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February 2018 | Issue 2


Best Practices used by

School Counselors from around New York State

Join Today

NYSSCA EDGE | Feb. 2018

NYSSCA Executive Board

Inside February 2018


Kristen Shearer President-Elect

Dr. Gail Reed-Barnett President Elect-Elect

Carol Miller Past President

Rosemarie Thompson Executive Director

Dr. Robert Rotunda Executive Secretary Tom Wiggins

Level Vice Presidents VP Elementary Jessica Price VP Middle Majorie Miller VP Secondary Steve Brown VP Directors of Guidance TBA VP Counselor Educators Dr. Cynthia Walley

Regional Governors Region I: Tara Richards

Region II: John Cucurullo Region III: Juana Rivera

4 5 6 8 11 14 18 22

A Word from the NYSSCA President and Letter from the Editors Easy Data Welcoming a New Principal: The School Counselor Perspective Using Social Media as a Professional School Counselor

Introducing Group Counseling in Schools A “Most Improved Students” Event 10 Steps for Implementing an Advisory Council Take a Stand

Region IV: Lynne Jenkins Region V: Kandis Griffin Region VI: Joan Cawley Region VII: Maizy Jaklitsch Region VIII: Shauna Karley Region IX: Beth Gerardi

Region X: Dr. Charles Edwards Kristy Lebron Varinia Rodriguez

The NYSSCA EDGE is published by the New York State School Counselor Association as a service to its membership. © 2018 NYSSCA, P.O. Box 217, Leicester, NY 14481

Reach any author through:


A Word from NYSSCA President,

Kristen Shearer

It’s exciting to be publishing the second edition of our new best practices magazine, The EDGE. What better way to celebrate National School Counseling Week 2018 than to share best practices from colleagues around New York State. This edition of the EDGE contains an impressive range of articles, from Welcoming a New Principal, words of advice from Associate Principal and RAMP evaluator, Paul Ripchik, to Easy Data, an example of data gathering from a busy suburban high school counseling center. It includes articles on setting up your Advisory Council, increasing your group counseling services, using social media, recognizing improving students, and an innovative ”Power of One” program. NYSSCA continues to work hard at preparing materials to support your implementation of the revised regulations adopted by the Board of Regents in May 2017 such as PowerPoints, Q&As, and webinars. These materials along with the best practices described in The EDGE are designed to help you reach full regulation implementation by the SED deadline of September 2019. Of course, data is the key; and as you’ll see in this edition's articles, data doesn’t have to be difficult to obtain or cumbersome to produce. I trust you will get new ideas from this magazine, and we look forward to your own best practice submission for our future editions. Best wishes and Happy National School Counseling Week!

Kristen M. Shearer, NYSSCA President

Letter from the Editors: Editor Needed We hope you enjoy the 2nd edition of our NYSSCA Edge best practices publication. Our previous editor had a position change and we are looking for a new editor. The Publication Committee leaders worked together to put together this edition, with special thanks to Assistant Editor, Andrea Maynard, who formatted the publication and helped with writing and editing. Many of us have had experience doing similar work and we hope that one of our NYSSCA members will volunteer for this position. If you are interested or have questions, please contact one of our Publications Committee co-chairs, Gloria Jean, or Bob Rotunda .

NYSSCA Edge Magazine editor job description: The Edge Magazine editor is responsible for the content and preparation of the magazine including soliciting items for publication, reviewing submissions, editing contributions, and suggesting layout for the assistant editor. The Magazine shall be planned to contain at least 20 pages of content, including covers, to be published at least twice a year to correspond with the start of the school year (August/September) and National School Counseling Week (January/February). The position includes supervision of a graduate assistant and/or other committee members who assist with layout and publishing software to produce the magazine. Key to this position is ongoing soliciting of articles on best practices from practicing school counselors throughout New York State. To provide continuity and consistency, the Edge Magazine editor needs to commit to a 3 year term. This is a volunteer position on the Publications Committee. The editor must be a NYSSCA member.

NYYSCA Board (continued)


Franklin Rodney Secretary

Sharon Comerford Treasurer

Deborah Rotunda Director of Marketing

Julie Hogan

Government Relations Committee Co-Chairs

Kristen Shearer Dr. Gail Reed-Barnett Membership Committee Chair


Professional Development Committee Chair

Gloria Jean

Publications Committee Co-Chairs

Gloria Jean Dr. Robert Rotunda

Public Relations Committee Chair

Dr. Kathleen Corbett

Technology Committee Chair

Dr. Sean Finnerty Board Liaisons: Affiliate Liaison:

Roger Forando Graduate Student Liaison:


NYSCEA Representatives

Lynne Jenkins Kristen Shearer

NYSED PPS Advisory:

Kristen Shearer Gloria Jean

Private School Liaison:

Christine Curcio

NYSSCA EDGE | Feb. 2018

Gayle Moriarity School Counselor Bethlehem High School, NY

Are you looking for a way to gather data on when and why students are seeing their school counselor? A suburban high school in New York’s Capital Region had just that question, and found an easy answer! Bethlehem Central is a suburban school district that serves about 4,500 students in kindergarten through grade 12. It is located in the Capital Region of New York State, just outside the city of Albany. As a busy suburban high school counseling office, we realized we needed to implement a data collection technique to allow us to better illustrate how many students we were seeing and for what reason. Attempts to explain the workload of our eight counselors to building and district administrators required a mutual understanding that we were all working hard and serving student needs as they presented themselves. But it seemed without data to bring that understanding to a clearer picture, communication with our administration sometimes hit a roadblock. We knew what we were doing for students, but we weren’t always able to communicate that effectively to those in decisionmaking positions.

