News & Events Archive


ISCA is excited to partner with RAYGUN for our 2018 shirts. ASCA attendees can take advantage of early-bird ordering and have their shirts for the ASCA conference this summer. All other orders will be available for pick-up at the ISCA Conference in November. 

If you are unable to attend conference you can still get a shirt. We will facilitate deliveries in early 2019 for all those who cannot pick up shirts at conference in November.

Order yours today - this is a limited time opportunity.

The Ride

The RIDE, a three-day bus tour for school counselors, provides a door-to-door, first-hand look at select college campuses and what makes them unique. Each year the RIDE takes counselors to a variety of colleges in a specific region for tours, hands-on learning, meals and even overnights in residence halls!

All transportation, meals, and lodging are taken care of by host colleges and Iowa ACAC. ISCA sponsors The RIDE as part of our partnership with Iowa ACAC.

Take part in this great professional development opportunity June 10-13, 2018.  Learn more and register at https://www.iowaacac.org/the-ride.

Board Leadership Announcement 

Effective June 1, 2018, President Elect Jaclyn Dehner resigned her position on the ISCA board to pursue her Ph.D. in Texas. Per the ISCA By-Laws the Immediate Past-President assumes the vacant position until the executive committee can appoint a replacement. From June 1 until July 1 the role of President Elect will be filled by Immediate Past President Laurel Klaassen. At the April board meeting the executive committee recommended and the board approved the recommendation that President Aimee Hospodarsky stay on and fulfill both President and Immediate Past-President responsibilities for the 2018-2019 year. Aimee has agreed to extend her board term and we thank her for her service. We also wish Jaclyn Dehner best wishes on her new journey with her family.

Save the Date for the ASCA Conference

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) national conference is in Los Angeles this year, July 14-17. The board Presidents represents ISCA at the conference and will be part of the Iowa contingent. If you are planning to attend let Sheryl Cline know by emailing her at sherylcline@gmail.com  so we can include you in any Iowa activities. To learn more about the ASCA conference visit https://www.ascaconferences.org/. It is a wonderful professional development opportunity. If you can make it we highly recommend attending.


The conference committee is now accepting proposals for the 2018 ISCA Conference – Go the Distance: Stepping into the Future. Our annual conference will be held November 4-6, 2018, at the Prairie Meadows Conference Center.

If you have a program and session idea, or experience that would benefit members at conference, consider sharing your expertise by submitting a session proposal here.


The nomination period is open for the 2018 School Counselor of the Year. If you know a deserving counselor, nominate them today. There is an application process for candidates so the sooner you nominate the more time they have to complete the process.


Save the date for the 2018 ISCA Conference – Go the Distance: Stepping into the Future. Our annual conference will be held November 4-6, 2018, at the Prairie Meadows Conference Center. Mark your calendars to attend and watch your inbox over the next few weeks for conference announcements including Keynote speakers. You can also visit www.iowaschoolcounselors.org/conference for all the latest news on conference planning.


Iowa School Mental Health Conference 2018

Join hundreds of teachers, administrators, support staff, counselors, psychologists, therapists, parents, preservice college students and many more from across the midwest for the only school mental health conference in Iowa. Past topics have included suicide prevention, creating a school mental health system in your school, strategies for internalizing and externalizing behaviors, trauma-informed care, creating a trauma-sensitive school, youth perspective, LGBTQ mental health awareness and needs, culturally responsive school mental health, racial trauma, restorative justice, risk factors & resiliency, juvenile justice, and much more.  

Visit www.pleasepassthelove.org/2018-ismh-conference for details and to regsiter.

Governor's 2018 Future Ready Iowa Summit


The Governor’s 2018 Future Ready Iowa Summit, which will be held on Tuesday, April 3, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. The purpose of this all-day event is to amplify the public conversation about transforming education and the workforce, including expanding work-based learning and computer science instruction.

The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, which is hosting the summit, hopes to attract an audience of 1,000 leaders from business and industry preK-12 and postsecondary education, nonprofits, parents, students, elected officials and others, who will take information from the summit back to their communities to build upon existing initiatives.

