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VOL. 48, NO. 6


Berkshire County School Counselors Association & MASCA Professional Development Day

Data Literacy Workshop Tuesday, March 13, 2012 (inclement weather date: Friday, March 16)

Berkshire Community College Registration, 8:00 a.m. Workshop, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Katie Gray, Trainer • Certificates of Attendance provided This professional development workshop is for school counseling practitioners. Because the training is hands-on, all registrants should bring laptops with Excel 2007 or higher. Approximately one week prior to the workshop, templates and training materials will be sent to registrants for downloading.

Workshop topics: • • • • • • • •

Why counselors must be data literate Process, Perception, and Results Data: What’s the difference? Accessing and USING data from your district’s Student Information System Accessing, understanding, and USING data from DESE Accessing, understanding, and USING data from The College Board Exploring tools to make USING data easier (Excel, EZ Analyze, Survey Monkey, etc.) Charting your School Counseling Program’s results data Why and what school counselors MUST contribute to building-based Data Teams

COST per person (includes light continental breakfast and sandwich lunch): Current member of both BSSCA and MASCA Current member of either BSSCA or MASCA or non-member of either organization

$60 $90

Online registration is limited to the first 40 registrants. (E-mail confirmations only)

Online registration link closes on March 5, 2012 Go to to register. Look for the announcement about the workshop and click on the word registrar. Or send an e-mail to and the link will be sent. • Credit card payments accepted. Purchase Orders must include $10 PO processing fee. • Payment expected for registrant non-attendance. Schools may send a substitute attendee. Registration Questions: Maria Paoletti, Workshop Registrar, Event Inquiries: Peter Andersen, BSSCA Vice President, or Helen O’Donnell, MASCA PD Chair,



2011 – 2012 MASCA OFFICERS


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

February 2012

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

inside 4


Achieving Growth Through Robotics By Patty Burns

THE INTERN’S TALE: The Big Speech By Kimberly Ghiorse

VICE PRESIDENT POSTSECONDARY JOHN MARCUS Dean College 99 Main Street, Franklin, MA 02038 Tel. 508-541-1509 • Fax 508-541-8726 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT ADMINISTRATORS RUTH CARRIGAN Whitman-Hanson Regional High School 600 Franklin Street, Whitman, MA 02382 Tel. 781-618-7434 • Fax 781-618-7098 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT COUNSELOR EDUCATORS THERESA A. COOGAN, Ph.D. Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, MA 02325 Tel. 508-531-2640 E-mail:

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VICE PRESIDENT RETIREES RALPH SENNOTT P.O. Box 1391, Westford, MA 01886 Tel. 978-692-8244 E-mail: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DONNA M. BROWN Adjunct Professor, UMass Boston P.O. Box 366, 779 Center Street Bryantville, MA 02327 Tel. 781-293-2835 E-mail: TREASURER ASHLEY CARON 25 Belmont Ave., Stoughton, MA 02072 Tel. 508-212-0676 E-mail: SECRETARY JENNIFER JUST McGUIRE Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School 220 Sandwich Road, Bourne, MA 02532 Tel. 508-759-7711 x 247 • Fax 508-759-5455 E-mail: MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR DEBORAH CLEMENCE P.O. Box 805, East Dennis, MA 02641 E-mail: COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK EDITOR SALLY ANN CONNOLLY 19 Bayberry Road, Danvers, MA 01923 Tel. 978-774-8158 • Fax 978-750-8154 E-mail:



News from ACT: Information for Students


People, Places, and Programs

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

©2012 by the Massachusetts School Counselors Association. All rights reserved.


Achieving Growth Through Robotics By PATTY BURNS Agawam Public Schools


ost Monday and Wednesday afternoons until the end of December, you can find me and five-seven Agawam Jr. High School students brainstorming what kind of robot to build or research project to complete. Each student has a job. Some are working on the computer, learning how to program the robot. Others are building Lego structures for the field map. During the final weeks before the competition, our brainstorming, planning, building, and programming come together, and we have a robot that moves. As a school counselor at Agawam Junior High School, I have been the coach of the robotics team — Robo Warriors — for the past three years. Most teams are coached by a science or technology education teacher. But being a school counselor is also a good match. My focus is more community- and social-based. Robotics was introduced to our district by John Burns, a technology education teacher. We participate in a competition through First Robotics. Its mission is “to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.” * My team is in the First Lego League division, where seven- to fourteen- yearolds are introduced to “real-world engineering challenges by building LEGObased robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society.” * Any interested junior high student can join. This year, the team is made up of seven boys. Three are on IEPs, and three are low income. Each year, students must complete a challenge. This year’s challenge is to find ways to improve the quality of food by preventing food contamination. In this year’s Food Factor Challenge,



