November 8th Edition 

School Mental Health Issues

by Beth A. Herman, MSE, Education Consultant Project Coordinator Safe Schools Healthy Students, Coordinator of WI AWARE Youth Mental Health First Aid, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Rates of suicide among youth have increased over the last 15 year and as of 2015, it was the second leading cause of death among individuals ages 15-24. In Wisconsin up to 1 in 5 youth experience a mental health disorder in a given year (Perou et al., 2013), and roughly 60% of Wisconsin youth with a major depressive episode did not receive treatment in 2013 (SAMHSA).  These behavioral health needs paired with significant shortages of mental health providers in Wisconsin has resulted in serious challenges for youth and families to access timely and effective treatment. These dismal statistics demanded a response.

Sustaining Momentum for School Transformation

by Diana Laufenberg, Executive Director and Lead Teacher for Inquiry Schools

If you’ve been listening to any conversation about education over the past few years, you’ve heard the buzzwords – change, innovation, and reform. “They” tell you to be innovative, to shift/change your normal and rethink how you do everything. What is old is bad, what is new is good. The rate at which these messages hit your inbox, scroll through social media and populate the pages of publications is dizzying. I know because I’ve been messaging, posting, and writing about these ideas for the past 5 years  The entire time, I’ve had one immense concern - sustainability.

Through my work with Inquiry Schools, I observe many districts, schools and teachers having incredibly thoughtful and difficult conversations about moving in new directions. Once that is done, there is often a lag between the excitement of the idea and sustaining the momentum long enough for the change to take hold.

Read more.

DPI’s Draft Model Electronic Communications with Students Policy:  What Administrators Should Expect 

by Jerilyn Jacobs Weld Riley, S.C.

Smartphones and other electronic devices and forms of communication are now ubiquitous.  Given the ability to communicate with each other instantaneously, and further given students’ expectations to use these convenient and readily available forms of communications that they have grown up with, it seems inevitable that teachers and other school staff will have to accept – even if they do not embrace – these electronic forms of communication when engaging with students.  These electronic forms of communications can serve as powerful and positive tools to enhance communications between teachers and school members and students. They also create opportunities for abuse and other inappropriate conduct.

Perhaps in recognition of the seeming inevitability that electronic communications will occur between school staff and students, and certainly cognizant of the potentials for harm, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has drafted a model electronic communications with students policy designed to provide guidance to school administrators and staff. This model policy, which was unveiled to Wisconsin school law attorneys last month, attempts to strike a balance between allowing instructors and staff who want to use social media and other electronic means as teaching or communication tools and ensuring that appropriate boundaries are maintained. While the DPI policy has not been formally issued and is not yet made available on the DPI’s website, this article provides a preview of the policy’s provisions.

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WSCA Conference Scholarships 

We applaud you, and to support the important work you do we’re pleased to sponsor scholarships for 50 counselors new to the profession and ACP Coordinators/leaders to attend the 2018 WSCA Conference. Many thanks to Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates for the generous grant to WSCA to make this scholarship possible. 
Scholarship eligibility requirements:
  • Wisconsin high school counselors with less than five years of experience.
  • ACP Coordinators/Leaders
Each scholarship is worth up to $870 and covers:
  • $280  WSCA Member Registration fees for Preconference & Conference
  • $415  Room at conference hotel (Hilton Monona Terrace) & Parking
  • $75    Meals stipend ($25/day)
  • $100  Travel stipend (up to selection committee discretion)

Read more.