MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOL COUNSELORS ASSOCIATION
VOL. 49, NO. 8
Make the Data Dance
UMass honors Fredrickson
By JENNIFER LISK, MASCA President
ake the data dance.” These were the words of Keith Westrich, Director of College and Career Readiness for DESE, at the data workshop presented by MASCA and DESE on February 13 for schools participating in the Race to the Top MA Model project. While I like data, and do get excited to use data, the tools that are now available to us as school counselors enable us to be more efficient and effective with data. Yes, there is still the effort to obtain pre- and post-test data and to make graphs and charts to show what we do; but, now, data on our students is available like never before. This data is available in Edwin Analytics, an integrated suite of teaching and learning tools. For those of you who have been using DESE data, this system integrates what was available in the Data Warehouse. It also has new reports to help identify current struggling students and to track former graduates and their postsecondary progress. The Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS) is a methodological way of looking at students and their likelihood of meeting specific academic goals. These goals are: • Early Elementary (Grades 1-3) – Proficient or Advanced on 3rd grade ELA MCAS • Late Elementary (Grades 4-6) – Pro-
ficient or Advanced on 6th grade ELA and • Mathematics MCAS • Middle Grades (Grades 7-9) – Passing grades on all 9th grade courses • High School (Grades 10-12) – High school graduation (four-year) EWIS categorizes students at low, middle, or high risk for not meeting the goal based on their individual data. These categorizations are based on the previous year’s data and, therefore, may change from year to year for a particular student. EWIS gives schools and counselors a way to systematically flag students that may be in need of further intervention. It does not target exactly what support a student may need, and counselors are in a place to look more closely at these groups and individual students to help develop interventions. The Postsecondary Enrollment and Outcomes portion of Edwin Analytics provides data on a school’s graduates’ enrollment in postsecondary institutions. There are several different reports available that look at where students enroll and whether they return for a second year, as well as whether they obtain a degree. This data is also disaggregated by students completing AP courses and MassCore requirements. In addition to the enrollment data, these reports provide information on the percentage of students who enroll in remedial coursework and how many of their credits are earned in remedial coursework or regular coursework. The above descriptions are just a taste of the data that is available through Edwin Analytics in a user-friendly format. More information is available at www. doe.mass.edu/Edwin. Edwin also has its own Twitter account: @Edwin_DESE. I encourage you to take advantage of these tools and ask your administrator for access if you do not already have them available. I
n Saturday, May 4, UMass Amherst will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation (CSCORE) and the renaming of the center to The Ronald H. Fredrickson Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation. Dr. Fredrickson, founder of the UMass school counseling program, worked for many years with teams of graduate students to summarize and evaluate the best available research on school counseling practices. In its 10-year-long history, CSCORE has become the most prominent research facility supporting the school counseling profession. CSCORE is being re-named in Fredickson’s honor to acknowledge his guidance and inspiration. Alumni, school partners, and friends of CSCORE are invited. Location: Marriott Center, UMass Amherst. Schedule: Reception, 6:00-7:00 pm.; Dinner at 7:00-8:00 p.m.; Celebration from 8:0011:00 p.m. Detailed information and registration materials are available on the CSCORE website. I
Join us at the Spring Conference .......
