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  • 2016 PSSCA Conference

    Embassy Suites and Convention Center in Myrtle Beach from January 21-23!

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  • Advocate of the Year!

    Vote for Advocate of the Year! The deadline for completing all School Counselor Advocate of the Year nomination information is December 4, 2015. 

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  • Counselor of the Year!

    The time is now to submit your School Counselor of the Year nominations! The deadline is November 13th. 

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  • We Want You!

    We are looking for school counselors with an interest in serving on PSSCA committees and serving on the PSSCA board.

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News & Information

  • schoolcounselorscan

    The Student to Counselor Ratio: Does It Really Matter?

    Public schools today face a lot of challenges including meeting the needs of students with learning disabilities, managing disruptive students in the classroom, dealing with bullying and reaching under achieving students. Counselors deal with on demand cases which means you may have to drop your small group lesson or classroom guidance and deal with the high priority incidents. Will you have to do that if there was one than one counselor in the schools? One area that is impacted by the things counselors take on is students’ mental health. We’ve seen a lot of tragedies that have occurred in the schools over the last few years. If there were more counselors in the schools, we could be more proactive about taking care of our students and keeping them safe. There is a growing concern and acknowledgement of a need for more counselors in the school. The larger the counselor's student load, the less individual attention students receive; the smaller the student load, the more individual attention is allowed for. So let’s meet the needs of all students and the school community and let’s put more counselors inthe schools. Does it matter to you? TeShaye Shingler-Artiss, M.Ed.School CounselorBradley Elementary School ...

  • wellness-and-balance

    Wellness & Self Care

    So you’ve returned from the conference with an arsenal of skills and techniques. You enjoyed the sand, beach, and connecting with colleagues. You were able to let your hair down and enjoy some adult fun with others who understand what it is to be a professional school counselor. Now you are back to reality! Now you are back to your grind!  What are your plans for wellness and self-care?  For many of us as professional school counselors, we spend a considerable portion of our day assisting and encouraging others to develop healthy routines and coping skills but what about us?  Professional school counselors wear many hats professionally and personally. For many of us; we are parents, grandparents, spouses, significant others, students, confidantes.  These various roles do not leave much time for us. How do you as a professional school counselor take care of yourself?  What are the simple pleasures in life that help you de-stress and unwind?  Is it a hobby, an outing, physical exercise, yoga, mediation, or religious activities? It is imperative that we as professional school counselors practice wellness in order to maintain our mental and physical health. Abram Maslow identifies wellness and self care as fundamental to optimal functioning. As test season and the end of the school year approaches, be sure to include self care as an important part of your daily routine. Ideas for Self Care: Singing Bowls Reading/Book Club Aerobics/Exercise Hobbies Gardening Pampering Massages Spirituality Positive Affirmations Daily Devotionals/Motivations Power Naps Mindfulness With something to think about, make it a great day or not- the choice is yours. Stacy Wright, Elementary VP for Palmetto State School Counseling Association ...

  • anxiety

    Dealing With Anxiety

    During the course of a school year, many students experience stress and anxiety.  Stressors may include grades, college applications, standardized tests, and peer pressure.  Anxiety can affect a student’s school work and state of mind. When students become overwhelmed with such feelings, they may begin to feel alone or isolated with their emotions which can lead to negative reactions in order to relieve the stress, such as drugs or alcohol.  It is always best for the student to employ sound positive strategies in order to deal with this problem.  Music therapy, writing, and counseling are a few effective strategies that students can use to manage anxiety.  One popular and effective way to relieve anxiety is to listen to music.  Music is very relaxing and therapeutic, which helps to relax the mind and ease tension.  In most cases, calm instrumental music is recommended because it provides a relaxing atmosphere.  While listening to a selection, the student is advised to think about a favorite place or event that he/she enjoys. Writing is another method that helps students to release their feelings in a constructive manner.  Students do not have to focus their writings on thoughts that trouble them; instead they may choose to write about pleasant thoughts or experiences.  Writing is excellent for reducing anxiety because it serves as a release of internal feelings.  The writings can be a poem, short paragraph, or a journal.  One of the most effective ways of reducing anxiety is to talk out and express one's feelings through counseling. Talking to a parent, close friend, teacher, or school counselor helps the student to vocalize his/her feelings and release anxiety.  Talking to someone also helps the student to prioritize and reassess situations that he/she is facing.  Anxiety affects our students academically and socially; however, with appropriate strategies such as music, writing, and counseling, students can relieve their anxiety and learn how to positively manage their feelings.  Eric R. Hawkins, M.Ed. School Counselor Spring Valley High School ...

