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VOL. 50, NO. 10

JUNE 2014

A Time for Reflection

Looking Back



s this academic year quickly draws to a close, I am saddened that my experience as president is also ending. Simultaneously, I am very excited as I consider the great work that occurred throughout this year and the implications for the immediate and extended future for MASCA. This year was an amazing team effort across so many levels, and I am truly grateful to the many volunteers who make this organization what it is. There was incredible energy from all aspects of the MASCA leadership team this year, and I feel privileged to have been a part of this group. Thank you to everyone on the MASCA leadership team and all of the volunteers across the Commonwealth for your time and continued passion and enthusiasm for school counseling and MASCA! Another piece coming to an end this spring is MASCA’s incredible partnership with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. For the past four years, the collaborative Race To The Top Summits that took place at MASCA conferences have been key professional development opportunities for teams from schools across the Commonwealth. A special thanks to Katie Gray, who orga-

nized and facilitated the professional development and trainings over the past four years. Katie, a past-president of MASCA, has been serving as special consultant to the organization in recent years. She is an invaluable resource for MASCA, and we are grateful for her contributions and helping to lead the way for school counselors in Massachusetts. Also, a special thanks to our friends at the DESE: Keith Westrich, Director of College and Career Readiness at the (continued on page 6)


rowing up, I always looked forward to the end of the school year and thinking about what I learned that year. In first grade, without urging from my parents, I thought it would be nice to give my teacher a thank you note and share with her what I learned that year. I was excited about learning to write sentences and the books we made. And I literally mean “made.” We wrote the story, drew the pictures, sewed the book, and designed the cover. My cover was a (continued on page 7)

MASCA Awards 2014 Counselor of the Year Linda "Lin" Duame, School Counselor Ludlow High School, Ludlow Leadership Award Gianna Allentuck, School Counselor Elias Brookings Elementary School, Springfield Administrative Award Donna McGarrigle, Principal Pembroke Community Middle School Torch Award – Rising Star Ashleigh Malinowski, School Counselor M. Marcus Kiley Middle School, Springfield George Thompson Memorial Scholarship Jill Serafino, School Counseling Graduate Student Belchertown High School, Belchertown

iPads in School Counseling: An App for Every Occasion By KATIE KOZAK, Bridgewater State University MASCA Graduate Student Liaison 2013-2014


ccording to a survey conducted in 2012, over half of American households own at least one Apple product. Are you among those who do? If so, have you considered using your Apple device in your professional role? One Apple product, in particular, is rapidly increasing its prevalence in American schools: the iPad. Last year, Apple reported having sold over 8 million iPads to educational institutions worldwide, 4.5 million of which were sold to American schools. The iPad is a tablet computer that offers a range of utilities in the educational arena for both students and professionals. School counselors can take advantage of the array of available software applications to aid in their professional responsibilities and work with students. Each software application, commonly referred to as an app, has a unique function and can be downloaded, some-


times for free and sometimes for a cost. Do you need organization solutions that are portable for meetings in other parts of your building? Try Notability, an app that allows users to take notes, import and annotate documents, fill out forms, and share files with others. Simplify the amount of paperwork and notepads needed for each meeting by using the tools available on this app; then save your notes and easily access them again in the future. If you want to access your iPad files on other devices, including desktop computers or laptops, consider using the Dropbox app. Save any type of file into your Dropbox and reopen it via Dropbox on another device. An abundance of apps also exist that can enhance your work with students. Regardless of the specific objectives you have with individual students, there is likely a related app available that can add

another dimension to your work. For example, you can help students of any age become engaged in monitoring their progress towards counseling goals by using iEarnedThat. This app allows users to create a customized virtual jigsaw puzzle, which—when complete—signifies that the student is entitled to earn a chosen reward. Each time the student performs a desired behavior or task, a missing piece of the puzzle can be added. For work with younger children, consider using an interactive app that helps facilitate meaningful conversation. FOCUS On the Go! offers four distinct tools that help students find new words to describe their feelings, talk about coping strategies, and even tell their story using a comic strip creator. Another app, Feelings with Milo, allows young students to log and journal about their feelings over time, helping them recognize patterns and demonstrating that negative emotions are temporary. Older students, too, can benefit from the incorporation of technology into time with their school counselor. Teach students relaxation breathing exercises using Breathe 2 Relax, which verbally guides users through deep breathing cycles using student-customized inhale and exhale intervals. Or, assist with postsecondary planning with Mytonomy, which houses hundreds of peer-created advice videos to help students plan ahead. Students can browse videos by category, such as what to expect each year in high school, financial aid, or choosing a college major. Videos pertaining to specific colleges are also available, grouped by state and then by school. The apps included here are merely suggestions. To find one that suits your specific needs, search in the Apple App Store, use an online search engine to find recommendations from other educators, or ask colleagues if they have successfully integrated iPad technology into their practice. With iPads becoming increasingly common in American schools, using this device in your professional practice is an excellent way to appeal to today’s tech-savvy students and stay current with advancing technology. ■ COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK

Data-Driven Conversations for Counselors By MAGALY RIVERA, Guidance Counselor Fuller Middle School, Framingham

2013– 2014 OFFICERS PRESIDENT THERESA A. COOGAN, Ph.D. Bridgewater State University Bridgewater, MA 02325 Tel. 508-531-2640 E-mail: PAST PRESIDENT JENNIFER LISK Medway High School, Medway, MA 02053 Tel. 508-533-3228 x 5107 • Fax 508-533-3246 E-mail: PRESIDENT-ELECT TINA KARIDOYANES Mansfield High School 250 East Street, Mansfield, MA 02048 Tel. 508-261-7540 x3122 • Fax 508-339-0259 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT ELEMENTARY VERONICA KNIGHT Lowell Elementary School 175 Orchard Street, Watertown, MA 02472 Tel. 617-926-2666 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT MIDDLE / JUNIOR HIGH MARISA CASTELLO E-mail: KATHLEEN SCOTT E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT SECONDARY JOHN S. STEERE Wellesley High School 50 Rice Street, Wellesley, MA 02481 Tel. 781-446-6290 x4653 • Fax 781-446-6308 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT ADMINISTRATORS 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 COUNSELOR EDUCATORS MEGAN KRELL, Ph.D. E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT RETIREES Joseph D. FitzGerald, Ed.D. 5 Progress Street, Weymouth, MA 02188 Tel. 781-264-3426 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 ASHLEY J. GUBA 30 Brezner Lane, Centerville, MA 02632 Tel. 508-367-7774 E-mail: MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR TBA COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK EDITOR SALLY ANN CONNOLLY 19 Bayberry Road, Danvers, MA 01923 Tel. 978-774-8158 • Fax 978-750-8154 E-mail:

JUNE 2014


eek after week, my school counseling team and I meet with teachers in our school to discuss the academic progress of our students. We discuss attendance, performance on assessments, academic engagement, homework output, social/emotional needs, and much more. This invaluable 45-minute weekly team meeting is often filled with passionate conversations about how to help students succeed and overcome a myriad of barriers to learning. At the end of every meeting, however, we are left trying to decide appropriate interventions for the presenting problem. I don’t know about you, but sometimes these meetings are punctuated by awkward silences because there is an expectation for us, as school counselors, to find a cure for the presenting problem. What is often missing is the ability to move forward from the problem-focused model to the solution-focused model. Our role is vital for setting the tone of these meetings. Structure is everything. Every member of the team plays a role in defining the area of need and in designing targeted interventions to support student learning in the classroom. We have to try and limit the blame game and help our colleagues see beyond the grade book and look more closely at the data available to them every day. Every member of the team needs to take part in the hunt for data, the synthesis of this data, operationalizing the area of need, and designing interventions. We need to move away from surface level conversations, such as only discussing homework and test/quiz averages. Rather, we should dig deep into each assignment, locating skill deficits as well as areas of strength to build upon. We should ask why assignments weren’t completed. Which areas were completed correctly? Which areas were performed poorly? What does that tell us about the student’s strengths and weaknesses? Did the student lack the skills needed to independently complete the assignment? Here are some helpful tips you can use to help structure team meetings for

