task called delay discounting, which measures the extent to which people prefer immediate but smaller rewards over delayed but larger ones. Compared with adults, the researchers found, teenagers consider the future less and prefer immediate rewards over delayed ones (for example, $700 today versus $1,000 a year from now). But it may not be impulsivity that guides their lack of forethought. Instead, the study found that teens are shortsighted more due to immaturity in the brain systems that govern sensation seeking than to immaturity in the brain systems responsible for self-control. Brain systems governing sensation seeking are very active between the ages of 10 and 16, while brain systems governing self-control continue to mature beyond age 16. In this study, the researchers saw few changes in teens’ concepts about the future after age 16.

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The study found that teens are shortsighted more due to immaturity in the brain systems that govern sensation seeking than to immaturity in the brain systems responsible for self-control. “Those who wish to use research on adolescent decision-making to guide legal policies concerning teenagers’ rights and responsibilities need to be more specific about which particular capacities are being studied — sensa-

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tion seeking or self-control — since they don’t all mature along the same timetable,” concludes Laurence Steinberg, professor of psychology at Temple University and the study’s lead author. Summarized from Child Development, Vol. 80, Issue 1, “Age Differences in Future Orientation and Delay Discounting” by Steinberg, L (Temple University), Graham, S (University of California, Los Angeles), O’Brien, LO (Temple University), Woolard, J (Georgetown University), Cauffman, E (University of California, Irvine), and Banich, M (University of Colorado). Copyright 2009 The Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. All rights reserved. ■ Sarah Hutcheon is affliated with the Society for Research in Child Development. She can be reached at shutcheon@srcd.org.

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THE “NO EXCUSES” PHILOSOPHY FOR MOTIVATING STUDENTS OF COLOR BY DARRELL “COACH D” ANDREWS

ears ago, my wife and I traveled with several volunteers to take a large group of African-American and Latino students on a trip to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. One hundred percent of the 150 or so students we were spending the weekend with were from the inner city, and our focus was to spend that weekend training minority students on the importance of leadership as well as the need for developing their personal, interpersonal and communication skills. One group joined us from the town of Perth Amboy, N.J., which is not far outside of New York City. The minute I saw the Perth Amboy students the first words that came out of my mouth were, “We are in for a long weekend working with this group.” I probably surprised my co-workers and volunteers; after all, not only had I been working with youth from the inner city for years at the time, but I am also African-American. Still, I couldn’t stop from judging these kids. My words were based upon the way the students were dressed, the way they walked and the way they communicated. Societal perceptions still exist, even when you are of the race or culture in which the perception is being made. The next day, I joined several students, including some of the Perth Amboy students, playing a game of basketball. I’m pretty competitive and soon I forgot I was playing with students who were much younger than me. In my mind, I was reliving my own high school basketball career, and suddenly I found myself flat on my back on the ground, immobile and in incredible pain. For a moment, many of the students simply stared at me in amazement. A split-second later, the students from Perth Amboy ran over to me, lifted me up in the air and ran with me in their arms to the infirmary. They stayed with me while I was examined, and when the camp doctor determined I had to go straight to the hospital, these young men

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By gaining an understanding of the world in which they live, you begin to uncover some of the societal and interpersonal challenges minority students face that hinder their growth potential. were determined to go all the way there with me. In all my years of working with youth, I can say that these students were by far the most compassionate young people I had ever met. This experience became the catalyst for my “no excuses” mindset. The reaction of those students compounded the embarrassment of my initial impression of them. Many of us recite the phrase, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Too few of us recite or even remember the rest — that you absolutely must first read the book. Most people refuse to read the book and allow the cover to become their only blueprint for interacting with minority kids. By accepting this paradigm, and allowing it to shape classroom expectations, educators are missing an opportunity to close the achievement gap and many other challenges associated with educating minority youth.

READ THE WHOLE BOOK, NOT JUST THE DUST COVER By actually “reading the book” one begins to fully grasp how minority kids not only have ambitions and dreams just like other students, but that minority youth are motivated to achieve their dreams by people who relate to them on

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a personal level. In our Helping Youth Pursue Excellence (HYPE) Program, my team and I have interacted with thousands of minority and at-risk youth. Over the years, we have engaged in conversations with an increasing number of minority students who have truly big dreams. They desire to grow up and become doctors, teachers, lawyers and business owners. By gaining an understanding of the world in which they live, you begin to uncover some of the societal and interpersonal challenges minority students face that hinder their growth potential. This should be a top priority of any educator. After achieving this understanding, you can finally identify what can be done to reverse the tide of academic failure.

CHALLENGES BY ANY OTHER NAMES ARE STILL CHALLENGES Students from challenged backgrounds or from urban communities have many burdens that hinder their ability to effectively communicate the dreams that have become buried deep inside of them. These challenges are no excuse for failure; however, they do point to areas of concern that successful educators understand and analyze. These educators have made their goal helping their students navigate through challenges in order to succeed in the classroom. Common problems students face are as follows. “Demonization of Youth” – This term, according to Debra Prothrow-Stith, M.D., from Harvard University, sheds light on the proliferation of negative images of minority youth by the media and other influencers that shape perceptions many people have of minority kids. I have personally found that while many students may dress a certain way due to clothing trends, this often has no bearing on the students themselves. How they dress does not mean they are bad kids with apathetic mindsets.

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“Oppositional Identity” – A term created by the late John Ogbu, Ph.D., a former cultural anthropologist at the University of California-Berkeley. His research highlights various minorities and the challenges faced by involuntary immigrants (African-Americans, Native Americans and Chicano peoples who came to this country through slavery or conquest). He points out that many minorities in this category have created a “counter culture” to the majority culture of the population, reaction that is due to years of limited opportunities and denial of assimilation into the American system. The eventual result of this development is that individuals are often considered “sell-outs” if they go against the identity of their culture. Cultural Sensitivity – A majority of minorities do not see any significance in the American school system, because they do not see many people like themselves succeeding in it. Their parents and grandparents struggled to make it in this county and continue to struggle to this day. Minority students are often only shown images of successful people in history who do not look like them. Secondly, different styles of communication are not often valued in the classroom. For an easy example of how African-Americans often communicate with passion and receive from people who teach in the same manner, just visit any local African-American church to experience this way of connecting. After being raised in such vivacious cultures, is it any wonder minority students have difficulty in the classroom? Yet we expect them to learn after sitting in a room hearing lectures that are monotone in nature when their culture learns and interacts in a high energy way.

MOVING FROM CHALLENGES TO MOTIVATION Students are not committed to programs — they are committed to people. This

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philosophy is a career motto of mine. After nearly 20 years of analyzing and motivating minority youth, I have witnessed over and over again that minority students do not care what your skin color is; if you care about them, they will respond to you. To illustrate the understated importance of this simple concept, I want to share with you the stories of districts that implemented innovative strategies to connect with their students of color. 1. Gadsden County School District in Gadsden County, Fla.: When incoming Superintendent Reginald James arrived for his first day at Gadsden County, the school district was ranked in the lower percentiles of both student scores on the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test,) as well as schools reaching AYP Goals. James recognized the problem immediately, and implemented a “no excuses” school-wide philosophy that included significant input from the students themselves. Based on this input and the widespread implementation, in just one calendar school year GCSD had the second highest

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increase in the state of Florida on FCAT scores and all of their schools achieved AYP. Educators from this district recognized the keys of their success and outlined them for their peers: ■ Educators related student-connectedness to academic outcomes. They simultaneously built student academic outcomes into their relationship building initiatives. ■ Based upon the student’s input, they immediately engaged key community stakeholders. Organizations like community groups and churches became role models and supporters for the “no excuses” philosophy. ■ They had accountability across the board. From classroom teachers to school administrators, to parents and the students themselves, everyone was accountable for success. ■ The school leaders made this philosophy a priority. It was not another feel good initiative — it was a core part of the school success plan. 2. Hearne High School in Texas: After one of my presentations for the Southwest Center for Accelerated

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Schools Conference in Austin, Texas, I had the opportunity to meet several administrators from Hearne High School. The focus of the conference had been helping Texas schools achieve AYP goals, and I shared with the Hearne group that students should be taught to identify their life’s passion and develop a strategy to achieve it that was supported by their school. They made the decision then and there to implement this strategy at their school and soon after invited me down to experience what they had done. I walked through the school in amazement as I saw hundreds of student’s Passion Maps™ posted all over the school. After the conference, administrators had brought home Passion Maps, which is a tool my company created to help students take an affinity toward looking at all of their career possibilities. Hearne took that concept to the next level by posting the dreams of their students all over the school. I had walked into a building of motivated students who came face-toface with their future dreams and ambitions every day. Hearne High also had the students create 20-year timelines of their future achievement. One teacher told me, “Teaching is now fun again. By discussing the dreams of our students and connecting it to their academic experiences, all of our students and our staff are now enjoying the school day.” Hearne’s experience depicts what can happen when: ■ Schools encourage and support the dreams of students and connect these dreams back to their educational experience. This is one of the best ways to help minority students see the significance of their dreams. ■ Schools make a big deal out of their student’s future. If schools make a big deal of it, so will the students. ■ Students visualize outcomes. By keeping a picture of the possibilities in front of the students and helping them take ownership of the vision, you begin to see the unlimited possibilities in the students.

