ASCA 2018 Session Highlights

3,500 school counselors from across the nation descended upon Los Angeles for the American School Counselor Association Conference this July 14-17. Filled with exhibitors (like us!), keynote speakers, and informational sessions, there was plenty to do in this four day convening. Besides being able to meet amazing counselors from all over the U.S., like Marie Paresa (pictured above), we got to attend a few extraordinary sessions.

We know that with so many events, it was hard to make it to all the sessions so we’ve compiled highlights from those that we attended so you can still reap the benefits.


Limited Access Counseling Tools
This session focused on how to explore limited time and maximum effect coaching techniques that can help you understand your student’s challenges, guide them through the decision making process or working through a conflict. Main highlights included:

  • Let teachers engage more personally with students, with the 2 by 10 technique. “Spend 2 minutes a day talking with an at “At-Risk’ Student for 10 straight days about anything they want to talk about.”
  • Make videos and let teachers play them in class, allowing you to teach social and emotional skills on a large scale without having to physically be there.
  • Use Google Forms to have “frequent flyer” students check in, they know you see it, and they can let you know when they actually need to see you, saving you time.


Explore College and Career Readiness

Delphi Research explored some of the most popular questions from counselors: What are best practices related to evidence based intervention, and, what are the best practices for college and career readiness? Main highlights included:

  • Use SEL (Social Emotional Learning) to blend preparedness with interventions.
  • Exploring career options early on can help students see what options there are and what they need to do now to be prepared to pursue those paths.
  • We need to change our mindsets so students see opportunities and not limitations in the workforce.


Helping Students Identify Career Paths with ASVAB CEP and Army ROTC

During this session we learned that the ASVAB is not just for students going into military and really provides a lot of opportunities for students to explore post secondary paths.

  • The test is similar to the ACT and SAT, but since the government funds it, there is no cost for the students or the school.
  • The test is only 90 minutes which is the shortest college entrance test.
  • They can do same day interpretation that assesses career paths from interests and aptitude.


Trauma Informed Strategies for Working with Immigrant Youth

Evelyn Iraheta shared firsthand experience working with immigrant youth teaching us from her own experience as a counselor. We learned about culturally effective techniques  and innovative counseling models based on empirical data working with immigrant youth and families. Main highlights included:

  • Change “What is wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”
  • Many people mis-identify trauma as being on the autism spectrum or something similar, by better understanding a student’s background you can avoid misdiagnosis.
  • SAMHSA Key Principles of a Trauma Informed Approach: Safety, Trust, Peer Support, Collaboration, Empowerment through Choice, Cultural/Historical/Gender Issues.
  • Make sure we call immigrant youth “Survivors” not “Victims.”


Big or Small – College Signing Day for All

Counselors Krystin Baker and Franciene Sabens shared their experience creating College Signing Days in varying school types. Main highlights include:

  • Change “College” Signing Day to another name like Senior Signing Day to be more inclusive of all post secondary paths: Colleges, Tech Schools, Military, and Apprenticeships.
  • Traditionally Signing Days are held at end of April, beginning of May (around May 1st decision deadline) to encourage students to commit and avoid summer melt.
  • Better Make Room provides a number of resources to hold your own signing day.


Remove Barriers for Underserved Learners

Juan Garcia, Senior Director of ACT Center for Equity in Learning discussed the barriers “underserved” or, as he said “Opportunity” learners face, and how ACT is working to make the test more equitable to improve outcomes once students go on to a post secondary path. Main highlights include:

  • The purpose of removing barriers is to make sure students are prepared before they go to college so they don’t drop out with debt.
  • ACT has a lot of resources for ELL (English Language Learners) when taking the test, such as additional time, an approved dictionary and more.
  • ACT partners with multiple organizations like: Boys and Girls Club (the club provides transportation to test sites for students and fee waivers), Univision (through them ACT can share resources in Spanish with people all over the world), and more.
  • Did you guys know ACT is a non profit?


If you’re interested in learning more about us and how we help counselors and students for free with the college application process, reach us via our contact page.

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