  • kids of all ages banner

    Collecting School-Wide Behavior Data

    As Professional School Counselors we are always seeking ways to improve or craft and reach more students and utilize data to prove it.  For me, utilizing a school-wide Universal Behavior Screener helped me do this.  As educators, we also know that academic success and behavioral success go hand in hand.  If you are successful academically, chances are you are behaving in expected ways.  Universal Behavior Screeners can help educators (Counselors, Teachers, Admin) understand what behavioral supports a student may need to be successful.  In conjunction with discipline referrals, grades, and attendance the Universal Behavior Screener can help counselors create groups for students that are specific to their needs. There are all kinds of behavior screeners out there that measure the seriousness of problem behaviors; however, for my purposes as a Professional School Counselor, I chose to use the Student Risk Screening Scale (for externalizing behaviors) and the Student Internalizing Behavior Scale (SRSS/SIBS).  The SRSS/SIBS indicate students that may be at risk for problem behavior on a tiered scale from low-risk to high-risk.  It is one that can be done school-wide by teachers in 2o minutes and the results can be determined almost immediately (if done electronically).  These results can serve as a basis for developing social skills groups for students, and to progress monitor growth.  One other benefit to using the SRSS/SIBS was that it is free to use.  So in a time where budgets are very tight, this helped me get traction in my building to administer it. So after my staff had completed the SRSS/SIBS I was able to sit down with grade level teams to collaborate around the data to develop groups.  This was highly effective!  The data provided a place to start the conversation about groups of kids and who needed intervention first.  Sometimes the data confirmed what we knew about a student’s needs, however, other times it showed a different need in the overall dynamics within an entire grade level.  So instead of me putting out little fires here and there, the data showed a need to tighten up some universal behavior expectations as a grade level.  This allowed the teachers and me to develop a plan where they would reinforce school-wide and classroom behavior expectations, and I would provide some specific classroom guidance lessons.  Then after the behavior expectations had been re-taught and guidance lessons had been done, we could review the behavior data and see who responded to the grade-level intervention and who still needed support.  It seemed like, all of a sudden, I went from putting out fires to systematically intervening with students, and that was amazing!  Using a simple Universal Behavior Screener allowed me to widen the scope of students I could serve and do it effectively.  If you would like to know more about the SRSS/SIBS I am more than happy to share it and how it works!  Feel free to contact me at Erin Matheson has been a School Counselor for 10 years, working with students from Elementary to High School in Washington State and is new to South Carolina.  Erin has been very active in implementing PBIS in her previous school and district, and working with colleagues on implementing Tier II and III interventions that align with both the ASCA National Model and PBIS.   ...

  • award

    School Counselor Advocate of the Year Award

    Beginning this year, PSSCA will award a School Counselor Advocate of the Year Award. The nominator must be a member of PSSCA.   Nominees may be district or building level administrators, school board members, legislators, or supervisors of school counseling services who have made significant contributions to the implementation and improvement of school counseling programs.  The purpose of the Advocate of the Year Award is to recognize persons who have demonstrated their beliefs in and support of school counseling programs that have had an impact on counselors and their students at the local, state, or national level.   PSSCA members can nominate a deserving advocate by completing the  information HERE. The deadline for completing all School Counselor Advocate of the Year nomination information is December 12, 2014.  You can find the Nomination Packet HERE. Jennifer H. Adams, M.Ed., Ed.S., NBCT School Counselor President,  Palmetto State School Counselor Association Rocky Creek Elementary School   ...

