May 4, 2015

  • Update on Legislative Activity
  • OVERTIME!  The first week of “legislative overtime” begins today with the stalemate over school funding continuing to hang over the Statehouse like a dark and gloomy cloud.  Initial versions of budget bills are now beginning to make their way through both chambers.  Expect the 2015 Session of the Iowa Legislature to conclude within the next two to three weeks.
  •  
  • Contact your legislators at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
  • v  Remember to use your personal email when making contact with legislators.

 

  • School Counselor Advocacy Effect Blog
  • v  Please check out The School Counselor Advocacy Effect Blog entry this week.  It is a very special video created by students at East Marshall Middle School and Pete Drury, their school counselor.  What a wonderful way to advocate for you students and school counselor!!  Thank you for sharing, Pete!!
  • v   Please email me if you would like to share an example of advocacy on the School Counselor Advocacy Effect Blog at schoolcounseloradvocate@gmail.com

 

Bills of interest provided by The Capital Group

 

SF 171 – Allowable Growth - This bill establishes a state percent of growth of 4 percent for the school budget year beginning July 1, 2015.

In House/Senate Conference Committee.

 

SF 345 and HF 490  – Anti-Bullying - This bill requires the director of the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to ensure each school district has access to adequate training on conducting investigations of complaints of incidents of harassment or bullying pursuant to the state law relating to school anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies, by offering such training on an annual basis to at least one employee per district. The bill also requires the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to establish a student mentoring pilot program to explore how student leadership can help prevent bullying and violence in schools. The program will promote best practices for bullying and violence prevention for middle and high school students. The Department must establish the program in at least two middle schools and two high schools, which shall include both urban and rural schools. The department must also establish criteria for selection of participating schools and evaluation of the program.  The bill requires the Department convene a public-private work group of representatives of state and

local agencies, citizens, community groups, and organizations who have experience and expertise in the areas of anti-bullying education, research, and training. One member of the group shall be a school counselor. The work group, after reviewing existing research, data, and strategies, will provide recommendations to the Department regarding matters to enhance statewide school climate improvement and bullying prevention, awareness, and intervention.

 

The Department is required convene the work group by October 1, 2015. The work group is to submit its findings and recommendations in a final report to the Department and the chairpersons and ranking members of the Senate and House Education Committees by December 15, 2016.

Passed the Senate 43-7 On House debate calendar

 

SF430 (Formerly SF 281) – School Based Mental Health Services - This bill appropriates $2.5 million to the Department of Education for FY 2015-2016 for purposes of awarding grants to Area Education Agencies to provide school-based mental health services in partnership with local mental health providers to students in Iowa’s school districts who could benefit from mental health counseling, and referrals for those students who need more intense mental health counseling.

Approved by Appropriations subcommittee

 

HF 649 (formerly HF 554 and HSB 16) – Teacher Mentoring Funds - This bill provides that a school district is ineligible to receive moneys allocated under the Student Achievement and Teacher Quality Program for purposes of implementing a beginning teacher mentoring and induction program plan if that school district receives Teacher Leadership Supplemental Aid payments for implementing the career paths, leadership roles, and compensation framework or a comparable system approved by the Department of Education.

On House debate calendar.

April 28, 2015

Update on Legislative Activity
  • The regular time for the legislative session ends on May 1st.  Look for at least 3 weeks of "overtime”.  The deadline for schools to give out pink slips is Thursday, April 30th.  In support, many educators across Iowa will be wearing pink that day.  Please join in supporting all of our Iowa educators who are unsure about their future because the legislature has not come to a compromise on the budget. 
  • Thank you to all of the school counselors who contacted their legislators last week.  It is so important we stay connected.  I received many replies and many included a thank you for the work being done as a school counselor.  No one gave a good reason why they couldn’t get the budget worked out this year. It is not a good direction we are heading.
  • Contact your legislators at  https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
  • Remember to use your personal email when making contact with legislators.
  • School Counselor Advocacy Effect Blog
  • Please check out The School Counselor Advocacy Effect Blog entry written this week by Matthew J. Beck.  Matthew is working on his PhD at the University of Iowa.  He shares his story of courageous advocacy and the positive effect it had on him and his community. Thank you Matthew for your passion in advocating for your students.  It is a great story.
  • If you would like to share your story,   please email me at schoolcounseloradvocate@gmail.com

 

Bills of interest provided by The Capital Group

 

SF 171 – Allowable Growth - This bill establishes a state percent of growth of 4 percent for the school budget year beginning July 1, 2015.

In House/Senate Conference Committee.

 

SF 345 and HF 490  – Anti-Bullying - This bill requires the director of the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to ensure each school district has access to adequate training on conducting investigations of complaints of incidents of harassment or bullying pursuant to the state law relating to school anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies, by offering such training on an annual basis to at least one employee per district. The bill also requires the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to establish a student mentoring pilot program to explore how student leadership can help prevent bullying and violence in schools. The program will promote best practices for bullying and violence prevention for middle and high school students. The Department must establish the program in at least two middle schools and two high schools, which shall include both urban and rural schools. The department must also establish criteria for selection of participating schools and evaluation of the program.  The bill requires the Department convene a public-private work group of representatives of state and

local agencies, citizens, community groups, and organizations who have experience and expertise in the areas of anti-bullying education, research, and training. One member of the group shall be a school counselor. The work group, after reviewing existing research, data, and strategies, will provide recommendations to the Department regarding matters to enhance statewide school climate improvement and bullying prevention, awareness, and intervention.

 

The Department is required convene the work group by October 1, 2015. The work group is to submit its findings and recommendations in a final report to the Department and the chairpersons and ranking members of the Senate and House Education Committees by December 15, 2016.

