New York State School Counselors Association Conference

November 4-6, 2021

Turning Stone Resort and Convention Center
5218 Patrick Rd
Verona, NY 13478


Thank you for attending the NYSSCA Conference. We hope to see you next year!


Welcome to MHANYS’ School Mental Health Resource and Training Center! We have the tools and information schools need to educate students about mental health – from instructional resources to staff development, and information for families. For more information please contact Brandon Beachamp, Director – School Mental Health Resource and Training Center, at or at 518.434.0439.

A Syracuse University education is characterized by real-world preparation. Nowhere on campus is active learning more integral than within the Reserve Officership Training Corps (ROTC). The ROTC serves the US Army and Air Force by training students to become military leaders. Syracuse University’s nearly century-old partnership with the ROTC – the longest consecutive running program in the country – ensures that each graduate is equipped with a world-class academic base. Both programs are housed in the newly built first of its kind National Veterans Resource Center.

For more information please contact either: / 315.443.2462 / 315.443.2461


QuaverEd, a world leader in online curriculum development, is a Nashville-based provider of innovative education resources, including Social Emotional Learning, General Music, Full-Day Pre-K, Health, and more! Quaver’s comprehensive curricula uses the power of interactivity, humor, and music to engage today’s students. Professional Development and College programs are also available.

For more information please contact Sean Smith via email or at 615.585.0337.


Since our founding in 1909, Milton Hershey School has helped children break the cycle of poverty. We are a place where students can be their greatest selves, meeting their potential with life-changing opportunity.

MHS thrives as a cost-free, private, coeducational home and school for more than 2,100 boys and girls from families of lower income across the U.S. Students receive an excellent education, nurturing home life, college and career readiness support, and comprehensive health and wellness care, including medical and dental services, food, and clothing.


Developing leaders, scholars, and citizens is at the heart of what we do. Our two scholarship programs—the Jefferson Scholars and the Walentas Scholars —cultivate outstanding undergraduate students, providing them with full financial support to pursue their passions and develop their talents at the University of Virginia and beyond. Walentas Scholars are first-generation college students who demonstrate potential for impact as leaders, scholars, and citizens. Rochester & NYC schools may nominate.

For more information please contact Reshaud Rich, Assistant Director at or at 434.249.3582.


Navigate360 infuses the expertise of school safety veterans with that of well-known subject matter experts to help schools build safer tomorrows. From prevention and preparation to response and recovery, we help create safe learning environments in which students and staff can reach their potential and thrive. We offer behavioral threat detection, suicide awareness and prevention and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) solutions to improve the culture and climate of your schools.

For more information please contact Blakely Echeverry, Vice President of Sales at or at 330.661.0106.


Paul Smith’s College is the only 4-year private institution located within the 6 million acre Adirondack Park. Sitting on Lower St. Regis Lake, the college owns over 14,000 acres allowing students a hands on approach to their education in the Natural Sciences or Forestry programs. Students interested in Business, Hospitality & Baking Arts have access Lake Placid, NY, a top tourist destination in the Northeast, allowing students an opportunity to take their education to the next level.

For more information please contact Cori Barnard, Assistant Director of Admissions, at or at 518.327.6110.


SCUTA is used by school counselors and school districts to develop a data-driven, evidence based school counseling program. It follows the ASCA National Model® recommendations and offers confidential, comprehensive documentation and use of time analysis system. It is an invaluable tool for School Counselors who want to do best practice, keep accurate records and develop a data driven school counseling program.
School Counselors using SCUTA, have the ability to clearly illustrate the nature of their work and school needs with supervisors and stakeholders.

For more information please contact Cathy.

For more information please contact Joshua Hunter, Talent Acquisition Coordinator, at or at 315.638.5863.

The New York State Clinical Laboratory Association (NYSCLA) is a not-for-profit association working to improve the business conditions of clinical laboratories in New York State. The most pressing issue facing labs to day is the shortage of qualified staff. NYSCLA will be exhibiting at the NYSSCA meeting to highlight the various careers within Laboratory Science that offer good salaries, job security and rewarding work within healthcare.

For more information please contact Eloise Aita, President, at or at 609.306.4174.