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    PSSCA School Counselor of the Year Awards

    The Palmetto State School Counselor Association is the only charted state division of the American School Counselor Association. Beginning this year, the award committee will go to an online nomination and application process as we recognize the best professionals in our field including: an outstanding elementary counselor, a middle school counselor, and high school counselor. We acknowledge each counselor for the quality of service he/she provides students, families, schools, districts and other stakeholders in which he/she works. By nominating a school counselor in your district, you are giving a well-deserved tribute to a colleague. Additionally, winners of the Palmetto State School Counselor of the Year Award will be nominated for the national American School Counselor Association (ASCA) School Counselor of the Year Award. PSSCA guidelines for nominating a school counselor are as follows: *The nominee must be a school counselor who is currently a member of the Palmetto State School Counselor Association. *Nominee must be currently employed as a full-time school counselor, in addition to practicing for at least five years in the field of school counseling. *Nominee must hold at least a Master’s Degree in school counseling. *Members of the PSSCA Awards Committee are ineligible for nomination. *Counselors are not eligible if they received the award within the last three years. An administrator, school counselor, counselor-educator or colleague can nominate by going to the PSCCA Awards Website. Deadline for Nominations is October 24th. Nominees will be notified by PSSCA Awards Committee of their nomination and will be sent a link to begin the online application process.   ...

  • PS15header

    Register Now! 2015 Palmetto State School Counselor Association Conference

    We are very excited about our 2015 Palmetto State School Counselor Association Conference: Find Your Oasis...Reflect, Refresh, Recharge.  We invite you to join us as at the The Embassy Suites in Myrtle Beach from January 22-24. We are also excited about our new partnership with the National Center for Youth Issues. This organization will be handling all of our conference planning and management services. The conference webpage is now ready and includes links for conference registration, hotel reservations, call for presenters, and call for exhibitors. Don't delay. Register for the conference NOW! Did I mention that our luncheon keynote speaker for the PSSCA annual conference is Julia Cook? Julia Cook is a former teacher, school counselor, speaker and one of the nation's foremost authors of guidance storybooks for children. Julia has published over fifty successful storybooks, earning numerous national awards and recognition. In Julia's presentation, "Unlearning Helplessness – Motivating the Underachiever," she shares how underachieving occurs when students have a significant gap between their abilities, and what they achieve in school. In this interactive session, she will discuss the four types of underachievers, explore the characteristics and causes of underachieving, and present effective solutions that can reverse this problem. We also have three dynamic pre-conference presenters lined up and we know that your presentation proposals are going to be outstanding. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, the deadline is October 15. We expect this to be our best conference yet and we hope to see YOU there! Jennifer H. Adams. & Marci Newman PSSCA President PSSCA 2015 Conference Committee Chair ...

  • balance

    Why Balance?

    Here it is – a new school year filled with new faces, new opportunities, new tasks, and new obligations. As educators, it is easy for one to become overwhelmed with the requirements of work and home life. Planning and commitment are essential to create balance among these requirements. There are several things to take in to account as you are planning. Remember your priorities. Your priorities may or may not change from year to year. Organizing your schedule to create balance among your priorities is essential. Doing so would allow you to focus on the tasks that are to be completed. Start with the most difficult or demanding task first. Once completed, you will have more time to attend to the other items on your list. Create a calendar or schedule and adhere to it. Today calendars are available in many forms. There are calendars on our desks, phones, tablets, or almost any other electronic device. As you create your calendar, be sure to carve out time to unwind. Physical fitness is essential to a balanced life. Think of reserving a few minutes out of your evening for a brisk afternoon or evening walk or run. In order to be the best in our field we must prepare. Our administration, teachers, students, parents, and staff members rely on our talent to assist in every way. Counselors are the heartbeat in the schools. If we are not prepared to handle and mold our students toward success where will they go? Who would they have? What would happen? It is our duty to be organized, committed, healthy and prepared. After all, how can we teach students about balancing their lives if we are not living examples? Falecia Dickson, M.Ed. School Counselor Conder Elementary ...

  • donors-choose-how-crowdfunding-changes-classrooms-video--3a4b23f933

    The Data Driven School Counselor

    The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) is, and has been, pushing for school counselors to use data when considering counseling services, goals, and objectives. This includes both quantitative and qualitative data. Data helps school counselors direct their efforts in the right direction. In addition, data helps paint a portrait of what services are needed in the schools. Teachers are being held accountable for student achievement, and guess what? So are school counselors. The best and most efficient way for school counselors to show their worth is through actual numbers (data). Data shows stakeholders what we are doing, and the impact that our services have on the students. For the school counselor who dreads numbers, qualitative data is the way to go. For example, observing a classroom is an effective way to collect qualitative data. In this case, just be sure to write your observations so that you can study and revisit the observations when needed. Getting information through a survey is, in my opinion, one of the most effective ways to receive data. Creating a survey in Google Docs is stress-free. Further, a Google Doc survey does the number crunching for you, giving you charts and percentages that you can use. Gathering school related data isn’t enough; we actually have to use it. I am guilty of creating a survey, getting the data, looking at it, and for a lack of better terms, putting it on the shelf to let it collect dust. Collecting data and not using it is futile. The data must be used to drive what we do, because counseling on a hunch is not effective. Will Pickens School Counselor Spring Valley High School PSSCA Midlands Regional Chair ...

