Connecticut School Counselor Association

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Chairman's Blog

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  • 20 Jan 2020 10:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by: Eileen Melody, CSCA Chairman

    January 2020


    I love exercise; it’s the time I set aside every day to take care of my entire self - mental and physical.  One of my choice exercises is yoga, every and any kind of yoga. Since assuming the role of Chairman in July 2019, I have balanced many commitments, and needed to prioritize the way I spend my time.  It’s been a challenge, one which has stretched me and tested me to practice the ideas I preach to my students, namely mental and physical health care.


    Yoga has helped me do this.  There are many elements of yoga - breathing, meditation, vinyasas, and balance.  I love all these elements, however, practicing balance has been an interest since I became Chairman.  My balance has improved because of my daily attention to it. In my yoga classes, we practice balance by shifting our bodies into poses which intentionally challenge stability, by placing ourselves in unstable environments.  


    I challenge you to stand up now (as I challenged our Governing Board at our most recent meeting) and shift your weight into your right foot, lifting your left foot.  You are now in an unstable environment. Slowly lift your left leg behind you, gradually lean more weight forward. If you are feeling a bit shaky, if your right leg is buckling, or you simply have fallen over, forcing your left leg to save you, you have experienced a typical balance exercise challenge.  


    Try a second time, using the left leg as your lead.  However, before you jump into this, focus on these two cues:  1) mentally and physically focus on your core, your abdominals by drawing them up toward your spine, and 2)  let your eyes gaze 3-4 feet in front of you, allowing your body to gain the information about its position in space.  


    Both the core muscles and eyes help us stay balanced, even, and especially in unstable environments.  Metaphorically, I have called upon my core values as a leader, compassion, empowerment and inclusion, particularly during times when I have felt off balance due to an unexpected situation or a feeling of lack of support.  I believe in compassion, understanding that others face struggles. I believe in empowerment so I will work alongside you to hear your ideas and willingly accept new ways of accomplishing the same old tasks. I believe in including others who have not had a voice; I seek to hear that voice so that I can learn from you.


    I have worked to keep a slight forward gaze as the CSCA chairman this year.  I shift from being completely in the present as I return emails, phone calls and write articles to envisioning the next step such as who should I contact to spread the newest CSCA initiatives or I imagine ways I might ignite a spark of action in a Board member.


    I practice self-care so that I am able to care for others.  I work on balance so that I can be a source of stability for those that I lead.  As much I work on this, you will likely encounter me on a day when I have stumbled, lost my balance.  Every day is a new day to take on the challenge of balance and stability. I’m fortunate that I have colleagues who support me in my endeavors.


    Wishing you a New Year of balance in which you key into your core values and set a focus within your reach.




  • 14 Dec 2019 7:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by:  Eileen Melody, CSCA Chairman

    This is the time of the year that many school counselors focus on giving; we give to express our appreciation for a teacher’s collaboration or for a colleague’s willingness to try another promising intervention.   We spend time shopping online or in line, searching for a token of gratitude which captures our genuine feelings, often left disappointed for not finding that perfect expression. What makes it so difficult to find the right gift?  


    I have thought about this often, particularly as I personally struggle.  How do I give the gift of appreciation to so many school counselors in Connecticut, those on the CSCA Board and those who work tirelessly to elevate and honor the identity of the school counselor?  I realize this goal is ambitious. I have come up with a way to accomplish my goal during this season of giving.   


    My gift is this metaphor.  If you have rowed (crew) or know someone who has (fortunately I do - my son) you will understand this more easily than others who hopefully will be curious and find a person in your community to help you.  In the eight person shell (boat), the rowers are numbered from 1 (closest to the bow/front) to 8 (closest to the stern/back). These rowers have different strengths which help the collective boat achieve its goal of moving towards the finish line as they are in sync with one another.  When rowers are placed in their boat seats according to their strengths, the boat glides on the water in a smooth, elegant and continuous motion. The coxswain, sitting at the tip of the stern (for the 8 person boat), tends to be the smallest person in the boat, calling to the rowers to stroke in unison. The coxswain sees the waters ahead while the rowers sit facing the coxswain, trusting the commands and directions will bring them to their goal.  The coxswain is an important role, but no more important than any other in the boat.