Futurely is a digital career counseling platform that accompanies high school students in achieving their goals with clear steps, in a personal way.

Futurely empowers high school career counselors by giving them access to students’ journal, action plan, essay, resume, options considered, criteria prioritized.

The core product is an online class, 20 weeks, 45min/week.

Topics include identification of personality, passions, skills, resume and essay builder, interviews with experts in different fields that share their experiences and paths, how to prioritize criteria to choose college and course of study, list of all the options after high school with pros and cons, action plan builder.

For more information contact Elisa Piscitelli at



The Pre-Conference includes an additional opportunity for more professional development and CPE hours. These sessions cover more in-depth information and allows more opportunity for discussion. These sessions are not included in the conference registration fee. These sessions are at a minimal fee. Space is limited. Interested participants are encouraged to register early. These sessions run concurrently. You may only chose one.

RAMP Up Your School Counseling Program

Karen Griffith

Thursday, November 4, 2021

SPEAKER BIO: Karen Griffith, PhD, LPC, worked in public education for 35 years, 27 as a school counselor, earning multiple state and national recognitions. Now retired, she works at the University of Georgia as an Assistant Professor (Term-Limited) in the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services, and with ASCA as a trainer on the national model, Lead RAMP Reviewer, and Peer Reviewer for the Journal of Counseling and Development. She has authored three books and several articles, and speaks at state and national conferences on a variety of topics. Her primary area of research is around resiliency.

SESSION DESCRIPTION: Join Karen as she presents RAMP Up Your School Counseling Program. Are a number of schools in your district close to or interested in applying for the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP)? Attend this preconference, and help your schools learn what they need to do to put it all together and apply for RAMP.

Based on the ASCA National Model, RAMP is a recognition program for individual schools, not districts or school counselors. Applying for RAMP helps schools evaluate their school counseling program, discover areas for improvement and enhance the program’s efforts to contribute to student success. You’ll gather tips and suggestions about how to approach the process and collect data and how to submit your school counseling program through the online submission portal.

Learning Objectives
After attending this hands-on workshop, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the 10 components of the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) application
  • Examine their school counseling program to assess if it’s RAMP-ready
  • Communicate the benefits of achieving RAMP status to the school counseling program, the school and/or district
  • Break down the RAMP application process into manageable pieces
  • Explain the scoring rubric, and know what the RAMP reviewers look for in an application.
  • Utilize online resources ASCA has available for completing the RAMP application
  • Evaluate a sample completed application, and recognize how to apply it to your application
  • Navigate the online submission portal

Youth Mental Health First Aid

**First Aiders must complete a 2-hour, self-paced class before the conference**
Deadline to sign up: October 22, 2021

Christine Mann and Calle Panakos

Thursday, November 4, 2021

CHRISTINE’S BIO: Christine Mann is an educator, substance use disorder counselor and behavioral health manager with over 25 years’ experience at the nexus of education and behavioral health. She has demonstrated a special commitment and passion for educating and working with individuals, families, and communities affected by mental illness. Ms. Mann majored in psychology and education and became a Credentialed Alcohol & Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) to help directly address escalating demand in the field of chemical dependency treatment and prevention. She earned a Master of Arts in Education and an additional Master of Arts in School Administration.

CALLE’S BIO: Calle Panakos currently serves as a Mental Health First Aid Training Specialist for the SAMHSA-funded 3-year pilot (2018-2021) CN Guidance & Counseling Services mental health awareness training program. Ms. Panakos earned a Master’s Degree in Human Services, concentrating in Behavioral Science/Organizational and Social Services, along with a Master Life Coaching Certification program to support individual goal-setting, personal and professional growth, and behavioral modifications utilizing neuro-linguistic programming. Ms. Panakos embodies a genuine desire to support and advocate for people less fortunate, reduce stigma of mental illness, and increase mental health awareness.

SESSION DESCRIPTION: Youth Mental Health First Aid USA is a 7-hour public education program which introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge. Mental Health First Aid uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect young people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care.

The course teaches participants the risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges common among adolescents, including anxiety, depression, psychosis, eating disorders, AD/HD, disruptive behavior disorders, and substance use disorder. Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling – rather, participants learn to support a youth developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis by applying a core five-step action plan:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

As COVID-19 is changing our daily reality, there is an important need for Youth Mental Health First Aid.