  • welcome-back-to-school-teachers-3

    A Welcome from your President

    Greetings School Counselors of South Carolina! As President of the Palmetto State School Counselor Association, I want to welcome you back to a new school year. This is always a time of great excitement as we begin a new school year with our students, faculty, staff, and parents. We are very excited about our upcoming conference. We have partnered with the National Center for Youth Issues ( to manage our conference and it's shaping up to be the best one yet. The theme is Find Your Oasis: Reflect, Refresh, Recharge. It will again be held in Myrtle Beach, at the Embassy Suites. The dates for the conference are January 22-24, 2015. Please note the slight change in scheduling format. We listened to our membership, and many asked that we go to a Thursday-Saturday schedule, and that we did. Call for proposals will be sent out very soon, and everything will be electronically managed via a conference website. Please contact any of your PSSCA board members with questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding how we can best serve YOU, the school counselors of South Carolina.  Warmest Regards,  Jennifer H. Adams    PSSCA President                                                                                                                                                                           ...

  • ramp pic right

    Are you READY to RAMP?

    So, do you think you are ready to RAMP? In 2009, my colleagues and I at Lake Murray Elementary in Lexington District One decided that we were, and we became one of the first three schools, along with White Knoll Elementary and White Knoll High, in South Carolina, to receive this recognition. Since then, I've continued to serve as an ASCA RAMP reviewer, and received the RAMP designation in 2013 at my current school, Rocky Creek Elementary. I also present throughout the state and most recently in Orlando at the 2014 ASCA Conference.  So I thought I would share some words of wisdom I have learned over the years. Before you dive in, there are some questions you need to consider.   1) First have you developed and implemented a comprehensive school counseling program?  Some may ask you “Are you RAMPing this year?"    But what is critical to understand is that RAMP should not be viewed as a one-year, one-time,  process.  RAMP is a journey for you and your fellow counselors as you implement data driven practices that target and benefit all students. It may take time to get all stakeholders on board, including your own counseling team, and support is critical. If you only have some components of a comprehensive program in place, then you need to work with your team and school community to put these in place first.  Once you have full support and implementation of your program, then you can really begin to start the RAMP process.  If you aren't really sure where you are with your program, complete the ASCA National Model School Counseling Program Assessment to determine strengths and areas that need improvement within your existing program. Does your program successfully answer the question “How are students different because of what school counselors do?” If you can answer this you are ready to RAMP, but really, when you can answer this, then you have fully developed and implemented your program. 2) Have you educated yourself about the RAMP process?  There is a wealth of resources available to you through ASCA.  First and foremost you must own a copy of The ASCA National Model (3rd edition) Have you familiarized yourself with the RAMP rubric? Asca Model. When you decide you are ready to take the RAMP journey, this rubric should be your best friend, I can't say it enough....FOLLOW THE RUBRIC, FOLLOW THE RUBRIC, FOLLOW THE RUBRIC. This includes using the ASCA templates. Go ahead and begin using the templates for your action plans and reports to become familiar with the template formats. There are Articles here, and webinars, here, available to ASCA members, just to name a few of the many resources.  Use school Counselors at other RAMP schools as support. SC now has 22 schools that have received the RAMP designation since 2009. Your PSSCA is also here to support you through the process or to answer any questions as you begin your journey.  3) Do you understand your data?  One of the biggest mistakes I have seen as a RAMP reviewer is in counselors confusing the process, perception, and outcome data.   It is critical that you are able to accurately collect and analyze your data as well as share the results of your counseling activities and interventions.  Regardless of whether or not you are going through the RAMP process, a strong knowledge and accurate use of data serve as tools for advocacy and systemic change in our role as professional school counselors.  4) Are your program goals based on outcome data? Are they based on academic data such as grades, test scores, graduation rates, or enrollment in advanced course work, as well as in attendance or school safety? Are your goals based on a determined need at your school? Are your goals SMART- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound  5) Have you given yourself plenty of time?  This monthly timeline gives you a good overview of the time commitment needed prior to the October 15th deadline. Download the Monthly Checklist. If there are areas that you need to strengthen then take the time to focus on those areas first. The RAMP application process should be the culmination of the implementation of your comprehensive school counseling program.  Once this is in place, you will need AT LEAST one entire academic year to collect the data needed complete the RAMP application requirements. Sure, you could go ahead and go for it, but if you try to rush and complete a RAMP application without being fully prepared, you run the risk of doing so with a great deal of resistance from your own counseling team and other key staff within your building, and collaboration is key. You may succeed and receive the RAMP recognition, but if no one else in your school or community understands the value or significance of your school counseling program, and the impact that it has had on students, then have you really reached the level of achievement that you desire?  For more information about the many benefits of achieving RAMP status, visit their website. Remember, PSSCA is here to support you at every step of the way. Don't hesitate to contact a board member if you desire RAMP support.   Jennifer Adams PSSCA President School Counselor Rocky Creek Elementary, Lexington District One   ...