April 7-8, 2013 Resort & Conference Center at Hyannis ....... Professional development, networking, and exciting exhibits
FOCUS ON HEALTH 2012 – 2013 OFFICERS
Cutting Our Losses
PRESIDENT JENNIFER LISK Medway High School, Medway, MA 02053 Tel. 508-533-3228 x 5107 • Fax 508-533-3246 E-mail: email@example.com PAST PRESIDENT MICHELLE BURKE Beverly High School 100 Sohier Road Beverly, MA 01915-2654 Tel. 978-921-6132 x 11107 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org PRESIDENT-ELECT THERESA A. COOGAN, Ph.D. Bridgewater State University Bridgewater, MA 02325 Tel. 508-531-2640 E-mail: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org VICE PRESIDENT MIDDLE / JUNIOR HIGH MARISA CASTELLO E-mail: email@example.com KATHLEEN SCOTT E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org VICE PRESIDENT SECONDARY CARRIE KULICK-CLARK Braintree High School 128 Town Street, Braintree, MA 02184 Tel. 781-848-4000 ext 2273 • Fax 781-848-7799 E-mail: email@example.com VICE PRESIDENT POSTSECONDARY JOHN MARCUS Dean College 99 Main Street, Franklin, MA 02038 Tel. 508-541-1509 • Fax 508-541-8726 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
By SALLY ANN CONNOLLY MASCA Counselor’s Notebook Editor
s educators, we seek to prepare students for life. We nurture their personal and social development along with teaching academic competencies. But our efforts are being undercut by school lunchroom menus that put students’ physical well-being at risk. The latest study of a half million men and women in ten European countries found a positive association between the consumption of processed meat and early mortality. The greater the consumption of processed meat — ham, bacon, sausages, and pre-packaged meats — the greater the risk, especially of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The culprits seem to be fat, salt, smoke and nitrates used as preservatives. Life-
style factors were accounted for in the study. Researchers found that “in general a diet high in processed meat was linked to other unhealthy choices. Men and women who ate the most processed meat ate the fewest fruit and vegetables and were more likely to smoke. Men who ate a lot of meat also tended to have a high alcohol consumption.” A lifetime cut short by unhealthy choices is not what we wish for our students. Success in continued learning and a career may be our focus, but we can best serve our students by also nurturing their physical health. Processed meats must be eliminated from school lunchroom menus. I
VICE PRESIDENT ADMINISTRATORS TBA VICE PRESIDENT COUNSELOR EDUCATORS MEGAN KRELL, Ph.D. E-mail: email@example.com VICE PRESIDENT RETIREES Joseph D. FitzGerald, Ed.D. 5 Progress Street, Weymouth, MA 02188 Tel. 781-264-3426 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com TREASURER ASHLEY CARON 25 Belmont Ave., Stoughton, MA 02072 Tel. 508-212-0676 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org SECRETARY JENNIFER 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: email@example.com MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR DEBORAH CLEMENCE P.O. Box 805, East Dennis, MA 02641 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK EDITOR SALLY ANN CONNOLLY 19 Bayberry Road, Danvers, MA 01923 Tel. 978-774-8158 • Fax 978-750-8154 E-mail: email@example.com
Professional Goals: Past & Present By MICHELLE BURKE MASCA Past President
s I type, the third quarter of the 2012-2013 school year is upon us, and by the time you read this we will be actively preparing to help our students and families for the 2013-2014 school year. Our job responsibilities as school counselors vary and differ throughout the school year, with each quarter bringing us specific duties to help students and families. A few examples include new student registration, evening parent presentations, supporting student transitions, processing and assisting with college applications, scheduling, intervening with struggling students and their teachers as each quarter grades are given, disseminating scholarship information, and planning for group guidance activities throughout the year. I have always found the changing and differing obligations throughout the school year as refreshing and a chance to reflect on their effectiveness the prior year. We should always be evaluating
MICHELLE BURKE our service delivery methods, welcoming change, and implementing new activities. Our school and local communities should be aware and supportive of how school counselors help children, and it is our responsibility to represent our profession with positive energy, pride, and innovation. As we begin to conclude another school year, we should self-evaluate, honestly reflecting on our efforts, efficiency, and commitment to our roles as school coun-
selors. Did we actively research and attend professional development opportunities? Did we create and implement new counseling activities? Did we network with other school counselors sharing best practices? Did we advocate for our profession and our students? Did we collaborate with stakeholders? When we answer these questions and develop professional goals for the coming school year, we should remember that a
Improving performance as a school counselor rests upon effective goal-setting. MASCA membership affords us the ability and opportunity to improve our skills as school counselors. Our website, www.masca.org, includes information on professional development opportunities as well as current school counseling initiatives, counselor resources, and advocacy actions. If you are a longtime MASCA member, thank you; and if you are a graduate student, welcome. Let other school counselors know about the importance of staying connected as professionals and the benefits of being a part of MASCA. Encourage them to become part of our professional community. I encourage you also to become active members of your local MASCA affiliate. At their monthly meetings, affiliates provide an opportunity to learn, network, laugh, and socialize with other school counselors. For a listing of the MASCA affiliates, go to www.masca.org. Become involved with your professional organizations — state and local. Help them plan for events and consider taking on a leadership role as a member of the governing boards or committees. At the end of the day or, in this case, at the end of a school year, only you know if you have made serious attempts to improve your performance as a school counselor. We often remind others: “Make efforts, not excuses.” Our children deserve and need positive, helpful experiences with their school counselors. I COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK
ASCA Membership: Value for All By DONNA BROWN, MASCA Executive Director
o you belong to ASCA? Many grad students join because of the liability insurance that comes with membership; a lot of professional school counselors do so for the same reason. However, once the publications begin to arrive, most members realize there is much more to membership than insurance coverage. Arriving every other month, ASCA School Counselor is packed with usable information. The January/February 2013 issue, for example, asked us to “Get On Board With Technology” and featured information on blogging, tweeting, and using your iPad as well as looking at the effectiveness of virtual school counseling. One of the most interesting and useful columns is written by Dr. Caroline Stone, who highlights a legal and/or ethical issue. This month she addressed Ward vs. Wilbanks, a case that has serious implications for all of us. Briefly, Julia Ward was a graduate student in a professional school counseling program at Eastern Michigan University. At her intern site, a gay student sought help with a same-sex relationship. Ward refused to counsel the student, citing religious convictions. Subsequently, EMU dismissed her from the program. She sued the school for violating her constitutional rights. The school rebutted saying she was dismissed from the program for not following the ACA code of ethics. Eventually, the school settled with her to avoid a long, costly court case. After the settlement, ASCA conducted a survey to determine the opinions of its members about the issues surrounding this case. For example, members were queried about whether a counseling candidate having religious beliefs like Ward’s could become an effective school counselor. Dr. Stone examined the results of the survey, commenting on each of the thirteen questions. In closing, she concluded: “Isms and biases sabotage objectivity and inhibit a professional school counselor’s ability to work productively with all students.” The two-page spread in the magazine, “Tech Tools From ASCA,” highlights a variety of ways ASCA serves its members via technology. Communication is offered in many ways. Members can connect via Facebook or Twitter. Networking is key to the success of ASCA Scene, APRIL 2013
a forum where members ask questions, share best practices, and keep up to date with the profession. Webinars and podcasts provide professional development for members, and several of ASCA’s most popular books are available in digital form. I used the conference mobile app last year and it was awesome! Lastly, both of ASCA’s publications are available electronically.
If you are an ASCA member but much of this is “news to you,” take some time to reacquaint yourself with your professional organization. If you are not a member, please consider joining at www. schoolcounselor.org. We really have an obligation to stay current professionally, and being an ASCA member and using its many resources is one of the easiest ways to do so. I
The MA Model and Individual Planning Meetings By MARIE ANDERSON MASCA Member Services Chair
Planning and communication increase the effectiveness of meetings with students.
hen I first became a school counseling department head in the preMA Model days, the superintendent who hired me summed up his priority for the department by saying: “I no longer want to hear from parents that I meet in the supermarket that their child saw their counselor only once in four years.” In annual results of surveys done with students regarding school counseling services at my high school, students would inevitably comment on the need for more individual meetings with their counselor. I recently met a parent from outside the area, and, learning of my counseling background, she quickly informed me that her daughter had met with her counselor
only once during her high school years. We are all familiar with the demand for more one-on-one time with our students, but with caseloads of over 300 students in some districts, quality individual meetings for all students may be limited to once or twice a year. Despite the excellent group counseling and classroom curriculum that our departments are now doing, individual meetings still have an important priority valued by students, parents, and school counselors. It can take up to two to three months for counselors to schedule a meeting with every student in one grade level, due to the time required for other responsibilities. Maximizing the effectiveness of the individual planning meeting is critical. These are some of the parameters we found helpful at Barnstable High School: • Plan the timeline of when meetings will take place with your students of a certain grade level and list it in your annual school counseling calendar. These calendars should be posted in homerooms and on your website and sent home with the principal’s letter at the end of the summer. This lets parents know when to expect their child’s meeting. (In some cases, parents are invited to attend these meetings, as we did with parents of Juniors.) • Establish a curriculum for the meeting. Each year in MA Model curriculum planning meetings, counselors should review what to cover in the meetings for each grade level. In walk-throughs as a department head I looked for consistency. Meetings need to have common denominators even when counselors maintain their own style. In this way all students know what to expect, regardless of counselor assignment. • Use classroom /group meetings to cover general information (such as graduation requirements) or to do career
assessments. Discuss results of the assessment in the individual meeting. • Plan materials carefully. The amount of printed material has been dramatically reduced with students’ ability to access information online; however, some materials remain important. Meetings can be used to disseminate crucial handouts. • Let students, teachers, and parents know the meetings are coming up. Announcements in homerooms, e-mails, faculty meetings, and Naviance e-mails help provide legitimacy to this valuable time.
Stay informed For up-to-date information about RTTT, college fairs, conferences, and more, go to www.masca.org. Once there, you can renew your membership. For your membership expiration date, see the mailing label affixed to your CN.