First Aiders will complete a 2-hour, self-paced class before the conference, and then participate in a 4-5 hour, Instructor-led class in person at the NYSSCA Pre-Conference.

The training includes expanded content on trauma, addiction and self-care. Youth MHFA includes new content applicable for adults working with elementary-age children, including content on the impact of social media. The content is gender neutral and culturally relevant.


Reimagining the Tricycle: A Foundation for Equity and Inclusion Through Healing Centered Engagement

Kara Ieva

Friday, November 5, 2021 | 8:15 a.m.

SPEAKER BIO: Dr. Kara Ieva is currently an Associate Professor in the Counseling in Educational Settings program at Rowan University. In addition to her current position in Counselor Education, her educational career spans over 20 years as a former Spanish teacher and professional school counselor. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish Secondary Education and Master’s of Education in Secondary Education Curriculum and Administration from Towson University. Additionally, she earned her Masters of Education in School Counseling from Loyola College in Maryland and her PhD in Counselor Education for the University of Central Florida. Kara’s areas of research interest include promoting equity and wellness in education for children and adolescents of marginalized populations: in the areas of college and career readiness, social/emotional development, and group counseling. She provides professional development to K-12 school counselors, teachers, and administrators on how to embed social/emotional development into curricula and strategies for cultivating a safe and welcoming mental health and neurodiverse culture in schools. She created and facilitates the New Jersey School and SAC Counselor Online Collective, started out of necessity during the multiple pandemics and offered weekly supervision, peer consultation, and webinars. Kara holds multiple leadership positions for national and state professional counseling organizations. She serves on the editorial review board for Professional School Counselor Journal published by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). Dr. Ieva’s scholarship includes multiple peer review articles, book chapters, newsletter and magazine articles, and technical writing/ evaluation reports, amd grants. Further, she serves as the principal investigator, project director, and Director of Academic and Student Services for the Rowan University’s pre-college access programs that aid first generation and under-resourced college students in post-secondary preparation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Education, Arts, and Mathematics (STE2AM). Lastly, she serves as the evaluator on multiple Foundation and National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, and the Co-PI for an NSF Grant, Broadening participation in STEM through Virtual Reality Career Exploration: Introducing Underrepresented Students to High Need STEM Careers. Her grants to date total $1,844,236.

SESSION DESCRIPTION: Join Kara as she presents Reimagining the Tricycle: A Foundation for Equity and Inclusion Through Healing Centered Engagement. As schools move toward healing centered engagement due to a wide range of effects and disparities highlighted by COVID-19, school counselors will be tasked to build healing communities from trauma in general, while continuing to engage in antiracist practices that affirm their students and communities of color. This presentation highlights a strength-based approach focusing on resilience, equity, and inclusion through the intersecting tenants of antiracist education and social emotional learning, and the skills needed to promote collective healing and wellness.

How to Get to Your Promised Land

Rev. Dr. Robert Spicer, Sr.

Saturday, November 6, 2021 | 8:00 a.m.

SPEAKER BIO: Dr. Spicer is currently the CEO and trainer of Restorative Strategies, LLC. In this role, Dr. Spicer has exposed and trained over a thousand participants in the practices of Restorative Justice. Dr. Spicer has trained hundreds of educators and community members in the Syracuse City School districts as well as school districts across the US. His work has been recognized both nationally and internationally by a variety of news outlets. In 2015, he was invited by the Obama administration to support their Rethink Discipline initiative lead by the Secretary of Education and the Attorney General. Recently Dr. Spicer has trained members of Snap Inc. on these practices and it use in the corporate space. Dr. Spicer currently lives in Chicago, IL with his wife and four children.

SESSION DESCRIPTION: In this keynote address, How to Get to Your Promised Land, Rev. Dr. Robert Spicer, Sr. will share ways you can reach your desired goals through the ‘3P Principle’. By articulating your purpose, exhibiting your perseverance and unlocking the Power within, Dr. Spicer will share with you the formula for how you and those close to you can reach your Promised Land.