    This year as Chairman I am the coxswain who sees the challenges that we, counselors, will encounter, and I strive to observe and absorb information from you, the rowers.  At times, I have “called” the strokes so to aid you, the rowers, in your desire to stay in sync with the CSCA vision to accomplish our team goals. I have worked to place school counselors in our CSCA shell, recognizing their strengths to lead and move us forward.   


    My suggestion to all is to remember this metaphor.  We are in this boat of working on behalf of Connecticut’s students.  It’s hard work, particularly because, like the rowers, we can’t always see where we are going.  Sometimes we feel alone in our boat as the only school counselor in our building. Sometimes we feel that we are in the wrong position in our boat (i.e. the  freshman counselor who seeks another role, perhaps Director). We must honor each one’s boat position, supporting each person’s strengths while recognizing that every rower, every one of us, brings collective significance.  


    I encourage you to embrace the CSCA as your boat; let the CSCA support you in your struggles and celebrate the value that you add to the school counseling community.  Stay connected and in unison with professionals who share your common purpose and passion; enjoy your boat ride!



  • 09 Nov 2019 2:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by:  Eileen Melody, CSCA Chairman

    At our last Governing Board meeting on November 7th,  members discussed the resistance that we experience in our role as school counselors and as members of the Governing Board.  As the CSCA’s leaders we work diligently to live the CSCA vision and meet the goals of our association (see Chairman’s October Blog) of leading, advocating, providing quality professional learning, and creating an inclusive and diverse professional identity and community.    

    We agreed that the resistance we experience comes from multiple sources:  some from school administrators and district leaders who may see the role of a school counselor differently than the proactive, outcome-focused school counselor described in ASCA’s National Model, Fourth Edition.  The CSCA promotes and supports this professional school counselor. Resistance comes from within the profession as well, from fellow school counselors who seek to deliver a school counseling program which has not adapted to the changes in the educational landscape, the changes in our schools, and the changes in our students.  Board members shared that this resistance manifests in various ways from vocal push back to dreaded silence. Both forms of resistance require skillful School Counseling Leaders and School Counselors to manage and overcome.

    We discussed the skills that we have as Board Members and School Counselors to overcome the resistance and to remain focused upon our vision.  First of all, as Governing Board Members and members of the CSCA, we have a network to access for support. We meet regularly as a Board; all CSCA members are invited to join our meetings.  It is during these meetings that we determine that Board actions are solidly rooted in the ASCA Student Standards and other accepted Student Standards, and in the ASCA Professional Standards and Competencies as well as ASCA’s Ethical Standards.  With the certainty that this reflective practice ensures, we affirm one another as Professional School Counselors.  

    There are other skills that School Counselor Leaders have honed that help us understand that resistance is an opportunity.  As School Counselor Leaders, we are visionaries, focused on our ultimate charge of advocating and supporting students in their well-being and student success.  This skill of seeing possibilities and being future oriented allows us to see resistance as a checkpoint, not an endpoint. In addition, we do not succumb to resistance, because as School Counselor Leaders, we are committed to staying current with research and using data so that all our decisions and actions are based upon inquiry and findings.  

    Perhaps our strongest skills as School Counselors Leaders are our willingness to listen, reflect on input, and demonstrate collaboration.  We innovate, working within existing structures to transform these spaces of resistance into places of growth. We understand the value of coming together with our vision and our expressions of many perspectives, with one voice (One Vision, One Voice  - ASCA National Conference, Seattle, 2020 theme).

    As Chairman, I write this piece, mindful that November is Gratitude Month.  I was grateful for the opportunity to work through the tough topic of resistance with the Governing Board on November 7th.   The Governing Board willingly listened to one another and reflected on the weighty challenges that are ahead of the CSCA as Connecticut’s leadership association for school counseling.  I am grateful to each Governing Board member for their service this year. 

    Please reach out to me, Eileen Melody, at cscachairman@gmail.com  to share your ideas and feedback about the CSCA’s work in recognizing resistance as an opportunity.