Passed the Senate 43-7 On House debate calendar

Approved by House Committee.  Referred to Appropriations

 

SF430 (Formerly SF 281) – School Based Mental Health Services - This bill appropriates $2.5 million to the Department of Education for FY 2015-2016 for purposes of awarding grants to Area Education Agencies to provide school-based mental health services in partnership with local mental health providers to students in Iowa’s school districts who could benefit from mental health counseling, and referrals for those students who need more intense mental health counseling.

Approved by Appropriations committee

 

HF 649 (formerly HF 554 and HSB 16) – Teacher Mentoring Funds - This bill provides that a school district is ineligible to receive moneys allocated under the Student Achievement and Teacher Quality Program for purposes of implementing a beginning teacher mentoring and induction program plan if that school district receives Teacher Leadership Supplemental Aid payments for implementing the career paths, leadership roles, and compensation framework or a comparable system approved by the Department of Education.

On House debate calendar.

April 22, 2015

Advocacy Alert

Please consider participating in the April 22 Virtual Lobby Day effort supported by the Coalition for Public Education. Members of the coalition include ISEA, Urban Education Network, School Administrators of Iowa, Iowa Association of School Boards, Iowa Area Education Agencies, and Rural Schools Advocates of Iowa.

Share your stories and tell lawmakers that a 1.25 % increase in Supplemental State Aid is not enough for our students.  Email, call, and text your senators and representatives to tell them your stories.  Use social media to send messages.  The legislators and governor need to hear from school counselors!!

Check out the School Counselor Advocacy Effect Blog to read a response from one of our Iowa senators in support of a compromise on school funding.

April 20, 2015

  • Update on Legislative Activity
    • Please join educators, parents, school board members, administrators, students, community members and everyone in Iowa interested in the future of education.  On Wednesday, April 22, there will be a rally for a virtual lobby day.  The goal is to inundate folks at the Capital with emails, phone calls, text messages and whatever it takes to send a message about adequate school funding.  The Governor’s proposal of 1.25 percent is not going to be enough for our Iowa students. Please share your stories.  Contact all of your representatives. Please include:
  • School Counselor Advocacy Effect Blog
    • Please check out The School Counselor Advocacy Effect blog entry written by Trista Thompson.  Trista is a high school counselor at Fort Dodge Community Schools and a member of the ISCA Advocacy committee. She shares how she got to know her representatives and gives some great suggestions.  If you would like to share your story, please email me at schoolcounseloradvocate@gmail.com
  • There is also action going on at the federal level that involves school counselors.
    • This is from Amanda Fitzgerald, the ASCA Director of Public Policy.
      • The ESSCP (Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program) amendment passed on Friday.  This means the program will be included in the Every Child Achieves Act when it is brought up on the Senate floor later this month. This is a big win for school counseling!

Bills of interest provided by The Capital Group

SF 171 – Allowable Growth - This bill establishes a state percent of growth of 4 percent for the school budget year beginning July 1, 2015.
In House/Senate Conference Committee.

SF 345 and HF 490 – Anti-Bullying - This bill requires the director of the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to ensure each school district has access to adequate training on conducting investigations of complaints of incidents of harassment or bullying pursuant to the state law relating to school anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies, by offering such training on an annual basis to at least one employee per district. The bill also requires the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to establish a student mentoring pilot program to explore how student leadership can help prevent bullying and violence in schools. The program will promote best practices for bullying and violence prevention for middle and high school students. The Department must establish the program in at least two middle schools and two high schools, which shall include both urban and rural schools. The department must also establish criteria for selection of participating schools and evaluation of the program.  The bill requires the Department convene a public-private work group of representatives of state and local agencies, citizens, community groups, and organizations who have experience and expertise in the areas of anti-bullying education, research, and training. One member of the group shall be a school counselor. The work group, after reviewing existing research, data, and strategies, will provide recommendations to the Department regarding matters to enhance statewide school climate improvement and bullying prevention, awareness, and intervention.

The Department is required convene the work group by October 1, 2015. The work group is to submit its findings and recommendations in a final report to the Department and the chairpersons and ranking members of the Senate and House Education Committees by December 15, 2016.
Passed the Senate 43-7 On House debate calendar
Approved by House Committee. Referred to Appropriations

SF430 (Formerly SF 281) – School Based Mental Health Services - This bill appropriates $2.5 million to the Department of Education for FY 2015-2016 for purposes of awarding grants to Area Education Agencies to provide school-based mental health services in partnership with local mental health providers to students in Iowa’s school districts who could benefit from mental health counseling, and referrals for those students who need more intense mental health counseling.
Approved by Appropriations sub-committee

HF 554 (formerly HSB 16) - This bill provides that a school district is ineligible to receive moneys allocated under the Student Achievement and Teacher Quality Program for purposes of implementing a beginning teacher mentoring and induction program plan if that school district receives Teacher Leadership Supplemental Aid payments for implementing the career paths, leadership roles, and compensation framework or a comparable system approved by the Department of Education.
In House Appropriations Committee

April 14, 2015

  • Update on Legislative Activity
    • Budget talks for the school funding are still not resolved.  Hopes for an on-time end to the 2015 Session of the Iowa Legislature have all but been dashed and time is running out!  The failure to reach an agreement on school funding has brought all other money and tax decisions to a halt.
    • Please contact your legislators and join the rest of Iowa’s administrators, teachers, school board members, staff, parents, students and community members. If we do not stand for school counselors, no one else will!!
    • Last year, several school counselors were shared with other districts due to getting financial incentives from the Operational Sharing Bill.  Many administrators may be considering using this bill this year.  Please let us know if your school is adding or taking away school counselors using the Operational Sharing Bill.
  • Contact your legislators at  https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
    • Remember to use your personal email when making contact with legislators.
    • Check out your weekly forums and attend!  Speak up for school counselors!!

