ACAeNews for School Counselors | Volume III | Number 1

In this edition readers will find:

Budget Battle

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ACA blogs, written by counselors, for counselors:

Update on Budget and Spending Battles

Congress and the President agreed to a spending plan for the rest of fiscal year 2011 on April 8th, averting a government shutdown. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the 2011 plan would reduce government outlays (actual spending) by $20 to $25 billion over the next ten years. For FY 2011, the plan cuts the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program by at least $2.5 million, cuts career and technical education by $138 million, cuts TRIO and GEAR-UP by $25 million and $20 million, respectively, and eliminates other programs including Teach for America, Reading is Fundamental, and Smaller Learning Communities. Total budget authority for federal education programs is cut by more than $2 billion under the agreement, and another $10 billion is cut from programs within the Departments of Health and Human Services, and Labor.

Having just completed work on FY 2011 spending, the House of Representatives is voting on Friday on a budget resolution for FY 2012 which would exact deep cuts in federal spending on education and health programs, including Pell Grants, Medicare and Medicaid. At the same time, the House budget proposal would allocate billions of dollars to reducing tax rates for the highest income households, and for corporations. ACA is continuing to work with other national advocacy organizations to protect federal investments in education and health care programs from being inordinately targeted for cuts in deficit reduction.

College Freshman Report Low Emotional Health, High Drive to Achieve

Depressed FreshmanThe current class of college freshman is self-reporting record lows in emotional health, expressed typically as increased levels of anxiety, along with corresponding high levels for their ambition to achieve. These were key findings in the 2010 American Freshman study, a longitudinal initiative conducted annually by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA. The findings are based on the responses of 201,818 first-time, first-year students at 279 of U.S. baccalaureate colleges and universities.

The percentage of first-year students reporting "good to above-average" emotional health dropped to 51.9% this year from 55.3% in 2009. This is the lowest percentage for this question since it was first asked in 1985. College counselors and student service professionals viewing the finding suggest that the general state of the economy and cost of college attendance are contributing to the decline. The expectation that students will seek personal counseling in college has risen to 9.7%, also a record high.

More positively, 75.8% of the students rated their drive to achieve as "above average" or in the "highest 10%." Similarly, freshman optimism has climbed with 57.6% believing they will be satisfied with their college experience, the highest level since the same percentage was achieved in 1982.

Other key findings in the HERI report, included:

  • Six in ten students said their college selection was affected by the economy. A new survey question regarding the influence of the economy on their college choice drew the following responses: Agree strongly – 19.6%, Agree somewhat – 42.1%.
  • One in five (20.6%) were first in their family to attend college.
  • The Top 10 list of intended majors included: Business (13.7%), Health professional (13.0%), Biological science (10.8%), Engineering (10.3%), Social science (8.9%), Education (7.2%), History and political science (4.6%), Fine arts (4.3%), Humanities (3.3%), and Physical science (2.7%). The "undecided" students stand at 6.8%.
  • Nearly one in three (32.1%) said there is a "very good chance" they will participate in volunteer or community service work while in college.
  • Student interest in studying abroad is gaining in popularity with 31.5% suggesting there is a "very good chance" they will opt for this experience.
  • Students expressed the following political views: Middle of the road – 46.4%, Liberal – 27.3%, Conservative – 21.7%.

ACA Task Force for School Counseling Surveying Members: Participate Today!

Raised HandsThe ACA Task Force for School Counseling, led by ACA Immediate Past-President President Lynn Linde, is collecting information on the work that school counselors are doing, the challenges they face and their professional development needs. School counselor members can contribute by participating in an online survey here. Your voice is important! Please take a few minutes to respond.

Research Roundup: Six Studies Relevant to School Counselors

Kids with ADHD Often Adolescent and Adult Substance Abusers

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at risk of developing substance abuse problems as adolescents and adults, according to a study by UCLA and University of South Carolina researchers. Kids with ADHD were found to be two to three times more likely than children without the disorder to develop serious abuses across substances, including nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs.

UCLA Media Release...

Girls Will Study Science if Subject Presented in Female Friendly Way

British researchers, studying why girls shun scientific studies in fields such as statistics, physics, and information technology, have discovered participation may hinge in how those topics or subjects are presented. The research found that "female friendly" presentation (scientific elements associated with cosmetics, etc.) resulted in increased girl interest in these scientific disciplines. Girls were also more interested in social and real contexts, whereas boys clearly found the mechanical and technological elements more compelling.