  • 22 Oct 2019 8:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by:  Eileen Melody, CSCA Chairman

    On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am writing to share that the CSCA Governing Board is working diligently to live the CSCA vision and meet the goals of our association.  The CSCA Vision is: “The Connecticut School Counselor Association (CSCA) is the organization in the state that promotes leadership and creates a professional school counseling identity.  This is achieved by connecting, supporting, and empowering school counselors through professional learning and advocacy.”  


    Our goals are purposefully worded as actions.  I’d like to update you with a sampling of the ways the Governing Boards is working  towards these goals.


    Goal 1:  The CSCA advocates for the role of school counselors with all stakeholders. 

    • The Government Relations and Advocacy Committee (GRAC) recently emailed a survey to members asking for feedback to help determine the CSCA’s policy priorities for the upcoming legislative session.  The feedback received will drive the GRAC’s approach and “asks” of the legislature.


    Goal 2:  The CSCA promotes equitable access to a comprehensive school counseling program to ensure student success.  

    • The CSCA recently held a Round Table discussion to address the issue of equity in the school counseling workforce.  Research supports the concept that a diverse school counseling workforce provides role modeling to the nearly 50% of the Connecticut student body which is of color.  One idea from this Round Table is that the CSCA should create as outreach a Community for School Counselors of Color.


    Goal 3:  The CSCA provides professional learning opportunities aligned with state and national standards. 

    • The CSCA leadership is working alongside the State Department of Education in developing new standards and student competencies which will drive the work of school counseling in Connecticut.  The new framework is in its final drafting phase and will be vetted in early November.


    Goal 4:  The CSCA works to build a diverse, active board that is representative of School Counselors inclusive of all levels and settings. 

    • The CSCA has reached out to members to become active on the Governing Board and Committees.  Members have responded by nominating themselves or others for the elections held in May and responded to the call again this fall.  As a result, the CSCA has added more males and people of color to the Board and Committees.  

    Goal 5:  The CSCA serves its membership by building, empowering and connecting a professional community.

    • This fall the CSCA Vice-presidents, Vice-president elects, level liaisons have been hosting numerous social gatherings, networking opportunities and quality professional learning throughout the state for members to create a supportive, enlightening professional community.  


    Goal 6:  The CSCA maintains an organizational structure and administrative procedures that facilitate the achievement of goals. 

    • The CSCA Governing Board and Board of Directors meets bimonthly guided by an established agenda in which all Governing Board members and Board of Directors are encouraged to contribute.  Members provide updates on activities in the various counties and levels. The CSCA Committees meet under the direction of Committee Chairmen both in person and by ZOOM to determine yearly goals and to discuss progress towards these goals.


    As Chairman, I am grateful for the continuous efforts of the Governing Board and Board of Directors to achieve the CSCA’s goals.  Please reach out to me at cscachairman@gmail.com

    to share your ideas and feedback about the CSCA’s work towards these goals and vision.

    Written by: Eileen Melody, CSCA Chairman


  • 29 Sep 2019 10:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On September 7th, the CSCA Governing Board and School Counseling Graduate students from the University of St. Joseph gathered for the CSCA’s Annual Leadership Development Institute at the University of St. Joseph. We welcomed our returning and newly elected Governing Board members.  

     

    Our LDI focused upon making the CSCA’s vision grow and flourish. The Board of Directors reviewed the Governing Board members’ roles and responsibilities and ways we serve our members.  We also spent time reflecting on the concept of leadership within the CSCA organization. Vina Torossian, of KarakaLead, lead us in this thought exercise.

     

    Vina helped us frame our year ahead as the CSCA’s leaders, knowing that we will ride the continuum of resistance and momentum.  Each of us will use our "signature strengths" to achieve our shared vision for the CSCA, a living, vibrant organization. She encouraged us to find our "KARAKA" moments throughout the year through daily practices including journaling, setting intentions and affirmations in four pillars -- LEAD, LOVE, LIFE and HEALTH.  Vina encouraged us to cherish our natural sense of wonder and creativity in order to realize our collective significance.  