  • nbcc

    Renewing National Board Certification

    The following blog entry is about what I learned as I renewed my National Boards and passed the first time in 2013. 2013 was the first year that School Counselors could renew their National Board Certification. I was in the group who received National Board Certification the first year it was open. 8 years later, it was time to start the writing all over again. So here are the things I learned: Top 5 things to do before you even start: Don't procrastinate! Renewing is stressful enough. If you have not even reached the 8 year mark in your certification, you can still be planning ahead. Make sure you are continuing your education by taking workshops and then implementing what you learned. Document the workshops and classes you have taken. Really, I mean it! We are getting older now and memory of ALL those professional development workshops and classes are sparse. Have a file devoted to just this. Take pictures, save examples of how you have implemented what you have learned. Even a video here or there is good to have on hand when it is time to start the process. Share with colleagues! Offer to do workshops. Ask for examples of things created by others or examples of student learning due to a colleague using this information you have imparted. It can show how you have impacted learning among your colleagues and other professional groups. If you have won awards or received emails of gratitude, put them or at least a copy of them away in a special file! You will be thankful that you saved them and know exactly where they are. Where to begin?   Start with the some great resources:   National Board Renewal Candidates Page   This is where I started my journey...         Renewal at a Glance   It's brief! Profile of Professional GrowthThis is the book with all the directions!  Print it out, highlight key words.  Make sure to answer all the prompts.  Definitely read it all the way to the end.  There are suggestions on how to how to video and where to put your camera when recording.         National Board Standards for your area   This is obvious why you need it!     NBCrenewal Yahoo Group Discussion BoardI can't tell you how helpful this discussion board is!  You need to experience it for yourself.  Even if you don't think you have questions, some of the discussions are good food for thought.  Here you have fellow colleagues going through the process; as well as, those who have already been through the process and stayed on to help the new ones. In a nutshell, this is what you are required to submit: Component 1 is where you are explaining to the reader what 4 areas you have focused your professional growth in. You will write about 4 different professional growth areas or experiences.  When writing about professional growth experiences, you will write 3 pages of commentary and provide 2 pages of samples for each professional growth experience.     Component 2 is where you show how you have applied one of your PGEs in the classroom. Submit 4 pages of commentary. Submit a 10 minute video that has been created no earlier than September 1 of your eighth year. In Component 3, you will pick a second PGE to highlight. Write 4 pages of commentary. For evidence you may submit a 6 minute video OR 8 pages of sample learner work.   This component does not necessarily have to be with a class. It can highlight your work with colleagues, parents, etc. as long as you can show an impact on student learning indirectly. The video in this component could have been recorded at any time since you achieved certification.       The Reflection is your time to discuss how you have continued your professional growth, the patterns that have emerged and your plans for the future.  It can only be 3 pages.     Here's a little rubric that I used, mainly because I can be OCD at times.  This is not required, but it helped me see that I was meeting all the requirements.         Tracking the Requirements Rubric                       Lights, Camera, Action: Take Two!       I hope this blog entry helped clarify the requirements of National Board Renewal.  For more in depth information explaining the prompts, editing, and electronic distribution, you are welcome to view a power point - Lights, Camera, Action: Take Two! that I created for a workshop I presented in January of this year.   Feel free to ask questions, I will do my best to answer them.  I am also available to do workshops for large groups.      Michelle Privette National Board Renewed 2013   ...

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