• Provide a connection to previous years’ meetings. The Career Plan kept in the student file provides continuity for conversation about how the student has evolved and where he/she is headed. • Let the parents know you met. Counselors should complete a template/letter in the meeting that would include some basic information such as GPA and class rank and a list of graduation requirements still expected of the student. (This can also serve as documentation of this important information for the parent). Mail these letters home, along with a copy of the Career Plan. Keep copies in the student file. If we don’t notify parents that we have met, many will never know! • Use the meeting time to evaluate programs. At the completion of the meeting, have the student complete a brief anonymous survey, which can be created on web-based career /college programs such as Naviance. • Enjoy the meeting! These meetings remind us why we are counselors. Although goals and expected outcomes are set for the meetings, other important results often come about, such as reinforcing trust in the counselor or discovering significant issues for the student that may result in other meetings in the future. The above strategies represent the following components of the MA Model: • Accountability: Measuring Student Outcomes • Management System: Use of Data; Use of Time /Calendars • Delivery System: Guidance Curriculum; Individual Planning • Foundation: MA CDE Benchmarks I APRIL 2013
THE INTERN’S TALE Starting a Gay Straight Alliance By KELLY HEVEY M.Ed. Student in School Counseling, Bridgewater State University
t the start of the school year, my final year as a graduate student began. My first task was to create a list of experiences that I hope to have throughout the year at my practicum as I prepare to enter the professional field of school counseling. I am especially in-
terested in group work and want to explore ways to use this skill set in a vocational high school. When I was brainstorming with my supervisor about possible groups, the idea of beginning a gay straight alliance (GSA) was suggested. This kind of group,
I believe, can provide significant support and help create a safe environment for all students in the school. Beginning this project from the ground up seemed overwhelming to me, so I began to look for resources. Soon I found that there were endless resources and guidelines for advisors. The GSA website I relied on most was www.gsa.org. This site provided helpful handbooks, including 10 Simple Steps to Starting a GSA. The next step (and probably the most helpful) was enlisting the help of students who would also like to get this group off the ground. Because the groups are intended to be student-run, I listened to many of their great ideas and began to get the word out (with the approval of my supervisor and administration). We used school announcements and posters with basic information to begin spreading the word. All of these efforts helped to make the first meeting a success. The first meeting was used as an icebreaker and informational session. Students brainstormed ways to take action and create change within the school. Some ideas included dances, GSA-themed bulletin boards, movie nights, guest speakers, and awareness weeks. Because the group functioned as both a social and support group, we needed to be sure that members were aware of the importance of confidentiality and setting ground rules for ensuring that discussions would be safe and respectful. In our eyes, the group’s most important feature is advocating for LGBTQ students and getting the word out. As the group continues this school year, we hope to run social events, have guest speakers (for students and supporters), and have community events and information drives. Students have also expressed interest in fundraising, in order to buy a flag to hang in the cafeteria along with the school’s other clubs. I look forward to being a supervisor of this group as the school year continues. Together, we will work to expand our GSA and keep finding ways to make an impact on the students, staff, and community. I COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK
THE INTERN’S TALE Preventing School Counselor Burnout By ANDREA P. ROBITAILLE Master’s Student in School Counseling, Bridgewater State University
f there is one thing I have learned from my practicum experience, it is that we must be mindful of wellness and self-care because these areas can have a direct impact on our work with students. Preventing burnout is something that begins from the moment we step into school on our first day on the job. Some may even say it begins as soon as we start our graduate program because, although our role can be infinitely rewarding, at times it can also be a source of stress and emotional strain. The first thing we can do is learn to balance our work life with our personal life. If we know we have a stressful week on the horizon, there is no better time to call a friend to catch up, go out and get some exercise, or spend time with someone who lifts our spirits. Finding activities that we enjoy can lower our stress levels and also give us purpose outside of school. During the school day it can be nearly impossible to find a minute to ourselves. Whether there’s a student coming in to talk, a crisis occurring, or a teacher who needs a consult about a difficult student, it can be tough finding time just to run to the restroom or grab a bite to eat. What can we do to control stress when we are in school? I think the first thing we should do is give ourselves credit for the incredible work we do. Giving ourselves a pat on the back may sound like a waste of time, but it is important to stop and recognize the good things we are doing every day. Another way to reduce our stress in school is to take our skills and share them with teachers. For example, there are classroom management and child behavior strategies we may find ourselves discussing frequently, especially at the beginning of the school year. Keep track of these common concerns and offer to discuss them during the next professional development day. We can, and should, empower teachers by sharing our knowledge and skills. We can also continue to build our own skill set. This may be in the form of a class at a local university or a seminar set up by ASCA or MASCA. We deserve a day to