     

    Please learn more about the message of “collective significance” by clicking the link to Vina’s TEDx “Collective Significance.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIgsGsLS5mY

     

    On behalf of the Board of Directors, many thanks to the Governing Board and the School Counseling Graduate Students from the University of St. Joseph. Their positive energy, genuine curiosity, high level of professionalism, and efforts created a meaningful LDI experience which we all can reflect upon as the year unfolds.

    ~Written by: Eileen Melody, Chairman


  • 11 Jan 2019 8:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    January is always thought of as a fresh start for so many people. People are making resolutions, joining the gym again, committing to eating healthier and hoping that this year will be their best year yet. I'm not a resolution girl myself. I always hope to have a happy and healthy year. January for me now means a new legislative session begins in Hartford. It means advocating like crazy for school counseling and getting the good word out there about the immense benefits of having comprehensive school counseling programs in our schools. 

    Last year we were able to pass SB-186 adding school counselor language to all of the state statues, reflecting our job title and our training. We were unsuccessful in getting a hearing on our other raised bill that the State Dept of Education make the recommendation that all schools have comprehensive school counseling programs. So, we are back at it again this year with the help of our lobbyists, Ken Przybysz and Brian Sullivan, working to get legislators to understand why it is so important that our schools have comprehensive programs from grades K-12. 

    Here are some bullet points that I use when talking with my legislators:

    • Difference between School Counselor and Guidance Counselor - Unless we've discussed this before, I would start by explaining how the role has expanded over the years and that because of that, the name of the role has changed.  I like to emphasis our role in social emotional learning and supports in addition to the academic and career work that we do.
    • Access for all students - without comprehensive programs, that means that there are students in our state that do not have access to a school counselor, which means they also do not have access to preventative programming. 
    • Why we need comprehensive programs - first of all, emphasis that school counselors work with ALL students in the school, not just select populations. A main piece of our job is to provide various preventative programming through a school counseling curriculum. This hopefully will help to prevent social emotional problems before they start and help school counselors to identify early on if there are problems so interventions can be put in place. I also like to talk about school safety and how often as a society we only focus on how to put a bandaid on the problems we are facing. Having more school counselors and comprehensive programs could actually start helping to get to the root of the problem. 

    Talking to legislators may seem intimidating, but they are people like you or I. I have found the legislators I have talked with, happy to learn and understand what our role is. What do you do if you get that dreaded story of "my guidance counselor told me I couldn't..."? Well, it is not out of the ordinary to hear these stories from older adults. The best way to come at that question is to stress the change in the role and/or focus on "that is why we need to have comprehensive programming throughout the state, so we are all on the same page and there is more equity in the services that our students are receiving". Yes, I meant equity. As school counselors we work hard to give each student what they need to be successful and that means that it may not be the same for everyone. However, as a baseline having comprehensive programs that are similar in design and model is a good starting point to making sure our kids are getting what they need through our programs. 

    Please, please, please consider joining us for our Day on the Hill on March 13th. We are partnering with New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC), who are great supporters of school counselors, to go and talk to legislators about the work that we do. There will be a training for all that attend and we will be pairing up novices with "seasoned" people who have spoken to legislators before. The key piece is getting a variety of school counselors there to tell legislators your personal stories as a school counselor. 

    If you have any questions about the process or are looking for support in reaching out to your legislator, please do not hesitate to contact me - cscachairman@gmail.com. 

    Thanks for all you do for our kids!

    ~Virginia 

  • 15 Nov 2018 8:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PBS Newshour just came out with a video  the other day titled "Nearly 1 in 5 teens seriously considers suicide. Can schools offer relief?" You can find the video HERE. Suicide is a tragedy that has affected many of us as school counselors. Over the last few years, my district has suffered some losses and as a result we have been working on improving our suicide prevention protocols and procedures in order to better meet the needs of our students. 

    As the video states, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in our young people ages 10-18 according to the CDC. As school counselors we are on the front lines everyday. We are often the trusted adults that students will come to when they are struggling or someone they know is struggling. Educating our students from a young age about depression - what they signs are, what it is, and that it is treatable - is so important to preventing suicide. These conversations are tough to have and sometimes emotional. I have to admit that I often get teary eyed and emotional when I talk about this with my kids. Especially when I express how important each one of them are to me. But these are messages our kids need to hear. They need to know that there is always someone who will be in their corner. It may not be the first adult they go to, but if they keep looking, they will find that person. 

