To anyone adding to this document, please add your session, highlight the title, select “Normal Text” at the top, then select “Subtitle”. Take notes below the title of the session.


School Counseling Services: A Response to Intervention

Copy of PowerPoint presentation here: 

Three levels of collaboration - counselor/program/student

Trying to keep up, but it appears to be a personal narrative and the text on the slide is too small to read it. These notes are not terribly helpful. :-)

Used “Student Success Highways” program to track student interventions and response to those interventions using categories of Education, Confidence, Connections, Stress, Well-Being, and Motivation. Seems similar to the ABC Stoplight document from transitions.

Promote Positive Changes In Students and School Climate with Appreciative Inquiry

Copy of PowerPoint: 

Approaches to students and staff need to be asset-based, rather than deficit based (from the presenter - don’t be a jerk)

  1. Positive psychotherapy approach
  1. Well-being therapy
  2. Most approaches to counseling take the what-is-wrong-with-your-thinking approach (deficit based).
  1. Did you KNOW that you are flunking FIVE classes???
  1. Motivational interviewing
  2. Appreciative Inquiry
  1. Showed this video: Introduction to AI 

Principles of Appreciative Inquiry:

  1. Ensure that we are looking at schools with an at-promise viewpoint - not “what is wrong” but “what could this BE?”
  2. Process:
  1. Dream: What Might Be? Imagine what it would be like if things were _____
  1. When we stop dreaming, we shut down - contribute to a negative culture, stop achieving, stagnation, etc.
  1. Question of Calling: What does the world need from us?
  2. Question of Energy: What possibilities generate the most excitement?
  3. Question of Support: What can we draw on from our positive core?
  1. Design: What should be? What should be our new way of engaging our work/students/school?
  1. Examination of our values
  1. Destiny: What will be? What do we need to do to align and work on to active our desired world?
  2. Discover: Best of what is? Focus on positive stories and what is going right during the process?

Ensure that essential questions asked during the design and destiny processes are powerful questions without “correct” answers.

Model: How do we use Appreciative Inquiry (AI) at a school with a dysfunctional culture?

  • Current Scenario
  • 50% new staff, including all new admin
  • Most veteran teachers replaced with novices
  • Novice teachers often kicking out students; this was frustrating to the veterans
  • Teachers all checking out and leaving at 3 pm on the dot
  • Students wandering the halls and rude & disrespectful to staff
  • Deficit-based problem-solving interventions (suspension, in/out, classroom observations looking for problems, classroom management tips (what is wrong with this teacher’s classroom management).
  • Dream:
  • What do you want our school to look like?
  • The only ones who came to the committee examining these questions were staff who weren’t as burned out and were also returning the following year.
  • What are some possible strengths of this organization?
  • Define:
  • Instead of traditional problem-solving, take a strengths-based approach to generate new conversations, interests, and opportunities
  • Design:
  • Think about some proposal and questions of how the dream can manifest itself (changed procedures, etc)
  • Destiny:
  • Discover:
  • Interview each other to share stories and find underlying themes
  • Best experiences: Tell me when you felt most alive and engaged in detail.

Saturday Keynote


Tips and Tricks to Develop a College-Going Culture

PowerPoint Link: 

  • Discussion of using hashtags similar to #GrandviewGoesToCollege on official school Twitter.
  • What is a college going culture?
  • Creating attitudes, practices, and an environment in school and community that emphasizes that higher education is life-changing
  • ESSA will hold high schools accountable for their college enrollment and financial application completion rates.
  • College Culture vs. College Readiness
  • SAT scores for 8th graders that indicate college readiness: 390 on R/W, 430 on Math.
  • Definitely a high school focus in this session.
  • Frequent presentations on college readiness, but in multiple formats (not just presentations)
  • Scholarship games
  • Financial aid games
  • College requirement info games
  • (Stand Up/Sit Down) With This Job, You (need to be on your feet all day, need to be organized, spend most of your time outside, can make 70-80k). Then they guess the job.
  • Field trips to local colleges - focusing on different careers, majors, interests, etc
  • “Lunch & Learns” - get college representatives to attend during lunch
  • Naviance Groups - students work in groups to explore different ways to use Naviance for college interest exploration
  • College Nights
  • Pennants posted throughout the school
  • Cool idea - “new student” seminar that meets 5-6 times during the school year to help new students learn your school culture
  • College Wednesday - faculty and staff wear college gear
  • Lessons in Naviance
  • Free RMACAC books in the exhibit hall

Positive Solutions for Negative Behaviors

PowerPoint Link: 09

  • PowerPoint is very comprehensive - these notes only cover additional information
  • When a student is referred to you, focus first on your typical questions, rather than going right to the reasons they were referred - this will come out anyway.
  • Remember Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence.
  • Track data, even things that seem irrelevant (example of student for whom it was found that on days when he had syrup at breakfast, he had meltdowns in the afternoon)
  • Focus of presentation will be on case studies
  • Remember that negative student engagement is correlative with negative behaviors - a powerful, engaging teacher who can build relationships will have fewer behaviors in the classroom.
  • Focus on students taking ownership - “regressive coddling”
  • Opportunities for frequent movement! Students who have a chance to engage in frequent movement are less likely to exhibit negative behaviors
  • Power cards look like baseball cards - one side has pictures of high interest things for the student to help disguise the cards; the other side has strategies for success that the teacher(s) or counselor is working with the student on.
  • Good example of Power cards in the PowerPoint
  • For feelings identification charts slide, each emotion that the student is currently feeling should be accompanied with an action that the student should take in order to help with the issue. Feelings and actions should be developed collaboratively with the student.
  • Behavior Redirection Tool is basically a refocus form. THOUGHT: Can we integrate the “actions” from the identification chart above with the Refocus form so that if students are feeling THIS way, they do THIS to cope with it?
  • The Reluctant Teacher (the “Punisher”)
  • Ensure some level of collaboration so that the teacher understands that the teacher and the counselor/admin/interventionist have the same goal.
  • Ask the teacher “what went right today?”
  • Lots of cheerleading for the teacher
  • In discussions with older kids, focus on the end goal - what is most important to change in order to obtain the end goal? “What is the minimum?”