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Students visualize outcomes. By keeping a picture of the possibilities in front of the students and helping them take ownership of the vision, you begin to see the unlimited possibilities in the students. 3. Lincoln College Prep High School, Kansas City, Mo.: Lincoln High School was the stereotypical high school within the inner city. The school was started years ago for African-American students and years later were still primarily African-American. The school simply existed year after year and always achieved the same academic results. At the beginning of a new school year, principal Regina Ellis suddenly realized that her students and her staff did not have any definable goals to attain. She recognized the need for some type of objective the staff and students could embrace, and that this purpose would become inspiration to improve academic and personal outcomes. Her administration chose the amount of scholarships won by their students the goal to shoot for. They established and announced a total dollar amount as their primary goal. After sharing this goal with students, parents, and community and other stakeholders, Ellis started to see a synergy take place in her school. Their first year’s goal was to achieve over 5 million dollars in scholarships for their students. Because of the combined dedication of the school and community, not only did they achieve this goal, they exceeded it by several hundred thousand dollars. The next year they set the bar higher by shooting for over six million is scholar-

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ships. Currently, they have achieved over 6.5 million dollars in scholarships. How did this underestimated school become a flagship school of the state of Missouri? First, administration recognized that schools need to have a definable goal for the students and staff. Second, their students were taught to reach beyond any self-perceived limitation. Third, goals that are established were analyzed and discussed frequently in order to keep them alive and well. Finally, educators understood that when you connect goals to academic achievement, academic achievement becomes a quest instead of a routine. In each account, leadership was the driving force behind the success of these schools and their minority students. Educators and administrators can successfully use these strategies and their own innovative strategies with confidence because one leader with courage is a majority. These methods will first and foremost improve minority student relations, which are directly connected to improving test scores and a host of other academic expectations. Let me emphasize again that students are not committed to programs — they are committed to people. All it takes is one school leader who breaks the societal limitations placed on students of color and who inspires all stakeholders to take ownership of the dream of minority student success, and schools can and will see improvement. An effective school leader sees the potential in their minority students and allows this vision to be the driving force behind their expectation of success. ■ Darrell “Coach D” Andrews, an educational consultant, has been a speaker and trainer for many schools and school districts and is the author of the book, Believing the HYPE-Seven Keys to Motivating Students of Color. He can be reached at his office toll free at (866) 4262243 or by e-mail at info@coachdspeaks.com. His Web site is www.coachdspeaks.com

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HOW COUNSELORS CAN HELP STUDENTS SEEKING TECHNICAL CAREERS BY DIANNE ELY

students opting for technical school need a strong foundation in core academic subjects, such as math, reading and science, and may need a reminder to continue working hard. A 2006 study by ACT, an independent nonprofit organization focused on education research, compared the skills needed for college success with those necessary to enter the workforce or attend technical school. The findings revealed that individuals must possess the same math and reading knowledge for both.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TECHNICAL SCHOOL

uidance counselors are challenged to help students with diverse interests, skills and academic records become successful in school and plan for their future. Although some students have a clear-cut vision to attend a four-year college, there are many who don’t see that as their best choice. Many of your students who have a passion for technical trades or talent in math or science should consider a career as an automotive, marine or motorcycle technician. You have a great opportunity to provide these individuals and their parents with valuable information about the many career options available to today’s trained technicians. Gone are the days when just knowing how to handle a wrench is enough to repair and maintain modern vehicles, which are complex computerized machines. Knowing how to use all the tools of the trade, including electronics, computers and software programs, requires in-depth training. Today’s technician is a far departure from the

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decades old perception of a greasy mechanic. They are highly skilled professional men and women of all ages who are able to apply varied skills to solve challenging technical problems.

TECHNICAL CAREERS ARE IN DEMAND According to the 2008 Manpower Talent Shortage Survey, mechanics* are still ranked among the top 10 most in demand employees throughout the United States. The nationwide technician shortage is partly due to an aging workforce that is retiring and the demand for individuals trained on rapidly advancing technologies. Employers are finding it difficult to fill positions due to the lack of qualified talent.

TECHNICAL SCHOOLS SEEK STUDENTS WITH A STRONG ACADEMIC FOUNDATION Although there is demand and great job opportunities available for technicians,

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Important factors to consider include curriculum, reputation, instructors, manufacturer relationships and job placement rates. Most schools regularly host open houses and offer campus tours. Here are some of the most frequently discussed topics when helping students select a technical school. A wide range of financial options The average automotive, collision repair, diesel, marine and motorcycle training takes 12 to 18 months to complete and tuition varies by program. Fortunately, there are many plans designed to provide support for technical education, including federal financial aid, student loans, scholarships and grants designated for career education. Look for technical schools that have a philanthropic arm designed to provide financial support through a wide range of scholarships for students who otherwise would not be able to receive postsecondary education. It is also important to factor in all that each school has to offer, above and beyond the training, when evaluating the cost to attend. Curriculums and education philosophy Counselors can help students find technical schools that balance fundamentals,

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diagnostics, demonstrations and handson lab work. A top technical school uses state of the industry diagnostic, repair and maintenance equipment and helps students learn about fuel and electrical systems, engine trouble shooting, noise diagnosis and performance as well as “green” technology. Since some students do best with classroom training, while others are hands-on learners, look for schools that support both styles. In addition, curriculum that incorporates the critical professional skills, such as customer service, communication, research, problem-solving, and importance of a solid work ethic, is valued by employers and customers in the workplace.

Although there is demand and great job opportunities available for technicians, students opting for technical school need a strong foundation in core academic subjects, such as math, reading and science, and may need a reminder to

Accreditation applies to technical schools Technical schools accredited by a nationally recognized agency have met the high standards established by that agency. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies at www.ed.gov. The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology is a nationally recognized accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education and focused on technical education. Relocation is possible Even though some technical schools offer educational programs at multiple campuses across the country, students may have to relocate to attend their school of choice. Many technical schools offer information on housing, temporary job information for students and their families as well as other important local information to help make transitioning to the new area easier.

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continue working hard. Job placement support A technical school should be able to provide the percentage of students who complete its programs and find jobs, as well as information about average starting wages. Many have employment services that help students with their resume, interview skills and finding jobs during training and after graduation. Also, it is important to research the school’s network of employers as well as relationships with leading manufacturers and large dealership groups.

BEYOND TECHNICAL SCHOOL Technology is rapidly increasing in sophistication and the job prospects are excellent for individuals who finish a formal training program. According to the U.S. Department of Labor “Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008–09 Edition,” most employers regard the successful completion of a vocational program as the best preparation for trainee positions. After successfully passing all manufacturers’ tests before being hired, most dealerships will require two to three years of on-the-job experience before considering a technical school graduate a fully qualified technician. Top technicians can make a very good living. Finally, it is important to know that technician jobs will never be outsourced abroad and the opportunities aren’t limited to repair work. Qualified technicians can pursue careers in research and development, parts and accessories, manufacturing and assembly, as well as careers as insurance adjusters, designers, help desk agents, manufacturer representatives, pit crew members and shop owners, to name a few. Counselors are an important resource for students seeking technical careers. Advise them to stay focused on their high school course work while taking the time to research the right career choice and educational paths to pursue their passion. ■ Dianne Ely is the campus president of the

Manufacturer relationships improve job prospects Schools that maintain close relationships with the major manufactures will not only enhance students’ training, but also increase their chances for employment with higher earning potential after graduation.

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Orlando, Fla. campus of Universal Technical Institute, Inc.

* Although “mechanic” is referenced in the Manpower survey, “technician” is the term accepted by the commercial and motorsports industries that better reflects the technical skills and professionalism required on the job.

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VICE PRESIDENT’S VIEW: ELEMENTARY LEVEL BY SHIRLEY REDCLAY

y now, it’s likely you have thought about how cuts to education could personally impact you and the work you do at your school. You may be facing serving more than one school, salary reduction, or even the loss of your position. In my 17 years as an elementary school counselor, twice I have experienced having my position cut. I would like to offer a word of advice. This is the time to use all you have learned to create an effective school counseling program, and promote your school counseling program. Meet needs. Be visible. Write for your school newsletter. Be active in your local and state school counselor organizations. Align your practice with the ASCA National

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Model. Purge your schedule of every non-counselor function possible. If an activity is not providing a benefit to students or other stakeholders worth the effort you are expending, make a change. This is also the time to take care of you. Regularly rest and refresh. Network with other counseling professionals for encouragement and support. The upcoming FSCA Summer Academy is an ideal opportunity for this. Let me encourage you to take advantage of this event and spend time with some of the best counseling professionals from across the state. It has been said that tough times don’t last, but tough people do. We are a strong

profession, with strong state and national school counselor organizations behind us. We will get through the times we are facing. Both my position losses gave me the opportunity to grow professionally and meet more of the wonderful people in the education field. By looking for the advantage in the disadvantage, I was able to make the best of challenging times. I hope the best for you, and look forward to seeing many of you this summer. ■ Shirley Redcay is the FSCA elementary vice president. She can be reached at shirley.redcay@sdhc.k12.fl.us.