Speakers include Mary Andringa, chair of the board of Vermeer; Brandon Busteed, Gallup's executive director of education and workforce development; Hadi Partovi, CEO of Code.org; Jeff Weld, senior policy advisor for STEM education at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Jemar Lee, a College Community School District senior and co-founder of EdRevision;  Nicole Smith, chief economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce; and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a computer science education pioneer. The agenda also features a showcase of work-based learning exhibits and breakout sessions.

Registration opened Thursday, Feb. 1, with a $50 fee for adults and no charge for students, at https://iowastem.gov/futurereadyiowasummit


ISCA Board Adds Ad-Hoc Position

College and career readiness continues to be an area of focus for school counselors in Iowa.  At the summer LDI meeting, the ISCA board reflected on a number of initiatives related to this topic, including, but not limited to:

·  Iowa's College and Career Readiness Roadmap Team

·  Iowa's recent definition of College and Career Readiness

·  Go Alliance academies

·  Future Ready Iowa Alliance

·  ISCA's recent research study on College and Career Readiness

·  House File 2392

To help keep lines of communication open and ensure awareness of the important roles that school counselors play in college and career readiness, the board agreed to add a College and Career Readiness Ad-Hoc position.  Due to her past leadership on the board and her role with several of these initiatives, Casey McMurray was suggested for this role and graciously accepted the position.  Casey will work to provide the board with information and advise on how we might continue to promote the role of the school counselor in college and career readiness efforts in Iowa.  


The 2017-2018 Webinar Series schedule is currently being developed with new sessions added throughout the school year. Be sure to take part in this great professional development opportunity. You can learn more on the Members-Only webinar series page.


A great opportunity for high school students, the Golden Circle College & Career Fair offers a wide variety of college and universities from across the country, as well as career-focused resources and employers, and breakout sessions for students and parents. Encourage your students to go and learn more at www.icansucceed.org/goldencircle.

Winter Newsletter Available - visit Members-Only Section


Letter from ISCA President


President Laurel Klaassen sent a letter to members about the growth of ISCA and upcoming changes to the organization. Click here to read it.

OpEd in the Des Moines Register - Counselors play a vital role in getting students career ready

ISCA President Casey McMurray and ISCA Advocacy Chair Susan Langan's OpEd piece on the role of school counselors was published in the Des Moines Register April 7, 2016. Click here to read the piece.

ISCA Announces Suicide Prevention Grant for Members

ISCA is excited to offer a one-time grant opportunity for an ISCA member to implement suicide prevention. Click here to learn more.


ISCA names new Graduate Student Chair

Matt Brown, a graduate student at Buena Vista University, was appointed to the role of School Counseling Graduate Student Chair. His term will begin July 1, 2016.

Update on Career Guidance Work Team

Click here to review the updates on the work of the Career Guidance Team.

ISCA Commissions Statewide Study

ISCA recently commissioned a statewide study to examine the role and practice of Iowa school counselors through the lens of various education stakeholders in addition to school counselors. This study will provide insights into opportunities to better leverage school counselors in supporting college and career readiness standards. Look for more information in April about this statewide study. 

2015 School Counselors of the Year Awarded at Conference

ISCA awarded the 2015 Iowa School Counselors of the Year on Monday, November 2, 2015, during the awards ceremony luncheon at the ISCA Conference. School counselors were selected for each level including elementary, middle, secondary, and K-12. In addition the lifetime achievement award in school counseling and the Henrichs Memorial Award were presented. Read more.

ASCA NEWS - New Council Aims to Boost Students' College and Career Readiness

Nine organizations have joined forces to form the Council of National School Counseling and College Access Organizations, with the goal of supporting every United State student with college and career preparation, access, and success. Through this collaborative council, the member organizations that reach almost 20 million professionals, students and families will develop competencies and identify priorities for professionals who support students in their transition to college and career. Read more.


Counselor Feedback Critical for Proposed Evaluation Practices

Iowans who make up the Council on Educator Development have spent the past two years studying teacher and administrator evaluation practices and professional development. This document represents their preliminary recommendations. The council now needs feedback via an online survey on these recommendations from Iowa’s education community. The survey will be open through Nov. 30, 2015. All survey feedback will remain anonymous. The term “teacher” in the recommendations and the survey refers to certified staff and includes school counselors.

