November 13-14, 2023
Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center
100 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Michigan School Counselor Association logo

November 13-14, 2023  |  Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center
100 W Michigan Ave  | Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Michigan School Counselor Association Conference November 13-14, 2023 Header
Michigan School Counselor Association Conference November 13-14, 2023 Header
Michigan School Counselor Association Conference November 13-14, 2023 Header

Breakout Sessions​

Breakout Sessions​

We look forward to having you join us at the Michigan School Counselor Association Conference!

Monday, November 13, 2023

2:50 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. Breakout Session 1

Title: At-Risk Professionals working Youth: School Counselors Taking a Look at Self

Lead Presenter: Joe Johnson

Description: The world we live in continues to evolve. However, the way students are taught and the knowledge received from traditional education does not always evolve at the same rate. What if educators were able to increase their own understanding of what’s needed to create the life and career they desire so they can better prepare students for their own future. Get ready to learn about the hidden curriculum that can take the educator and the student to their next level.

Title: Facility Dog in the K-12 setting

Lead Presenter: Matt Peschel

Description: This session will cover issues related to dogs in a school setting including certification, licensing, insurance, training, handling, role definition, board approval, etc. The presentation will address SEL and school culture benefits individually and collectively that come with dogs in schools. Consideration will be given to the benefits of animals in school generally and term differentiation (service dog, therapy dog, facility dog, etc).

Title: In-VENN-ting Student Futures

Lead Presenter: Jocelyn Wright-Newman

Description: Focusing on the intersection of four simple reflection questions in a Venn diagram can guide career awareness and exploration activities with students across all grade levels. We will discuss this framework and provide examples of how returning to it as students mature in their social-emotional learning yields deeper and more comprehensive future readiness.

Title: Leveraging the National Model to Support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Lead Presenter: Betsy Kanagawa

Description: One crucial piece of our model includes a Closing the Gap Goal and interventions. Learn how to use this to support all students, including those left out by a one size fits all approach. Leave ready to understand how to use your data to create a closing the gap goal and many resources for DEI programming.

Title: MASSP Sponsor Session

Lead Presenter:


Title: Mindful Minutes

Lead Presenter: Nicole Stoner

Description: In this session you will have the opportunity to calm your mind, focus on the moment and be inspired to walk away with mindful strategies to incorporate in your school counseling program. These practices will become one of your go to tools to continue to grow your students’ understanding of feelings in a nonjudgmental way. Your students will grow their confidence to be fully present with mindful breathing, gratitude, compassion and kindness.

Title: Railway to Success

Lead Presenter: Holly Knick

Description: Railway to success is a transition program for 8th to 9th grade students. This program is designed to target academically struggling students to offer them all around support starting the second semester of their 8th grade year through the end of the first semester of their 9th grade year. This program can be adapted for students entering middle school/junior high or to target specific populations in need for your district.

4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. Breakout Session 2

Title: The Benefits of Training School Counselors in Rehabilitation & Art Therapy

Lead Presenter: Thomas Michalos

Description: This presentation explores the benefits of school counseling graduate programs that include courses in rehabilitation and art therapy. Due to the current climate in K-12 schools, research shows that both general and marginalized student populations including students with disabilities, trauma histories, and LGBTQ+ students benefit from graduate school counseling coursework and training that includes rehabilitation counseling and art therapy.

Title: EDP: Engagement, Differentiation, and Partnership

Lead Presenter: Lorri Batsie

Description: Our team developed completion guides for educators and students with the goal to improve Educational Development Plans. Using Xello, we hosted online and in-person workshops for students. In today’s session, let’s have a conversation about making EDP’s meaningful. Highlights will include: identifying a “checklist”, support resources, and differentiation for students’ range of “Not Xello again!” to “No one has ever talked to me about this before!”

Title: Equity-Based Career and College Readiness

Lead Presenter: Glinda Rawls

Description: As systemic change agents, school counselors should engage in equity-based career and college readiness practices. Such practices allows school counselors to address the barriers that impede vulnerable students from pursing post secondary opportunities that lead to a successful life. In this session, school counselors will learn how to integrate an equity-based framework into their comprehensive school counseling programs.