The Problem:

We needed an easy way to get real data that would inform others what our individual calendars revealed without adding a cumbersome data

collection method. So, the time had come to implement a data collection technique to show administration (and ourselves) how many students were utilizing the counseling center and for what purpose? Were there any trends or pressure points at certain times of year? How could we better serve students by knowing more clearly ourselves what student needs we were dealing with?

enter the purpose of their meeting (College/Career, Academic, Personal/Social). It turned out to be well accepted by students and caused little additional work for the counselors.

The numbers were enlightening, surprising even the counselors; we were pleased to have data to share with our Advisory Council. Besides having real numbers to include when communicating with administration The answer about program activities, the data T h e S o l u t i o n : came one also proved specifically useful, day in the form of an extra demonstrating the need for computer. We were able to set it up counselors to be given release time in the reception area right next to to make college visits. Data showed our office support person. Our the overwhelming number of technology support helped set up a students who were seeing their sign in screen using a drop down counselor for college/career menu and Google doc report. It was support. By the end of the Advisory a very simple system. Students were meeting, where this data was shared, required to log in by the receptionist our Superintendent commented, “I when they arrived to see a counselor. can see that these college visits are They entered their ID number and important; we’ll find a way for you the entry was automatically date to go.” stamped. Later counselors would

Now in our third year, the idea has evolved considerably. In fact, it was expanded school-wide by our administration with the purchase of FileMaker Pro program that is incorporated with our scannable student IDs, and is now used to track student building access as well as visits to the health office, social workers, library, and the student assistance counselor. Currently students enter the purpose of their meeting themselves after swiping their ID in the Counseling Center. An added bonus is the FileMaker Pro program allows counselors to see who is waiting for us in the reception area. It has proven to be a very useful and easy way to obtain data on student use of services throughout the building. As counselors, we are most pleased to have meaningful data to communicate with our administration about the students we serve and what needs we are addressing. It also assists in planning for student needs during high traffic times.■


Welcoming a



The School Counselor Perspective


he staff rooms and practice sidelines are a buzz because the school principal has just announced he is leaving at the end of the school year. As a school counselor in his building, your thoughts and emotions start to scramble. You may feel excitement if the person leaving was dismissive or even disruptive to the work of the school counselor, and sadness if he was receptive and collaborative. Many questions come to mind. What will the new leader be like? Will they understand and support all the efforts you have put into developing a comprehensive school counseling plan that supports all students? What role should the school counselors play in the hiring process? Should the counselors develop their own plan for introducing the new principal to the workings of their department? Counselors start to ponder these questions as plans may already be underway by the district to hire a new leader. Studies have shown, that over a

20-30 year career of a school counselor, their building will see an average of eight new principals. That’s one every 4-5 years. While school counselors could leave it up to chance and just hope that the new principal will fulfill their expectations, there is also the option to actively develop a profile of what a school counselor-supportive principal should be, and offer a plan on how you will successfully immerse this new leader into the everyday workings of the school counseling department. This past year we found our school to be in this very position. Our school counselors did experience these emotions on how this new person was going to impact our team and school. And, they had hopes this person would have all of the qualities and characteristics we envisioned a leader should have. However, in hindsight, we realized we had left it up to chance. We are very fortunate because the transition of the new principal has been smooth. However, as a

Paul Ripchik Associate Principal Director of HS Counseling Shenendehowa High School, NY

Craig Chandler Assistant Principal Shenendehowa High School, NY

result of our discussions we will plan differently for future changes in building leadership, from participating in the hiring process to developing an orientation for new leadership to the department.

Here’s what we did to prepare for these changes proactively:

• Through discussion, we developed a list of attributes and traits we believe are vital in a leader when selecting a new building leader. We started by simply listing and then further described the merits and actions we observed and experienced with the new principal. Developing this list will help us greatly when we ask to be part of the process of future hirings.

NYSSCA EDGE | Feb. 2018

• We also discussed what to include in our plan to introduce and orient the new principal to the department and in particular how to educate the principal on the district’s comprehensive school counseling plan. Our recommendation is to schedule ample time to meet with the new principal prior to the start of the school year to share the comprehensive plan and particularly how the plan parallels building and district plans or goals. This would also be a good time to share any nuances of the department and how the school counselors play a vital role in the building.