Gathering input is critical not only to this process, it is required by law. The council was formed in the fall of 2013 in response to an education reform package adopted by Iowa lawmakers that year. The legislation, House File 215, calls for a period of feedback beginning Oct. 1, 2015. Once the feedback is collected and analyzed, the council will use it to develop a final report in November 2016.

Please read the recommendations and complete your feedback prior to November 30.

Susan Langan Named Iowa Safe Schools 2015 Educator of the Year

Susan Langan has been a school counselor at Cedar Falls High School for over twenty years.  In her role, she has worked tirelessly for all students including those who identify as LGBTQ. Susan is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa.  She has been a member of numerous organizations including the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA), National Education Association (NEA), American School Counselor Association (ASCA), and the ACT Iowa State Board.  Susan has also served as the President of the Iowa School Counselor Association.   

Executive Director of Iowa Safe Schools Nate Monson said of Susan in her award nomination, "Susan advocates for every single student at Cedar Falls High School no matter the issue.  When trans* students needed an ally to fight for them, Susan was there.  When students who questioned their identity needed someone to talk to, Susan has been there.  She embodies what it means to be a school counselor and sets the bar high."  

Susan will receive the 2015 Educator of the Year at the Spirit Awards on Friday, October 30th in Des Moines.  The Educator of the Year Award is presented to an educator in the state of Iowa who has done exemplary works to protect LGBTQ youth in their school and community.


Heather Weiss Names Iowa ACAC School Counselor of the Year



At their spring conference the Iowa Association for College Admission Counseling (Iowa ACAC) named Shenandoah High School Counselor Heather Weiss their School Counselor of the Year.
ISCA Board Members Meet with Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds


On Thursday, August 6, Meredith Dohmen, Dave Ford, Rob Denson, and I met with Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds to discuss the STEM initiative in Iowa and how school counselors can support STEM education in our Iowa Schools. K-12 school counselors can play an important role in the education of other staff, students, and parents on the STEM careers that are available in Iowa. We hope that Lt. Gov Reynolds and the STEM council can provide tools and resources that K-12 school counselors can use in their school counseling programs to further the understanding of STEM. 

~ Casey McMurray, ISCA President

ASCA National Conference - President's Update

In June, I was able to represent ISCA at the Delegate Assembly and ASCA conference in Phoenix, AZ. Delegate Assembly was a wonderful learning opportunity to network with other school counseling associations and find better practices for our board and other aspects of ISCA.

It was great to share ideas with school counseling leaders of other states and from ASCA. A highlight of Delegate Assembly was receiving ISCA's 50th year plaque. The ASCA conference had many great sessions that I was able to attend. I attended many sessions related to college and career readiness. ASCA conference was a great professional development tool and a great way to recharge for the upcoming school year.

~ Casey McMurray - ISCA President

Article Supporting STEM and CTE Initiatives

Chicago Sun-Times: Females finding a whole new gear - download article

Language Change


In April 2013, an ISCA Board task force was formed for the purpose of changing Guidance Counselor/School Counselor language at the state level to Professional School Counselor.  Representing this group, Kris Meyer and Jan Kuhl worked with Mary Lou Nosco, Board of Educational Examiners, to address this change in the administrative rules. The result, the updating of the titles of endorsements 172 and 173 from “Counselor” to “Professional School Counselor K-8” and “Professional School Counselor 5-12” has been officially approved.
 
Now is a great time to purge the term Guidance Counselor from your office and school building – signage, websites, printed materials, business cards, your signature on printed correspondence and emails.  Start now by respectfully asking that you be addressed as a Professional School Counselor, and begin the 2014-2015 school year with your updated title firmly in place.

Now is also a great opportunity to explain why “guidance counselor”, with its evoking of the reactive, service model,” wait-for-students to-walk-in-my office” stereotype, is now obsolete.  The role of the Professional School Counselor is so much more – a proactive approach of designing and presenting a comprehensive, data-driven, and accountable school counseling program to support every Iowa student in becoming college-, career-, and citizen- ready.


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