The PIC October 2020

Practical Ideas for Counselors


The mission of the South Dakota School Counselor Association is to unite,

support, and empower school counselors.

Our Vision:

The South Dakota School Counselor Association supports and unites school counselors through advocacy, leadership, and collaboration. SDSCA empowers our members through professional

development opportunities, ethical support, and resources to promote student success in the academic, career, and social/emotional domains.


Amanda Bender , 2019-2020 SDSCA President

Counselor Connections-COVID Style

This year Counselor Connections is adapting to the pandemic and incorporating professional development, networking, and self-care in an online format with a timeline that doesn’t overwhelm. Between November 2020 and March 2021 there will be online sessions intended to help school counselors support themselves and improve their programs. The kick-off event is an engaging and informative 2-hour presentation on school counselors as leaders with Terri Tchorzynski of Hatching Results. Three separate book studies will allow you to choose a topic that is important to you and provide opportunities for discussion with fellow school counselors. Finally, we will provide several self-care events for fun. Not only do you get access to all of these opportunities at a very affordable price of $100, but by participating in just one of each will put you in the drawing for prizes.

Check out this video by President Amanda Bender on the SDSCA Facebook page for more information.

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Join us for the Virtual Counselor Connections Challenge!

Hello School Counselors!

FAQs for our 2020 Counselor Connection format:

  1. Do I have to attend ALL sessions?

    1. No! You can attend which ever opportunities you are most interested in.

  2. Will the sessions be recorded?

    1. Yes, you will have access to recording after the live event.

  3. Is there a registration deadline?

    1. You can register until the day of the kick off event, 11/9/20, using Eventbrite.

  4. How do I register?

    1. You can register at

  5. Will you accept a check payment?

    1. Yes – however payment must be received by 11/7/20 to have access to the 11/9/20 kick off event. Please contact for payment by check.

Contact or for more questions.

Let us help you with your Professional Development Request Form

Program Title: Counselor Connection Challenge

Dates: Multiple from 11/9/20 to 3/15/20 OR 11/9/20, 11/23/20, 12/9/20, 12/21/20, 1/11/21, 1/25/21, 2/8/21, 2/22/21

Location: Virtual / Zoom

Payment Method: Credit Card via Eventbrite

Organization Name: South Dakota Counseling Association

Organization Address: P.O. Box 90036, Sioux Falls, SD 57109

Cost: SDSCA Member: $100 / NonMember : $175 / Student Member: $75

Presenter(s): Various Masters Level Professionals

Justification Statements:

  1. How will this PD benefit the students in my school? All students benefit from a comprehensive school counseling program, these training opportunities will help improve my school counseling program in terms of lesson planning, mental health collaboration, promoting self-regulation and more.

  2. What do I expect to learn from this conference? This opportunity will address best practices in school counseling. I will gain creative ideas for classroom lessons as well as how to identify and connect students with community resources. There is also a focus on stress reduction that is particularly important this year, for both students and staff.

  3. How does this experience fit into your curricular area? This event is planned specifically for school counselors. Each presentation is meant to help school counselors improve their comprehensive program in a way that benefits all students. Many sessions will provide practical information and techniques to use in classroom lessons, small groups, and individual sessions. Other sessions will expand understanding of best practices in topics such as technology use and anti-racism.

Working with Native American Students and Families

October 12 was the day that Native Americans are honored in South Dakota.

South Dakota is home to nine Native American tribes. Native Americans make up roughly 9% of the SD population, it is crucial for school counselors to have a better understanding and educational background on how to service Native American students and their families.

Vanessa Iverson, Wagner High School Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor (2018), is a member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe (Ihanktonwan Oyate). She has been a counselor since 2014 and is currently working towards her LPC-MH.

Heather Goodface- Ferguson works for the Sioux Falls School District as an Indian Education Liaison. Heather has worked with Native American students and families for several years.

In order to gain a better understanding on how school counselors can better serve and advocate for our Native American students, Vanessa Iverson and Heather Goodface-Ferguson helped answer some key questions.

What can counselors do to build rapport with Native American students?

In order to create trust and build rapport with Native American students I would suggest a few things: don’t assume you know everything about Native American culture or personal life, don’t push your world view, don’t generalize or feed into stereotypes (some native people don't practice ceremonies and some do), don’t feel like you need to “fix” everything, and listen to learn and understand – don’t listen to respond. - Vanessa Iverson,

What barriers prevent Native American students from receiving mental health services? How do we overcome these barriers?

Barriers that prevent some Native American students from receiving mental health services is a lack of resources, transportation issues, fear they will be separated from families, and feeling not emotionally safe due to therapists/counselors inability to understand cultural dynamics. Potential solutions to help support these barriers are consistency, follow through and relationship building. We also need to remember the systemic problems that live in the soil. So, to assume these barriers have a quick fix to overcome is far from the truth. -Vanessa Iverson

How can school staff better support Native American students and/or families?

By understanding their unique culture by establishing a trusting relationship through communication and meeting educational needs by offering support for our students every day. Regular case management for students to check on their home life. Learning what their needs are by listening, interacting, and caring for the students. - Heather Goodface-Ferguson

It starts with school staff and their own inner work. In order to better support Native students and families, people need to feel safe and invited. Some more specific examples of how School staff can better support Indigenous students is by implementing the Oceti Sakowin Understandings in the classrooms, educate yourself on the REAL Native American history, and be aware of your generalization biases. - Vanessa Iverson

Are there certain counseling techniques or theories that would benefit Native American students?

We are known as the invisible minority. We are a culture of people who have survived genocide, and a system of people trying to silence us. Techniques that will help support clinicians in relationship building for Native Students would be: Unconditional positive regard, empathy and genuineness. As with any student, kids can see right through counselors who are not genuine and real. Offering Native American students a safe space to be truly heard would strongly benefit American Indian Students. - Vanessa Iverson

What considerations should counselors take into account when working with Native American families?

Cultural considerations need to be taken into account. To get more specific, understanding our lingo, family dynamics, and your own personal biases you carry. Try to put your worldview in check, don’t assume your way is the only right way. - Vanessa Iverson

What resources would you recommend for non-Native American counselors utilize to better understand Native American culture?

The main resource non-Native counselors can use to better understand our culture is interacting with the Elders/people. Here are some other ideas/resources:

Collaborate with others who have worked with Families of Native American students

Research Native American publications like Indian Country Today and

Look into resources in the community that introduces our way of life and traditions to support students when they need it.

Visit a Native American community or neighborhood or an event that Native families will attend.

Reach out to Native American students at the college level and ask their experiences.

- Heather Goodface-Ferguson

Check out the following websites for more information:







Remember to check out the wonderful resources put together by Andrea Diehm, School Counseling & Career Development Specialist. See the link below!

2020-2021 National Educational and Health Awareness Dates Calendar

RAMP Deadline Extended

From ASCA:

RAMP Deadline Extended
: We realize it's a challenging year, so we've extended the deadline for RAMP applications until Oct. 29. Also, no signature page is required this year.