Bills of interest provided by The Capital Group

SF 171 – Allowable Growth - This bill establishes a state percent of growth of 4 percent for the school budget year beginning July 1, 2015.

In House/Senate Conference Committee.

SF 345 and HF 490 – Anti-Bullying - This bill requires the director of the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to ensure each school district has access to adequate training on conducting investigations of complaints of incidents of harassment or bullying pursuant to the state law relating to school anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies, by offering such training on an annual basis to at least one employee per district. The bill also requires the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to establish a student mentoring pilot program to explore how student leadership can help prevent bullying and violence in schools. The program will promote best practices for bullying and violence prevention for middle and high school students. The Department must establish the program in at least two middle schools and two high schools, which shall include both urban and rural schools. The department must also establish criteria for selection of participating schools and evaluation of the program.  The bill requires the Department convene a public-private work group of representatives of state and local agencies, citizens, community groups, and organizations who have experience and expertise in the areas of anti-bullying education, research, and training. One member of the group shall be a school counselor. The work group, after reviewing existing research, data, and strategies, will provide recommendations to the Department regarding matters to enhance statewide school climate improvement and bullying prevention, awareness, and intervention.

The Department is required convene the work group by October 1, 2015. The work group is to submit its findings and recommendations in a final report to the Department and the chairpersons and ranking members of the Senate and House Education Committees by December 15, 2016.
Passed the Senate 43-7 On House debate calendar
Approved by House Committee. Referred to Appropriations

SF 281 – School Based Mental Health Services - This bill appropriates $2.5 million to the Department of Education for FY 2015-2016 for purposes of awarding grants to Area Education Agencies to provide school-based mental health services in partnership with local mental health providers to students in Iowa’s school districts who could benefit from mental health counseling, and referrals for those students who need more intense mental health counseling.
Approved by Appropriations sub-committee

HF 554 (formerly HSB 16) - This bill provides that a school district is ineligible to receive moneys allocated under the Student Achievement and Teacher Quality Program for purposes of implementing a beginning teacher mentoring and induction program plan if that school district receives Teacher Leadership Supplemental Aid payments for implementing the career paths, leadership roles, and compensation framework or a comparable system approved by the Department of Education.
In House Appropriations Committee


April 6, 2015

  • Legislative Update
    • The school start date issue has been resolved.  Schools cannot begin earlier than August 23rd
    • There was a compromise offered by the Senate Democrats from 4% to 2.625% for supplemental school aid. The House Republicans rejected the offer. Please let your legislators know if your school is making budget cuts and how it affects students.
    • Contact your legislators at  https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
      • Remember to use your personal email when making contact with legislators.
  • School Counselor Advocacy Effect Blog
    • The purpose of the blog will be to share more information and also give examples of how ISCA members are stepping up!  Hopefully, it will be a great place to exchange ideas and become a helpful resource in encouraging each other to continue our efforts.  If you have ideas or stories to share, please email me at schoolcounseloradvocate@gmail.com. I look forward to sharing this with everyone!!
  • Message from The Capital Group - Second Funnel Passes
    • Two important ISCA backed bills have cleared the second procedural hurdle of the legislative session.  The so-called “second funnel,” is the procedural date by which Senate bills to be reported out of House committees and House bills out of Senate committees.
    • These bills are Senate File 345, the anti-bullying bill and Senate File 410, which provides immunity from certain criminal offenses for a person who seeks medical assistance for a person experiencing an overdose will likely see votes by the House within the next month.
    • Thanks to the ISCA members who visited the State Capitol to talk to lawmakers about these, and other, important issues.  Your face to face discussions with Senators and Representatives are having a great impact on the legislative process.

Bills of interest provided by The Capital Group

SF 171 – Allowable Growth - This bill establishes a state percent of growth of 4 percent for the school budget year beginning July 1, 2015.

In House/Senate Conference Committee.

 

SF 345 and HF 490  – Anti-Bullying - This bill requires the director of the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to ensure each school district has access to adequate training on conducting investigations of complaints of incidents of harassment or bullying pursuant to the state law relating to school anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies, by offering such training on an annual basis to at least one employee per district. The bill also requires the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to establish a student mentoring pilot program to explore how student leadership can help prevent bullying and violence in schools. The program will promote best practices for bullying and violence prevention for middle and high school students. The Department must establish the program in at least two middle schools and two high schools, which shall include both urban and rural schools. The department must also establish criteria for selection of participating schools and evaluation of the program.  The bill requires the Department convene a public-private work group of representatives of state and local agencies, citizens, community groups, and organizations who have experience and expertise in the areas of anti-bullying education, research, and training. One member of the group shall be a school counselor. The work group, after reviewing existing research, data, and strategies, will provide recommendations to the Department regarding matters to enhance statewide school climate improvement and bullying prevention, awareness, and intervention.

 

The Department is required convene the work group by October 1, 2015. The work group is to submit its findings and recommendations in a final report to the Department and the chairpersons and ranking members of the Senate and House Education Committees by December 15, 2016.

Passed the Senate 43-7 On House debate calendar

Approved by House Committee.  Referred to Appropriations

 

SF 281 – School Based Mental Health Services - This bill appropriates $2.5 million to the Department of Education for FY 2015-2016 for purposes of awarding grants to Area Education Agencies to provide school-based mental health services in partnership with local mental health providers to students in Iowa’s school districts who could benefit from mental health counseling, and referrals for those students who need more intense mental health counseling.