Underage Drinkers Getting Alcohol from Adults

Many underage drinkers are getting alcohol directly from a parent, guardian, or another adult relative, according to a study just released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The study found 709,000 U.S. youngsters aged 12–14 are drinking beer, liquor, and other alcoholic beverages. Of that number, nearly 6% drank alcohol in the past month and almost half of them got their drinks at home or from family members.

SAMHSA News Release...

Minority Teens Less Likely to Receive Depression Treatment

Researchers at Emory University have found that African American, Hispanic, and Asian adolescents are less likely than whites to receive treatment for their depression disorder. Study subjects included a national sample of 7,704 youth aged 12–17 diagnosed with major depression. Researchers found the percentage of non-Hispanic whites who received any major depression treatment was 40%, compared with 32% for blacks, 31% for Hispanics, and 19% for Asians. Stigma, limited English proficiency, and other cultural considerations may contribute to these lower rates of treatment.

Emory University News Release...

Teen Eating Disorders May Be More Widespread Than Thought

A new National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study has found that a larger number of teens, upwards of 3%, are suffering from eating disorders and struggling with related depression than was previously thought. Researchers found that many adolescents also have suicidal thoughts that go along with their anorexia, bulimia, or binge-eating. When broken down by gender, both boys and girls were equally prone to anorexia, but girls were far more prone to develop bulimia or to start binge-eating.

NIMH Science Update...

Negative Classroom Environments Affect Mental Health of Children

Researchers from the University of Maryland have found that children assigned to classrooms with inadequate materials and kids who are taught by teachers who feel that they themselves are not respected by their peers exhibit more mental health problems than students not experiencing these issues. The findings, reported in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, were derived from a nationally representative sample of approximately 10,700 first graders. Researchers found that students in classrooms with fewer resources and teachers who didn't feel supported by their professional peers were more likely to experience problems, including inattentiveness, fighting, anxiety and sadness, and the formation of friendships.

Journal of Health and Social Behavior Article...

ACA National Awards Presented for Work in School Counseling

Kara P. IewaThe recent ACA Conference & Exposition in New Orleans witnessed a celebration of the scholarly achievements and meritorious work of a number of counseling professionals and future counselors. Those honored specifically for their work in school counseling included:

ACA Research Award

Kara P. Iewa of Rowan University was recognized for her notable research efforts in professional school counseling and ethics, and counseling children and adolescent "at risk" populations regarding dropout prevention.

ACA Best Practice Award

Peggy L. CeballosPeggy L. Ceballos, currently on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, was honored for her outstanding work as a counselor education student in the areas of social justice and multiculturalism, particularly in school settings, and her demonstration of those practices in multiple research projects aimed at identifying the best counseling practices for minority children.

Arthur Hitchcock Distinguished Professional Service Award

The Arthur Hitchcock Distinguished Professional Service Award for 2011 was bestowed on Kelly Duncan, long-time member and current president of the South Dakota Board of Education. In those roles, she has advocated tirelessly for the inclusion of school counselors in education initiatives and promoted the vital role which counselors play in the lives of children and families.

Ross Trust Graduate Student Essay Competition for Future School Counselors

Grand Prize Winner: Jessica Morris – Louisiana State University


  • Jennifer Berry – Clemson University
  • Holly Elizabeth Salters – Missouri Baptist University
  • Jacquelyn Scott-Bell – George Mason University
  • Sarah Smitter – University of San Diego

Honorable Mentions:

  • Mary Sinclair – University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Ashley Woolledge – Our Lady of the Holy Cross College
  • Christi Venable – George Washington University
  • Jennifer Hasselbeck – Louisiana State University
  • Mwesigwa John – Kyambogo University
  • Judith Slowey-Brown – Virginia Tech, Falls Church
  • Elizabeth Jensen – Winona State University
  • Sarah VanBroekhoven – University of South Florida

Congratulations to these women and men. Each has and will continue to contribute to the advancement of professional counseling in the nation’s schools. Counseling Today will present an expanded story on their recognition, as well as the others members who were honored at the 2011 conference.

ACA 2012 Conference & Expo: Call for Programs Deadline June 8

San Francisco Conference LogoThe Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz Island, and Chinatown are just a few of the local San Francisco attractions awaiting ACA Conference & Expo participants, March 21-25, 2012. It is not too early to begin planning for a trip to the city where singer Tony Bennett is known to have left his heart.

