MSCA President's Message

Judy Williams
MSCA President
Impacting Change for Change Agents


The excitement is in the air, at the bus stop, on the news reports, and in the school hallways.  We’re back to school and our chances to impact the lives of students are unfolding with each new student who enters the building.  School counselors have an innate ability to compartmentalize the stressors and frustrations of the prior year, create a positive plan to address these, and develop innovative, and data driven programs and interventions for students.  

The 2018-19 school year will be full of opportunities for making a difference for our students and ourselves.  The first and most important is our civic duty to vote in the November election. Electing pro public education representatives at all levels is key to Michigan achieving it’s goal of being one of the Top 10 in 10 states in education.  Become knowledgeable about candidates’ positions on the issues that impact our profession. When possible, attend events at which candidates may be present to converse with them regarding the needs of students. Help them to understand how school counselors work with all students and realize that a student is a tapestry of experiences and cannot be segmented into different components, each served by different non credentialed individuals. Connect your discussions with the needs of our state, economy, and student success, not ratios. Encourage candidates to consider how access to fully credentialed school counselors for all students will result in a more successful state. You may choose to reference the successes of Colorado School Counselor Corp Grant Program as an example. Serve as a resource, not an adversary.  

The July MSCA Legislative report and August update (included in this communication) outline many changes that present ways in which school counselors can interact with students in the areas of career awareness and development, work experiences through job shadowing and internships, and post secondary planning options.  These new mandates provide outstanding opportunities for us to advocate for our comprehensive school counseling programs in which we work with ALL students in grades K-12.

The Marshall Plan for Talent Development will change education in the State of Michigan for those schools who are parts of Talent Consortiums.  It is essential that school counselors have a representative voice in state, local, and building level discussion on how this program will be implemented.  MSCA will have representatives at Marshall Plan Meetings for Conveners. You will be able to learn more about this ground breaking plan at the MSCA Fall conference.  

Newly passed Public Law 684 mandates that students be given the opportunity to create an EDP in 7th grade.  The new law now requires that all students in grades 9-12 review and revise these plans annually.  The legislation outlines exactly what must be included in student plans. While at first glance this may appear to be more work in school counselors’ already packed schedules, this presents an opportunity to share information with administrators as to how the school counseling programs can meet these new requirements.  School counselors best understand how a student’s future is impacted not only by their career pathway choices, but by a myriad of social/emotional and academic development issues. We are able to see a student longitudinally, from gaining information during the transition process to high school from middle school counselors, to working with students as their skills  and interests emerge and solidify by their senior year. Elementary counselors are essential in this plan as career awareness cannot begin in middle school. Students and parents, at these earliest grade levels, need to become aware of the vast career choices that will exist in the economy of the future.

The MSCA Governing Board enters the 2018-19 school year with a vision to increase our presence across the state to our members and increase membership, continue advocating for our profession and students, and a strong desire to increase the resources and tools available to our members. You are encouraged to attend the MSCA Change Agents Fall Conference, Oct. 28-19 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing to connect with other professionals who see the sky as the limit for the students we serve.  Never doubt that you ARE one of those people!

Promoting the leader in us all,

Judy Williams