Approved by Appropriations sub-committee

 

SF 410 – Overdose Prevention - This bill relates to drug overdose prevention and the prescription and administration of opioid antagonists, and provides immunity from certain criminal offenses for a person who seeks medical assistance for a person experiencing an overdose.

Passed the Senate 44-2.  On House debate calendar.

 

HF 554 (formerly HSB 16) - This bill provides that a school district is ineligible to receive moneys allocated under the Student Achievement and Teacher Quality Program for purposes of implementing a beginning teacher mentoring and induction program plan if that school district receives Teacher Leadership Supplemental Aid payments for implementing the career paths, leadership roles, and compensation framework or a comparable system approved by the Department of Education.

In House Appropriations Committee

March 30, 2015

  • Update on Legislative Activity
    • Sorry, it has been a couple of weeks since the last update.  Unfortunately, not much has changed in the Iowa legislature.  The Senate Democrats are still supporting a 4% increase for SSA (Student Supplemental Aid).  The House Republicans are not budging at their proposal for a 1.25% increase. If they do not come to a compromise, it could mean NO increase in SSA.  Obviously, this would be detrimental to our Iowa students.  Please call or email your representatives AND Governor Branstad and share your stories.  Let them know that as constituents, you would like them to hear your voice! 
    • There has also been no decision made on the start date for next fall.  Hopefully, a decision will be shared soon!
  • Spring Break School Counselor’s Visit the Hill Day
    • We had a small group of school counselors visit the hill on St. Patrick’s Day.  We were able to visit with many of the senators and representatives who have been helpful to school counselors this session.  Our lobbyists were excellent hosts, and we were able to advocate for school counselors and share our stories face to face.  One of the major highlights was when we talked to Senator Tim Kraayenbrink of the Fort Dodge area.  Trista Thompson, a member of the ISCA Advocacy Committee, and high school counselor at Fort Dodge CSD, has spoken to Senator Kraayenbrink several times.  When talking about funding for IHAPI next year, Senator Kraayenbrink was quoted as saying, “I have spoken to Trista several times.  I am a Trista fan.”  This acknowledgment is an enormous win for school counselors.  Thank you, Trista for your advocacy efforts and thanks to everyone who has made contact with their legislators this year. 
    • Also, the day we were there, many ISEA (Iowa State Education Association) folks were at the capital keeping on eye on HF549 which is related to collective bargaining and arbitration.  Since school counselors are on the same contract as teachers, we need to pay attention. 
  • Contact your legislators at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
    • Please attend a forum or contact your legislators.  There are a lot of bills that could affect school counselors still under consideration. 
  • School Counselor Advocacy Effect Blog
    • The email updates are meant to be informative but short so members will take the time to read them and know what is going on at a state level.  I also would like to share pictures and other relevant information about advocacy efforts in a blog.  It is called The School Counselor Advocacy Effect.  The purpose of the blog will be to share more information and also give examples of how ISCA members are stepping up!  Hopefully, it will be a great place to exchange ideas and become a helpful resource in encouraging each other to continue our efforts.  If you have ideas or stories to share, please email me at schoolcounseloradvocate@gmail.com.  Please check it out now! I look forward to sharing this with everyone!!

   

Bills of interest provided by The Capital Group

 

SF 171 – Allowable Growth - This bill establishes a state percent of growth of 4 percent for the school budget year beginning July 1, 2015.
In House/Senate Conference Committee.

 

SF 345 and HF 490  – Anti-Bullying - This bill requires the director of the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to ensure each school district has access to adequate training on conducting investigations of complaints of incidents of harassment or bullying pursuant to the state law relating to school anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies, by offering such training on an annual basis to at least one employee per district. The bill also requires the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to establish a student mentoring pilot program to explore how student leadership can help prevent bullying and violence in schools. The program will promote best practices for bullying and violence prevention for middle and high school students. The Department must establish the program in at least two middle schools and two high schools, which shall include both urban and rural schools. The department must also establish criteria for selection of participating schools and evaluation of the program.  The bill requires the Department convene a public-private work group of representatives of state and local agencies, citizens, community groups, and organizations who have experience and expertise in the areas of anti-bullying education, research, and training. One member of the group shall be a school counselor. The work group, after reviewing existing research, data, and strategies, will provide recommendations to the Department regarding matters to enhance statewide school climate improvement and bullying prevention, awareness, and intervention.

The Department is required convene the work group by October 1, 2015. The work group is to submit its findings and recommendations in a final report to the Department and the chairpersons and ranking members of the Senate and House Education Committees by December 15, 2016.
On Senate debate calendar Approved by House Committee.  Referred to Appropriations

SF 281 – School Based Mental Health Services - This bill appropriates $2.5 million to the Department of Education for FY 2015-2016 for purposes of awarding grants to Area Education Agencies to provide school-based mental health services in partnership with local mental health providers to students in Iowa’s school districts who could benefit from mental health counseling, and referrals for those students who need more intense mental health counseling.
Approved by Appropriations sub-committee

HF 559 (Formerly HF 462) – High School Equivalency Eligibility - This bill permits an applicant for a high school equivalency diploma to request a waiver from the Department of Education of the eligibility requirements for a diploma. The bill requires the Department to grant such a waiver if the Department determines that such a waiver would be in the best interests of the applicant. To be eligible for a high school equivalency diploma under current law, an applicant must have attained the age of 18 years, not be a high school graduate, and not be currently enrolled in a secondary school.
On House debate calendar

HF 554 (formerly HSB 16) - This bill provides that a school district is ineligible to receive moneys allocated under the Student Achievement and Teacher Quality Program for purposes of implementing a beginning teacher mentoring and induction program plan if that school district receives Teacher Leadership Supplemental Aid payments for implementing the career paths, leadership roles, and compensation framework or a comparable system approved by the Department of Education.
On House debate calendar
Susan Langan
ISCA Advocacy/Government Relations Chair

March 13, 2015

  • Do you have spring break next week?
  • Did you miss the ISCA Visit the Hill Day?
  • Do you want to do some school counselor advocacy?