Student Success Skills


Establish a Symbiotic Counselor/Principal Relationship


  • Cited importance of working together on a number of groups and committees in order to understand each other’s contributions in more than just counselor/principal meetings.
  • Important to keep sacred the presence of the counseling department on the principal’s schedule on a regular basis
  • Send emails to the principal that can be answered with a simple yes or no!
  • Principals tend to think that the relationship is better than counselors do
  • Take frequent opportunities to stick your head in the door and support the relationship
  • Brainstorm the problems with your principal or counselor rather than saying “I’m just not going to do that.”
  • Counselor wants respect, principal wants respect for their goals and vision. “Sometimes as counselors we feel we are the redheaded stepchild and are fighting for respect” but principals typically get that respect due to the position and feel as though the VISION is not respected.
  • Joint meeting between admin / counseling team with each department to hear their scheduling needs and other concerns.
  • Principal: “What can I do to support you?”

Cut Cafeteria Chaos on a Zero Budget


  • Use of MTSS process to analyze cafeteria systems
  • What are Tier I/II/III systems to address needs in the cafeteria?

Effective Class Meetings


Use Data to Create and Sustain a College-Going Culture

  • Interest assessments
  • Pairing college visits and information with student interests
  • Career clusters
  • Learning style inventory
  • Employability skills survey
  • Link Crew - can we do this with 8th to 6th grade?
  • Job Shadowing

Anxiety & Stress Management Techniques for Elementary and Middle School Students

Was too full…..

Cognitive-Behavioral Something-Or-Other

Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters: 

  • Great way to examine where you are in acknowledging and dealing with problems and patterns in your life.

Fight Your Thoughts: Distortion Log

Daily Mood Chart

Cognitive Diary CBT Self-Help App

PowerPoint not posted - she will share the location

Build Empathy and Combat Relational Aggression in Middle School Girls

  • Girls Unlimited
  • Fighting two forces - social media & reality television
  • Body image, self esteem, boys/girls - foci of sessions with girls
  • This organization engaged in this through five one-hour sessions
  • High self-reporting on how much better girls engaged with other girls after completion of the program
  • Middle school girls feel powerless - lack of power tends to promote aggression in the seeking of power
  • Mentor shares about THEIR lives first - set the tone, model going deep
  • “A measure of how you are as a person is how you handle the hard times.”
  • “Who Has More Power?” - choice between dualities (male/female, thin/heavy, pretty/plain, etc)
  • Discussion with MS girls about “power shifts”
  • Develop a social contract with MS girls’ group
  • Define respect with the group
  • Focus on peer confidentiality (Vegas rules)
  • Girls sign the agreement
  • Empathy
  • Listing of what adults need, teens need, babies need
  • Challenge the lists - they each basically need the same thing
  • “We are all babies inside. When you hurt someone, you are hurting the baby inside that person.”
  • Pictures of babies for each girl, label ½
  • 1 - Tell Baby 2 they are ugly
  • 2 - Tell Baby 1 they should die
  • If you can’t tell this to babies, and we are all babies inside and have the same needs, how can you possibly say these things to other kids?
  • Emotional Cup activity
  • When you spill your emotional cup, you make an emotional mess
  • How can you empty your emotional cup without making a mess?
  • “Look at all of these things you can do without spilling your emotional cup?
  • What can you do right this minute in class if you are feeling horrible?
  • You are strong, you can get through this, you will be fine, you are powerful
  • Can I see the counselor?
  • Three columns:
  • Everyone, a few people, no one
  • Everyone
  • It’s okay that everyone knows I have red hair
  • What else is okay that everyone knows?
  • A few people
  • Crushes
  • Fears
  • Academics
  • No one
  • Trauma
  • Abuse
  • Mental illness
  • Homelessness
  • Addiction
  • “Things You Are Ashamed Of”
  • Use of the word drama = “I’m not taking your concerns seriously”
  • Write down three qualities of a person you admire
  • What is wrong with your bodies? Label a blank person shape on the wall.
  • Review qualities of the person you admire - not one of you wrote “she’s thin, she has beautiful hair, etc” and yet we feel so bad about ourselves and spend so much time on that idea
  • Train the Trainer opportunity and a curriculum - Girls Unlimited

Four Agreements for School Climate Success

PowerPoint Link: 

  1. Be impeccable with your words
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  1. “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be people who don’t like peaches.”
  2. “You may be the primary character in your own story, but you are only a secondary character in everyone else’s”
  1. Don’t make assumptions
  2. Always Do Your Best

Beginning of year meeting

  • Teachers break out into groups to discuss the agreements - can do this with students, parents, teachers. Revisit throughout the year.


NYSSCA College and Career Readiness Toolkit

Recipe for Changing a School Culture