over 200,000 nine-sixteen year olds from over 55 countries will explore the topic of food safety. They will examine possible points of food contamination — from exposure to insects and other creatures to unsterile processing and transportation and unsanitary preparation and storage. The goal is to find ways to prevent or combat these contaminates. Teams will build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT to solve a set of Food Safety missions. They will also research, develop, and share their innovative food safety solutions. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under FLL’s signature set of Core Values: inspiration, team work, and gracious professionalism. I like teaching the students about gracious professionalism. It is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. My students decided to do the research project on apples. The boys’ solution to help reduce cider rust bacteria is to have the trees grow in a greenhouse with a decontamination room, so that the airborne spores do not get onto the trees. They have built a robot that will complete some of the missions of the challenge. The robot has 2½ minutes to complete as many missions as possible. Each mission is given a points value, and the team with the most points wins the match. At times I get upset because I did not major in science, technology, or engineering; however, being a school counselor has its benefits. I look at the academic, educational, and social aspect of the meetings. I have seen students sit with other students at lunch rather than by themselves. I have seen students who struggle in school realize their strengths academically and use it for the research project. And I have seen some students continue to participate in robotics up at the high school. The robotics challenge gives students an opportunity to be part of the school community using their talents and expertise. It gives them an excellent sense of pride and increases their confidence. In the process they also learn more about engineering, science, and technology. ■

FIRST LEGO League Core Values Inspiration, Team Work, and Gracious Professionalism Gracious professionalism means that “fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended. In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.” —



THE INTERN’S TALE: The Big Speech By KIMBERLY GHIORSE Master’s Student in School Counseling, Bridgewater State University


eart beating faster, palms getting warmer, and voice starting to sound a little off key. The big speech was about to begin. You would think that after nearly three semesters of giving oral presentations to classmates I would feel comfortable with giving that “big speech.” This one, how-


ever, was important for the students at my practicum site. It was the Informational Session on the PSATs. Using large-group and classroom guidance delivery systems is one of the ways the high school where I intern shares important information with students. This gives students the opportunity to ask ques-

tions and be involved in the presentation. Over the course of one week, school counselors go into every sophomore and junior history class to discuss the PSATs. Each class has one teacher and 15-30 students, and there are approximately 700800 sophomores and juniors. Anticipation that naturally builds can be distracting or overwhelming, especially the first time you’re about to do something new. However, I found that taking a few deep breaths helped to calm me down and helped to let the conversation flow. Some of the common questions the students asked were: “Should I take them?” “Should I take them again?” “How much are they?” “What day are they?” and “How long do they take?” We found that answering the questions early helped to lessen overall anxiety on the day of the PSATs. Students felt better prepared, and they had a clearer sense of what to expect. Discussing the PSATs with students during their sophomore and junior years also helped to build upon existing efforts related to postsecondary planning. My first experience facilitating a large group guidance presentation to sophomores and juniors helped me recognize the value of practicing this specific delivery approach during my professional training. I am glad my site supervisor invited me to take such a central role, and I am grateful for the help given to guide me through this experience. My supervisor will tell you I eagerly said yes, but as it came time to speak in front of all those students, I was nervous! My suggestion to my fellow graduate students: If you are given an opportunity to observe classes where you are interning, take the time to do this. Even better, if you are given the opportunity to speak to students in a large group setting, seize that opportunity. It is okay to be nervous, and the learning experience will be worth it. ■ COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK

NEWS FROM ACT Information for Students Beware of college financial aid myths College application season is in full swing. As you apply to colleges and see how much they cost, don’t let fears overshadow an otherwise exciting time in your life. The key is to avoid the financial myths surrounding the price of a higher education.

financial aid is based on both the student’s and parents’ income and assets — whether or not the parents plan to help financially. Most schools require students to fill out complete family financial information on the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, in order to qualify for need-based aid. The form, available online at, asks for information similar to what’s filed for income taxes. After submitting the FAFSA, you receive a report that shows the expected family contribution to pay

toward your education. Myth #5: You can wait until you get accepted to a college before worrying about financial aid. While most colleges have their own sources of financial aid, there are several independent programs that award scholarship funds on a first-come firstserved basis. It’s not a lot of fun filling out the applications, but it’s safe to say you’ll be glad you did if you earn some free financial assistance. ■

Myth #1: Everyone pays the “sticker price” for college. Many students add the tuition price, textbook fees and the cost of living and say there is no way they can afford college. The truth is most college students require some form of financial aid. Don’t ignore college because of its “sticker price.” Colleges award financial aid on their own and you may receive a combination of grants, scholarships or work-study jobs to help reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Myth #2: You have to be very poor, very smart or very talented to qualify for financial aid. Financial aid comes in many forms — grants and scholarships, which you don’t have to repay, and loans, which you do have to repay. There is need-based aid for students of lower income families, and merit-based aid for students who excel in academics, athletics, music, community service and many other areas. Financial aid sources vary—the federal government, the college or university itself, even a parent’s employer — all may offer some form of financial assistance. Explore all the possibilities; you might be pleasantly surprised. Myth #3: You can get more scholarships by paying someone to search for you. Scholarship scams are everywhere. Beware of any group or individual who guarantees a scholarship if you pay a fee. There are many good and FREE scholarship sources on the Internet. We suggest you check out or for more information. Myth #4: If you pay for college, your parents’ salaries don’t matter. For a majority of students, need-based FEBRUARY 2012