• While we acknowledge the need for school counselors to plan ahead when there will be a new principal, we also

developed some advice for new principals. It is important for the new principal to see and hear how school counselors work in the building. Learn about the school counselors well before your first formal visit to the school. A thorough exploration on the internet can lead you to a webpage specific to the school counseling department, and you can usually find a broad range of information related to the counseling department there. Items you might find could include; curriculum and programing as well as resources that the counselors provide. Some websites even include names and pictures of the counselors and support staff along with biographies. As a candidate for a principal position,

We are fortunate to have welcomed a strong leader to our school. However, this may not be the case with all new principals. With planning and preparation, the chances of making that first impression a positive one can be greatly improved. We were lucky this time, but next time we will be well prepared. ■

Resources: "Turnover in Principalship Focus of Research - Education Week." 26 Oct. 2009, ew/articles/2009/10/28/09principal_ep.h29.html. Accessed 13 Dec. 2017.

spending a little bit of time familiarizing yourself with these items can help to make that first impression memorable.

• We would also remind all principals that in most schools the school counseling center is the hub of the school. A principal who is a good listener can learn a lot about the intricacies and nuances of the building through visiting the school counseling center often. Taking the time early in your first school year to immerse yourself into the events in the school counseling center can provide insight as to what makes the building tick. Indicators of school success or failure can be evident through the events taking place there.

The Attributes and Traits that we felt were vital for a School Leader:

    

Advocates for students and staff

Willing to support the comprehensive school counseling plan

Beliefs and values that align with school and department mission and vision

 

Good listener

Student-centered Family-oriented Approachable Familiar with, or willing to learn about, 21st Century Counseling

Ability to take and utilize feedback


Using Social Media as a Professional School Counselor Walter Benedict Syracuse City School District , NY


Technology and social media have gained a lot of merit in recent years as professional tools educators can use to enhance their programming. Specifically, school counselors have taken to using various technologies and social media platforms to enhance their professional repertoire and counseling programs as well. Here is a basic breakdown of what platforms to use, how to use them, and some considerations to take into account when doing so.

t seems that almost every day there is a new trend technology or website everyone is flocking to. True, there are a lot of platforms that exist, but this does not need to be an overwhelming task if you are a professional school counselor looking to integrate more technology or social media into your professional life. First, decide what your end

goal is. What exactly do you want to accomplish, and how can technology/social media aid with this? Then, do your research. Which platform or tool best suites your goals? School counselors across the country have reaped the benefits of using various technologies and social media in their professional lives, whether it be for purposes of

networking, sharing ideas, etc. or to directly integrate into their comprehensive school counseling programs. There is no doubt that there are nearly endless possibilities when it comes to using social media; however, like everything else we do as professionals, a certain amount of research and preparation is required to go into this.

NYSSCA EDGE | Feb. 2018

So, you want to become more tech savvy? You want to learn to use social media as a platform? Here is a VERY quick and basic breakdown of some of the more popular platforms I use or have seen other professional school counselors use in their work.

Facebook This platform is nice in that it does not limit you to 280 characters, like Twitter does. I have also found this platform to be useful in that it allows you to "like" school counseling related pages as well as to join school counseling related groups. This allows you to see and often times share vast amounts of information and resources in a way that is not limited to 280 characters.

Twitter Now I know I just said Twitter can limit you a bit regarding the amount of characters you are allowed to include in a single “tweet”, but there are so many great pros to this platform as well. One of the greatest features of Twitter I use are the hashtags (#). Simply searching for a specific hashtag allows you to easily find other posts regarding that topic. For example, #scchat (school counselor chat founded by Danielle Schultz and Erin Mason)

is one of the largest hashtags a professional counselor could use to find anything school counseling related.

Blogs/Website Want something a little… more extensive? Take the time to build your own website or blog. There are plenty of free platforms (I use that allow you to build pretty nice websites you can use to house resources and information for your students and families, or you can even use it to act as a professional portfolio of sorts. Often there is the option to “upgrade” for a fee to get more advanced features such as site visit data, etc.

Others Other examples include: Pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers, TweetDeck/Hootsuite, and Kahoot.


Social Media Gurus:

Technology and social media are great tools to use as professional educators. They can serve to disseminate information to students, families, communities, and even other counselors, as well as be used to stay involved and “in the loop” with the larger school counseling community. However, there are certain legal and ethical considerations to take into account as well. The American School Counseling Association’s code of ethics outlines appropriate use of social media and technology (A.5.d;A.14).

If you are ever looking for examples, I HIGHLY recommend following any of the social media “gurus” below. They have helped me tremendously on my journey to use social media and technology as a professional school counselor!

One of the largest considerations is to ensure that we always maintain student confidentiality, as that poses one of the largest risks and ethical/legal breaches when using technology and social media. Please ensure that if you do integrate technology and social media into your practice you do so in accordance with ASCA’s code of ethics, as well as other legal and professional obligations we hold as school counselors. Always check with your board of education policies and inform your principal. I hope this has been informative and helpful for those looking to venture into the world of social media. If you are ever in a dilemma regarding whether or not your use of social media is appropriate, like any other dilemma, seek supervision! ■

Jeff Ream (The Counseling Geek) Website: Twitter Handle: @CounselingGeek

Carol Miller (The Middle School Counselor) Website: Twitter Handle: @tmscounselor

Dr. Erin Mason Website: Twitter Handle: @ecmmason

Contact information:

Walter Benedict, MS, NCC Twitter Handle: @WalterB_SC Resources: asca/Ethics/EthicalStandards2016.pdf