 

Please join us on Tuesday, March 17th.  We will meet for lunch and go to the Capital and visit with representatives and senators to discuss important school counselor issues.  If you are interested, please email susan.langan@cfschools.org or call at 319-239-7042.

 

Thank you for your efforts!  Please attend a forum in your area this weekend.  Send an email to share your thoughts on the supplemental student aid situation.  We all need to STEP UP!!

March 9, 2015

  • ADVOCACY WORKS
    • The Advocacy committee would like to thank everyone who took time to contact the legislators a couple of weeks ago.  A School Counselor will be on the committee formed under the Bullying Bill.  Bill HF 322 submitted by Josh Byrnes, to establish a task force on professional school counselor program requirements has not gone any further.  It is a WIN for us and proof that it is a very beneficial system when our lobbyists contact us and we all go into action.  Keep up the great work!
  • ISCA/Iowa ACAC Visit the Hill Day was a great day to advocate. 
    • Unfortunately, many of our attendees had to cancel due to the weather.  We still had very interesting morning sessions and Dr. Brad Buck, from the Department of Education, shared updates in his opening remarks.  If any of you get a chance, please go the Capital and talk to the legislators. It is an excellent opportunity for us to share our stories in person!  During the week of March 16-20 is spring break for many schools.  Let Susan Langan at susan.langan@cfschools.org know if you would like to participate in a spring break visit the hill day!
  • Contact your legislators at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
    • Please attend a forum or contact your legislators.  There are a lot of bills that could affect school counselors still under consideration.  The Student Supplemental Aid has still not yet been determined and the House majority will not move from the 1.25 proposal.  This proposal is very detrimental to all schools and could mean serious budget cuts.  

Bills of interest provided by The Capital Group

First Funnel Passes

  • With the fall of the gavel this past Friday, the first procedural hurdle of the 2015 Session of the Iowa Legislature has come and gone.  The first “funnel,” as it is known, is the date by which all policy bills must be affirmatively reported out of one committee in the house of the bill's origin. If this is not achieved, the bill is no longer eligible for debate this year. The only exception to this rule are bills in the Appropriations, Ways and Means and Government Oversight committees.  Now that this procedural hurdle has been passed, work will soon being in earnest on policy and spending bills.

 

SF 345 and HF 490  – Anti-Bullying - This bill requires the director of the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to ensure each school district has access to adequate training on conducting investigations of complaints of incidents of harassment or bullying pursuant to the state law relating to school anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies, by offering such training on an annual basis to at least one employee per district. The bill also requires the Department of Education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to establish a student mentoring pilot program to explore how student leadership can help prevent bullying and violence in schools. The program will promote best practices for bullying and violence prevention for middle and high school students. The Department must establish the program in at least two middle schools and two high schools, which shall include both urban and rural schools. The department must also establish criteria for selection of participating schools and evaluation of the program.  The bill requires the Department convene a public-private work group of representatives of state andlocal agencies, citizens, community groups, and organizations who have experience and expertise in the areas of anti-bullying education, research, and training. One member of the group shall be a school counselor. The work group, after reviewing existing research, data, and strategies, will provide recommendations to the Department regarding matters to enhance statewide school climate improvement and bullying prevention, awareness, and intervention.

 

The Department is required convene the work group by October 1, 2015. The work group is to submit its findings and recommendations in a final report to the Department and the chairpersons and ranking members of the Senate and House Education Committees by December 15, 2016.

 

SF 281 – School Based Mental Health Services - This bill appropriates $2.5 million to the Department of Education for FY 2015-2016 for purposes of awarding grants to Area Education Agencies to provide school-based mental health services in partnership with local mental health providers to students in Iowa’s school districts who could benefit from mental health counseling, and referrals for those students who need more intense mental health counseling.

 

Passed by committee. Referred to Appropriations Committee.

 

SF 171 – Allowable Growth - This bill establishes a state percent of growth of 4 percent for the school budget year beginning July 1, 2015.

 

In House/Senate Conference Committee.

 

SSB 1236 – School Attendance – Included in this omnibus bill is a provision that establishes supplementary weighting for programs serving at-risk pupils and alternative school pupils in secondary schools to add alternative programs for secondary school pupils and programs for returning dropouts The bill expands the definitions of returning dropouts and potential dropouts for purposes of returning dropout and dropout prevention programs and services; program plans, budgets, and appropriate uses

of funding for such programs and services; and for requests for and use of modified supplemental amounts for such programs and services. The bill also expands the definition of “potential dropouts” to include children toward whom harassment or bullying is directed and adds harassment and bullying prevention programs, training, and initiatives to the list of appropriate uses of the returning dropout and dropout prevention program.

 

HF 462 – High School Equivalency Eligibility - This bill permits an applicant for a high school equivalency diploma to request a waiver from the Department of Education of the eligibility requirements for a diploma. The bill requires the Department to grant such a waiver if the Department determines that such a waiver would be in the best interests of the applicant. To be eligible for a high school equivalency diploma under current law, an applicant must have attained the age of 18 years, not be a high school graduate, and not be currently enrolled in a secondary school.

 

SF31 – Conversion Therapy Banning Bill- A bill for an act relating to sexual orientation change efforts and making penalties applicable.  Passed subcommittee.