more data-driven conversations. Prior to a team meeting: 1. Ask each member of the team to bring work samples (i.e., essay, quiz/test, homework) that highlight areas of need and areas of strength. 2. Ask one member of the team to look at the cumulative folder and highlight relevant background information (i.e., previous report card grades and comments, registration information, names and dates of other schools attended, etc.) 3. Ask another team member to locate statewide assessment scores and other indistrict measures of academic progress. Our role can be to locate attendance and disciplinary information and other relevant background information that we are privy to share. The day of the meeting can be spent actively discussing the information gathered, looking for patterns, reporting on background information, and determining areas of strength and weakness. Once the team has identified an area of need and has come to an agreement, the next and most important step is designing classroom-based interventions. This step can often be challenging, but several building-based resources can facilitate the process. For example, if an area of need falls in the math domain, the math specialists can be invited to discuss possible interventions. Once interventions are generated, put them into place and track progress. Set a followup meeting to discuss progress made and determine next steps. Each member of a team is a stakeholder in the academic success of our students. Developing data-driven conversations facilitates our objective of supporting student learning. It also allows us to move away from the blame game and to become focused on solutions. These conversations, albeit difficult, are necessary to ensure that we properly focus our energy in order to maximize learning. Every second matters, so let’s make them count. ■


FOCUS ON HEALTH Stress in teenagers affects their brains A study of 468 teenagers found changes in the brains of those individuals who had experienced “trauma histories from birth to age 16 (e.g., sexual or severe physical abuse)” or “elevated rates of stressful life events during the teenage years (e.g., family divorce).” This suggests that “clinicians should

inquire about chronic stresses that parents and offspring may be less aware of, such as when adolescents’ capabilities do not fit their academic and extracurricular activities. Almost all of the ‘poor fits’ will be teens with IQs not commensurate with getting A’s in families that expect no less or adolescents with poor athletic ability who are expected to make the team. Psychotherapy should be used to

address these producers of environmental stress.” — Barbara Geller, MD, reviewing van der Knaap LJ et al., Translational Psychiatry (April 8, 2014) in New England Journal Watch, http://, April 23, 2014.

Young marijuana users show brain changes “Young adults who occasionally smoke marijuana show abnormalities in two key areas of their brain related to emotion, motivation, and decision making, raising concerns that they could be damaging their developing minds at a critical time, according to a new study by Boston researchers.” — Kay Lazar, “Study finds brain changes in young marijuana users,” The Boston Globe, April 15, 2014, p. A1.

College-educated brains recover faster “A college education may do a lot more than provide better job opportunities — it may also make brains more resilient to trauma, a new study suggests. The more years of education people have, the more likely they will recover from a traumatic brain injury, according to the study published Wednesday in Neurology. In fact, one year after a traumatic brain injury, people with a college education were nearly four times as likely as those who hadn’t finished high school to return to work or school with no disability.” — Linda Carroll, “College-Educated Brains Recover Better From Injury, Study Suggests,” http://, April 23, 2014.

MASCA offers concussion action plans As members of a school’s educational leadership team, counselors must stay informed about the impact of concussions on student behavior and achievement and steps to protect and promote student wellbeing. On MASCA’s website, www., you can find the Concussion Evaluation (ACE) Care Plan from the CDC and information about writing a 504 plan for your student. Click on Resources tab, then look for Concussion Information under Counselor Resources. ■



PD Update By HELEN O’DONNELL, Ed.D. MASCA Professional Development Coordinator


wo MA Model Institutes are planned for the coming year: Introductory MA Model Institute and Institute 2.0Next Steps. Both will offer either 45 MASCA PDPs or three Fitchburg State University graduate credits, and sessions will be held at various locations around the state. The July training dates at Dean College are July 15-16 for the Introductory Institute and July 16-17 for Institute 2.0. Check MASCA’s website for updated information. If you have a question or would like to recommend host sites or training dates, please contact me at MASCA President-Elect Tina Karidoyanes has announced that there will be no fall conference. Rather, a fall workshop is being planned. Tina says, also, that in the spring a one-day conference will be held and that continued MASCA/DESE partnerships for professional development training are being discussed.

MA Model Implementation Institutes 2014-2015 • Introductory Institute • Institute 2.0: Next Steps 45 MASCA PDPs or 3 Graduate Credits (Fitchburg State University) Instructor: Helen O’Donnell, Ed.D. For information, go to

RTTT 4C Summit Katie Gray (Unique Consulting), Keith Westrich, and Nyles Fuentes (both of DESE) have been outstanding leaders, trainers, advocates, and mentors for Massachusetts school counselors to promote the success of all students through implementation of the MA Model. Congratulations, also, to Race To The Top school teams for their hard work for the past four years in designing, implementing, and documenting results of MA Model implementation initiatives.