Franciene Sabens Website: http://www. Schoolcounselor Twitter Handle: @FSabens

NYSSCA EDGE | Feb. 2018


Charles C. Edwards

Group Counseling

Ph.D. NCC, NCSC Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Cynthia Walley Ph.D. LPC Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY

in Schools

Introduction Group counseling is one of many services that school counselors can use to support students’ academic, social emotional, and career development needs (Akos & Milsom, 2007). School counselors may organize groups that focus on students’ transitional needs, that focus on the gender specific issues of girls and boys, that focus on college and career success, or that promote self-confidence and tolerance among other desired outcomes. Important legal and policy documents that guide school counseling practice highlight group counseling as a recommended or required model of intervention for working with students (ASCA, 2015; ASCA 2012; ASCA, 2010, IDEA, 2010). Despite the benefits associated with group counseling, not all school counselors utilize this intervention. This article therefore considers best practice strategies for school counseling programs that are seeking to either introduce or improve their use of groups in schools.

Why Should School Counseling Programs Consider Groups? There are a number of reasons why school counseling programs should consider introducing or improving their use of groups. Below is a list of factors to consider: •

Studies have found group counseling to be an effective treatment strategy for students and clients facing various social emotional or developmental challenges.

Groups counseling can expand the range of services that school counseling programs offer to students and families. Students with IEPs may be legally required to receive counseling in a group setting.

Groups counseling can allow school counseling programs to address diverse student needs.

Ongoing transitional and development needs of students can be addressed

through groups. •

Group counseling can assist in addressing the challenges of school counselors with high student caseloads.

Group counseling can be an effective tool for school counseling programs that focus on prevention.

The planning and implementation of group counseling provide the opportunity to collaborate with important stakeholders within school systems. 11

Planning and Organizing for Optimal Outcomes

with interconnected and interdependent parts.

Ethical Standards (2016) school counselor should consider integrating these principles In order to effectively serve throughout the process. Third, students the system requires school counseling departments trust, open communication and should consider group ongoing collaboration. Second, counseling interventions that Planning, organizing, and the legal and ethical concerns implementing groups in focus on prevention and are schools should be characterized throughout the process must developmentally informed. be considered regarding by ongoing efforts to Lastly, programs should always confidentiality, parental rights, collaborate and consult with all consider issues such as diversity and content/purpose of the relevant stakeholders. It is best and multiculturalism to meet group. Consistent with ASCA to see each school as a system the needs of all students.

In order for school counselors to optimize the benefits of groups, they may want to consider the following: •

The entire process should be data driven. Begin with asking important questions and gather relevant information. Gathering information that will allow school counseling departments to answer

basic questions related to whether or not group are suited for the school setting or to determine the specific types of groups that may suited for the school is critical. •

Assess your knowledge and expertise/experiences in planning and implementing groups.

Assess your beliefs about the benefits of group as an intervention strategy in schools.

Do an assessment of the school that focuses on past or present group counseling activities.

Determine who your major stakeholders are. These are individuals who you will need to collaborate and consult with should groups be implemented. These may include teachers, administrators, other school staff, students and families. Stakeholders may also be individuals and

NYSSCA EDGE | Feb. 2018 organizations from the community. •

Develop a survey or use existing data to determine the needs of students that could be addressed in a group context. Determine important clinical issues related to the group. These may be the goals of the group, type of group (counseling, psycho educational or support), screening and recruiting of members, open versus closed group, length/ duration of the group, number of group members, group session plans, group evaluation, group leadership

(individual or co-leading) termination among other factors. •

Give special consideration to legal and ethical issues that may relate to the group you are planning. Such issue relate to confidential and parental consent.

Take care of little details that do matter. The physical environment that the group takes place. Temperatures, location proximity etc. Determine if there will be food or refreshments for students.

When the decision has been taken to introduce or continue groups carefully

consider scheduling issues. •

A written plan written should be developed for each specific group that the school counseling department decides to implement. Plan should be shared with all major stakeholders.

Identify ways in which you will document the entire process. Documentation may include records of attendance, evaluations reports, storing of informed consent etc.

Ongoing evaluation should be geared at determining the effectiveness of the groups.

Conclusion Context will be an important factor in determining how school counselors implement groups in their individual settings. It may be helpful for school counselors to think of schools as systems that require all its parts (individuals, departments, resources etc.) to work together to support student development. School cultures that promote trust, collaboration, and shared responsibility may be ideally suited for groups. The goal of the school counseling department should be to have teacher, school administrators, students and families develop a shared understanding of the importance of group and other counseling services. ■

References Akos, P., & Milsom, A. (2007). Introduction to special issue: Group work in k–12 schools. Journal For Specialists In Group Work, 32(1), 5-7. doi:10.1080/0 1933920600977440

American School Counselor Associ- Individuals with Disabilities Educaation (2012). ASCA national tion Act of 2004, P.L. 108-446. model: A framework for school Milsom, A., & Hartley, M. T. (2005). counseling programs. American Assisting students with learning School Counselor Association. disabilities transitioning to colAuthor. lege: What school counselors American School Counselor Associ- Corey, M. S., Corey, G., & Corey, C. should know. Professional ation (2015). ASCA mindsets (2013). Groups: Process and School Counseling, 436-441. and behaviors for student practice. Cengage Learning. 13 success.