VICE PRESIDENT’S VIEW: MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL BY SUSAN STABILE

s we are winding down the school year, we in the middle school setting still have much to accomplish before we welcome the incoming sixth graders and see off our present eighth graders: scheduling, FCAT, ePEPS, academic advising, meeting benchmarks and, of course, counseling. How are we to do all this? While there is no “one answer that fits all,“ we need to remember that we are not alone and we need to share strategies. Starting at your own school, make sure that there is time set aside often for you to discuss, plan and share with your fellow counselors, administration, teachers and even clerical staff. Sit on various teacher team meetings, have a “working” lunch with your clerical staff, ask to be invited to those regular administration staff meetings if you presently do not attend and meet your fellow counselors at the local coffee house. It is a team effort and you are a vital key to your school’s success. At the district level, make sure that you attend any counselor meetings and trainings offered in your county. Join your local counselor association(s). Networking within your community is an important

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avenue to keep abreast of what is current and directly related to best practices in your area and specific population. If you work in a large district, you may want to start your own professional learning community with schools within a close radius to feel even more connected. We have started this in our district and it has proven to be personally rewarding to exchange ideas and address concerns with other counselors who work within miles of my school. We try to meet once every nine-week period at a central location, usually off school campus. At state level, join organizations that again will expand your support network and give you resources that will help you make a difference in your role as a middle school counselor. The FSCA is one of the most economical ways of belonging to a professional organization. At the first FSCA Annual Convention in Orlando, it was very apparent that the educational and professional needs of all school counselors are priorities and that counselors do have a voice. FSCA provides legislative advocacy, and in these uncertain economical times, we need to have our voice heard at state and district level. Look

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ahead to attend the FSCA Summer Academy soon after the school year ends. ASCA is a national organization that provides professional development, publications, research and advocacy to school counselor across our nation and the globe. Joining this organization will definitely help you network and grow as a professional. ASCA also offers many opportunities for recognition for counselors, such as the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) designation. This prestigious award will take your counseling program to the next level. ASCA’s 2009 annual ASCA convention, “Making a Difference” will be held this year in Dallas, June 28-July 1. Plan to be one of the 2,000 expected professional in attendance. Remember, these are only suggestions to help and support you and your counseling program. Whatever you can fit in your busy schedule or that your pocketbook allows, will only take your counseling program good to great. ■ Susan Stabile is the FSCA middle school level vice president. She can be reached at susan.stabile@sdhc.k12.fl.us.

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VICE PRESIDENT’S VIEW: SECONDARY LEVEL BY CHRIS SMITH

s we begin the last semester of the school year, it occurs to me that I thought that the year had just begun. Where did the first semester go? Is it true that time really does fly by? Has my day job gotten so hectic that I am missing major parts of my life? Whatever this is, I know that I am not alone. As I meet and speak with school counselors around the state, I realize that we are all overachievers trying to do the impossible with larger caseloads, assisting students with job searches in tough economic times and spending more and more time in the office just trying to keep up. As an organization, I can assure you that the governing board of the FSCA is doing the same thing. We are at work everyday making this a stronger and more viable organization. An organization that advocates for school counselors at every turn, an organization that is providing quality professional development opportunities, an organization which is sending representatives to Tallahassee for Legislative Days, and an organization that is planning for two great events: the second Summer Academy and the 2009 Fall Convention. The last two areas are areas where each of you can help yourself and your profession. The first, advocacy, is critical in these times. Become vocal at the local and state level. Let your legislators know that education cannot sustain any cuts, that they hold a public trust to raise revenue to keep our state afloat, and to ensure that no child’s education and future suffers due to politics and the special interests of a few. One of the facts about economic hard times is that most people look to K–20 education to help them be better prepared for the recovery when it comes. Our state will rely on an educated workforce to build a new and revitalized economy. That can only happen with continued education funding and support. Make sure that you are supporting your claims about students and their needs with data. Use data about your own effectiveness, the needs and effec-

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tiveness in your district and in Florida. There are many Web sites and sources of information to help you be more informed about the current fiscal situation. Secondary school counselors can point to student progression information, scholarship and financial aid data, postsecondary admissions, and link their effectiveness to state education priorities for students to stay in school and become more effective workers and citizens. Look at our career development role carefully, and identify what you have been doing in that area and track the outcomes with students. Report it liberally. Our own FSCA Web site and FSCA advocacy committee has information about current issues. Our members receive email blasts periodically. The FEA Web site, http://www.feaweb.org/ cms/Member+Advocacy/64.html has advocacy information and legislative priorities that may help you become a more effective advocate. The second way you can keep yourself and your profession vital during these tough times is to keep in touch with the latest professional development and collegiality. You have already received the email blast to “hold the date” for the Fall Convention School Counselors: Building

Futures, Changing Lives, which will again be held at the Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009, to Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009. Committees have already begun organizing and planning for this event in hopes of surpassing last year’s very successful event. If you have an interest in getting involved with this undertaking, please don’t be shy. Contact me at chrissmith 0529@gmail.com. So, as we continue with our hectic schedules, get involved with FSCA as we all strengthen this profession and organization into the next year. If you are not a member, please consider joining the only school counselor organization in Florida dedicated solely to what you and I do every day. You becoming a member strengthens our profession and position as we visit with state legislators and advocate for school counselors in Tallahassee. Visit our Web site at www.fla-school counselor.org to join, keep up with important information, and updates on the Summer Academy, the Fall Convention and much, much more. ■ Chris Smith is the secondary level vice president. He can be reached at chrissmith0529@gmail.com.

FLORIDA SCHOOL COUNSELOR ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONVENTION Oct. 29–Oct. 31, 2009 Pre-Convention Workshops: Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009 Post-Convention Workshops: Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009 When booking your hotel, make sure to ask for the FSCA Convention special rate of $129/night. Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld 6677 Sea Harbor Drive Orlando, FL 32821 Phone: (407) 351-5555 Toll-free: (800) 327-6677 For more details: http://www.fla-schoolcounselor.org/convention2009/ Exhibitors and Sponsors: http://www.fla-schoolcounselor.org/convention2009/ 2009-exhibitor-sponsor-info.htm

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VICE PRESIDENT’S VIEW: DISTRICT LEVEL SUPERVISOR BY KARALIA W. BALDWIN

ow, more than ever, the school counselor’s role has evolved more so in the domain of student academics. We know the other two domains of counseling: personal/social and career are integral in the students being successful in academics. Research has shown that the students are more apt to be successful when all three domains are addressed. Research has also shown relationship, rigor and relevance have a strong correlation to student achievement. We know in many cases, the school counselor is the one adult who knows all of the students and staff and is usually the community liaison. This gives the school counselor a more global picture of the needs of the students. School counselors have major roles in the implementation of several sections in HB 7087 and SB 1908 to help students to be successful. The school counselors already had many and varied tasks at each level, especially now that the role of the school counselor has expanded. At the middle and high school levels, counselors work with the master schedule, handle registration, provide articulation with feeder schools, conduct parent conferences, monitor student progress, facilitate career activities such as Choice Explorer and Planner, provide individual and group counseling to students, assist outside agencies working with our students, serve on school committees, coordinate the education foundation programs, facilitate the 504 meetings, coordinator of Response to Intervention (RTI), coordinate programs for struggling and under-represented students and are coordinators of other school-related programs. Some of the tasks that are unique to high school counselors include monitoring student credits to ensure that students are on track for graduation, registering students in the correct classes, focusing on career choices, coordinating

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Because of the importance placed on accountability, testing has become a major part of the counselors’ roles in our schools. In fact, many of the middle and high school counselors have assumed the role of testing coordinator for their schools. available scholarships for students, working with the state (Bright Futures and FACTS.org), assisting students with postsecondary selections and preparing students for the world of work. At the elementary level, counselors provide interventions, individual/group counseling and classroom guidance, conduct parent conferences, coordinator of the majority of school-wide programs (Red Ribbon Week, honor recognition, holiday activities, etc) and work with local community agencies. Because of the importance placed on accountability, testing has become a major part of the counselors’ roles in our schools. In fact, many of the middle and high school counselors have assumed the role of testing coordinator for their schools. Over the years, the numbers of tests administered have increased. In addition, the number of times tests are offered has also increased. In the elementary, middle and high school, the FCAT is given along with other assessments. In the high schools the FCAT is

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administrated more than once and the counselors also administer the Preliminary SAT (PSAT), Advanced Placement (AP) and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). With the administering of each test, school counselors find themselves not only making sure that each student is given the best possible chance to be successful, but they are also saddled with the many clerical responsibilities that will ensure that each student record is accurately accounted. Now with implementing HB 7087 and SB 1908, school counselors need to have more face time with the students and their parents to give them information and help them make informed decisions about classes, career education, graduation, attendance, grades, post-secondary education options, requirements for middle and high school and in all of the other areas that are a part of the career, academic and personal/social domains. The counselors need the time to conduct seminars, small group sessions, individual counseling, conferences and workshops for staff, community and parents. In closing, it is crucial the need to align and maximize the role of the school counselors to help the students be academic successful and to meet the mandates of HB 7087 and SB 1908. Where do we stand? As school counselors, we are an integral part of student achievement. It is very important for counselors to be accountable and know how to use data to help show the value of a comprehensive school counseling program. ■ Karalia W. Baldwin is the guidance supervisor in the Pinellas District. She can be reached at baldwink@pcsb.org.