The online Call for Proposals for the 2012 is now open and the submission deadline is June 8, 2011 at 5 pm ET.

Topics are sought in all areas of counseling but ACA has specific interest in these topics for 2012: disaster mental health, social media, military members and their families. Advanced programs in all topics are also being sought.

The Call is for Pre-conference Learning Institutes and regular conference Education Sessions.

Pre-Conference Learning Institutes

  • Focus on advanced skills, techniques and approaches that counselors can utilize in their day-to-day work
  • Are presented by highly-qualified experts in the field
  • Offer a smaller class size, which gives attendees a more intense learning experience
  • Take place the two days prior to the start of the conference (March 21-22, 2012)
  • Are offered in two formats: Daytime Sessions, 6 contact hours and Evening Sessions, 3 contact hours

Education Sessions

  • Make up the core conference (March 23-25, 2012)
  • Are offered in three different formats: 90-Minute Program, 60-Minute Program, 30-Minute Project/Research Poster Session (takes place in Convention Center Exhibit Hall)

Note: Class sizes for 90- and 60-minute programs are based on room capacity. Complete details will be available on the website along with submission instructions.

Registration for the 2012 ACA Conference is open with a Summer Rate of $320 ($220, Students/New Professionals/Retirees). This low registration rate will be available through August 15, 2011. Register online or call 800-347-6647, x222 (M-F, 8 am to 7 pm ET).

In the News: Teacher/Counselor Bonuses for Earning Higher Degrees Scrutinized

In this day of cost cutting, it appears that every imaginable budget item is being scrutinized. Grasping for anything that will help reduce school budgets, economists and budget planners are re-evaluating the pay differential enjoyed when teachers, counselors, and other educators earn graduate degrees. Citing the lack of evidence that these "bonuses" have any impact on student achievement, proponents of these cuts say eliminating them could save more than $8.6 billion nationally.

Seattle Times Story...

Quotable Quotes of Notable People: Mark Twain on His Mother

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."

Mark Twain, American author and humorist (1835-1910)

Revised Guide to State Laws and Regulations on Professional School Counseling Available

Guide to State Laws and Regulations on Professional School CounselingEverything you wanted to know about school counselor credentialing across the U.S., state mandates for school counseling, and the (student – counselor ratios, etc.) can be found in the latest revision of A Guide to State Laws and Regulations on Professional School Counseling. Members can access the guide generated annually by the ACA Public Policy and Legislation staff here. Non-members can purchase the guide for $10 by calling Member Services at 800-347-6647, x222.

Half of Parents Clueless About Cost of Attending Public College in Their State

A recent College Board report, "Cracking the Student Aid Code," found that less than half (46%) of parents surveyed knew how much it cost to attend a public college in their home state. Among lower-income and less-educated parents, the percentage not knowing this amount was even greater. In addition to an analysis of the information needs of parents, the report includes suggested strategies for dissemination of earlier and more complete information about college costs and financial aid.

College Board Study...

GED to Get New Look, Procedures and Management

The American Council on Education (ACE) and Pearson have announced a partnership that will result in major changes in the content and management of the General Education Development (GED) test and result in the high school equivalency test becoming a profit generating product. Nearly 800,000 GED tests are taken each year, and in 2009, more than 470,000 individuals were awarded their high school credential through GED testing.

Changes in test content will be focused on validating career and college readiness and tying it more closely with contemporary curriculum content and making it more applicable for test takers transitioning to college. ACE and Pearson expect the new examination to be released by 2014. The transition will also include the transition from paper and pencil to electronic versions.

ACE News Release...

ACA Cyberbullying Book Tackles Topic in the Headlines

Cyberbullying: What Counselors Need to Know
by Sheri Bauman

CyberbullyingThis informative book from ACA offers complete, up-to-date coverage of the growing problem of cyberbullying. Written for counselors, teachers, school leaders, and others who work with children and teens, Cyberbullying addresses the real-life dangers students face on the Internet and offers the following benefits and features:

  • Discussion of the different types of cyberbullying and where it happens
  • Overview of prominent theories of aggressive behavior
  • Examination of the developmental differences in cyberbullying and victimization across the life span
  • Proactive responses
  • Effective, nonpunitive strategies for responding
  • Useful information on current technology and popular websites
  • Chapter on adult cyberbullying
  • List of helpful websites, books, and media and an Appendix with review of the latest research

2011 | 215 pgs
Order # 72900
ISBN 978-1-55620-294-0
List Price: $29.95
ACA Member Price: $24.95

Order Now...

