March 17-18, 2024
Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay
100 Heron Blvd, US-50
Cambridge, MD 21613

Maryland School Counselor Association logo

March 17-18, 2024
Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay
100 Heron Blvd, US-50
Cambridge, MD 21613

Maryland School Counselor Association 2024 Conference header
Maryland School Counselor Association 2024 Conference header
Maryland School Counselor Association 2024 Conference header

Breakout Sessions

Breakout Sessions

Monday, March 18, 2024

9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. Breakout Session 1

Behavior & Social-Emotional Development in Elementary Schools

Lead Presenter: Adrienne Smith

This session delves into behavior’s link to social-emotional growth in elementary students. Explore strategies nurturing positive behavior, emotional regulation, and healthy social interactions. Topics cover emotional awareness, fostering inclusivity, building relationships, and implementing restorative practices. It is an evidence-based approach to support students’ social-emotional well-being.

Being the Bridge for Black and Brown Girls

Lead Presenter: Leonard Webb

How are you engaging black and brown girls? What do you know about their experiences? In this fast-paced and interactive session as we share the data, true stories, and trends of black and brown girls’ experience in education. In this session, each participant will be provided a step-by-step process for effective interventions and supports that cumulate into a Call to Action.

Connect 4! Creating Connections between Students, Schools, Families, & Communities

Lead Presenter: Kim Biskner

Family and community partnership is a crucial part of establishing a positive school climate. Join us as we explore ways to strengthen connections between schools and their stakeholders to collectively support students. Let’s share and discuss activity and project ideas and create plans to engage our unique school communities.

Culturally Responsive Approach to Solution-Focused Counseling 

Lead Presenter: Sejal Parikh Foxx

Come and learn the basic concepts and skills related to culturally responsive practices and solution-focused counseling strategies. Infusing these principles can help foster relationships that respect and value diversity. This session will review the basic tenets of solution focused counseling, specific techniques, and skills.

Getting Back to Comprehensive

Lead Presenter: Nicola Fagan

Since the return to school from the pandemic, school counselors report that they reside in tier 2 and tier 3 daily. They are putting out fires all day and not delivering a comprehensive program as a result. During this session we will review the MTSS framework and its alignment to school counseling, including an exploration of tools to support your rediscovery of tier 1 and implementation of an inclusive, accessible program for all students.

Introduction to Nature-Based School Counseling

Lead Presenter: Holly Kleiderlein

Discover the benefits of incorporating natural elements into your school counseling program by moving counseling outdoors, or bringing the outdoors into your building and your office. Experience nature-based activities for your own benefit, identify barriers and solutions to incorporating nature into your comprehensive program, and leave with a plan so you can put your ideas into action.

Swimming Upstream: Viewing Chronic Absenteeism as a Symptom, not the Problem

Lead Presenter: Karen Cunningham

Chronic absenteeism is a challenge for schools across the state, especially in areas of high poverty. The session will describe one school’s experience in “swimming upstream” to determine WHY individual students are chronically absent and HOW to support them and families to improve attendance. With a focus on SEL, individual and group counseling, family engagement, and involving other staff, you’ll get practical solutions to spark change today.

10:10 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Breakout Session 2

Connecting Students to Their Why 

Lead Presenter: Dr. Joseph Bostic

By completing this session, participants will have a better understanding of what it means to connect students to their “why” and how to do it effectively by using data. Participants will develop a plan that they can use to connect their own students to their “why” and help them to be more engaged, motivated, and successful learners.

Culturally Responsive Approach to Solution-Focused Counseling 

Lead Presenter: Sejal Parikh Foxx

Come and learn the basic concepts and skills related to culturally responsive practices and solution-focused counseling strategies. Infusing these principles can help foster relationships that respect and value diversity. This session will review the basic tenets of solution focused counseling, specific techniques, and skills.

Effective Tier One, Schoolwide Supports and Protocols for SEL Success

Lead Presenter: Lori Counsell

Do you feel as if you, as a school leader, are constantly on the move, putting out fires all day long with no end in sight? Come to this session to learn about proactive, schoolwide systems and protocols and tools that arm your students and staff to take charge of meeting and developing social-emotional needs in a dynamic and effective way.

Exploring Neurodiversity

Lead Presenter: Billy Joe Aris

This session will help educators to develop a working knowledge of the widely used term, “neurodiversity,” and provide a new prospective on how to support students without the use of labels. The session will be interactive, and require participants to challenge previously held beliefs, in attempt to gain better understanding of the human mind and the wealth of varying processing styles that exist.

Pupils in Peril: How School Leaders Can Combat Teen Mental Health Decline

Lead Presenter: Jennice Mauras, DialCare

As the U.S. youth mental health crisis continues to run rampant, psychologists have deemed schools as a prime environment for intervention. However, many school counselors are struggling to meet the increased need for student mental health support due to lack of funding or staff. Come join us for a panel including LPCs, non-profits and more to discuss innovative ways to approach this challenge.

Ready! Prep! Action Plan! 

Lead Presenter: Kelly Denison

Not sure where to start in creating a closing the gap action plan? This session will provide you with resources from data collection to creating your goal and developing your plan. Walk away with resources you can start using tomorrow!

The Simplest Way to Advocate Using Your Calendar Data

Lead Presenter: Penny Smith

In this session, you will learn why time documentation and analysis support data-driven school counseling programs; how to document your services and how you spend time. as a school counselor; ways to explain and share data about your school counseling program; and how to use the data to advocate and improve your program impact and outcomes.

1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. Breakout Session 3

Complex Cases Within Schools

Lead Presenter: Jenny Fleming

As school counselors, many us are the only, or one of few, precious mental health advisors for you students. We’re for all the mental health questions. Do you ever need an SOS for the really complex cases?! Learn some tips, tricks, and strategies to stay afloat with two school counselors and private clinical practitioners.