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VICE PRESIDENT’S VIEW: POST-SECONDARY LEVEL BY MERCEDES B. TER MAAT, PH.D.

t is hard to believe that the by the time this newsletter reaches all, spring semester will be nearly over. Many of you already are planning for the summer and fall semesters: reviewing potential students, setting-up admissions interviews and even preparing syllabi for classes that will begin in May. There’s never a dull moment in the life of a post-secondary educator or counselor. Nor should there be a dull moment for your association. In planning for the summer and fall, FSCA wants to know how to serve you best. As we speak, FSCA is active in planning the programs for the summer academy (in June), the fall annual convention (in October at the Renaissance Hotel in Orlando), and a number of one-day professional development seminars. We want to hear from you how to tailor these events to your professional needs. In the last newsletter a brief survey was published for us to learn about your needs. Only a couple of individuals responded, and their responses indicate an interest in participating in state conferences, especially if the topics covered best teaching practices in university settings, best supervision techniques for practicum and internship students, school-based accountability, action research, assessing learning outcomes, research and publication, NBCC standards (certification requirements, exam, etc.) and current trends in education and technology. While these are excellent topics, they represent the opinions of only two counselor educators. It would be great to hear from more of you. Better yet, it would be great if some of you were to submit proposals for the 2009 FSCA Annual Convention to share your knowledge with all of us. Keep an eye on FSCA’s Web site for announcements related to the 2009 Annual Convention and deadlines for proposal submission. And please, complete the survey from the last newsletter and e-mail me your answers to

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I don’t allow students to use laptops while in class. Some colleagues disagree with me, but I find the computer to be a distraction for students and a physical and emotional barrier among class members and me. mbtermaat@comcast.net (or just e-mail me your suggestions). Here are a couple of items that may interest you. One relates to FERPA and HIPAA updates. The Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services just issued “Joint Guidance on the Application of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to Student Health Records.” This information addresses the interplay between FERPA and the HIPAA Privacy Rule at elementary and secondary levels as well as at the post-secondary level. It also addresses many of the questions raised by school officials, health care professionals and others regarding the applicability of these laws to the maintenance of student records. Certain disclosures that are allowed without consent or authorization under both laws, especially those related to health and safety emergency situations, are discussed as well. For more information go to: http://www.ed.gov/policy/ gen/guid/fpco/doc/ferpa-hippa-guidance.pdf. This document is very helpful to parents and students alike. The other item relates to the use of laptops in class. Unless I am teaching something specifically requiring the use of the Internet, I don’t allow students to

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use laptops while in class. Some colleagues disagree with me, but I find the computer to be a distraction for students and a physical and emotional barrier among class members and me. Recently, my department dean sent faculty an abstract written by Carrie B. Fried addressing this very topic. From Winona State University, she writes: Recently, a debate has begun over whether in-call laptops add or hinder learning. While some research demonstrates that laptops can be an important learning tool, anecdotal evidence suggest more and more faculty are banning laptops from their classrooms because of perceptions that they distract students and detract from learning. The current research examines the nature of inclass laptop use in a large lecture course and how that use is related to student learning. Students completed weekly surveys of attendance, laptop use, and aspects of the classroom environment. Results showed that students who used laptops in class spent considerable time multitasking and that the laptop use posed a significant distraction to both users and fellow student. Most importantly, the level of laptop use was negatively related to several measures of student learning, including self-reported understanding of course material and overall course performance. What is your opinion and what practices do you follow regarding the use of laptops in your classrooms? Send me your comments, and I’ll share them (anonymously) with everyone in our next newsletter. ■ Mercedes B. ter Maat, Ph.D., is the FSCA post-secondary level vice president. She can be reached at mbtermaat@comcast.net.

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REGION 2 REPORT BY NAN WORSOWICZ

ur region has been networking about the importance of school counselors to everyone who will listen. With budget cuts looming we have talked to the media, worked with the superintendent and advocated with school board members. Schools will start building budgets in the next few weeks and we hope to minimize the impact on school counselors. Everyone is encouraged to contact their state legislators: to fund education at adequate levels, provide flexibility in categorical funding, refrain from passing unfunded mandates and provide education with a consistent funding stream.

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Our region has been doing outreach with our local private schools to include them in local counseling related activities such as First Coast Counseling Association (FCCA) meetings and activities, a number of onsite scholarship and college admissions activities as well as College Goal Sunday, which was held in February. FCCA hosted Cyber Safety workshop for parents on Feb. 26. They have been busy networking with the District PTSA organization to help publicize it. In addition a number of activities have been planned that involve UNF school counseling students to give them opportuni-

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ties to network with counselors in the field as well as community partners in education and faith-based organizations. Finally, the First Coast Counseling Association is soliciting nominations for the Lucille Crysell Award to recognize an outstanding professional in the school counseling field. â– Nan Worsowicz is the representative for Region Two. She can be reached at worsowiczn@duvalschools.org.

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LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

PRESIDENTS’ WEB SITE ON EDUCATION “President Obama and Vice President Biden believe that our kids and our country can’t afford four more years of neglect and indifference. At this defining moment in our history, America faces few more urgent challenges than preparing our children to compete in a global economy. The decisions our leaders make about education in the coming years will shape our future for generations to come. Obama and Biden are committed to meeting this challenge with the leadership and judgment that has been sorely lacking for the last eight years. Their vision for a 21st century education begins with demanding more reform and accountability, coupled with the resources needed to carry out that reform; asking parents to take responsibility for their children’s success; and recruiting, retaining and rewarding an army of new teachers to fill new successful schools that prepare our children for success in college and the workforce. The Obama-Biden plan will restore the promise of America’s public education, and ensure that American children again lead the world in achievement, creativity and success.” www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/education/ REPORT ON NCLB IMPLEMENTATION Recently, the Department of Education released a new report on the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The new report, “State and Local Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, Volume VI - Targeting and Uses of Federal Education Funds,” presents findings on the targeting and uses of federal education funds for six federal education programs, based on data from the National Longitudinal Study (NLS) of NCLB. The six programs studied include: Title I, Part A; Reading First; Comprehensive School Reform (CSR); Title II, Part A; Title III, Part A; and Perkins Vocational Education State Grants. According to the department, the report describes how well federal funds are targeted to economically dis-

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advantaged students, how Title I targeting has changed over the past seven years, how districts have spent federal funds and the base of state and local resources to which federal funds are added. The findings show that federal funds were more targeted to high-poverty districts than state and local funds but did not close the funding gap between high- and low-poverty districts. Read the full report at www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/disadv/ nclb-targeting/ FIRST FOCUS Children’s advocacy group First Focus has released a new Web site that details investment in every federal program that benefits children. The searchable database allows users to access information on any of the 180 federally supported programs that help children, including annual funding information, program overviews and graphs that display funding changes over time. Searches are customizable, and can be limited to funding type, policy area, amount of funding, and federal department or agency. Data can also be viewed in the aggregate, according to eight broad categories. “The federal budget is a reflection of our national priorities. Politicians of all political affiliations claim to put kids first. Yet this year, the federal government will spend less than 10 percent of its budget on programs addressing the needs of American young people,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus. “We have created this Web site to highlight this startling fact, providing policymakers and advocates with the information they need to improve investments in children’s programs.” www.firstfocus.net/pages/3563/ First_Focus_Releases_Online_ Budget_Resource.htm www.childrensbudget.org/ GOVERNOR’S STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS This annual address concludes the first day of each legislative session. The State of the State address was briefer

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and most focused than in the past, and the governor described hard times for Florida and called on legislators to “come together as never before” to address the grave issues before them. The governor lauded schools for their recent progress, and called for an increase in per-pupil spending and for approval of the gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe. He did not address the issue of sales tax exemptions, but called for an adoption of a law to further reduce school district budget flexibility by requiring that 70 percent of all school district revenues be restricted to direct classroom costs. Full text of prepared remarks at www.flgov.com/2009_speech KEY EDUCATION-RELATED BILLS Here are the most significant educationrelated bills currently under consideration. Budgeting , Funding and Flexibility HB 0457, HB 0803, SB 2236, and SB 2254, would provide different forms of flexibility in school district budgeting as measures to reduce the impact of severe budgetary cutbacks. HB 0595 and SB 0396 would establish a sales tax exemption on school supplies for one week in Aug. 2009. HB 0765 and SB 0530 (not identical) would allow for school years calendars of 180 days of instruction or their hourly equivalent, and provides authority for adjusting these requirements in emergencies. HB 0883 and SB 1978 would reduce local school district budget flexibility and mandate that 70 percent of all school district revenues would have to be expended for direct classroom costs. Charter Schools, School Choice, and School Vouchers HB 0353 and SB 1010 would make available McKay scholarships to students who receive certain services under the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program, and delete the requirement that a student must have spent the prior school year in attendance at a Florida

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public school to receive McKay scholarships. HB 0453 and SB 1310 (not identical) would expand the current Corporate Income Tax Credit Scholarship by which businesses can receive tax credits for donating scholarships or vouchers used for private school tuition. SB 0916 would modify the state’s current program in which businesses receive tax credits for providing vouchers for private school tuition. If approved, the bill would require businesses to donate at least 25 percent of their contributions to scholarships to pay for tutoring of public school students, and would require school districts to account for these donations. HB 0991 and SB 0610 would replace the defunct Schools of Excellence Commission with a new state Grade Improvement Commission, which could create “remedial charter schools” in school districts in which a district-run school received a school grade of “F.” HB 0999 and SB 2124 would require school districts to notify parents at any point in the school year in which any student’s classroom exceeds the constitutional class size limit, to offer to reassign and transport the student to the parents’ choice of another public school and to offer a private school voucher. See also HB 1005 and SB 0278 below. Class Size SB 0610 would establish a means for state approval of “remedial” charter schools. This new system would replace the now-defunct Florida Schools of Excellence. HJR 0919, SB 1828, and SJR 2394 (not identical) would propose a constitutional amendment to require that class size limits remain at or similar to current levels but be based on average number of students at school level rather than at the classroom level. It would also limit the maximum number of students who may be assigned to each teacher in each PK–8 classroom. HB 1005 and SB 0278 would clarify that charter schools are subject to constitutional class size requirements. The House