February 24, 2015

Advocacy Alert

There are a couple of things that are going on right now that need your attention.  Please take a few minutes and send an email or call TODAY.  Remember to use your personal email when emailing legislators.

 

The Bullying Bills are HSB39 and SSB 1044.  They are both the same but one is house and one is senate.  The SSB1044 bill has been replaced yesterday by a bill that would require a Bullying and School Climate Task Force to study the issues and come up with recommendations.  THERE are NO SCHOOL COUNSELORS on this committee.  There are administrators but not school counselors.  We all need to email the following 3 senators and ask them to include an elementary and secondary counselor on the school climate and bullying workgroup.  They have a committee meeting on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. so we need to email ASAP.  The emails do not have to be long but you need to share the importance to have school counselors on the committee.  Share your stories!!

 

Rob Hogg at rob.hogg@legis.iowa.gov

Robert Dvorsky at robert.dvorsky@legis.iowa.gov

David Johnson at david.johnson@legis.iowa.gov

 

HSB 39  

http://coolice.legis.iowa.gov/Cool-ICE/default.asp?Category=billinfo&Service=Billbook&menu=false&ga=86&hbill=HSB39

 

SSB1044

http://coolice.legis.iowa.gov/Cool-ICE/default.asp?Category=billinfo&Service=Billbook&menu=false&ga=86&hbill=SSB1044

 

The second bill is HF 322 that has been introduced by Josh Byrnes.  Here is the link to the bill.  

 

http://coolice.legis.iowa.gov/Cool-ICE/default.asp?Category=billinfo&Service=Billbook&menu=false&hbill=HF322

 

He has called a committee meeting for 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning.  Kris Meyer and I are contacting Josh to find out more about the bill.  I think it goes back to the bill he tried to sponsor a few years ago to require school counselors to take another class to be prepared for career counseling.  This bill includes UNI folks, DE folks, and one person from ISCA.  I am not sure what the intentions are, but we need to email and ask more details about this bill.   

 

Contact Josh Byrnes at josh.byrnes@legis.iowa.gov to find out more about this bill.

 

Thank you for your support.  Please take action today!! We are looking forward to a great Visit the Hill Day tomorrow!

February 18, 2015

  • Have you signed up for the ISCA and Iowa ACAC Visit the Hill Day on February 25th? Check out the flyer at https://www.smore.com/4wqw0. Registration is closing TODAY!
  • Contact your legislators at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find.
    • Please let them know your stories!!  The debate on Supplemental Student Aid continues and legislators did not set it in the 30 days after the budget was shared.   Add your name to this petition designed in support of adequate and timely school funding today. The petition is presented by the Iowa State Education Association, School Administrators of Iowa, the Iowa Association of School Boards, Iowa Area Education Agencies, Rural Schools Advocates of Iowa and the Urban Education Network of Iowa in support of adequate and timely school funding.  Sign the petition at:  http://chn.ge/1A4rpUj  
  • Check out the White Paper Bully Free Act proposed by Governor Branstad at http://bit.ly/1L9dga8.  
  • Contact Congress and share your views on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (aka No Child Left Behind). Tell your member of Congress to support opportunities for ALL students.

Bills of interest provided by The Capital Group

 

HF 176 – Twice Exceptional Student Task Force

This bill requires the Department of Education to establish a twice exceptional student task force to identify best practices for the education of twice exceptional middle and high school students, and to promote such practices in Iowa schools. The bill defines “twice exceptional student” as a student who is a gifted and talented child and who also has a physical, intellectual, learning, or other disability, including but not limited to a behavioral, emotional, or autism spectrum disorder.

Referred to Education.

 

HSB 61 (also SSB 1074) – Dropouts and At-Risk Students

This bill makes changes relating to at-risk programs, alternative programs and alternative schools, and returning dropout and dropout prevention programs and funding for the schools and programs. The bill modifies a provision that establishes supplementary weighting for programs serving at-risk pupils and alternative school pupils in secondary schools to add alternative programs for secondary school pupils and programs for returning dropouts and dropout prevention.

Subcommittee assigned, Dolecheck, Jorgensen, and Steckman. (SSB 1074 Subcommittee: Quirmbach, Hogg, and Johnson.)

 

HSB 59 – Concurrent Enrollment

This bill allows regents universities and accredited private institutions to participate in the concurrent enrollment program administered by the department of education. Currently, the program provides supplementary weighting for school districts that send their resident high school pupils to a community college for college-level classes.

Approved by the subcommittee.

 

HSB 39 (also SSB 1044) – Governor's Anti-Bullying Proposal

The bill requires the director of the Department of Education, to ensure each school district has access to adequate training on conducting investigations of complaints of incidents of harassment or bullying by offering such training on an annual basis to at least one employee per district.

The bill also requires the Department of Education to establish a student mentoring pilot program to explore how student leadership can help prevent bullying and violence in schools. The program shall promote best practices for bullying and violence prevention for middle and high school students. The definitions of "harassment" and "bullying" are changed in this bill by adding behavior, friendship or relationship with others, or any other distinguishing characteristic to the definition. The bill provides that the definition of "harassment" and "bullying" is to be construed broadly to achieve the purposes of the law.

Subcommittee assigned, Stanerson, Byrnes, and Mascher. (SSB 1044 Subcommittee: Hogg, Dvorsky, and Johnson.)

 

SF 162 – School Climate Assistance Office

This bill establishes a school climate technical assistance office in the state Department of education. The office would assist school districts and accredited nonpublic schools in providing a safe and supportive learning environment and fostering academic achievement for all students by focusing on prevention, intervention, support, and recovery efforts to develop and maintain safe and supportive schools. The office would also be responsible for coordination of state and department efforts to facilitate positive school climates in public and accredited nonpublic schools. The office would be tasked to solicit input from social media experts in implementing the bill. Referred to Education.