Dr. Richard O’Connell Retired School Counselor Roosevelt High School, NY

“MOST IMPROVED STUDENTS” Working as a volunteer counselor at Roosevelt Early College High School, Yonkers, New York, it has been my good fortune to collaborate with a principal who has been able to increase the graduation rate from 58 % to 88% over five years. The following program, along with several others, were implemented with the goal of increasing graduation rate. The basic concept of these programs has been to motivate all students to succeed.


here are a number of ceremonies to recognize high achieving students for their academic or athletic achievements. An important one is recognizing students who struggle to rise above failing grades. Our program recognizes our “MOST IMPROVED STUDENTS” efforts during the school year rather than at the end of the year as is more common.

School counselors then look more closely at the list of nominations to make sure that none of the students on the list still have severe difficulties elsewhere (attendance, discipline, disruption, etc.) In those cases, the principal may still wish to have an individual meeting with the student to offer encouragement, but they would not be included in the ceremony to avoid confusion regarding their status as an “improved” student.

Through the auspices of the school principal, teachers are invited to nominate students who have made progress in their subject from a failing grade to a passing grade. Teachers have been willing to do this, as it benefits all their students to see classmates recognized for achievement.

The principal then sends a notice to faculty and staff in advance as to the time, place and date of the ceremony as well as a reminder to the students to be ready on that day. For those Invited, a nicely prepared recognition certificate of award should be prepared. Although the certificate is simple, it is a reminder to them

NYSSCA EDGE | Feb. 2018 of the significance of what they have achieved as well as something they can show their parents. Unlike many high-powered students, this could well be the first time they have been recognized for academic efforts by the principal. Keeping the ceremony simple and semi-private

in the principal’s office or some other larger place safeguards all involved should a student have an embarrassing relapse in either conduct or academic performance. The hope is that the ceremony will provide added impetus for continued success.

1. Be aware that when students are told to appropriately worded call over the PA report to the principal’s office, there may be system. For those who remain absent, a some apprehension among the students. follow up brief meeting can be held by the principal, a school counselor, or the assistant Choose your words carefully! principal. 2. In the notification invitation to the students the simple phrase “to come to a recognition 6. Since each student is nominated by one of ceremony” will help to avoid their teachers, the student should be coached apprehension. It is also recommended that to thank the teacher after the ceremony. any assistant principals and all school 7. The most effective time for this ceremony is counselors be invited. just after the first marking period, mid-day 3. If possible some light refreshments help just before lunch. Depending on the decision create a celebratory atmosphere. of the principal, it could also be announced that additional ceremonies will be held for 4. A group picture at the end may be used on continued success and for more students the school website as positive PR. who improve from failing to passing. 5. For students who are in the building but 8. A sample of the content of the recognition missing when the ceremony is about to certificate may read simply as follows: begin, they can be reminded with an


(Student's Name) For passing (Subject) Nominated by (Teacher’s Name) 11/2017


To describe such an event is quite simple and easily implemented through shared roles. However, to witness the event is quite inspiring. The range of emotions displayed by the students is revealing: 1. From elation to shyness. 2. From disbelief to slight embarrassment. 3. From a sense of unworthiness to self-satisfaction. The students’ facial expressions show: 1. A sense of self pride. 2. A sense that they can do better. 3. A sense of anticipation in telling their parents.

The following is an evaluation of an academic program which focused on motivating students who have made considerable efforts either to pass a subject or is recognized by a teacher for exemplary academic efforts. (Also cited under INNOVATIONS. 2015-2017.) This evaluation was shared with the teaching staff both as a recognition of its work and as an incentive to improve on its efforts. •

87% of the students indicated they passed the subject they were recognized for improving.

Those students said they had a better relationship with their teacher.

100% indicated that overall the program encouraged them to achieve.

100% said the program should be continued.

75% showed the certificate to their parents, which in turn improved community relations.

Students asked that parents be invited to the event in the future.

Many students were encouraged by the program to seek after school help.

Many students expressed an interest in continued encouragement by teachers.

Be sure to include the nominating teacher on the award certificate.

NYSSCA EDGE | Feb. 2018

There are multiple benefits to such a ceremony: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

7. When students thank their teachers, a stronger bond is fostered along with better First of all, these academically challenged understanding. students are given a reason to continue their 8. Parents appreciate the school’s efforts to try efforts. to motivate their student. It supports coordination among the counseling 9. Additionally, each professional who participates staff, the principal and teachers. in the event has a clearer understanding of the The counselors fulfill their role as academic role of the other. advisers. 10. The more effort put into the ceremony, the The principal is proactive in supporting more significant it becomes in the mind of the academic achievement. students. The teachers appreciate their involvement in a 11. In summary, teachers, students, counselors, process to help their students. parents and administrators benefit by their muIn the aftermath of the event, students will likely tual effort to reach out to underachieving stushare the experience with other students. This dents. A feeling of team work is created as well positive information may inspire other students. as promoting positive public relations.