Title: Leading with the Right: Communicating with a Person in Suicidal Crisis

Lead Presenter: David Opalewski

Description: This presentation will help attendees to more effectively communicate with a person in suicidal crisis in attuning to his/her pain starting with the right hemisphere of the brain(emotional) before going to the left hemisphere (logical) of the brain.

Title: Milestones in Advocacy

Lead Presenter: Glinda Rawls

Description: Data-driven school counseling is at the heart of every comprehensive school counseling program. Knowing how to create student outcome goals, collect and disaggregate data and create interventions can be overwhelming. Learn about how we use data to drive and evaluate our program and reach several milestones such as becoming a Recognized ASCA Model Program and successfully advocating for additional counselors at three of our buildings.

Title: School Counselors Are Influencers

Lead Presenter: Sandra Lopez

Description: The field of information answers pressing questions about how technology affects social, cultural, political, and commercial life-the intersection of technology and human interaction. School counselors, as influencers of students’ post-secondary decision-making process, will add an innovative career field to guide students through early awareness, exploration, and preparation of career pathways and establish partnerships to support their effort.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Breakout Session 3

Title: About Me

Lead Presenter: Liz Jones

Description: Research has connected future-oriented thinking and planning with increased wellbeing. Teaching students this life skill connects to SEL competencies related to self-awareness, self management, & responsible decision. Come learn how we developed and are using “About Me Connection Slides”. Each slide contains a morning greeting, quote, career connection, would you rather question and pair/share activity to help students think about their future.

Title: A Different Take on Data

Lead Presenter:  Meredith Draughn

Description: “In God we trust. All others must bring data.” This W. Edwards Demings quote is relevant for school counselors, who are often been expected to compile data without really knowing how or why. Join 2023 School Counselor
of the Year Meredith Draughn for a dynamic discussion of “the D word.” Learn how you can transform your data into
an invaluable tool to easily drive your school counseling
program, serve all students in each domain, and effortlessly explain to administrators and others what we really do all day.

Title: Middle School Level Share Session

Lead Presenter:


Title: MI Student Aid: Igniting a Spark in Post-Secondary Planning

Lead Presenter:  Emily Hurtado-Arboleda

Description: Join us for an engaging discussion about the State Financial Aid programs, data in MiSSG, and the resources and support available through MI Student Aid. Participants will hear successful outreach strategies, learn about MI Student Aid’s new regional approach and how to implement MI Student Aid services into their work with students. Attendees will also get the opportunity to participate in a fun, interactive activity offered by MI Student Aid!

Title: Skilled Trades and Green Buildings: Linking Students to a Rewarding Career

Lead Presenter: David Gard

Description: Join us to explore entry-level jobs in the green building sector. We will focus on the growing demand for skilled tradespeople who make all types of buildings healthier, more efficient, and climate-friendly. We will briefly describe the industry and give you resources for students who wish to learn more about it. Also, an HVAC contractor will describe the types of work, training, and certifications open to young people in this rewarding field.

Title: Teaching Executive Function Skills = Decreased Stress and Anxiety

Lead Presenter: Nan Janecke

Description: Executive function deficits can be a major source of stress and anxiety for students. As learners advance into more challenging and time-consuming homework, issues such as the inability to organize, plan and prioritize, or manage time can jeopardize social, emotional, and academic well-being. Students labeled “immature” or “lazy” are, in reality, struggling. We will share tips, tricks, and techniques to help develop these skills and find success.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Breakout Session 4

Title: A Different Take on Data

Lead Presenter:  Meredith Draughn

Description: “In God we trust. All others must bring data.” This W. Edwards Demings quote is relevant for school counselors, who are often been expected to compile data without really knowing how or why. Join 2023 School Counselor
of the Year Meredith Draughn for a dynamic discussion of “the D word.” Learn how you can transform your data into
an invaluable tool to easily drive your school counseling
program, serve all students in each domain, and effortlessly explain to administrators and others what we really do all day.