    This year there were 20 school districts who were awarded $20,000 grants for suicide prevention through the CT Suicide Advisory Board and United Way. These are two year grants, and are meant to support school districts in their suicide prevention efforts. My district was one of the districts who was fortunate enough to receive one of these grants. I wanted to share some of the steps we have been taking to help prevent suicide in our district. 

    Gizmo 's Awesome Guide to Mental Health program - this is an elementary school program that helps students to learn about mental health in a developmentally appropriate way while identifying trusted adults in their lives. It also helps them to identify and make a plan of healthy coping strategies. 

    http://www.gizmo4mentalhealth.org/


    Signs of Suicide Program (SOS) - this program is for middle school and high school students and provide scenarios that students can relate to. It is also great to use as a point to start discussing suicide, depression and mental health. Students learn the acronym ACT - acknowledge, care and tell, so that they know what to do if they recognize that someone is in need of help. 

    https://mentalhealthscreening.org/programs/sos-signs-of-suicide

    AFSP Student Walks - our students are working on putting together a student walk to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a great organization that sponors efforts to help prevent suicide and provides a multitude of resources for schools and famiies. 

    More Than Sad program - this program through AFSP is a great program for teachers and parents that helps them to understand depression. It has a great powerpoint with notes for the presenter but they are also willing to offer support in presenting the program as well. 

    www.afsp.org

    Restorative Practices - restorative practices allow staff and students to make greater connections with each other. Building a community of respect and understanding is a key prevention strategy. There are various programs out there that offer restorative practices training.

    Implementation of SEL Programs - our district uses Second Step from Elemetary to Middle School to help reach the social emotional needs of our students. In the middle school the curriculum is presented by our staff through our advisory program. There are many SEL programs out there from K-12 that provide sound, vetted curriculums. 

    Suicide Prevention Protocols & Procedures - putting together Prevention, Intervention and Postvention protocols is so important to have in your district. Does your district have a well thought out plan to help prevent suicide?

    We are also looking into other programs like Peace At Home Parenting, GoGuardian 

    There are a lot of great resources out there. If you have any great resources yourself, please feel free to comment on this post and share. Using a system of collaboration, can help each of us to save lives. 

    Other websites: 

    Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

    GoGuardian Beacon Suicide Prevention Program https://www.goguardian.com/beacon.html

    American Association for Suicidology https://www.suicidology.org/

    Brian's Healing Hearts http://brianshealinghearts.org/

    The Trevor Project www.thetrevorproject.org 


    Virginia DeLong

    Chairman of the Board of Directors

  • 04 Sep 2018 10:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Welcome back school counselors to the 2018-2019 school year! As per usual, most of us are back in full force, picking up right where we left off last year. For many of us, we used our summer to rejuvenate and replenish ourselves so that we could come back fresh and renewed. 

    Over the summer the Supreme Court ruled in the Janus case and unfortunately did not rule in favor of unions. So what is this Janus case and how does that affect us as school counselors? The Janus case was a case that was set before the Supreme Court to determine if it was legal for unions to require that non-members still pay an agency fee. They determined that employees working in places of employment were not required to pay agency fees if they didn't want to be a part of the union. 

    I'm on a few Facebook groups for school counselors and I've seen several posts where school counselors are reaching out to others to ask if they really need to be a part of their union. I want to address this because I personally feel it is an important topic and not one to gloss over. 

    My short answer is YES, you absolutely should still be a part of your union. Here's my longer answer why...

    1) Unions help protect employees' rights. Every year you work in your district you are bound by the contract that you sign. Administrators are also supposed to follow your contract, right? Right. But that doesn't always mean that they do. Even the best teachers sometimes come into contract issues. Surely as a non-union member you can file grievance paperwork if there is a contract violation and the union can direct you how to do that, but ultimately, as a non-member they don't have support you through the process. I have found that in many unions, when a grievance is filed, you can call on your union representation whenever you need them and they are there for you. They also will fight for you and your rights.