interact with and learn from fellow school counselors. Working with other counselors lets us hear about what is happening at other schools and gives us an opportunity to provide support to each other. The bottom line is that taking care of ourselves is just as vital as taking care of
our students. We cannot, after all, be effective or efficient in our work if we are worn down or burnt out. Be certain to do your best to make your office a place of tranquility during the day. When all else fails, remember: Every day is a new day, and we can always try again tomorrow. I
Advocacy Online: A New Look By THERESA A. COOGAN, Ph.D. MASCA President-Elect
he New Year brings a new face for the MASCA website and some updated sections as well. I’d like to highlight some of the sections on the Advocacy page and encourage you to explore this section in more detail. The Advocacy Works section remains a direct tab from the home page, www. masca.org. It is organized into several pages to help MASCA members navigate easily to find information and resources to assist in advocacy efforts for the School Counseling field. Have you ever wondered, “What exactly does the Advocacy Committee do?” The updated homepage provides an overview, which clarifies this critical component of our organization. Helping
THERESA COOGAN to spread the word about how vital advocacy is for our profession is a piece that all MASCA members can take part in. The good news about MASCA’s Advocacy Committee is that there are several different ways to be a part of this
Mission of MASCA The mission of MASCA is to advocate for school counselors in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by providing leadership, collaboration, and professional development.
Koplik Certificate of Mastery with Distinction The Stanley Koplik Certificate of Mastery with Distinction is coordinated by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Certificate, awarded by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, makes a student eligible for a tuition waiver to a Massachusetts state college or university. To qualify, students must score at the Advanced level on the Grade 10 MCAS test in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, or Science and Technology / Engineering and Proficient or higher in the other two subject tests. To receive the Certificate, students must complete and submit the full application to their school’s Koplik coordinator by May 1 of their senior year in high school. All high schools throughout the Commonwealth should have a designated Koplik coordinator (often someone from the Guidance Office) to notify students of eligibility and to assist with completion and submission of the applications. For more information, go to www.doe.mass.edu/Fam Comm/Student/mastery.html.
subgroup. From volunteering once a month for a few hours, to volunteering once a week for a few hours, to serving on the Advocacy Committee, there is a role for everyone. Everyone can find a suitable way to continue the efforts of MASCA and the Advocacy Committee to clarify and confirm the necessity of Professional School Counselors in our PreK -12 schools! One area I’d like to bring attention to is the “Focus” tab, which includes summaries of the current legislative bills and sessions. While I personally steered clear of political science courses in my undergraduate work, I can say honestly that the areas of involvement in this subsection are user-friendly; and they offer a variety of ways for you to engage, depending upon the amount of time you have to give. Resources provided include hyperlinks to websites that will help you identify the legislators in your districts as well as provide you with templates for e-mails, letters, and phone call scripts to use when contacting legislators for support to the various bills. The first time I took part in this, it took me no more than twenty minutes to identify my legislators, and, using the template provided, to prepare a hand-written letter. (Note: I learned that hand-written notes are preferred; they show that you took the time to write the letter yourself.) Within a few weeks of sending my note, I received a letter from my legislator thanking me for my time, commenting on the personal story that I had shared, and sharing my interest on the matter. Although I had believed that my letter would not make a difference or even be read, I was proven wrong. If all of our members could take twenty minutes to write their legislators in the same way, imagine the effect we could have on the field of School Counseling! Expand that by asking every MASCA member to invite a colleague to join MASCA and also to write letters! There are different ways of getting involved and supporting the field of School Counseling and MASCA. Whether you are able to volunteer five hours a week or fifteen, we can use your help and energy. I COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK
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Massachusetts School Counselors Association, Inc. COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK Sally Ann Connolly, Editor
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MASCA 2013 Spring Conference Improving the Utilization of School Counselors Through Partnerships Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis April 7-8, 2013 April 7 • Keynoter Mandy Savitz-Romer, Ph.D., Lecturer on Education and Director of Prevention Science and Practice, Harvard Graduate School of Education • Graduate student programming and poster sessions • Welcome reception and concurrent workshops
April 8 • Jill Cook, ASCA Assistant Director, Extended session on new 3.0 ASCA Model • Full day of concurrent workshops
MASCA Spring RTTT Workshop Resort & Conference Center at Hyannis Tuesday, April 9, 2013 For details, go to www.masca.org.