Title: Elementary School Level Share Session

Lead Presenter: 


Title: UTI Sponsor Session

Lead Presenter: UTI rep

Description: 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 join Dr. Coyle to learn 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.

Title: Overwhelmed and Under Funded

Lead Presenter: Bethany Gravert

Description: Creating College and Career Readiness from the ground up. How to take stock and build supports with what you already have.

Title: US MARINES Sponsor Session

Lead Presenter: 


Title: You Don’t Have to be LGBTQ+ to Make School a Safe Space

Lead Presenter: Natalie Kinsella

Description: This presentation will give you easy actionable steps that can be taken even in more rural school districts to create a safe school culture for LGBTQ students, staff, and families. This presentation will provide helpful resources and tools you can utilize to support LGBTQ students and hopefully give you some language to help navigate LGBTQ issues with students of all ages and with staff.

1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Breakout Session 5

Title: High School Acceleration Strategies for Aspiring Health Professionals

Lead Presenter: Marcia Boynton

Description:  This program targets optimal acceleration strategies for ambitious high school students who are committed to professions such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, PA, PT, OT and others. In particular, we’ll examine choices in AP, IB and dual enrollment as they will be perceived by undergraduate and professional schools, and look at service and employment options best suited to pre health students in high school.

Title: High School Level Share Session

Lead Presenter: 


Title: The Eating Disorder Nightmare

Lead Presenter: Sarah Dickman

Description: Eating disorders increased in teenage girls in 2020 and school counselors are on the front lines to help students and their families get access to the specialist care they need to survive the nightmare of an eating disorder. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness so early detection and treatment are critical. Learn the signs to look for and the steps you can take to help students find a path back to health.

Title: The Power (and Resources) to Impact Social and Emotional Development

Lead Presenter: Angela Shields

Description: In this engaging and practical session, you will explore social and emotional learning supports available to your district (many at no cost). You will discover life skills and mental health resources, including expert-curated online lessons for students and educator courses designed in partnership with statewide leadership organizations. Join us as we dive into the critical importance of this work and identify ways you can make a powerful impact.

The Simplest Way to Advocate Using Your Calendar Data

Lead Presenter: SCUTA rep 

Description: 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.


Lead Presenter: Beatrice Harrison

Description: TBD

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Breakout Session 6

Title: Collaborate and Listen….CCR and Core Collaboration

Lead Presenter: Rebekah Ward

Description: Calling all Middle Level counselors! This is your time to sit and chat with fellow middle level counselors, share ideas, network, and hang out.

Title: Helping Students develop an Emotional Vocabulary

Lead Presenter: Robyn Emde

Description: Students often are exposed to the SEL application but rarely demonstrate a vocabulary that exhibits the knowledge of implementing the emotional vocabulary within their lives. Ways in which to boost the emotional vocabulary will be shared along with ways to recognize that emotional vocabulary and empathy can be taught and developed within students.

Title: How To Support the Budding Social Media Influencer

Lead Presenter: Danielle Bean Jackson

Description: Are you unsure of how to respond when your student expresses interest in becoming a social media influencer? Do you see this as an unrealistic career goal? Let’s come together to explore this interest, student motivation, and strategies to support.

Title: Listening and Making A Difference

Lead Presenter: Eric Baldwin

Description: Often times we say to our students that we are listening. Are we?? What are they saying? We at the Middle School at Parkside have listened and understand. Through small group interactions, community collaboration and involvement we are making a difference with our students. Join us in this session as we explain how it all began and is working.

Title: Make Meaningful Connections with Intention

Lead Presenter: Kelsey Smith

Description: Learn new strategies to build meaningful connections through relationships with students and other stakeholders. We all know the importance of relationships and the positive impact on student engagement–but how intentional are we with this work? We will discuss different strategies that you can walk away with and implement right away. We will also focus on the use of data in both the development and the evaluation of the intervention.



Fax 423.899.4547

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