Things to be proud of, A School Pride Announcement to support student success: Additional programs contributed to the overall success of our students including a “School Pride” program. Part of this program includes daily announcements highlighting positive accomplishments. Here are sample announcements:

• Did know many of our students perform community service, helping people in need? • Did you know that a famous astronaut graduated from Roosevelt High School? • Did you know that many of our faculty have received professional recognition for their work here at Roosevelt High School?

• Did you know that Roosevelt High School has a record number of out organizations coming into our building to help our needy students and teach new skills.

• Did you know that a famous TV news caster for channel 12 graduated from Roosevelt High School? • Did you know that many of our students are members of “My Brother's Keeper” and are working to help fellow community members?

• Did you know that last year's seniors received over 10 million dollars in grants and scholarships? • Did you know that Roosevelt High School makes an extreme effort to keep its building a clean place to learn and maintains its bullet boards informative and attractive?

• Did you know that there is an organization in our school called Encouragement in which faculty members work closely with students to inspire and encourage them?

• Did you know that many of our graduates join the military to serve our country? • Did you know that our principal received a Principal of the Year Award? • Did you know that the number of Roosevelt High School's graduating students has steadily increased over the last five years?

• Did you know that the Parent, Teacher Association has recognized the outstanding contributions of those students who do community service? ■


10 Steps to Implementing an

Laura Bouton Former School Counselor Schenevus CSD, NY

Maizy Jaklitsch Lecturer School Counseling Program SUNY Oneonta, NY

Kristen M. Shearer Former Director of Guidance Schenevus CSD, NY


n important component of the ASCA National Model is implementation of a school counseling program Advisory Council that meets regularly to provide feedback and input on specific program components. This component becomes a requirement for school districts in New York State as of the 2019-2020 school year as part of revised NYS Education Department Commissioner’s Regulation Part 100.2(j). In 2013-2014, the School Counseling Department of Schenevus Central School District began the process of setting up their Advisory Council in anticipation of the revised regulation. Schenevus Central School is a small rural district with just under 400 students located an hour west of Albany, NY. We had many considerations and worked them through one at a time, leading us to develop the following “Ten Steps.” We hope other school districts find this a helpful list as you work through your own implementation process.

Have a written description of your program to communicate with others, such as a program map or chart. Develop or update yours to list all program activities including program objectives, district or program goals, student mindset/behaviors, timeline, student focus, staff & resources, and how you will evaluate impact through process, perception and/or outcome data. This can be organized different ways, such as by program domains (i.e. academic, social/emotional, and career) or by district goals (e.g. attendance, transition,

behavior, academic success & graduation, college & career plan development.) At Schenevus, our first step was to update our program map by reviewing all activities and adding additional information needed. This helped us assess where to focus our attention. By looking at how our activities support district goals we identified program gaps and areas that would benefit from development. This focus gave us an important starting point when developing Advisory Council agendas.

NYSSCA EDGE | Feb. 2018

Start with available district data, such as your school report card: Review your graduation rate, attendance, and test scores to see where your program could provide support. Check your college admission data, discipline data, School Safety and Educational Climate (SSEC) report (VADIR and DASA data), and course failure lists. Disaggregate data to consider progress of subgroups and look for inequities. Ask your administration for additional data that will help you identify gaps and ways to strengthen the program impact. Use program data, such as activity evaluations, pre/post test results, and surveys.

assessments and teacher surveys helped identify student skill strengths and deficits, as well as programs and activities that were rated “effective” and “engaging.” Finally, we used small group survey and results data as well as perception data from classroom lessons. Google forms and calendar-based technology (e.g. SCUTA) became important tools to help us review and analyze data. Once reviewed and analyzed, results could be provided to our Advisory Council for feedback.

We were careful to fully review data before meetings and to provide data in context of program goals and activities. The result was a greater appreciation for our program and our At Schenevus, social-emotional development school counselors. In fact, Schenevus was able and learning was a district priority. We had data to support an increase in our elementary school available from our K-6 social-emotional health counseling position from .4 to full time by curriculum and character education program to providing data that demonstrated unmet need, help identify student skill deficits. This positive impact of responsive services, as well information in addition to K-12 needs as use of time analysis. program accomplishments and receive feedback on our goals, especially ways to measure progress. Advisory provided a great way to communicate to important stakeholders, to get the word out about what school counselors do to help meet the needs of our students. Each Advisory meeting was different. Some meetings Describe the purpose and goals clearly and reviewed data from the previous year to help concisely, accurately describing what Advisory with program development for the coming year. members are expected to do. Make a clear Meetings held at the beginning of the school distinction between supervisory and advisory year reviewed the plan made during the summer functions, conveying that members are not for feedback before implementing. Additional evaluating the program nor counseling staff, but meetings held during the school year focused on providing their particular perspective on progress monitoring of our goals. We also took components of the program to assist the the opportunity to share any exciting developments we were involved in that helped department with program planning. our students. At Schenevus, we wanted to share counseling 19

Stakeholders are specific to each district, and there are likely more potential members than you want to have attend each meeting. By identifying potential members in different categories you can develop a pool for not only your first meeting or two, but also to adjust the membership in future years as desired. It is also important not to over-represent any one area. The following list can help you think through different possibilities: school counselors, other pupil personnel services, parents, students, general and special education teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, board of education members, community and mental health providers, faith-based organizations, local businesses, area college admissions representatives, counselor educators from a

With consideration for other events on the school calendar, plan when meetings would be best positioned. Keep the agenda focused on a particular aspect of the program and provide data in that context.