    2) Unions negotiation your contract. Your union is the one who is spending late nights with your board of education members negotiating your contract, piece by piece. This is no small task. Do you have a certain number of summer days in your contract? Do you have anything else in your contract that is specific to school counselors? If you do, you will still want your union negotiating to keep these pieces in your contract or you will want them to negotiate them for you. There are also plenty of provisions that apply to us as counselors too - working hours, salary, stipends, etc. Technically as a non-member your contract is negotiated for you regardless, however, how hard they might fight for something you want in your contract as a non-union member may differ. Also, if a union has to go to arbitration because they cannot come to an agreement, the money for arbitration partially comes out of union funds. If you're not helping to contribute that could mean a disaster for the union and ultimately you as an employee.

    3) Unions provide you with an attorney if you may find yourself in a situation where you need one! (ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT REASONS I BELIEVE YOU SHOULD BE A UNION MEMBER).  I know, I know. You're thinking "but I do what I'm told. I follow the rules. I don't do anything to get myself in trouble." It doesn't matter. You could be the most amazing counselor in the world. Every parent and student could adore you and the work that you do. You may even get along with all your fellow staff and your administrators think you're fantastic! While, we all hope that to be true, the reality is that you never know when you might have a problem. You may be accused by DCF of failing to report something (something that you would've never thought would be a reportable thing). You may have a student falsely accuse you of something... or a parent. You may have a new administrator who doesn't like you and tries to find things you are doing wrong, etc., etc. The reality is that we just never know when something could happen and we need representation. In our jobs as school counselors, I believe we are even more vulnerable then in some other professions. We need to protect ourselves as much as we can and when we just can't, it's nice to know we have someone in our corner. The CEA attorney's are FANTASTIC. I don't know about you, but I do not have a "rainy day" fund for an attorney and they're expensive. So knowing if I need one for a work related issue is really comforting. 

    4) State & National organizations are constantly fighting for us and our students at the state and national levels. The state union organizations are at the state capitol often fighting on behalf of teachers, whether it is for education money, school safety, our pensions, class sizes, etc. Many initiatives that come from the state to your local schools could at times be much worse if you didn't have the union fighting. Sometimes the union is able to knock down certain legislation that is not in the best interest of our children or teachers. 

    5) Unions are only as strong as their members. Unions work because of the number of people that come together to fight for their rights as workers. If the union ends up smaller in numbers, that hurts everyone. 

    6) Discounts! While this is NOT the reason most of us are members, it certainly is a perk that CEA and NEA have discount programs for teachers. You can find many of these perks on their website. 

    Lastly, the other piece I hear is "I'm a school counselor and they don't represent me!" or "they have no idea what I do and there are so few of us in the district that they don't care about me." Well, I really hope that it is not true that your fellow colleagues who are in the union don't care about you... that's a whole different topic, but certainly I get how people feel that they may not be represented, especially when it comes to contract negotiations. I know it is frustrating to have to educate people constantly about what we do as school counselors, but because of our ever evolving role it is VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE ARE EDUCATING OTHERS ABOUT OUR ROLE and this is NO EXCEPTION. Let your union leadership know what your job is and how important it is that they remember you during negotiations. Pay attention during negotiation time and see if there is anything that might affect you, or let them know that in our contract there is XYZ that pertain to school counselors and it is important not to touch it... or here is how we would like it to change and why. 

    The other thing I would say is to get a seat at the union table and then you won't be on the menu :) Join your union leadership either as an officer or a building rep. This makes sure that your voice is heard. I personally joined my union leadership about 6 years ago for this very reason. I work in a small district with only a handful of support staff. I wanted to make sure that our voice is heard. I also spoke to my negotiations team in our last negotiations and pushed for the school counselors in the district to get back our summer days and for all contract language to say "school counselor" instead of "guidance counselor". Guess what? We got both items in our contract! 

    So YES, I strongly encourage you to stay a member of the union. Remember, the union is only as strong as its members. If people decide to opt out, which is their choice, the union only weakens, which means that everything else weakens...your worker rights, your contract, your salary...

    I hope that you have a most successful year everyone!