SMART Goals and DDMs On MASCA’s webpage you can find links to the SMART Goals Library and a District Determined Measures Library. Sharing your goals and DDMs is a wonderful way to collaborate with colleagues. On September 15, names of those who have posted SMART Goals and/or DDMs will be entered in a drawing to win a MASCA membership. Happy summer! ■ JUNE 2014


Resources from the MASCA Spring Conference are available at Included are slideshow presentations: Selecting a College for Its “Financial” Fit, Too By Claudia Neithercut and Mark P. Bilotta Your Professional Learning Network: Using Social Media By Ashley Garth and Ross Wolfson


COOGAN (continued from page 1) Department, his team, and, especially, to Nyal Fuentes and Jenny Curtin for facilitating several data-driven workshops every year. The 2014 MASCA Spring Conference was amazing. The conference planning team did a great job, especially as this was the first time on the committee for more than half of the team. Although moments of pure chaos always occur with conference planning, this group kept its “eyes on the prize” and delivered a practical and energetic professional development opportunity for all participants. We hope to see everyone join us again next year. Stay tuned to the MASCA website on the “Events” tab for information about the 2015 Spring Conference. As I reflect on this year, I am inspired by the passion and energy that exists throughout the Commonwealth supporting School Counseling across all grade levels. It has been an absolute pleasure to meet more MASCA members as well as MASCA supporters who are not members (yet). I have appreciated our conversations and learning about the realities of the counselor’s role across Massachusetts. Our role varies based on community and grade levels, and it’s important that every school counselor has a professional resource close by. I hope that MASCA can serve that role for practitioners in Massachusetts. Serving as your president has been an incredible learning experience, and I am most appreciative. I wish incoming president, Tina Karidoyanes, all the best. Her plan for providing intentionally-focused, half-day and, possibly, full-day regional professional development workshops throughout the fall is an exciting new direction. She has dedicated a lot of energy to creatively and thoughtfully balancing the needs and realities of school counselors. I’m excited to transition into next year and support Tina and the MASCA leadership team as the organization continues ahead, strengthening the voice of school counseling in the state across all levels. I wish you all a smooth finish to your school year and a restful summer break. With gratitude. ■ COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK

KARIDOYANES (continued from page 1) pink and white gingham material with a picture of a bowl of ice cream. That year my Mom and aunt had taught me how to make ice cream at home. My story was about the process and my discovery that I preferred homemade ice cream to the ice cream truck version. At the end of each following year in elementary school, I wrote my teacher a letter reflecting on my school year. I stopped the letters in middle school but maintained the practice of reflecting. It is a practice I continue to this day. June is the perfect time to reflect on our practices: to applaud our successes, acknowledge our failures, and identify what we would like to improve upon. It is also time to create our goals and plans for the coming school year, based on our experiences of the current year. As I look back on this year, one of my areas of growth was the continuing organization of my office. Successes included delivering curriculum to students in the classroom setting and the exceptional job my staff did developing and executing the curriculum. On a personal note, I was given the opportunity to teach a graduate class, working with school counseling students in the first phase of their internship experience. Learning from my students was one of the greatest gifts from this school year, and it will certainly inform my practice as a school counselor. If you have the opportunity to teach a class or have an intern, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity. Not only will you be investing in the future of school counselors, you will be investing in yourself. With all the craziness of the end of the school year, I encourage you to take 15-30 minutes to reflect on your school year. Revel in the successes and identify your concerns to help you plan for the future. As I start to plan for the coming year at school, included in my plans are ways to best serve MASCA. As incoming MASCA president, I want to hear from you about what you need from MASCA and how we can help support you in your practice as a school counselor. Have a great summer! â– JUNE 2014

WMCA honors O’Donnell For her continued, outstanding leadership in the school counseling profession, Western Massachusetts Counselors Association honored Helen in March by presenting her with the Louis Casagrande Lifetime Achievement Award. Congratulations, Helen!


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


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Counselor's Notebook, June 2014  

The June 2014 issue of the Counselor's Notebook, the official periodical of the Massachusetts School Counselor's Association.

Counselor's Notebook, June 2014  

The June 2014 issue of the Counselor's Notebook, the official periodical of the Massachusetts School Counselor's Association.