At Schenevus, we decided on holding three meetings during the first year to be held in September, February and June. Members provided fresh eyes to view our program activities, and we maintained an open attitude so we could take in their viewpoint. We believed we were already meeting our students’ needs, but it was important to be open to outside perspectives. Sometimes we realized the unmet need was for better communication on what we were already doing, and not actually a need to change the program itself.

nearby program. Be strategic: who already has a positive understanding of your program, who is likely to be supportive, and who is influential in your school and community? Consider members who will be able to provide critical feedback to support program improvement. At Schenevus, we knew we had awesome program activities and we wanted more people to know about them. First we considered teachers who always provided access through their classes, then added special education staff, and our Director of Special Education. The building principal was an essential member to deepen her understanding of our program, and we identified a Board of Education member who was supportive and knowledgeable.

Letters of invitation need to include the purpose and goals of the Advisory as well as the agenda. You can start with a smaller group and add members in future years. Membership can be described as “annual” to support future membership changes. At Schenevus, our Director of Guidance took the lead, selecting meeting dates with input from everyone’s calendar and setting the agenda with input from other department members. We kept our agenda general but always had a clear direction for the meeting. We sent the agenda out early and welcomed any additions.

NYSSCA EDGE | Feb. 2018 Facilitation of the meeting is key and needs to be someone’s responsibility, and having minutes that accurately reflect the Advisory’s fulfillment of the purpose and goal of the meeting will support their presentation to your Board of Education. At Schenevus our Director of Guidance was in the best position to facilitate meetings and she also provided minutes of the meetings. Each member had a different contribution during meetings, e.g. the elementary counselor shared K-5 program data, the principal gave administrative perspective feedback with district data, and the counselor educator insights with new program development ideas. There was always opportunity for everyone at the table to speak and provide feedback throughout our discussions.

The new Part 100.2(j) regulation requires a minimum of two meetings annually, though you might decide to meet more often. At Schenevus, we have held between two and four meetings per year for the last four years. We found that our community was actually excited to hear more about our program, what we were doing next, and how we were going to accomplish it. Through Advisory Council review and feedback, we were able to ensure that services for each level (elementary, middle and high school) were spread evenly over the school year.

The new Part 100.2 (j) regulation requires an Advisory Council annual report be provided to your Board of Education. This can be done many different ways and should be explored and decided through conversation with your district leadership. At Schenevus, once each year we shared a synthesized version of our data and presented specific components of the program and how it met students’ needs to our Board of Education. We also provided frequent program updates to the Superintendent who would inform the Board of our progress. We were delighted with questions board members would ask, which challenged and also affirmed our program. Consider membership changes or additions as well as potential agendas items. The second year we decided to bring in the community perspective by adding a counselor educator from nearby SUNY Oneonta. This counseling professional helped us understand new regulations as well as ways to keep our program updated with new resources and different ways to collect data. In our third year, we added community members with counseling related specializations, such as our school-based health Social Worker and BOCES CTE faculty. Confident with the structure of our Advisory, our fourth year we invited parents and students. We continue this process of reviewing membership and developing potential agenda items, and believe our Advisory Council is fully implemented. This was recently illustrated when the Director of Guidance and our elementary school counselor both moved on to other new positions in other school districts, yet the process at Schenevus continues. ■ 21

Carolyn Torrey


ur Counseling Department wanted to unite our district for a common cause. The idea came from an article we read about two high school students from Nova Scotia. These two juniors organized an anti-bullying day in support of a new ninth grade student who was being harassed for wearing a pink shirt. They distributed pink tee shirts to the boys in their school to wear on the same day to stand up for the new student. Our department wanted to create awareness about many issues so we decided to TAKE A STAND one day each month. An email was sent explaining our goal to the entire district. People were invited to buy a "safety pink" tee shirt with a bulldog paw (we are the Livonia Bulldogs) on the back, with TAKE A STAND printed across it. We decided which month would have what theme; September is TAKE A STAND with the “Power of One,� October is TAKE A STAND

School Counselor Livonia Central School, NY

against bullying, November is to give thanks, December is to lift peoples spirits, give hope and peace, January is pay it forward, February is to show you care, March is against exclusions, to be tolerant, April is to respect the environment, May is to finish strong, and June is to be safe. TAKE A STAND days are the third Wednesday of the month. I send out an email the previous Friday to remind people to wear pink. In the email I also write something educational about the theme and/or include though provoking quotes that can start a discussion in the classroom. Some teachers even design assignments around the TAKE A STAND theme. There are so many "little" things we are able to do that can have a "big" impact. This Best Practice is in it's fourth year and it includes everyone in our district. TAKE A STAND is creating awareness about everyday issues.

