News & Events Archive

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

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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