 

SF 6 – Dropout Prevention

The bill adds children toward whom harassment or bullying is directed to that list of specified

characteristics for potential dropouts. The bill also adds harassment and bullying prevention programs, training, and initiatives to the list of appropriate uses of returning dropout and dropout prevention program funding.

Subcommittee, Quirmbach, Hogg, and Johnson.

 

SSB 1100 – Dropout Prevention

This bill expands the definitions of returning dropouts and potential dropouts for purposes of returning dropout and dropout prevention programs and services; program plans, budgets, and appropriate uses of funding for such programs and services; and for requests for and use of modified supplemental amounts for such programs and services.

Subcommittee: Quirmbach, Wilhelm, and Sinclair.

 

SSB 1138 – Compulsory School Age Increase

This bill raises the maximum compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18. Subcommittee: Quirmbach, Dvorsky, and Schultz.

 

Susan Langan
ISCA Advocacy/Government Relations Chair

February 11, 2015

  • Please take a few minutes to fill out this VERY important survey on Iowa Code 279.61.  This is important stuff!!   https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2T35Y8Y.  Now is your chance to share your thoughts!!  Please take advantage of this opportunity!!
    • Iowa field input is a valuable part of the decision making process.
    • Iowa Code 279.61 was implemented in school year 2009.  Iowa Code section 279.61.  Known as I Have A PlanIowa (IHAPI®), the Career and Technical Education (CTE) task force is currently reviewing code and preparing to make recommendations for the mandate beyond the 2014-2015 school year.
    • Districts utilizing IHAPI (or another career information system to comply with Iowa Code 279.61 and report to the state) and other stakeholders in the college and career planning process (parents, students, secondary, postsecondary, workforce development, economic development, etc.) have an opportunity to share input with the CTE task force by taking part in the survey.   The survey is anonymous.
    • Input will be shared with the CTE task force charged with recommending possible revisions to Iowa Code 279.61. 
    • Anticipated recommendations will occur sometime before the end of calendar year 2015.
  • Have you signed up for the ISCA and Iowa ACAC Visit the Hill Day on February 25th.  Register and download the travel scholarship application to bring your students at http://www.iowaschoolcounselors.org/page-1785591?  We are planning some great sessions!!

 

o    The Iowa Senate introduced Senate Study Bill 1140 and Senate Study Bill 1143 which call for a 4 percent increase in Supplemental State Aid (SSA) each year for the next two years. This is far superior to the Iowa House plan which calls for a 1.25 percent increase in SSA for one year.  School districts are budgeting for next year.  I have heard from several schools they are considering cutting school counselors!!  Share your stories!!  It is critical!!

o    Add your name to this petition in support of adequate and timely school funding today. Debate on education funding is expected to begin next week and we need to make sure all lawmakers know where we stand. The petition is presented by the Iowa State Education Association, School Administrators of Iowa, the Iowa Association of School Boards, Iowa Area Education Agencies, Rural Schools Advocates of Iowa and the Urban Education Network of Iowa in support of adequate and timely school funding.  Sign the petition at:  https://www.change.org/p/the-iowa-legislature-provide-adequate-funding-for-iowa-s-public-schools?

 

Bills of interest provided by The Capital Group

 

HSB 61 (also SSB 1074) – Dropouts and At-Risk Students
This bill makes changes relating to at-risk programs, alternative programs and alternative schools, and returning dropout and dropout prevention programs and funding for the schools and programs. The bill modifies a provision that establishes supplementary weighting for programs serving at-risk pupils and alternative school pupils in secondary schools to add alternative programs for secondary school pupils and programs for returning dropouts and dropout prevention.
Subcommittee assigned, Dolecheck, Jorgensen, and Steckman. (SSB 1074 Subcommittee: Quirmbach, Hogg, and Johnson.)

 

HSB 59 – Concurrent Enrollment
This bill allows regents universities and accredited private institutions to participate in the concurrent enrollment program administered by the department of education. Currently, the program provides supplementary weighting for school districts that send their resident high school pupils to a community college for college-level classes.

Approved by the subcommittee.

 

HSB 39 (also SSB 1044) – Governor's Anti-Bullying Proposal
The bill requires the director of the Department of Education, to ensure each school district has access to adequate training on conducting investigations of complaints of incidents of harassment or bullying by offering such training on an annual basis to at least one employee per district.

The bill also requires the Department of Education to establish a student mentoring pilot program to explore how student leadership can help prevent bullying and violence in schools. The program shall promote best practices for bullying and violence prevention for middle and high school students. The definitions of "harassment" and "bullying" are changed in this bill by adding behavior, friendship or relationship with others, or any other distinguishing characteristic to the definition. The bill provides that the definition of "harassment" and "bullying" is to be construed broadly to achieve the purposes of the law.
Subcommittee assigned, Stanerson, Byrnes, and Mascher. (SSB 1044 Subcommittee: Hogg, Dvorsky, and Johnson.)

 

SF 162 – School Climate Assistance Office

This bill establishes a school climate technical assistance office in the state Department of education. The office would assist school districts and accredited nonpublic schools in providing a safe and supportive learning environment and fostering academic achievement for all students by focusing on prevention, intervention, support, and recovery efforts to develop and maintain safe and supportive schools. The office would also be responsible for coordination of state and department efforts to facilitate positive school climates in public and accredited nonpublic schools. The office would be tasked to solicit input from social media experts in implementing the bill. Referred to Education.

