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2017 Pre-conference Sessions
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Technology Learning Lab   |   Ethics   |    Mindfulness


The Technology Learning Lab (half day)

Laura Ross, Nicohl Webb, Mike Weiland, and Dwight Jackson

School counselors can use technology to communicate, engage, and organize in their counseling programs, however, with all the tech tools available it can be difficult to know where and how to get started. Come prepared to work alongside four practicing school counselors as they guide you through how they make use of various technologies within their programs such as Excel, Google, Skype, Social Media apps, Smore, QR Codes, and more. Be sure to bring your laptops and devices as you will be practicing with each of these tech tools during the session.

Laura Ross is going into her 12th year as a school counselor. She received her Bachelor and Master degrees in Social Work from the University of Georgia and her Specialist degree in School Counseling from the University of Georgia. Laura is currently the lead counselor at Five Forks Middle School in Gwinnett County. As a former counselor in an adult men’s correctional facility where she worked with caseload of mainly gang members, she discovered that the lack of connection to their education or educators was a large reason why the majority of her caseload had not completed high school. Laura knew she could make a greater impact in education. Her focus as a school counselor is all about connecting with students so she can connect them with their education. Laura uses various lessons and strategies including technology to connect with her students which she shares through her school counseling blog. Laura has led professional learning at the district level, at the GSCA Fall conference and as a moderator for the #scchat on Twitter. Laura has begun her second year on the GSCA Leadership Team, where she is currently the GSCA Social Media Editor for the 2017-2018 school year.

Nicohl Shelton Webb is entering her 20th year in education. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Clark Atlanta University with the intent on going to Medical School. Education is in her blood as a 3rd generation educator, however, she eventually decided against going to medical school and received her teaching certificate where she taught Middle School Science for 8 years. Knowing that there was a perfect opportunity for her to meld her tireless sincere drive for knowledge and her determination to use her gifts in service to others, Nicohl continued in school receiving a Masters and an Education Specialist Degree from the University of West Alabama. For the past 12 years, Nicohl has been a School Counselor at Pate’s Creek Elementary School in Henry County. In order to further her counseling experience, Nicohl is consistently searching for new innovative counseling ideas. She loves to incorporate technology within her counseling lessons and has recently started blogging in order to share her ideas as an elementary school counselor. All of her hard word was rewarded when she was selected as the 2008-2009 Henry County Schools Elementary Counselor of the Year. She is on the Counselor Leadership Team for Henry County Schools and has mentored several counselors over the years. Nicohl has presented at several GSCA conferences, has led professional development to counselors in her county and beyond, and even had the awesome opportunity to present at the recent ASCA conference in Denver.   

Michael Weiland has worked in the field of education and counseling since 1998.  He received his B.S. from Georgia College & State University, M.Ed. from Georgia Southwestern State University, M.A. from Richmont Graduate University, and Ed.S. from Valdosta State University.  He presently serves as a School Counselor at Archer High School in Gwinnett County. Mr. Weiland is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and has worked in schools, hospitals, outpatient settings, and within the Georgia Network of Therapeutic Services.  Mr. Weiland enjoys using technology to enhance student learning and provide solutions for counselors in managing and evaluating information for improved service delivery.

Dwight Jackson is entering his fourth year as a school counselor at Mill Creek High School. Dwight earned his master's degree from Georgia State University. He holds a specialist degree in Professional School Counseling from the University of Georgia. His duties include advising students on course planning, career options, and social/emotional development. He is a coordinator for the school's Move On When Ready program, a dual-enrollment program for high school students to earn college credit. Dwight is a native of the metropolitan Atlanta area. 

Ethics:  Hindsight is 20/20: School Counselor Edition
(full day)

View ASCA Ethical Standards

Tracey E. Pace

The role of the School Counselor has changed radically since the first “guidance counselor” opened their door to students. The amount of regulation and societal changes the present day school counselor faces are innumerable. This course will familiarize school counselors with ethical codes such as the Georgia Department of Education, American School Counselor’s Association and American Counselor’s Association. We will also look at how FERPA, Title IX and case law is relevant to the school counselor. Particular attention will be paid to the 2016 changes to the ASCA’s code of ethics. We discuss strategies for dealing with subpoenas to produce records or to appear in court relevant to one of your students. Participants will also learn how to recognize potential ethical concerns. Since no study can ever anticipate the myriad of ethical dilemmas that may surface, participants will be exposed to a decision making model that utilizes their professional codes of ethics, current state and federal laws and peer review to arrive at ethically informed decisions. Practical suggestions for application of HIPAA, HITECH and record requests in an ethically responsible manner will be discussed throughout the presentation.