NYSSCA EDGE | Feb. 2018 The following is more information about and several examples of what we did to create awareness through the TAKE A STAND program.

ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors We are careful to connect ASCA Mindsets and behaviors to our TAKE A STAND program.

The ASCA mindsets that the TAKE A STAND program addresses are: Belief in development of the whole self, including a healthy balance of mental, • social/emotional and physical well-being. • Self-confidence in ability to succeed. • Sense of belonging in the school environment. • Belief in using abilities to their fullest to achieve high-quality results and outcomes. • Positive attitude toward work and learning. •

The ASCA behaviors that our TAKE A STAND addresses are: Demonstrate ability to assume responsibility. • Demonstrate self-discipline and self-control. • Demonstrate perseverance to achieve long and short term goals. • Demonstrate effective coping skills when faced with a problem. • Demonstrate the ability to balance school, home, and community activities. • Demonstrate personal safety. • Demonstrate ability to manage transitions, and ability to adapt to changing situations and responsibilities. • Create positive and supportive relationships with other students. • Create relationships with adults that support success. • Demonstrate empathy. • Use effective collaboration and cooperation skills. • Use leadership and teamwork skills to work effectively in diverse teams. • Demonstrate ethical decision making and social responsibility. • Demonstrate advocacy skills and ability to assert self when necessary. • Demonstrate social maturity and behavior appropriate to the situation and environment. • Demonstrate critical thinking skills to make informed decisions. • Set high standards of quality. • Gather evidence and consider multiple perspectives to make informed decisions. •

Faculty & students wearing pink to show their

support for TAKE A STAND


Sample Email

Good Afternoon Livonia!

Wednesday, January 20th, is the day to TAKE A STAND to pay it forward . As we all know, pay it forward is a concept that refers to the random acts of kindness whereby people do something nice for someone else hoping that their good deed will be “paid forward,” inspiring that person to carry out more kindness to others. In an article entitled, “Paying It Forward: The Psychology of Random Good Deeds,” a study was cited by Stanford University Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky about moral elevation. Students who carried out five random acts of kindness per week reported higher levels of happiness than a control group. We feel good when we do good. Even just reading about acts of kindness can evoke moral elevation. “People who have moral elevation are more likely to perform good deeds themselves. This is because if we feel we are “good,” we do “good” things in order to reinforce this view of ourselves.” The “pay” of pay it forward is misleading; doing a good deed does not need to be costly. Here are some ideas: - Clean up litter. - Tell your family how much you love them. - Be kind. - Smile and say hello - Hold doors open for people. - Run an errand for someone. - Let someone ahead of you in line. - Send a note of appreciation. - Give a compliment. - Return a shopping cart for someone. Please TAKE A STAND to pay it forward by wearing pink on January 20th. Have a great weekend, The K-12 Counseling Department For more info, contact, Todd Carter, School Counselor

Assignment Example #2: Elementary School Poster 1)Provide three examples of how you can complete the TAKE A STAND

theme. In this photo example, the theme for the month was “The Power of One”. 2)Pick one example and draw a picture of you doing it.

These photos can be displayed in the classroom, in the hallway, or even in the School Counseling Office.

NYSSCA EDGE | Feb. 2018

Assignment Example #2: Middle School & High School English   


Reflection Questions for Journal Entry: What does “taking a stand” mean to you? Why do you think that taking a stand is important? What would you take a stand for in order to make our world a better place? Why? How would you go about this?

1) Complete for “TAKE A STAND” Brainstorming worksheet: Questions on Brainstorming Worksheet:

I. Initial Ideas (What is important to you? What do you think should change in our school? In your life?) II. Now, narrow it down… What idea do you feel the most passionately about? What is the one ‘thing’ that you would want to emphatically (strongly emphasize) share with the world? Or at least within your journal? III. Why is this so important to you? To our world? IV. How would you implement your “stand” within our school? OR what is your ACTION piece???

2) Write a Journal Article that answers the reflection questions. This is an opportunity for your voice to be heard, so make sure the final draft of this entry reflects your best work.

3) Present your Journal article to the class. While other students are presenting there entry, complete the reflection sheet. Instructions for Reflection Sheet: As your classmates present their journal entries, please remember the words of Mr. John Keaton from Dead Poets Society. Be open to their words and try to understand their perspective and how your own opinion relates, compares, contrasts, etc. Please jot down notes that we will later revisit.

“Why do I stand up here? I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way. You see, the world looks very different up here … Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it in another way. Even though it may seem silly or wrong, you must try.” “You must strive to find your own voice. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to find it at all” – John Keating in Dead Poets Society (1989)


NYSSCA is now accepting submissions for the next issue of

Have a program activity that is effective with your students?

We want to know about it. Submitting it to The EDGE is easy! The submission form is online at: Just follow the guidelines and answer the prompts. We help you turn your program description into an article. Have questions or want to reach an author? Contact the editor at:

NYSSCA Edge Issue 2, Feb 2018  
NYSSCA Edge Issue 2, Feb 2018  

The NYSSCA EDGE magazine is looking for articles for its next edition! The theme of the NYSSCA EDGE is "Best Practices". By definition, "B...