 

SF 6 – Dropout Prevention

The bill adds children toward whom harassment or bullying is directed to that list of specified characteristics for potential dropouts. The bill also adds harassment and bullying prevention programs, training, and initiatives to the list of appropriate uses of returning dropout and dropout prevention program funding.

Subcommittee, Quirmbach, Hogg, and Johnson.

 

SSB 1100 – Dropout Prevention

This bill expands the definitions of returning dropouts and potential dropouts for purposes of returning dropout and dropout prevention programs and services; program plans, budgets, and appropriate uses of funding for such programs and services; and for requests for and use of modified supplemental amounts for such programs and services.

Subcommittee: Quirmbach, Wilhelm, and Sinclair.

 

SSB 1138 – Compulsory School Age Increase

This bill raises the maximum compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18. Subcommittee: Quirmbach, Dvorsky, and Schultz.

 

Susan Langan
ISCA Advocacy/Government Relations Chair

February 4, 2015

“If we do not advocate for our profession, no one else will.
If we do not define our profession, someone else will.”

These are critical quotes during a time when ALL Iowa school counselors need to step it up for advocacy.  We have the best job in the whole world, and we work hard.  However, we need to find time to share our stories so administrators, parents, students, community members and legislators understand our role in helping children become successful and productive citizens. 

There are many ways to advocate for school counselors and this week is a perfect time to do something….one thing……anything.  Be BOLD!

  • Thank Senate Democrats for their proposal for a 4% increase in student supplemental aid. 
  • Share your thoughts about the Bullying Bill.  Nate Monson, Iowa Safe Schools shared that the training needs to be focused on bully prevention.  The current bill addresses bullying after the fact. The Legislature needs to assign a Task Force to address the issue of school culture including bullying prevention and make recommendations such as training, programming, and administrative rules for Iowa Code 280.28.  Parents need to be involved.

Bills of interest provided by The Capital Group

HSB 61 (also SSB 1074) – Dropouts and At-Risk Students
This bill makes changes relating to at-risk programs, alternative programs and alternative schools, and returning dropout and dropout prevention programs and funding for the schools and programs. The bill modifies a provision that establishes supplementary weighting for programs serving at-risk pupils and alternative school pupils in secondary schools to add alternative programs for secondary school pupils and programs for returning dropouts and dropout prevention.
Subcommittee assigned, Dolecheck, Jorgensen, and Steckman. (SSB 1074 Subcommittee: Quirmbach, Hogg, and Johnson.)

HSB 59 – Concurrent Enrollment
This bill allows regents universities and accredited private institutions to participate in the concurrent enrollment program administered by the department of education. Currently, the program provides supplementary weighting for school districts that send their resident high school pupils to a community college for college-level classes.
Approved by the subcommittee.

HSB 39 (also SSB 1044) – Governor's Anti-Bullying Proposal
The bill requires the director of the Department of Education, to ensure each school district has access to adequate training on conducting investigations of complaints of incidents of harassment or bullying by offering such training on an annual basis to at least one employee per district.
The bill also requires the Department of Education to establish a student mentoring pilot program to explore how student leadership can help prevent bullying and violence in schools. The program shall promote best practices for bullying and violence prevention for middle and high school students. The definitions of "harassment" and "bullying" are changed in this bill by adding behavior, friendship or relationship with others, or any other distinguishing characteristic to the definition. The bill provides that the definition of "harassment" and "bullying" is to be construed broadly to achieve the purposes of the law.
Subcommittee assigned, Stanerson, Byrnes, and Mascher. (SSB 1044 Subcommittee: Hogg, Dvorsky, and Johnson.)

SF 6 – Dropout Prevention
The bill adds children toward whom harassment or bullying is directed to that list of specified characteristics for potential dropouts. The bill also adds harassment and bullying prevention programs, training, and initiatives to the list of appropriate uses of returning dropout and dropout prevention program funding.
Subcommittee, Quirmbach, Hogg, and Johnson.

SSB 1100 – Dropout Prevention This bill expands the definitions of returning dropouts and potential dropouts for purposes of returning dropout and dropout prevention programs and services; program plans, budgets, and appropriate uses of funding for such programs and services; and for requests for and use of modified supplemental amounts for such programs and services.
Subcommittee: Quirmbach, Wilhelm, and Sinclair.

January 19, 2015

Governor Unveils Proposed Budget

Governor Terry Branstad has unveiled his proposed FY 2016 budget. Included in the proposal is one new appropriation of interest:
K-12 Career Planning System: A one-time appropriation of $600,000 for a K-12 Career Planning System to replace the I Have a Plan Iowa (IHAPI) career information and decision-making system that was provided by the College Student Aid Commission in previous years.

Governor's Anti-Bullying Bill Introduced in the House.

House Study Bill 39, the much-anticipated anti-bullying proposal from Governor Terry Branstad, has been introduced in the House.

The bill requires the director of the Department of Education, to ensure each school district has access to adequate training on conducting investigations of complaints of incidents of harassment or bullying by offering such training on an annual basis to at least one employee per district.

The bill also requires the Department of Education to establish a student mentoring pilot program to explore how student leadership can help prevent bullying and violence in schools. The program shall promote best practices for bullying and violence prevention for middle and high school students.

The definitions of "harassment" and "bullying" are changed in this bill by adding behavior, friendship or relationship with others, or any other distinguishing characteristic to the definition. The bill provides that the definition of "harassment" and "bullying" is to be construed broadly to achieve the purposes of the law.

Representative Quentin Stanerson is the Chair of the subcommittee assigned to this bill. He is joined on the subcommittee by
Representatives Josh Byrnes and Mary Mascher. No date has yet been set for a meeting of this subcommittee.

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