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version would permit charter schools to enroll students above the constitutional limits, but would not provide state funding for such students. See also HB 0999 and SB 2124 above. Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment HB 0013 and SB 2174 (not identical) would add social studies to the FCAT. HB 0019 and SB 0268 would remove the current statutory requirement that sex education programs teach that abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage is the expected standard for all school-age students and would eliminate the requirement for such programs to promote the benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage. HB 0265 and SB 0220 would establish requirements for comprehensive sex education to include abstinence and contraception. HB 0232 and SB 0092 would require that a student withdrawing from school be assigned to a school counselor who would continue serve as a resource for educational information until the student is 18 years old. HB 0323 and SB 0082 would raise the age of mandatory school attendance from 16 to 18. HB 0355 and SB 1874 would require school districts to include teacher turnover rates on school report cards and revise new teacher induction programs. HB 0404 and SB 0613 would allow for the waiver of final examination requirement for students with at least an average grade of “B” for the semester, and who has not had more than three days of unexcused absences during the semester. HB 0543 and SB 2386 would eliminate science from the FCAT. HB 0501 would abolish early learning coalitions and transfer most functions to the Agency for Workforce Innovation, which would administer school readiness programs and VPK. The bill would also abolish the Florida Early Learning Advisory Council, repeal subsidized childcare program case management, and repeal subsidized child care transportation. (Compare to SB 2570.)

SPRING 2009

HB 1203 and SB 2476 would delete the grade 10 FCAT as requirement for high school graduation, along with the use of concordant college placement test scores for the same purpose. It would abolish mandatory third-grade retention. It would change the current school grading system using letter grades to a school performance system, which would use ratings of “declining,” “maintaining” or “improving.” Schools with “improving” ratings would be provided greater flexibility in allocating FEFP, state categoricals, lottery funds, grant funds and local funds. It would eliminate the current Florida School Recognition Program and replace it with an Every Child Matters Program, which would redirect funds to schools in “declining” status. HB 1231 and SB 2608 would create an appeals process for students marked for grade level retention. It would add history, civics, geography, arts, music and physical education to the subjects required by statute to be considered in decisions about grade level promotion. Current law only requires consideration of reading, writing, science and mathematics. HB 1293 and SB 2654 would make numerous changes to high school graduation requirements, including defining requirements for three kinds of high school diploma: a core diploma, a college preparatory diploma and a career preparatory diplomas. It would also eliminate options for the required physical education and health credit, authorize a Graduation Exit Option Program and provide for applicability of major and minor areas of interest or electives as credit requirements. It would require each high school to offer a minimum number of AP, IB, or dual enrollment courses. It would create additional requirements for receipt of Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program awards. HB 1527 would create a GED exit option for obtaining a standard high school diploma. SB 0078 would remove letter grades for schools from the state’s assessment system.

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SB 0080 would revise components of progression programs, eliminate remedial and supplemental instruction requirements, eliminate mandatory retention grade three, eliminate midyear promotion and revise guidelines for remedial reading instruction and intervention strategies. SB 0100 would require that the minimum number of instructional hours in a prekindergarten program would increase from 540 hours to 720 hours. SB 0178 would create grants to school districts to implement AIDS education programs. SB 0196 would require 225 minutes of physical education per week for grades six through eight, and a mandatory recess with physical activity for elementary schools of 15 to 30 minutes on any day that students do not have physical education class. (See additional notes for this bill below in Public Health & Safety Bills.) SB 0346 would require a mandatory one-half credit in health education, independent of physical education credit requirements, for high school students who enter high school in 2008–2009. SB 0290 would remove the current requirement for meeting class size maximums, which allow a student to graduate from high school if the student passes the grade 10 FCAT, and remove the current requirement that a student earn a passing score on the FCAT or alternative assessment to graduate from high school. SB 0776 would require school districts to add conflict resolution to character education programs. SB 2174 would add social studies to the FCAT testing program. SB 1128 would modify provisions for the designation of a surrogate parent for educational decision-making for a child who has, or is suspected of having, a disability and for whom no willing and able parent can be located. SB 1248 would delete the requirement that a school collect 50 to 75 percent of a textbook’s purchase price from a student who has lost, destroyed, or damaged a textbook that has been in use for more than one year. SB 2396 would require teachers to

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present a “critical analysis” of the scientific theory of evolution. Governance, Law and Policy HB 0533 and SB 1360 would allow delivery of an inspirational message at a noncompulsory high school event. HJR 0617 and SJR 0232 would propose a constitutional amendment that would require the minimum salary for new fulltime public school teacher to be national average salary for new full-time public school teachers and require the average salary for experienced full-time public school teachers to be no less than national average salary for full-time public school teachers. The law would also require that the resulting salary increases be independent of employee benefits and not alter, jeopardize or decrease existing employee benefits, and would require the legislature to fund the required salary increases. HB 0677 and SB 0112 would prohibit use of a cellular telephone while operating a motor vehicle in a school zone. HB 1323 and SB 2466 would provide for recall of school board members and would require school boards to adopt a superintendent recommendation’s for teacher compensation unless 66 percentof the members vote against it. HB 1411 and SB 2458 would replace professional services contracts with new “professional performance contracts,” which could be offered for period of up to five years to teachers who successfully completed at least ten annual contracts. SB 0232 would propose a constitutional amendment that would require the minimum beginning salary of any Florida teacher to be at least as high as the national average salary of all beginning teachers. SB 0782 would amend certain requirements regarding tie votes of local school boards, and methods of elections of school board chairpersons. SB 1540 would provide definitions to clarify that mandatory zero tolerance policies should not be applied to petty acts of misconduct and misdemeanors, including, but not limited to, minor fights or disturbances.

SPRING 2009

Public Health, Safety, and Student Support Services HB 0033 would create additional paperwork and consent requirements for parents seeking childhood vaccinations. SB 2024 would establish requirements for school-based management plans for students with diabetes, and would require schools to obtain services of diabetes care assistants. HB 0597 would establish a homelessness prevention grant program; create a Housing First program; and provide school attendance exemption and school certification of school-entry health examination exemption for certain children in foster care. SB 0918 would expand eligibility for Florida KidCare low-income health insurance program. SB 0146 would require that children who enter public or private schools present evidence of having completed a class in swimming life skills conducted by a certified instructor. SB 0194 would require that children who enter public or private schools present evidence of a comprehensive vision examination. SB 0330 would establish state matching grants for school nurses. Food Service, Transportation and Business Operations HB 0627 and SB 1320 would prohibit school bus stops from being established directly on a state-maintained road with a speed limit of 55 miles per hour or greater. SB 0804 would require the legislature to allocate funds sufficient to reimburse school districts for the difference between the average federal reimbursement for free and reduced-price breakfasts and the average statewide cost for breakfasts. SB 0196 would establish extensive, specific requirements for each school district’s health and wellness policy, to include a district-wide ban on the sale of diet sodas or any beverage containing caffeine, and a ban on frying equipment in school cafeterias. ■

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ANNOUNCING THE NEW FSCA FORUM FSCA’s goals are clear, we are here to help Florida School Counselors get what they need to succeed and excel. FSCA would like to announce a brand new tool that continues to help us achieve our goal. We now have an online forum that will make it easier for us to collaborate, share, and reach out to each other. Fashioned after the national ASCA Scene, the new FSCA Forum is free to all FSCA members (and non-members, although we do hope you agree that joining FSCA is an excellent idea). Some highlights of the FSCA Forum are the following: ■ This is a professional forum that empowers Florida school counselors to come together and make things happen. ■ The FSCA Forum is an online meeting place that provides its participants with a shared calendar, discussion forums, member profiles, photo gallery, file storage and more. ■ You can “subscribe” to discussion topics or forums which are sent to your e-mail address if you like. ■ You will automatically be notified of new activity such as file uploads or new members (which you can stop if you like, this forum is highly customizable). ■ We encourage you to upload your photo, complete your profile and participate. We are just getting started although this promises to be a popular place to challenge and support each other. Online at http://fla-schoolcounselor.collectivex.com/. You may also join the ASCA Scene at no charge and easily switch between both groups with the click of a button! The ASCA Scene is already filled with lots of members and resources. The FSCA Forum will help us to focus more on state level issues, resources and things that matter to Florida school counselors. You may need to ask your school district to “unblock” the FSCA Forum.

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Click here now to get started, it only takes a few minutes.

Center for Interactive Media at support@fcim.org or (800) 357-1072.

