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VOL. 48, NO. 4


Happy Holidays from MASCA! The Holiday Season: “Ho-Ho-Ho”

President’s Message

By DONNA BROWN MASCA Executive Director



he holidays are upon us, and if you are like every other counselor, stress is increasing — big time! Our students are gearing up for the holidays both positively and negatively. For many, it is the best of times; for others, the absolute worst. The staff, from the lunch ladies to the principal, are in the same boat. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe, you are impacted by the holidays. So, what’s a professional school counselor to do? LAUGH! Yes, I said LAUGH. History backs me up. The ancient Greeks prescribed “a visit to the home of comedians” for patients. Depictions of jokes and slapstick can be found in Egyptian hieroglyphics inside tombs. The Bible notes that “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22) At the end of the 19 th century, Bernarr (yes, Bernarr, not Bernard) MacFadden, a physical fitness guru and proponent of hearty laughter, actually taught people how to laugh. (Next time you see me, ask for the instructions.) He felt it was the key to good health. Modern medical science agrees. What exactly is laughter? It is the physiological response to humor and consists of two parts: (1) a set of gestures, and (2) the production of a sound. Studies of

the brain show that structures in the brain’s limbic system, which controls many essential human behaviors, contribute to the production of laughter. Laughter is a key to stress reduction. It: 1. Improves the immune system. Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine, and growth hormone. It increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins and neurotransmitters. And it increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells. All this means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress. 2. Provides a physical and emotional release. 3. Gives the body a great internal workout. A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs, and works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. Laughter is even a good workout for the heart. 4. Brings the focus away from anger, guilt, stress, and negative emotions in a more positive way than other mere distractions. Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective and help us view events as “challenges,” thereby making them less threatening and more positive. 5. Connects us with others. This is probably the greatest benefit of all. Laughter is contagious. If you bring more laughter into your life, you can most likely help others around you to laugh more and realize the benefits as well. Put the “Ho-Ho-Ho” into your holiday season. Plan to make laughter your holiday gift to everyone you meet — students, teachers, parents, your own family, even yourself. I



he MASCA Fall Conference, which was held on October 25, was informative as well as inspiring. The message was clear throughout the day that helping students become productive and successful takes counseling skills, vocabulary, and knowledge that did not exist fifteen years ago. Consider the following list of words and phrases that were emphasized throughout the conference: • Data • College and Career Readiness • Accountability • Access • Comprehensive School Counseling Programs • Data Driven Outcomes • Race to the Top (RTTT) Counselor Evaluation • 21st Century Skills • Counselors as Leaders • Make Our Voices Heard • First-Generation Students • Classroom Lessons • College-Going Culture • Analyze and Interpret • Measurable Outcomes • Benchmarks • Stakeholders • Career Plans • MA Model • ASCA Standards (continued on page 10)



2011 – 2012 MASCA OFFICERS


PRESIDENT MICHELLE BURKE Beverly High School 100 Sohier Road Beverly, MA 01915-2654 Tel. 978-921-6132 x 11107 E-mail:

December 2011

PAST PRESIDENT CAROLYN RICHARDS Somerville High School 81 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA 02143 Tel. 617-625-6600 x 6120 • Fax 617-628-8413 E-mail: crichards@k12.somerville.MA.US PRESIDENT-ELECT JENNIFER LISK Medway High School, Medway, MA 02053 Tel. 508-533-3228 x 5107 • Fax 508-533-3246 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT ELEMENTARY JACQUELINE BROWN East Somerville Community School 42 Prescott Street, Somerville, MA 02143 Tel. 617-625-6600 x 6517 • Fax 617-591-7906 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT MIDDLE / JUNIOR HIGH ALBERT MERCADO Stacy Middle School 66 School Street, Milford, MA 01757 Tel. 508-478-1181 • Fax 508-634-2370 E-mail:

inside 4


Starting the College Admission Search: A Message for Students By Bob Bardwell

Massachusetts Early Learning Plan

VICE PRESIDENT SECONDARY TBA VICE PRESIDENT POSTSECONDARY JOHN MARCUS Dean College 99 Main Street, Franklin, MA 02038 Tel. 508-541-1509 • Fax 508-541-8726 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT ADMINISTRATORS RUTH CARRIGAN Whitman-Hanson Regional High School 600 Franklin Street, Whitman, MA 02382 Tel. 781-618-7434 • Fax 781-618-7098 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT COUNSELOR EDUCATORS THERESA A. COOGAN, Ph.D. Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, MA 02325 Tel. 508-531-2640 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT RETIREES RALPH SENNOTT P.O. Box 1391, Westford, MA 01886 Tel. 978-692-8244 E-mail: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DONNA M. BROWN Adjunct Professor, UMass Boston P.O. Box 366, 779 Center Street Bryantville, MA 02327 Tel. 781-293-2835 E-mail: TREASURER ASHLEY CARON 25 Belmont Ave., Stoughton, MA 02072 Tel. 508-212-0676 E-mail: SECRETARY JENNIFER JUST McGUIRE Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School 220 Sandwich Road, Bourne, MA 02532 Tel. 508-759-7711 x 247 • Fax 508-759-5455 E-mail: MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR DEBORAH CLEMENCE P.O. Box 805, East Dennis, MA 02641 E-mail: COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK EDITOR SALLY ANN CONNOLLY 19 Bayberry Road, Danvers, MA 01923 Tel. 978-774-8158 • Fax 978-750-8154 E-mail:



THE INTERN’S TALE: A Win-Win for Students and Counselors By Pamela Burke




National School Counseling Week


ASCA Honors Timothy Poynton

Published by: Massachusetts School Counselors Association 10 issues per year, September through June. The yearly subscription rate is $30.00. Individual copies are $3.00. Opinions expressed in the articles published herein represent the ideas and/or beliefs of those who write them and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Massachusetts School Counselors Association, Inc. The acceptance of an advertisement for publication does not imply MASCA endorsement of the advertiser’s programs, services, or views expressed. Questions concerning submission of articles, publication deadlines, advertising rates, etc., should be addressed to Sally Ann Connolly, Editor.

©2011 by the Massachusetts School Counselors Association. All rights reserved.


Starting the College Admission Search: A Message for Students By BOB BARDWELL, MASCA Past President


ou’re a high school student. The most common questions you get from family members, friends, and even your school counselor are “Where are you going to college?” and “What are you going to study?” With over 7000 postsecondary options available today in the United States alone, it’s no wonder that some students find themselves confused, overwhelmed, and just plain uninterested in picking a college. The problem is that if you do not take the college search seriously, then you may make a poor choice that could have long-lasting effects. Finding the perfect college or postsecondary option is no easy task. For the student who knows he wants to study forensic science at a local college, the choice is much simpler. For those who do not know what they want to study, where they want to go, or what activities they will want in a school, the decision is likely more difficult.


For those who have no idea of where to begin, doing some career research online, completing a career interest assessment, or having a conversation with a career counselor would be an appropriate place to start. If you can pinpoint either a specific major or general interest area, it will be helpful to at least begin the college search process. If that is not possible, the search must go on, using other priorities. Here are some criteria that you can use to help narrow down the field to a manageable number: • Location: Many dream of going to school in Hawaii or even in a big city, but is that realistic? Some students may want to stay close to home or go somewhere warm. As with any real estate, location can make a huge difference. • Size: Does a big school with more students than many cities or a small school with fewer students than in some high schools feel like a good fit or not?

The size of the school may also indicate the number of activities or options available to you. • Major offerings: Selecting a school with a certain major may be the most important part of the search. For those who are not sure or don’t have a clue, this might be one area to leave off the search list, at least for now. • Selectivity: Some colleges admit less than ten percent of the applicants while others accept 100%. Knowing how difficult it is to get in will also give an idea of how challenging it will be as an enrolled student. • School type: Two-year college vs. four-year college? Public vs. private? Coed vs. single sex? Religious affiliation? Hispanic-serving or historically black? These are all considerations that you may want in a school. If so, some choices could greatly alter the search list. • Activities: Study abroad? Greek life? Marching band? Co-ops? These are just some of the opportunities available (and there are dozens of others). If these types of opportunities are of interest, then they should be considered when narrowing down the list. • Sports: For some athletes, playing a sport in college can be a full-time job and even scholarship money. For others, the idea of being in a huge football stadium cheering on the team is the motivation for going to a larger school. For those who are not interested in competitive sports, consider looking for schools with an intramural program. It is critical to remember that everyone’s search criteria will be different. If the choices are too overwhelming, then it could lead to a complete shut down and thus nothing gets done. Which criteria end up at the top of the list depends upon what is most important to the individual doing the search. Only you can decide that, but perhaps in consultation with those who know you best: your family, your school counselor, and, in some cases, your friends. If you are still stuck and can’t decide which criteria are most important, then you should visit a campus or two first to see what college life has to offer. Most colleges offer daily information sessions and tours of campus, which will give COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK

you an idea of what life will be like as a student. Sit in on a class, see a dorm room, visit the library and athletic facilities, or just hang out in the student center. Visiting on Saturdays, vacations, or during the summer can still give you a good idea about the feel for the campus, but nothing compares to a campus visit when a majority of students are around. This may require a day out of school, so you want to check your school policy to see how it will affect your attendance for that day. The Internet has brought college searching to a whole new dimension. In the old days, college searches were conducted with reference books and could take hours to cross-reference the various criteria that the computer can now do in an instant. The search engine you use makes no difference. The bottom line is that you prioritize what you want in a school and narrow down the options. Once your list is finalized, go to each college’s website to learn more about the school. If the school is still on your list after this initial review, you need to make plans for the campus tour and information session. If the school passes the visit test, then it is probably a school to which you should apply. When do you start your college search? There is no right or wrong time to start; however, you do not want to wait until the last minute. You may not have enough time to do a thorough search and may settle for a less-than-desirable application list. Most students start to begin to search no later than the sophomore year and continue to refine and narrow the list into the junior year. After the list is finalized, college visits can begin. If the visits cause you to scratch some colleges off the list, you may need to go back and add additional schools to visit. In the end you want an application list of roughly three to seven schools, depending upon your needs and the criteria that you have established for your college search. Remember: Choosing a college is a major decision. For most high school students, it is the first big choice they have to make in their young lives. Some will handle this process easily, and others will procrastinate to the bitter end. Whatever your pace, make sure to take the time to do your research and investigate your options. You will end up making a better decision. I DECEMBER 2011

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Massachusetts Early Learning Plan BOSTON – Wednesday, October 19, 2011 – Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville and Department of Early Education and Care Commissioner Sherri Killins report that the Commonwealth has submitted its application for the Race to the Top — Early Learning Challenge, a $500 million national competition sponsored by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. The competition encourages states to develop bold


and comprehensive plans for improving the quality of early learning programs across the nation. The Commonwealth’s proposal, From Birth to School Readiness: Massachusetts Early Learning Plan, 2012-2015, will advance the administration’s goal of ensuring that all children—particularly high-needs children — have access to quality pre-K education that will put them on an early path to success. The proposal builds on

efforts to build a more aligned, statewide early learning and development system. Massachusetts is eligible for $50 million in federal funding under the Early Learning Challenge. The plan includes bold, comprehensive, and creative strategies to improve child outcomes in Massachusetts. Strategies include: • Enhance the quality of all early education programs in the state by securing universal participation in the Massachusetts tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), a definition of quality and standards designed to elevate the quality of care in state early care and education systems and to ensure growth as children develop. • Implement early learning and development standards, including the creation of English Language Development standards for birth to age five. • Create the Massachusetts Early Learning and Development Assessment System (MELD) from birth to grade three by expanding screening for children and developing a common tool for a kindergarten entry assessment (in its first year, 17,500 kindergarten students or 26% of statewide enrollment could be assessed by an estimated 874 teachers or 29% of the kindergarten workforce) • Increase culturally and linguistically appropriate engagement with parents, families, and community members regarding literacy, universal child screening, and other statewide priorities. • Provide essential support to early educators and enhance their effectiveness (especially for educators whose home language is not English) by providing educational opportunities and targeted professional development opportunities. • Create greater alignment between early education and grades K-3 to promote healthy child development. The Massachusetts Early Learning Plan supports the Commonwealth’s commitment to creating a comprehensive, childcentered education system that extends from birth to postsecondary studies, one that is necessary for students to be ready for success in the 21st century. This proposal serves as a blueprint for the next phase of early learning and development efforts across the state. I COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK

THE INTERN’S TALE: A Win-Win for Students and Counselors By PAMELA BURKE, School Counseling Program Graduate, Bridgewater State University


n schools, the month of February is targeted for introducing juniors and their families to the college search process and helping students plan for life after high school. It was no different at my practicum site where more than ninety-two percent of students are college bound. One February evening we held a parent evening for juniors, which was presented by MEFA; and the next day we held a student presentation. Listening to the counselors at my site discuss the next steps of moving into individual meetings sparked an idea. I asked if I could work with juniors in groups to cover basic information that would contribute to effective and productive individual meetings. The counselors immediately embraced the idea. Within two weeks of discussing what I would cover and collect from the students, I was pushing into junior history classes. My game plan was to have students register for YourPlanForCollege and Collegeboard and begin registering for SATs and question of the day. I created a template for an index card, which allowed me to collect user names, passwords, e-mail addresses, and preferred times for individual meetings. We talked about emotional stages that they are likely to encounter as they move through the college search process and how they'll cycle through many different emotions over the next two years. After that I distributed student questionnaires, parent brag sheets, peer perspective forms, and a college list form for them to complete on their own and bring to their first individual meeting. Understanding that all schools have unique populations, I think a program like this could be implemented in many different ways. If interns can’t push into individual classes, perhaps they could set up times during lunch, studies, or after school. Perhaps breaking programs into different transitions such as school to work, school to school, or school to college would be more appropriate. Whatever way works for your school, I suggest talking with your supervisor or guidance team about ideas you have and ways that you can contribute as well as gain experience.


If they like your idea, ask what areas you could focus on to make their time with students more productive. Take those ideas and create a game plan with supporting documents. I was able to make an outline of what to cover in the presentations, create an index card template, and update some of their forms and then showed them my work. They gave me feedback and helped me coordinate to

move forward. It was very exciting to carry out an idea that turned out to be a win-win situation. We were able to reach students in an efficient manner. I was able to gain hands-on experience in the college search process. And the counselors benefited by having part of the process covered, which will make their individual time with each student more meaningful. I


Human Rights Day: December 10, 2011 UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, ARTICLE 26 (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children. I

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT Dating abuse awareness expanded A survey conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, commissioned by Liz Claiborne Inc., has found that nearly 1 in 3 teens that have been in a dating relationship have experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, or threats of physical harm. According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, more than 16.7 million teens are affected by dating abuse each year. The availability and use of technology has increased the prevalence rates of this growing problem. Almost three out of four teens (71%) regard boyfriends/girlfriends spreading rumors about them on cell phones and social networking sites as a serious problem. Nearly one in four teens in a relationship (24%) communicated with their partner via cell phone or texting HOURLY between midnight and 5 am. The month of February has traditionally been designated Teen Dating Awareness and Prevention Month. Plan now for activities in your school. One recommendation: Love Is Not Abuse curriculum. This free teen dating abuse curriculum is already in use in over 10,000 schools and organizations nationally. It has been expanded to include a section on digital dating abuse, including sexting, texting and social networking sites, making it the first curriculum of its kind to address the growing problem of digital abuse. — LizClaiborne.pdf, Accessed on November 2, 2011.

Garbage in, garbage out “What we take in informs our reality, whether the sources are fiction, nonfiction, or somewhere in between. We have our critical faculties, but the research suggests that they are not as critical as we think. ‘If you are consuming a bunch of junk, there is a chance that, later on, you will come to believe that junk,’ said Jakob D. Jensen, an assistant professor of communication at the University of Utah.” — Gareth Cook, “TV’s sleeper effect,” Boston Sunday Globe, October 30, 2011, K11. I



National School Counseling Week: February 6-12, 2012


ational School Counseling Week 2012, “School Counselors: Helping Students Be Brilliant,” will be celebrated from February 6-10, 2012, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of professional school counselors within U.S. school systems. Sponsored by ASCA, NSCW highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. Need ideas for how to celebrate National School Counseling Week? Follow the discussion on ASCA SCENE. (Note: You’ll need to set up an account on the SCENE to access the discussion if you don’t already have one.)

stickers. Also available are “My School Counselor Helps Me Succeed” stickers. Stickers come 12 to a sheet ($1 per sheet for members, $3 for nonmembers). • Door hanger: Promote privacy when you’re in a counseling session or let students know when you’re available with this reversible door hanger ($3 for members / $5 for nonmembers). One side says “Counseling in Progress. Please Do Not Disturb.” The reverse side says “Please

