The Pre-Conference Learning Sessions include additional opportunities for more professional development and CEU contact hours. The sessions generally cover more in-depth information and allow more opportunity for discussion. These sessions are not included in the conference registration fee. Sessions are at a minimal fee. Space is limited for all sessions. Interested participants are encouraged to register early.
All Pre-Conference sessions are being held at the same time, so you may only choose one session to attend.
Thursday, January 20 | 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
SPEAKER BIO: Jessica Sinarski, LPCMH equips parents and professionals to be healers for hurting children. Weaving user-friendly brain science into everything she does, Jessica ignites both passion and know-how in audiences. Extensive post-graduate training and 15+ years as a clinician, consultant, and parent educator led her to create BraveBrains, a resource and training platform for home, school, and community. She is also the author of the Riley the Brave picture books and What’s Inside Your Backpack?
Jessica partners with school districts and child welfare agencies across the country to better incorporate effective trauma-sensitive practices into their work. She also shares her expertise as a contributor to magazines, blogs, and podcasts. When not writing and training, she continues to work as a bilingual therapist and clinical supervisor at an innovative adoption support agency.
ABOUT THIS SESSION: Join Jessica as she presents What’s Inside Your Backpack?: Setting Aside What We’re Not Meant to Carry. The weight of stress, worry, and trauma can have lasting impacts on both body and brain. This shows up in every area of school life – from the classroom to the lunchroom to the staff lounge! Take some time to dig into your backpack and learn strategies to set aside the “books” you’re not meant to carry. Participants will learn concrete tools for lightening the emotional load for staff and students. Trauma-expert and author Jessica Sinarski weaves in the latest brain science to make this inspirational session a lasting change-maker!
Thursday, January 20 | 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
SPEAKER BIO: Melisa Marsh, Ph.D. currently serves as the Supervisor of School Counseling for the Cobb County school district in Marietta, GA., where she coordinates the development and supervision of school counseling, student advisement, crisis response, and Hospital Homebound programs. She has 17 years of experience in filling the roles of Georgia State High School Counselor, Supervisor of Counseling, and School Counseling and Advisement Consultant. Melisa received her Ph.D. in Counseling Education and Personnel Services and her Specialist Degree in School Counseling from the University of Georgia. She received her Advanced Masters in School Counseling Program from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Marsh has also written a book entitled 15-Minute Focus – SUICIDE: Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention. Missy lives in the Atlanta Metro area with her husband and puppy. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, yoga, cycling, running, hiking, and spending as much time outdoors as possible.
ABOUT THIS SESSION: Join Melisa as she presents Considering Culture: Creating a Safe Place for ALL Students and Staff. Exploring culture can be an uncomfortable conversation for many individuals. However, this true exploration is needed in order to create a safe place for all students and staff. In this training, participants will: 1. Examine how our own culture and identity factor into the way that we serve our students, 2. Understand how culture and diverse identities influence student learning, and 3. Learn strategies for creating a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment.
Thursday, January 20 | 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Leigh Bagwell most recently served as the Director of School Counseling Services at the Tennessee Department of Education. She has led transformational work in school counseling throughout the state through the revision of the school counseling model and standards, the creation of a regional peer support network, and the launch of a dedicated communications channel for counselors, supervisors and administrators. As a school counseling leader, her mission is to provide school counselors with the training and resources needed to deliver high quality, student driven, data informed comprehensive school counseling programs to all students. She believes counselors and school leaders need to work together more deliberately. This collaboration is critical to ensure that all students have access to the opportunities and supports they need to successfully move through their elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education into their chosen career.
In addition to her work in Tennessee, Leigh has shared her experiences and knowledge with school counselors and school counseling leaders across the country as well as working with the American School Counselor Association. After teaching school counseling graduate students at Middle Tennessee State University, Leigh was inspired to pursue counselor education. She is currently working on her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision at the University of Tennessee. Leigh is also the author of the book 15-Minute Focus – ANXIETY: Worry, Stress, and Fear.
ABOUT THIS SESSION:
Join Leigh as she presents Integrating Social and Emotional Learning with Career Development to Prepare College and Career Ready Students. When preparing students for success in postsecondary education and the workforce it is important that they have academic and content knowledge and training. College and career readiness begins with early exposure and awareness to a broad range of career fields and employability skills. It also includes helping students connect what they are learning in the classroom to their dreams and future career goals. Another important component of college and career readiness is social and emotional development. Self-awareness, self-management and interpersonal skills are critical to students’ transition to postsecondary and the workforce.
College and career readiness continues to focus on the development and refinement of both academic and social emotional skills. It also broadens the scope from just knowing about different careers to exploring the high demand opportunities in their communities, aligning personal interests and aptitudes to career fields, and identifying specific pathways to move successfully from secondary to postsecondary to the workforce. These skills will not only prepare them for success in the workplace, but also success in both secondary and postsecondary education.
Because school counseling programs integrate academic preparation, social and emotional development with college and career readiness, school counselors are uniquely positioned to lead this important work. It begins by ensuring that school counselors have strategies and practices that will deepen their students’ understanding of the world of work and connect it to their school and life experiences. School counselors will increase their capacity to provide high quality school counseling services and support students as they move along their chosen pathways to and through secondary and postsecondary education and on to the workforce.
Friday, January 21 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
SPEAKER BIO: A highly-regarded urban public school educator in New Jersey for over twenty years, Principal Kafele distinguished himself in the classroom and as a school leader. As an elementary school teacher in East Orange, NJ, he was selected as the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. As a principal, he led the transformation of four different schools, including “the mighty” Newark Tech, which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to recognition by U.S. News and World Report Magazine as one of America’s best high schools. Currently, Principal Kafele is one of the most sought-after speakers for transforming the attitudes of at-risk student populations in America.
ABOUT THIS SESSION: Based on Principal Kafele’s best selling book, Closing the Attitude Gap: How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success, Principal Kafele asserts that the various gaps in student achievement continue to rank amongst the most important discussions in education today. Equally important for educators is the continued lack of student motivation, undesirable student behaviors and apathy towards achievement across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines. In this high energy, interactive session, Principal Kafele argues that one of the greatest difficulties to closing the various achievement gaps is the overwhelming assumption that achievement is in fact, the problem. He says that the achievement gap is a consequence of the failure to adequately address what he calls, the Attitude Gap (the gap between those students who have the will to strive for academic excellence and those who do not) that continues to persist in American classrooms. Principal Kafele contends that unmotivated, underachieving children are actually “most brilliant and most highly capable” but their attitudes toward themselves, toward learning and toward the prospects for their futures are preventing them from striving to maximize their potential. He says that when educators therefore make the transformation of their students’ attitudes toward themselves, learning and the prospects for their futures a priority, the probability for their achievement increases exponentially! Principal Kafele will provide educators with strategies within a framework for closing the attitude gap toward the ultimate elimination of underachievement in their classrooms and schools. He will simultaneously challenge educators to look honestly within themselves toward ensuring academic success through the following: environment for learning, attitudes toward students, relationship with students, compassion for students and relevance in instruction.
The mission of Lowcountry Orphan Relief is to provide support services and aid to meet the needs of Lowcountry children identified as at-risk or suffering from abandonment, abuse and/or neglect. The vision of Lowcountry Orphan Relief is that no child should be without the basic necessities in life, regardless of their life circumstances.
PSSCA has chosen Lowcountry Orphan Relief as their charity for the 2022 Annual Conference! Please consider making a donation to help us reach our $700 goal!