    ~Virginia

  • 13 Jul 2018 2:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The CSCA Board of Directors has arrived in Los Angeles, California for ASCA;s annual Leadership Development Institute for state leaders throughout the world to come together to share ideas, learn about ASCA updates, and vote on important ASCA changes during delegate assembly. 

    Our first day was yesterday and was an exciting day. We started the day by hearing from keynote speaker Holly Duckworth who is the author of Ctrl, Alt, Believe: Reboot Your Association for Success. She gave an amazing keynote that really got us thinking as an association. She also gave us some ideas that we could bring back to our state to improve our school counseling association. 

    After our keynote speaker participated in breakout groups by positions. Several of our board members attended the board members breakout and I was able to participate in the President/Chairman breakout. In our breakouts we discussed our association's successes and challenges. These breakouts are so valuable to hear about what other states are doing and how those might translate to work that we can do in Connecticut. 

    After our breakouts we had a lovely dinner followed by another keynote speaker, Mark Scharenbroich, author of "Nice Bike: Making Meaningful Connections on the Road of Life". Mark was incredibly engaging, funny and inspiring. He left all of us feeling valued as school counselors and appreciated for the work that we do. He told us that we all need to leave with a "strut in our step" because we are so important. The CSCA board was so excited about Mark's keynote that we are hoping to see if he can be our keynote at next year's conference. So keep your fingers crossed. 

    After the keynote we had a chance to mingle with other state leaders and continue to share ideas as well as talk with ASCA staff about how they can help us as an association. The CSCA leaders then met to debrief and process the days events. We have a lot of great ideas and feel that we have an exciting direction ahead for CSCA.

    Today starts day two and we are excited for what lies ahead. Stay tuned for what we do today!

    ~Virginia

  • 27 May 2018 6:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As I was finishing up some last minute conference prep today, I realized that I had not written a blog post in quite some time. I'm not sure if anyone reads these, but I figured I should write one none-the-less!

    Memorial Day is a special day that we have reserved for those who died in combat. We appreciate and recognize the great service and sacrifice that the men and women in the military who've died in battle have given to our country. Memorial Day also reminds me that the end of the school year is quickly coming to a close. While this year is a little longer for some of us due to weather related events, the end of the year is still a crazy time of the year! In looking at my calendar it seems that there is something every single day from PPT's, Classroom lessons, transition activities, college signings, getting records together, end of the year trips and activities and of course graduation/promotion preparation. My end of the year anxiety is in full force and I have to remind myself daily that I need to take time for self-care! 

    I love the end of the year, but it also makes me a bit sad to see it end for some of our students. My eighth graders will be leaving the building and moving on to high school. High school seniors will be leaving to venture off on to their next journey - working, military and college. I'm reminded of all the work that was put into the year working with students to help them to achieve success and hoping that they took in all that I had to offer. It is a time for reflection of what went well, what I need to improve for next year and what new programs can I bring to my students that will benefit them greatly. 

    This year has been great for CSCA. We are excited to have had our bill SB 186: An Act Concerning School Counselors that now includes "school counselors/school counseling" in all state statute language so that school counselors can finally after all of these years be recognized by our proper title and for the work that we do not just preparing our students for the next phase of their life after high school but the academic, career and social emotional work that we do with our students each and every day. We know we have a ways to go and much work to do to get people across the state to fully comprehend and appreciate the amazing contribution that school counselors are doing in schools, but we know that we will get there eventually - with everyone's help! The board can not do this alone. We need the help of every school counselor across the state to help make this happen. 

    I'm very grateful to the amazing school counselors we have in CT. I appreciate the awesome CSCA board that I get to lead and am looking forward to another great year for CSCA. If you ever want to join us, please reach out; we'd love to have you. 

    Enjoy your very well deserved summer vacation. For those of you who have summer days to complete, make sure you take time for you and time to enjoy summer. Take care everyone.

    Sincerely,

    Virginia

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Contact Information:

Address: P.O. Box 4635, Wallingford, CT 06492 ATTN: Michelle Catucci, CSCA Executive Director 

Voicemail: 203-699-6320

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Email: execdirectorCSCA@gmail.com

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