Come In.” • Morning Announcements: Get your school excited about each day of National School Counseling Week with these sample morning announcements. Download morning announcements for free, or view archived morning announcements from previous years. — pl=325&sl=127&contentid=271, Accessed on November 2, 2011. I

Recommended materials To help you promote the week, ASCA has developed many materials and documents, a number of which are free. Download an order form to fax in. Orders placed after January 28 will be charged a $20 expedited shipping fee to ensure materials arrive in time. • Proclamation: Get your governor, superintendent, mayor, or other dignitary to sign a proclamation declaring February 6–10 as National School Counseling Week. Download a blank proclamation for free. • Certificate of Appreciation: Show your appreciation to those faculty members, parents, and other stakeholders who help you promote your school counseling program throughout the year. Download a blank certificate of appreciation for free. • Sample press release: Download a sample press release to customize with information about what your school or district is doing to celebrate NSCW. • Posters: Promote NSCW throughout your school with a brightly colored poster. Posters do not have a date on them and can be used year after year. • Pencils: Hand out pencils promoting school counseling to your students so they’ll have a daily reminder of where to turn when they need help. Pencils can be purchased in packs of 20 ($8 for members/ $10 for nonmembers). Pencils are currently available in navy or bright green. • Stickers: Kids love stickers. Let them proudly display their support of your program with “I heart my school counselor” DECEMBER 2011


ASCA honors Timothy Poynton

Timothy Poynton, Assistant Professor at Suffolk University, was named 2011 Counselor Educator of the Year by the American School Counselor Association. Presenting the award to Tim (left) at the ASCA Annual Conference in June is ASCA President Brian Law.


imothy Poynton, Ed.D., was named 2011 Counselor Educator of the Year by the American School Counselor Association. The award was presented at the ASCA Annual Conference, which was held this past June in Seattle, Washington. Tim is assistant professor of Education and Human Services and Director of the School Counseling Program at Suffolk University. He is widely published, and his research interests include data-driven decision making, college admission counseling, professional development in school counseling, school counselor preparation, technology applications, and urban school counseling. Tim has presented at state school counseling conferences in Alaska, California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin as well as at national conferences for ASCA, the American Counseling Association, and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. Currently, he serves on the editorial board for Professional School Counseling. Congratulations, Tim, from MASCA. I

BURKE (continued from page 1) • Systemic Change • Equitable Outcomes • Technology • Delivery Plan • Achievement Gap • Underachieving Populations • Principal/Teacher/Family Collaboration • Community Partnerships • Baseline Data • Gap Analysis • Sustainability It would be easy to list more, but I think you get the idea. School counseling has transformed from random acts of guidance to purposeful acts of guidance. Effective school counselors are innovative, open to change, and willing to be accountable for all student outcomes. Al Rogers, pioneer in long-distance learning, aptly stated: “In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” The School Counseling “world” has transformed, and together we can invest in and improve success and achievement for ALL students in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I





Massachusetts School Counselors Association, Inc. COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK Sally Ann Connolly, Editor



CHANGE OF ADDRESS: ..........................................



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Send this form to: Deborah Clemence P.O. Box 805 East Dennis, MA 02641


MASCA Committee Chairs 2011-2012 Advocacy/Government Relations

Shannon Doran

Awards & Publicity



Helen O’Donnell

Fiscal Oversight

Tina Karidoyanes

Human Rights

Rachel Kerrigan

Massachusetts Model


Member Services

Christine Evans

Nominating & Bylaws

Carolyn Richards

Professional Development

Helen O’Donnell

Research & Evaluation

Richard Lapan

Strategic Planning

Jane Rathbun


Joseph Fitzgerald

Assumption College Institute for School Counseling and School Psychology Professional Development Hagan Campus Center, Hagan Hall 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

December 2, 2011 Maximize Your Potential – Reduce Stress and Build Resiliency Rana Chudnofsky, M.Ed., Director, Education Initiative Laura Malloy, LICSW, Director of Yoga Program, Co-Director, Education Initiative

January 27, 2012 The Role of School Counselor in Response-to-Intervention Model: Planning Behavior Interventions for Students Diane Myers, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Special Education, Assumption College

Continental breakfast and lunch included. PDPs, CEUs, and Graduate Credits available. For more information and to register, call 508-767-7430.

Counselor's Notebook, December 2011  

The December 2011 issue of the Counselor's Notebook, the official periodical of the Massachusetts School Counselors Association.

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