Mrs. Pace is the founding director and clinical supervisor at Heritage Counseling, Inc. located in Effingham County, Georgia. She holds a Th.D. in Biblical Theology, a M.Ed. in Counselor Education – School Counseling and a MSA in Administration. She is a Nationally Certified Counselor, a Georgia Licensed Professional Counselor, a Certified Forensic Mental Health Evaluator, a Certified Forensic Interviewer and a Child Adolescent Developmental Specialist (Behavioral). Her extensive post graduate training in Testing and Assessment has earned her the highest testing qualification level (C) with PAR Psychological. Prior to her entry in private practice, Ms. Pace was a Certified School Counselor working with middle school students. She has presented and consulted in the areas of professional ethics, values awareness, and HIPAA/HITECH compliance. She is currently pursuing her certification in Child Custody Evaluation.

Mrs. Pace has been in private practice since 1999 and has worked with many different populations. She is the mother of five children and the grandmother of eight. Two of her children were adopted from Smolensk, Russia. As a former school counselor she has the ability to work with parents, teachers, and school administrators to meet the needs of school age children. Additionally, as a former Air National Guard Officer, she understands the unique needs of today’s armed forces and works with veterans, active duty and their families. Mrs. Pace provides marriage and family counseling as well as individual counseling.


Transforming Toxic Stress: Mindfulness Skills for School Counselors and Their Students (full day)
Dr. Peter Montminy, Child Psychologist and Mindfulness Teacher

Students today are faced with a constant stream of pressures from school, family, and peers – pressures they feel are never-ending in the 24/7 digital age. The strain of information overload and emotional overwhelm leads to increased distractibility and disorganization, anxiety and depression, anger and aggression. In short, our students are experiencing toxic levels of chronic stress. And if we’re honest, so are we.

Mindfulness skills – the ability to focus our attention here and now, without judgment – can help our students cope with toxic stress in real-world, real-time ways. Mindfulness is the gateway skill to emotional resilience and well-being. And it is a vital skill to have in this crazy-busy world – for both our students and ourselves.
In this inspiring, highly interactive workshop, you’ll first learn how to develop a personal mindfulness practice to help manage your own work and life stress. Then you’ll learn practical ways to be more mindful at school, allowing you to be more clear, calm, and compassionate with students, parents, and colleagues! Finally, you’ll learn ways to effectively teach your students how to develop mindfulness skills they can use to deal with the daily stressors they face at school, and beyond.

Dr. Peter Montminy is a clinical child psychologist and certified mindfulness teacher who’s been dedicated to improving the emotional well-being of children and adolescents for over 25 years. He is committed to the vision that all children – regardless of ability, disability, or circumstance – can thrive when they’re raised by a mindful village of compassionate parents and educators.

Dr. Montminy has served as the Director of Child and Adolescent Services at the Penn State Psychological Clinic, the Founding Director of Midstep Centers for Child Development in State College, PA, and the creator of A Mindful Village, where he continues his private consulting practice. He also teaches graduate seminars in clinical psychology at Penn State University, as well as providing online training to educators around the world with Mindful Schools.

Dr. Montminy specializes in treating children of all ages with executive function deficits and emotion regulation difficulties. He is passionate about helping kids overcome the toxic stress in their lives by using mindfulness to build their emotional resilience and well-being. And he is highly regarded for his interactive workshops that are filled with love, laughter, and learning.

Peter received his formal education at Dartmouth College, Penn State University, and the Child Study Center at Yale University Medical School. He has maintained extensive post-doctoral studies in social-emotional learning, developmental neuropsychology, mindfulness and compassion, positive psychology, and integrative mind-body medicine. Yet his greatest and most humbling training has come from raising four children with his wife Mary in the woods of central Pennsylvania.


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