ADVOCACY ACTION By SHANNON N. DORAN MASCA Advocacy/Government Relations Committee Chair


his month’s column is based upon a conversation with Representative Alice Peisch, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Education (JCE), in which she indicated that, due to the present economy, the legislature will not be creating laws that require funding. The primary focus of our advocacy efforts this month is House Bill 1945, which does not require funding. The bill has a lot of credibility and visibility because its sponsor is Representative Alice Peisch, Co-Chair of the JCE. Furthermore, during the last legislative session, this bill (under a different bill number) was accepted by the House of Representatives. Because there was not enough time left in the session for the Senate to review and vote on the bill, it had to be resubmitted in 2011. House Bill 1945 is “An Act to assure college and career readiness through sixyear career plans for all Massachusetts public school students.” The results of this pilot project will add to the legitimacy of our role and serve to further define it. It will also provide leverage for getting relevant bills passed into law (and funded) in the future. For more details, read “Legislation in Depth” or go to the “Advocacy Works” section of the MASCA website. MASCA is fortunate that Representative Peisch understands the MA Model and the ASCA National Model of school counseling. Many legislators who will be voting on this bill, however, do not have this perspective. This is where MASCA members play an important part in the legislative process. Legislators care most about the opinions of their constituents. They will also regard the opinions of those working in their district schools. Please take a moment to call or write your senators and representatives; encourage them to support House Bill 1945. Whenever possible, put the emphasis on how this pilot project will benefit students and schools. Although the proposed pilot project is intended to inform



legislators on the role of school counselors as it relates to college and career readiness, legislators — like school counselors — are most concerned about the well-being and success of students in their schools. Also consider engaging others in dialogue about this legislation and the advocacy process and share the results of your efforts with the Advocacy Committee. Doing so will inform our next steps.

Volunteers needed

Advocacy Resources For information about your legislator, go to To download a step-by-step guide on how to call or write legislators, go to the “Advocacy Works” section of the MASCA website. This section is open to all, so please share this valuable resource. To read testimony presented in support of House Bill 1945 (and House Bill 1941) by V. Scott Solberg, Associate Dean for Research at Boston University and by Amy Cembor, President of New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC) and Associate Director of Admission at Wheaton College, go to the “Advocacy Works” page of the MASCA website.

The Advocacy Committee is aware of many exciting opportunities to support Massachusetts students and the school counseling profession. However, we need many more hearts, minds, and hands. To see how you can contribute — and benefit — from being involved, contact me at All MASCA members are welcome. Join the Advocacy Committee to • Work with professionals and leaders from across the state, • Support students in your schools and statewide at the same time, • Share your enthusiasm about the school counseling profession, • Be up-to-date on the most current issues and trends in education, • Fill out your resume with new professional experiences, • Engage your growing edge, • Contribute by sharing your unique experience, • Address the issues in education and school counseling that you care most about, and • Be involved in education reform and systemic change. ■

Keep informed about proposed legislation. Go to, “Advocacy Works”



Fisher College hosts BCSCA Shown at the Berkshire County School Counselors Association fall meeting are (from left): Robert Melaragni, Dean of Admissions; Amanda Matarese, Associate Director of Admissions; and Peter Andersen, BCSCA Vice President.

PEOPLE, PLACES, AND PROGRAMS NEIT adds programs NEIT is offering new Associate Degree programs in Health Information Management Technology, Respiratory Care Technology, and Veterinary Technology. Also added is a Bachelor’s Degree program in Cyber Security. To have your students visit the campus, contact the school. NEIT will reimburse your high school the cost of a bus, and a pizza lunch will be provided. Career Education Days will be held on Friday, March 2 for Communication / Engineering and on Friday, April 23 for Allied Health. Tech Nites for students and their families are scheduled for February 7, April 3, and June 5. For more information, contact Erin Flynn: Tel. 800-736-7744 x3462; eflynn Josephs receives promotion In September of this year, Judith Josephs, Ed.D., J.D., was promoted to Visiting Professor in the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education (DGCE) at Salem State University. Josephs retired from Greater Lynn Technical School after 38 years of service. MASCA joins Facebook: A Note from Jennifer Lisk, MASCA President-Elect

M ASCA has become even more connected with its own Facebook page. We know how limited your time can be, and MASCA hopes that this new feature will be another way to keep you informed about what is going on in the world of school counseling in Massachusetts and beyond. Keep your eye out for updates on current issues and events. To get connected, search for MASCA and “like us.” ■

Join us on Twitter Donna Brown Sally Ann Connolly





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



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


National School Counseling Week February 6-12, 2012 For information, go to ASCA’s website,

Counselor's Notebook, February 2012  

The February 2012 issue of the Counselor's Notebook, the official periodical of the Massachusetts School Counselors Association.

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