NEW REPORT FROM U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION The U.S. Dept of Education has released “Teachers’ Use of Student Data Systems to Improve Instruction, 2005 to 2007.” Key findings include the following: ■ There was a significant increase in teacher-reported access to electronic student data systems between 2005 and 2007 — from 48 percent to 74 percent. ■ Even so, teachers are more likely to report having electronic access to students’ grades and attendance than to achievement data: Only 37 percent of all teachers reported having electronic access to achievement data for the students in their classrooms in 2007. ■ Teachers express a desire for more professional development around the use of data, and those teachers who do feel better-than-average support from their colleagues and schools for working with data are more likely to use student data for instructional purposes. www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/teachersdata-use-2005-2007/teachers-data-use2005-2007.pdf

FLORIDA JOB SEEKERS Find a great education job in Florida. It’s free to teachers, administrators, speech pathologists and other personnel looking for a job in education. www.teachers-teachers.com/florida/

RTI WEB SITE ANNOUNCEMENT The Florida Response to Intervention (RtI) Web site provides a central, comprehensive location for Florida-specific information and resources that promote school-wide practices to ensure highest possible student achievement in both academic and behavioral pursuits. The Web site includes breaking news related to RtI, a description of Florida’s model, partnerships, contacts, resources, the statewide plan, and a direct link to online professional development. Please visit the site at www.florida-rti.org/index.htm and share with district and school-based personnel via the attached announcement flyer provided for your convenience. For technical questions, contact the Florida

SPRING 2009

TRENDS IN COLLEGE ADMISSIONS Just how do facebook and MySpace affect college applications? And what about the new Common Application? Should you encourage your students to use it? This month’s ASCAway podcast, “Trends in College Admissions,” an interview with Bob Bardwell, ASCA secondary level vice president, serves as a companion piece to Bardwell’s article in the most recent ASCA School Counselor magazine. http://ascaway.podbean.com/ FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT (FERPA) Final Rule 34 CFR Part 99 December 2008 The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. Under FERPA, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, a parent or eligible student has a right to inspect and review the student’s education records and to seek to have them amended in certain circumstances. A parent or eligible student must also provide a signed and dated written consent before an educational agency or institution discloses personally identifiable information from education records. Exceptions to this requirement are set forth in § 99.31(a). FERPA applies to any “educational agency or institution” that receives funds under any program administered by the Department. See 34 CFR § 99.1(a). This

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includes all public K–12 school districts and virtually all postsecondary institutions, public or private. For ease of reference, this document uses the terms school or institution, school district or district, college, institution of higher education, and postsecondary institution, as appropriate, in place of “educational agencies and institutions.” The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) final regulations were published in the Federal Register on Dec. 9, 2008. Changes were made to help educational agencies and institutions better understand and administer FERPA, and to make important changes to improve school safety, access to education data for research and accountability and the safeguarding of education records, among other areas. The U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA Web site, www.ed.gov/policy/gen/ guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html, provides the following resources related to the Final Rule: ■ Final FERPA Regulations www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ ferpa/index.html ■ Dear Colleague Letter about Dec. 9, 2008, Final Regulations www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ hottopics/ht12-17-08.html ■ Section-by-Section Analysis of Regulations www.ed.gov/policy/gen/ guid/fpco/pdf/ht12-17-08-att.pdf The Florida Department of Education is preparing a technical assistance paper (TAP) related to FERPA that will incorporate updated questions and issues, including the relationship between FERPA and the Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act (HIPPA). This will be sent out in the near future via the paperless communications system. To register, to receive Paperless Communications, please visit http://data.fldoe.org/communications/ Source: U. S. Department of Education, FERPA, www.ed.gov/index.jhtml?src=a

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNSELING ASSOCIATION 2008–2009 AWARD WINNERS Counselor Advocate of the Year Alice Loeb Elementary Supervisor/Generalist Multi-Level Administrator of the Year Barbara Franques Area 6 Director Elementary Counselor of the Year Deborah Badertscher Hugo Schmidt Elementary Middle School Counselor of the Year Susan Stabile Liberty Middle School High School Counselor of the Year Susanne Powell Gaither High School Elementary Administrator of the Year Susan Brill Ippolito Elementary High School Administrator of the Year Jeffrey Boldt Chamberlain High School 2009 GO HIGHER-GET ACCEPTED CAMPAIGN Graduation is just a few months away for thousands of Florida high school seniors. Research shows that most of these young people say that they want to go to college, but the reality is that many have not yet taken the necessary steps to do so. Now in its third year, the Go Higher-Get Accepted campaign is designed to guide and support high school seniors through the entire process. All 28 community and state colleges are participating and are currently targeted over 180 high schools. FACTS.org coordinates the campaign, in partnership with the Division of Community Colleges. The Go Higher-Get Accepted Web site is live (http://files. facts.usf.edu/GoHigher/go_high_09.htm) and offers details on the specific events,

SPRING 2009

searchable by college or high school. Promotional efforts include posters, invitations, banners and brochures supplied to the colleges for distribution to high schools, who will distribute items to students. In addition, a postcard is mailed to the parents of all seniors at the targeted high schools, urging them to encourage their students to participate. Colleges partner with high schools to hold a variety of events throughout the spring semester. High schools will be asked to identify seniors who have not yet made a commitment to a postsecondary institution and invite them to participate. At the events, students will be provided with assistance to determine which college program is right for them, complete the online admission application at FACTS.org, and learn how to get “Cash for College.” As part of this initiative, many colleges are offering personal assistance to families to complete the FAFSA. 1.5 MILLION HOMESCHOOLED STUDENTS IN THE UNITED STATES IN 2007 This issue brief provides estimates of the number and percentage of homeschooled students in the United States in 2007 and compares these estimates with those from 1999 and 2003. In addition, parents’ reasons for homeschooling their children in 2007 are described and compared to 2003. Estimates of homeschooling in 2007 are based on data from the Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey (PFI) of the 2007 National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES). http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/ pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2009030%20 A NATION AT RISK, 25 YEARS LATER This article by Richard Rothstein claims that public policy focused narrowly at test scores is flawed and also shows how kids in high poverty neighborhoods need a range of non-school supports to succeed in school and move to jobs. http://tinyurl.com/6qweuk

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ADOPT-A-CLASSROOM MAKES DONATING TO FLORIDA SCHOOLS EASY Adopt-A-Classroom is an innovative notfor-profit program that provides donated funds to teachers for use in their classrooms. The organization’s founder and executive director, James Rosenberg, explained how the program uses Internet-based technology to link donors with the specific needs of classrooms around the nation in a special presentation to the State Board of Education Dec. 2. At only a decade old, Adopt-AClassroom has made impressive contributions to education both locally and across the nation. The program has raised $1.7 million for classrooms throughout Florida and improved the learning environment for more than 200,000 children. Nationally, the numbers climb to $9.1 million for classrooms with improved learning environments for more than 750,000 children. To learn more about this unique program, visit www.adoptaclassroom.org. ALCOHOL USE AMONG RURAL MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS Background: Although rural adolescents use of alcohol is at some of the highest rates nationally, rural adolescent alcohol use has not been studied extensively. This study examines how community attitudes and behaviors are related to adolescent drinking in rural environments. Methods: Data were gathered in 22 rural communities in the Upper Midwest (North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming). Surveys were collected from 1424 rural sixth- to eighth-grade adolescents and 790 adults, including parents, teachers and community leaders. Census data were also collected. Results: Drinkers differed from nondrinkers by the following factors: higher perceptions of peer, parental and overall community drinking, as well as lower levels of parental closeness and religiosity. Factors distinguishing binge and nonbinge drinkers were increased drinking to reduce stress, drinking to fit in, per-

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ceptions of peer drinking, and perceived lack of alternatives to drinking. Parents were significantly less likely to perceive adolescent alcohol use as a problem than other community adults; school officials were most likely to perceive it as a problem. Parental perceptions were also the least correlated to actual adolescent use while adolescent perceptions were the most highly correlated. Conclusions: Community factors such as overall prevalence of drinking, community support and controls against drinking are important predictors of reported use in early adolescence. School officials were more likely to view adolescent alcohol use as a problem than were parents. School officials’ perceptions of adolescent use were also more related to actual adolescent use than were parental perceptions of adolescent use. De Haan L, Boljevac T. J Sch Health 2009; 79(2): 58-66. Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI 49512 ldehaan@calvin.edu ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES FOR TROUBLING TREND IN EARLY EDUCATION Parents and educators who favor traditional classroom-style learning over free, unstructured playtime in preschool and kindergarten may actually be stunting a child’s development instead of enhancing it, according to a University of Illinois professor who studies childhood learning and literacy development. Anne Haas Dyson, a professor of curriculum and instruction in the University of Illinois College of Education, says playtime for children is a “fundamental avenue” for learning, and attempts by parents and educators to create gifted children by bombarding them with information is well-intentioned but ultimately counterproductive. “That approach doesn’t appreciate the role of play and imagination in a child’s intellectual development,” Dyson said. “Play is where children discover ideas, experiences and concepts and think

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“I think we want children to grow up media-literate, but we don’t want to dismiss the sources of their pleasure only because it doesn’t appeal to our adult sensibilities.” Anne Haas Dyson about them and their consequences. This is where literacy and learning really begins.” What Dyson calls the “banning of the imagination” in schools may be influenced by what some critics have called the “Baby Genius Edutainment Complex,” a cottage industry of mindenrichment products developed specifically for infants and toddlers and marketed to anxious parents eager to give their children’s cognitive abilities an early boost. “I see this ‘Einstein in the crib’ trend as a societal reduction of children to the means for fulfilling parents’ desires for intellectual distinction,” Dyson said. “Children learn the way we all learn:

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through engagement, and through construction. They have to make sense of the world, and that’s what play or any other symbolic activity does for children.” While Dyson does see some value in teaching the ABCs to children in prekindergarten, she thinks that trying to accelerate learning actually works against a child’s development. Kindergarten and preschool, she said, should be a place for children to experience play as intellectual inquiry, before they get taken over by the tyranny of high-stakes testing. “I’m certainly not opposed to literacy in the early grades,” Dyson said, “but the idea that we can eliminate play from the curriculum doesn’t make sense. Kids don’t respond well to sitting still in their desks and listening at that age. They need stimulation.” Dyson said that having an early-childhood curriculum reduced to isolated test scores or other measurable pieces of information doesn’t take into account a child’s interests or an ability to imagine, problem solve or negotiate with other children, all of which are important social and intellectual qualities. “All tests tell us is how many letters and how many sounds children know,” she said. “I think there should be this grand societal conversation about what’s intellectually motivating and exciting for our children.” Dyson doesn’t believe there should be any sort of compromise in the amount of learning by rote and play that children experience, especially in preschool and kindergarten. “We have to intellectually engage kids,” she said. “We have to give them a sense of their own agency, their own capacity, and an ability to ask questions and solve problems. So we have to give them more open-ended activities that allow them the space they need to make sense of things.” So what can parents and educators do to stimulate children? “I think parents ought to engage with their children,” Dyson said.