Delivering Inclusive Counseling and Supportive Services in High Need Schools

Lead Presenter: Dr. Masica Jordan Alston

Join Bowie State University’s Ujima Center in a pivotal roundtable to transform Maryland’s high-need schools. Focused on DEIA strategies and addressing African American student challenges, this session explores effective programs like FAMH and MTSS. Dive into process and impact assessments, and engage in discussions on culturally responsive educational approaches. Ideal for educators and counselors, this roundtable aims to revolutionize inclusive.

Effective Classroom Management for School Counselors 

Lead Presenter: Shannon Hudson-Odoi

Teaching classroom lessons is an important aspect of the school counselor’s role in serving all students, but often we aren’t prepared for this role. Gain concrete classroom management tools you can use in your school counseling program to better prepare you when teaching your school counseling core curriculum lessons.

Igniting Paths to Success: School-Wide Initiatives for Academic Achievement 

Lead Presenter: Genvieve Stephenson

This presentation will focus on the importance of school-wide activities in elementary settings that are designed to build academic rigor and achievement and promote college and career readiness. Preparing students for their academic and professional futures should begin at an early age, and these activities are key to laying a strong foundation for success.

Is a College Degree the ONLY Ticket to Success?

Lead Presenter: UTI

For years we have been telling students to go to college to get a great career. In fact, we are pushing students into college at a 70% clip. However, almost 70% of careers available today do not require a college degree. Skilled trades are in high demand and can provide students with a great career and great pay! Come see what those careers are and how you can reach more of your students. You will also learn how to get industry involved in your schools and how to get more buy-in with parents. See what UTI is doing to get girls involved in STEM careers.
Finally, learn how students can make school more affordable to avoid debt after graduation. 

Streamlining Career/College Advising: A Systemic Approach with SchooLinks

Lead Presenter: Amy Hale

Join us for an enlightening discussion on the inner workings of our district’s college application process and career advising. This presentation will showcase the core components of our approach, highlighting how SchooLinks’ solutions have become instrumental in organizing career and college research lessons and tracking applications seamlessly. Discover the secrets to our personalized guidance, organization, and data-driven decision-making that collectively create a roadmap to post secondary and higher education success. Whether you’re a seasoned counselor or just starting, this session offers practical insights to elevate your college application strategy and empower students to achieve their post secondary aspirations. Don’t miss this opportunity to improve your career and college counseling efforts.

What’s in a Word: The Power of What We Say

Lead Presenter: Barbara Becker

Middle school students say all sorts of things and may not know the impact of what they are saying or the words they are using. This presentation will share a lesson that was presented to middle school students in a suburban school in Maryland that teaches students the power of their words, what they say, and the impact that they have.

2:05 p.m. – 2:55 p.m. Breakout Session 4

How to Design an Elementary School Career Fair! 

Lead Presenter: Kristina Stacey

Have you always wanted to hold a career fair in your elementary school but were unsure how to go about creating it? The first half of this presentation will review career focused lesson plans that lead up to a career fair at the end of the school year. The second half of the presentation will showcase the tools and steps taken to create a successful and meaningful career fair in an elementary school.

How Virtual Mental Health Care Can Support School Communities

Lead Presenter: Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi

Teen mental health is a persistent concern, but schools may not have the capacity to address broad needs and implement early intervention strategies to protect the broader population. We’ll discuss how virtual modalities can augment school and district resources to deliver care quickly, make specialized care accessible, and meet diverse needs. The presentation will be supported by research, real-world examples from Maryland schools, and Q&A.


Lead Presenter: Andrea Portnoy

Researchers have found that resiliency is ordinary, not extraordinary. This session begins by defining resilience and exploring its significance in personal and professional contexts. Drawing on real-world examples and research-backed principles, attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the key components of resilience, psychosocial factors linked to resilience, and how to foster resilience. Participants will have an opportunity to consider and reflect on next steps to build resilience in themselves and others.

Strategies to Align Your CCR Programming to the Maryland BluePrint

Lead Presenter: Trang Le, Xello

Join us to unlock a wealth of actionable strategies for empowering your students in their future-readiness preparation. In this session, you will learn how to align your district’s college and career readiness initiatives to the Maryland BluePrint legislation. You will also receive tangible ideas, best practices and early learnings from fellow Maryland districts on how to enhance the effectiveness and engagement of your CCR program.

Student-Centered Digital Resource Centers: Providing Access and Advocacy

Lead Presenter: Jonathan Thio 

Making the most of existing school websites or tools like Google Sites and AI can promote the use of developed tools and empower students and families to seek out resources, independently. This presentation will outline the rationale and technical process for creating digital databases for schools to provide resources for mental health and post-secondary preparation in more readily available formats, including AI and Google Sites demonstrations.

“There’s a Difference Between Being Accepted and Being Admitted”- Welcome to your HBCU Experience 

Lead Presenter: Tanipa Thomas

The presenters of this session are: one who graduated from an HBCU “Accepted” and the other from a PWI “Admitted.” We’re excited to host a conversation with educators about the HBCU experience: awareness, addressing facts, misconceptions, maximizing HBCU visits, and intentional acts of promotion and removing barriers of college acceptance for first-generation applicants. We will be informing the audience about the Common Black College application process and procedures.

Using Neuroscience and Cultural Competence to Empower Students to College

Lead Presenter: Christopher Vick

This workshop will introduce you to the field of brain-based research which offers clues as to why the application process is especially challenging for students from marginalized communities. You will leave this session with a deeper understanding of your students and yourself, and concrete action steps you can take to better support your students through the college application and selection process.



Fax 423.899.4547

National Center for Youth Issues
P.O. Box 22185
Chattanooga, TN 37422-2185