Play Therapy: Basics and Beyond, Second Edition
Terry Kottman

Play TherapyWritten for use in play therapy and child counseling courses, this extraordinarily practical text provides a detailed examination of basic and advanced play therapy concepts and skills and guidance on when and how to use them. Kottman's multitheoretical approach and wealth of explicit techniques are also helpful for clinicians who want to gain greater insight into children's minds and enhance therapeutic communication through the power of play.

After a discussion of the basic concepts and logistical aspects of play therapy, Kottman illustrates commonly used play therapy skills and more advanced skills. Introduced in this edition is a new chapter on working with parents and teachers to increase the effectiveness of play therapy. Practice exercises and "Questions to Ponder" throughout the text facilitate the skill-building and self-examination process.

2011 | 375 pgs
Order #72905
ISBN 978-1-55620-305-3
List Price: $54.95
ACA Member Price: $39.95

Order Now...

830+ Colleges Admit Some Students Without Regard to Test Scores

Did you know that more than 830 colleges and universities across the U.S. admit a substantial number of students without regard to admission test scores? A list of these institutions, which now includes Bowdoin College, George Mason University, and Wake Forest University, has been compiled by the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest) and can be found on their website. Colleges on the list either do not use test results or waive them when other admission criteria have been satisfied.

FairTest List of Test-Optional Colleges...

Spring Reading (Not Cleaning) for School Counselors in JCD

JCDForget the spring cleaning and engage in some spring reading. School counselors at every educational level will find something of interest and relevance in the spring edition of the ACA's Journal of Counseling and Development (Volume 89, Number 2):

  • Hope as a Mediator and Moderator of Multidimensional Perfectionism and Depression in Middle School Students by Jeffrey S. Ashby, Wendy L. Dickinson, Philip B. Gnilka, & Christina L. Noble
  • Counselor Professional Identity: Findings and Implications for Counseling and Interprofessional Collaboration by Elizabeth A. Mellin, Brandon B. Hunt, & Lindsey M. Nichols
  • Growing Up Perfect: Perfectionism, Problematic Internet Use, and Career Indecision in Emerging Adults by Ilana S. Lehmann & Varda Konstam
  • Wellness, Professional Quality of Life, and Career–Sustaining Behaviors: What Keeps Us Well? by Gerard Lawson & Jane E. Myers
  • Where Do Rural High School Students Go to Find Information About Their Futures? by Dana Griffin, Bryan C. Hutchins, & Judith L. Meece
  • School Counselors as Social Capital: The Effects of High School College Counseling on College Application Rates by Julia Bryan, Cheryl Moore-Thomas, Norma L. Day-Vines, & Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy
  • Constructivism and Career Decision Self-Efficacy for Asian Americans and African Americans by Tabitha Grier-Reed and Zoila M. Ganuza
  • Counselors' Perceptions of Ethical Behaviors by Edward S. Neukrug & Tammy Milliken
  • Play Therapy in Elementary Schools: A Best Practice for Improving Academic Achievement by Pedro J. Blanco & Dee C. Ray
  • The Voice of the Voiceless: An Interview With Thelma Daley by Angela D. Coker

About ACAeNews for School Counselors

ACAeNews for School Counselors is one of four electronic newsletters that are published three times per year each by the American Counseling Association for the benefit of members working in elementary, middle, secondary and adult education settings. It is disseminated as an opt-in subscription enewsletter and is a free benefit of ACA membership.

The other three special focus enewsletters are:

  • ACAeNews for Mental Health, Private Practice and Community Agency Counselors
  • ACAeNews for Counselor Educators
  • ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals

Any reference to a product, service or activity or listing of a website in this publication does not imply endorsement by ACA. Any views and opinions are those of the sponsoring organization and may or may not be shared by ACA.

Past editions can be found here.

Direct comments, questions and submissions to Frank Burtnett. All submissions will be subject to review by ACA for accuracy, timeliness and relevance to the readership and may be edited.

Marcheta P. Evans, President

Richard Yep, CAE, Executive Director

Debra Bass, Director of Marketing and Communications

Frank Burtnett, Ed.D., NCC, NCCC, ACAeNews Editor

Don Kenneally, Internet Development / Production

ACA Website:

Copyright 2011. American Counseling Association, 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone: 703-823-9800. Email:

Permission is hereby granted to reproduce anything contained in this newsletter as long as the American Counseling Association is identified as the original source of the information.