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“Follow the child’s interests in people, objects, places, and activities, and talk with them. It’s social interaction that creates a link between the child and an ongoing activity. Help them learn how to articulate themselves and participate in the world.” One thing that parents may worry too much about is the television shows their children watch. She said that parents should be attentive to what their children watch and make judgments about the appropriateness of the material, but more important, they need to talk with their children about what they see. “I think we want children to grow up media-literate,” Dyson said, “but we don’t want to dismiss the sources of their pleasure only because it doesn’t appeal to our adult sensibilities. Contemporary childhoods are mediated in large part by the media, and it can be very informative for kids.” Dyson said that the media inform children’s play and even their early writing efforts. For example, a 5-year-old Dyson knows who is just learning about written language and the alphabet can already spell “Hannah,” thanks to Hannah Montana, the popular Disney show character. “Knowledge of media gets kids a lot of social cachet because their peers watch it, too,” Dyson said. “And a lot of social bonding between children who normally wouldn’t have much in common occurs when they watch the same shows.” AMERICA’S PROMISE ALLIANCE: MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY OF SERVICE The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service offers Americans the opportunity to unite as a country to build stronger communities and create a better nation. Find out how you can take action on this day by donating your time and efforts in honor of one of America’s greatest leaders. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” Think for a moment about your greatest passions,

SPRING 2009

your gravest concerns or your grandest ambitions — and turn those ideas into action. www.americaspromise.org/mlk.aspx BULLYING INCREASED SUICIDE RISK: PROSPECTIVE STUDY OF KOREAN ADOLESCENTS. This study examines the independent impact of bullying on suicide risk. Bullying was assessed by peer nomination in a prospective study of 1,655 seventh and eighth grade Korean students, and suicide by youth self-report. Odds Ratios (ORs) of bullying for suicidal risks were computed, controlling for other suicide risk factors. Victim-Perpetrators and female Victims at baseline showed increased risk for persistent suicidality (OR: 2.4-9.8). Male Incident Victims exhibited increased risk for suicidal behaviors and ideations (OR = 4.4, 3.6). Female Persistent Perpetrators exhibited increased risks for suicidal behaviors; male Incident Perpetrators had increased risk for suicidal ideations (OR = 2.7, 2.3). Baseline-only male Victim-Perpetrators showed increased risk for suicidal ideations. (OR = 6.4). Bullying independently increased suicide risks. Kim YS, Leventhal BL, Koh YJ, Boyce WT. Arch Suicide Res 2009; 13(1): 15-30. Affiliation: Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. CAREER VIDEO TARGETS FUTURE FLUID POWER ENGINEERS The National Fluid Power Association has launched a new seven-minute career video, “YOUR Career in Fluid Power” and companion resource Web site to address the lack of adequately trained workers in fluid power. YOUR Career in Fluid Power is a high-energy, high-impact introduction to the industry that encourages high school and college students to consider the world of fluid power and the exciting careers available in the field. Click here to watch the new career video or visit the companion resource Web site: www.nfpa.com/careers.

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STATE OF AMERICA’S CHILDREN 2008 REPORT CDF’s State of America’s Children 2008 report, a compilation of the most recent and reliable national and state-by-state data on poverty, health, child welfare, youth at risk, early childhood development, education, nutrition and housing. The report provides a statistical compendium of key child data showing epidemic numbers of children at risk: the number of poor children has increased nearly 500,000 to 13.3 million, with 5.8 million of them living in extreme poverty and nearly nine million children lack health coverage, with both numbers likely to increase during the recession. The number of children and teens killed by firearms also increased after years of decline. According to the CDF report, children in America lag behind almost all industrialized nations on key child indicators. The United States has the unwanted distinction of being the worst among industrialized nations in relative child poverty, in the gap between rich and poor, in teen birth rates, and in child gun violence, and first in the number of incarcerated persons. http://www.childrensdefense.org/childresearch-data-publications/data/state-ofamericas-children-2008-report.html http://tinyurl.com/dnhau7 COMPENDIUM OF STATE HIV TESTING LAW Since the release of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2006 HIV Testing Recommendations, many states have updated their HIV testing laws. To help clinicians implement sound HIV testing policies, the National HIV/AIDS Clinician’s Consultation Center at the University of California, San Francisco has compiled the Compendium of State HIV Testing Laws. All information is available online, including definitions and helpful resources, a quick reference guide, and an interactive map for retrieving info by state. www.nccc.ucsf.edu/StateLaws/Index.html

florida school counselor

DO CHILDREN UNDERSTAND HOW FEELINGS AFFECT SCHOOL PERFORMANCE? Most of us know that the way we feel emotionally and physically can influence how we do on tests. That’s why we’re told to get lots of rest and eat a good breakfast before taking a big exam. And previous studies have found that people do worse on tests and solving problems when they’re tired, hungry or upset. But do children understand the link between feelings and performance? A new study by researchers at the University of Washington and the University of California, Davis, tells us that children comprehend the influence of one on the other, but only under certain circumstances. The study is reported in the January/February 2009 issue of Child Development. The researchers looked at more than 70 children who were 5, 6 and 7 years old, as well as a group of adults. Study participants heard stories about children who felt different positive and negative emotions (such as happiness or sadness) or different physical feelings (such as feeling well-rested or hungry), then faced challenging tasks at school (such as a spelling test, math problems, and a science lesson). For example, in one story, a girl loses her favorite teddy bear on the way to school and feels sad. Later that day, still feeling sad, she has to complete a difficult math assignment. The researchers also looked at the participants’ understanding of how other factors, such as how much effort a student makes and the amount of noise in the classroom, affect school performance. They found that children of all ages understood that negative emotional and physical states would lead to poorer school performance. The fact that young children knew that negative emotions could cause poor school performance was especially surprising, since parents and teachers often focus on the physical side of getting ready for school (hence the advice to get lots of rest or eat a good breakfast), and rarely talk about

FALL 2008

the emotional side (for example, advising children to try not to feel sad). The researchers also found that children understood that levels of interest, effort, and classroom noise would affect performance. When it came to positive feelings, however, only 7 year olds recognized, as adults do, that positive feelings could improve school performance. For the younger children, seeing the tie between positive emotions and school performance was difficult; it was easier for them to grasp how positive physical feelings would lead to doing well in school. The older children also had a better understanding of why emotions and physical states affect school performance. In explaining their judgments, they described how such feelings influence concentration, attention, the brain, and other aspects of thinking. “Changes in emotional and physiological states are an inevitable part of children’s everyday experience in the school setting,” according to Jennifer Amsterlaw, research scientist at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, who led the study. “If children know how and why these experiences affect them, they will be better able to prepare for and control their ultimate impact on school performance.” The study was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation. Summarized from Child Development, Vol. 80, Issue 1, Young Children’s Reasoning About the Effects of Emotional and Physiological States on Academic Performance by Amsterlaw, J (University of Washington), Lagattuta, KH (University of California, Davis), and Meltzoff, AN (University of Washington). Copyright 2009 The Society for Research in Child Development Inc. All rights reserved. Sarah Hutcheon is affliated with the Society for Research in Child Development. She can be reached at shutcheon@srcd.org.

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NEWS YOU CAN USE, CONT.

ONE-STOP CENTERS The migrant families we serve often inquire about employment opportunities. Below are Web sites for you to explore with them. Both adult and youth jobs are posted on these sites, and much more information is available at your local “One-Stop Centers.” Attached are two flyers (English and Spanish) as examples of information that may be available for you in your area. Employ Florida links all of Florida’s state and local workforce services and resources. The partners are Workforce Florida, the state policy and oversight board, and the Agency for Workforce Innovation, the state agency which administers workforce funds. At the local level, there are 24 regional workforce boards that administer more than 80 “one-stop centers.” The Employ Florida toll free number is 1-866-FLA2345. https://www.employflorida.com/ http://www.polkworks.org/polkworks/ Youth: https://www.employflorida.com/youth.asp A Polk County Example for Youth is: http://www.polkworks.org/polkworks/Yout hServices/FirstTimeJobSeekers/tabid/124/ Default.aspx Contact: Alice Stewart Matthews, Director Florida Migrant Interstate Program Department of Special Education Center for Migrant Education University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, EDU 105 Tampa, FL 33620 (863) 242-2224 (800) 949-1916 fmip@earthlink.net FLORIDA READY TO WORK PROGRAM The Florida Ready to Work Program is poised to become one of the largest programs of its kind in the country. Ready to Work is a credential program that gives potential employees useful skills such as reading for information, applied mathematics and locating information. The credential signifies to employers that the individual is fully skilled and qualified for the demands of a work environment. Fully

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Ready to Work is a credential program that gives potential employees useful skills such as reading for information, applied mathematics and locating information. operational for only 18 months, more than 20,000 credentials have been earned through this unique career readiness program. To date, nearly 102,000 assessments have been delivered and 120,000 students and job seekers have enrolled in the program. Public high schools have generated 59 percent of all credentials followed by regional workforce boards (17 percent) and public technical centers (13 percent). The program has been implemented in partnership with more than 600 high schools, regional workforce boards, technical centers, community colleges, juvenile justice program, corrections facilities and community-based organizations statewide. The program is now recognized by more than 400 employer partners statewide including Shands Jacksonville, Travis Tumbler and Consolidated Credit Counseling. Beginning this school year, students who earn the Florida Ready to Work credential will receive a special designation on their standard high school diploma. For more information on the program, visit www.floridareadytowork.com or call (877) 444-4505. HARVARD UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCEMENT Harvard University has announced that from now on undergraduate students from low-income families will pay no tuition. In making the announcement, Harvard’s president Lawrence H. Summers said, “When only 10 percent of the students in elite higher education

SPRING 2009

come from families in the lower half of the income distribution, we are not doing enough. We are not doing enough in bringing elite higher education to the lower half of the income distribution.” If you know of a family earning less than $60,000 a year with an honor student graduating from high school soon, Harvard University wants to pay the tuition. The prestigious university recently announced that from now on undergraduate students from low-income families can go to Harvard for free… no tuition and no student loans. To find out more about Harvard offering free tuition for families making less than $60,000 a year, visit Harvard’s financial aid Web site at: http://www.fao.fas. harvard.edu/ or call the school’s financial aid office at (617) 495-1581. LEARN ABOUT PRE-COLLEGE SUMMER PROGRAMS The Web site www.Usummer.org is a nonprofit pre-college programs resource for students, parents and educators. Usummer.org stands out as a site committed to listing all pre-college programs free of charge to all schools. This helps students find great programs, even at small schools who might not advertise their program. There are hundreds of pre-college programs to choose from, each with its own history, culture and costs. If you know of a pre-college summer program on a college campus for high school students not on our site, please e-mail justin@usummer.com. THE NEXT GENERATION HIGH SCHOOL...WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE SECONDARY SCHOOL COUNSELOR? An overview of the Next Generation High School initiative and how it will impact secondary school counselors as well as career specialists. Data management and use of the four-year programs of study for high school as well as postsecondary goals and options will be discussed. You can now access this CD directly online here. http://sss.usf.edu/Resources/ Presentations/2008/fsca-doe-cd/ FSCA2008.html

florida school counselor


GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS

OLIVE GARDEN RESTAURANTS: PASTA TALES ESSAY-WRITING CONTEST Olive Garden’s 13th-annual Pasta Tales essay-writing contest asks students: “How would you use the Internet to change your community for the better?” Maximum award: a three-day trip to New York and a $2,500 savings bond. Eligibility: students first through 12th grade. Deadline: Dec. 19, 2009. http://www.olivegarden.com/company/ community/pasta_tales.asp EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES ESSAY CONTEST State Scholarship and Grant Programs/Bright Futures Scholarship Program Transcripts It’s time to get your mid-year transcripts submitted to the FDOE High School Transcript Database (HTD). Your midyear transmission is to be submitted at the beginning of the second semester after first semester grades are posted and second semester schedules are finalized. This mid-year submission will satisfy the transcript requirements for Bright Futures Early Evaluations and the Talented 20 deadlines. This second submission also allows public high school students, via FACTS.org, to view their grades and monitor their progress towards meeting requirements for graduation, Bright Futures scholarships and state university system admissions. Once your transcripts are submitted and accurate, please move them to production for your students who have submitted their required Florida Financial Aid Applications (FFAA).

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Updated Web site The secured Bright Futures Web site for high school guidance counselors was updated in November with enhancements that make it easier to navigate through your tasks. The functionality of the Web site remains the same and does not affect the submission or evaluation of transcripts. The former layout provided menu options which were dynamic to the user’s security type. The updated Web site displays all available functions; however, users will have access only to functions that are appropriate to the assigned security type. In the updated system, pop-up messages notify users of non-access to a selected function. Please use Microsoft Internet Explorer browser version 6.3 or higher for best results in interacting with this Web site. We encourage you to take advantage of the “Using the Online Transcript Entry & Evaluation System” training (see Training below) to get acquainted with this updated Web site. Training Valuable training is being offered for Bright Futures and state scholarship and grant programs. These hands on, instructor led, Web-based trainings are offered August through May of each academic year. We encourage you to register online for the following classes: ■ Counseling Students About Bright Futures Initial Eligibility for High School Guidance Counselors ■ Using the Comprehensive Course Table for High School Guidance Counselors

SPRING 2009

The State Student Financial Aid Database for High School Guidance Counselors (with a focus on the FFAA) ■ Using the Online Transcript Entry & Evaluation System for Private School Guidance Counselors ■ Using the Online Transcript Entry & Evaluation System for Public School Guidance Counselors Go to https://osfa.webex.com and choose “Upcoming.” Click the register link next to the training program that you would like to attend. For further information, please contact us via e-mail at OSFA@fldoe.org or toll-free at 1-888-827-2004, option 2. ■

Contact: JoAnn McGonagill Director of Initial Eligibility Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program Joann.McGonagill@fldoe.org (850) 410-5175 GORDON A. RICH MEMORIAL FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP Each year, the Gordon A. Rich Memorial Foundation awards college scholarships worth $50,000 over four years to five students whose parents or guardians work in the financial services industry. Because of the magnitude of lost financial jobs, the foundation has recently expanded its criteria to encompass students whose parents or guardians have, or had, a career in finance. The GAR scholarships are available to high school seniors who demonstrate high academic achievement, integrity of character, potential leadership and financial need. http://www.gordonrich.org/html/req.html

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FSCA BENEFITS AND SERVICES

When you join FSCA your membership is good for one year from your date of enrollment. Our enrollment is not based on the school calendar year. ■ Comprehensive Newsletter. The Florida School Counselor, published five times per year (including a special back-to-school issue), is a PDF download with many advantages: ■ Easier access to each issue. ■ Searchable content. ■ Important resources and other content linked to Web sites. ■ Unhindered space limitations (i.e., we can offer more valuable content without worrying about delivery costs). ■ Legislative Advocacy. From our lobbyist in Tallahassee to our Legislative Web page, FSCA helps inform our legislators about issues

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4

administrator. No matter how you are able to complete the negotiation process, the management agreement should clearly delineate the organization of the program and the anticipated accomplishments. As school counselors, many of us already have many of the skills and competencies necessary for the management of our own school counseling program. These skills and competencies include the use of data as a driving force for your program’s offerings, the development of action plans for how we address the competencies of district and state (and hopefully ASCA) for students at our level and the ability to manage time wisely (with an annual calendar developed for the program). Regardless of where we may be personally with regard to implementing the

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and directions for student success. Representation. FSCA also represents you at the state and national delegate assemblies. Partnerships. Because no one organization can do it alone, FSCA leaders continue to partner with other organizations, industries and agencies to further our mutual interests in students and families. News Blog. Highly updated, the news blog provides vital information to keep you informed about school counseling related issues. Professional Development. As everyone knows, it’s important to participate in regular, certified professional development opportunities. FSCA partners with other organizations, universities and nationally recognized trainers to offer members training in

Regardless of where we may be personally with regard to implementing the ASCA National Model in our schools, the final quadrant of accountability is the key to demonstrating the effectiveness of a program. ASCA National Model in our schools, the final quadrant of accountability is the key to demonstrating the effectiveness of a program. Even though some of us are not able to implement the ASCA National Model completely or are not striving to be

SPRING 2009

areas such as ethics, career counseling and more. Awards. FSCA recognizes its best school counselors, administrators, advocates and other supporters who make a difference among kids and families. Resource Center. The FSCA resource center (members only) houses important content such as professional development resources (e.g., handouts from our convention and other institutes), promotional materials and much more. Web site. The FSCA Web site is comprehensive and still growing. The purpose of the FSCA Web site is to provide support for all of FSCA’s goals and to make it easy for Florida school counselors to stay informed, collaborate and network. ■

a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) school, using the results reports or a program audit enables us to demonstrate the need for and importance of a comprehensive school counseling program. The benefits of such a program for our students are the most important element we have to sustain our programs as our districts face increasing funding challenges. Moving forward as an association, FSCA will continue to support your efforts to meet the needs of the students in Florida. Please let one of the board members know if you have an idea for a professional development workshop, would like access to resources on a particular topic or just want to volunteer to be a part of this exciting organization. ■ Susan Gertel is the current FSCA president. She can be reached at sgertel@cfl.rr.com.

florida school counselor


Florida School Counselor Spring 2009  

The Florida School Counselor is a comprehensive periodical published five times per year (January, April, July, August (Special Back to Scho...

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