Most prevalent in the mid 1990’s was a growing dissatisfaction amongst the California school counseling community regarding the lack of political clout. The view held by most school counseling leaders was that the primary reason for the weakened status of school counseling in California was the result of years of political underrepresentation in Sacramento. The tensions that mounted amongst those leaders, transformed into an organized reform movement that triggered the formation of the California Association of School Counselors (CASC). For approximately 30 years, school counseling in California was represented by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) chartered association, The California School Counselor Association (CSCA). CSCA was, and is still a division of the California Association of Counseling and Development (CACD). (Now renamed the California Counseling Association (CCA)) Since the formation of CASC, CSCA has diminished in members and recently (2006) lost their Charter with ASCA.
Not only was the growing dissention of the mid 1990s fueled by ineffectual political representation for school counselors; it was also fueled by a dues structure that had most of the membership dues going to fund the umbrella association (CACD). ALL attempts to restructure priorities and funding were met with resistance. Consequently, the CSCA Board of Directors unanimously voted in August 1999 to disaffiliate from CACD. CSCA Board restructuring demands were being countered by stagnation and relationships were growingly strained on all levels. The CSCA board weighed the current prospects for school counselors if they remained under CACD structure and decided to form a separate independent association while maintaining hope that the disaffiliation process may be suspended if concessions were made by CACD to meet CSCA needs.
After nearly a year of stalemated negotiations, a new non-profit organization was established. The official launch date was October 27, 2000, with the incorporation of the California Association of School Counselors, Inc. (CASC). This organization represents the new wave in the California school counseling profession. The association was established with the vision of a vibrant, “on the cutting-edge”, organization for school counselors in California.
During the transition phase CASC (the new association) was designed and structured based on current innovations in school counseling. Loretta Whitson served as the first president. Initial tasks during her year included: fundraising campaign, creation of bylaws, banking and operations established, incorporation, and 501C6 non-profit application and process. The CASC Web site (www.schoolcounselor-ca.org) was established. In partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, a successful 1st annual statewide conference was held on April 27, 2001 in Long Beach. The conference featured State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Delaine Eastin and attendance reached nearly 500. Initial membership in CASC was 250.
The Donald G. Hays Professional Recognition Award for the Outstanding Counselor of the Year was established with Christie Reinold the first winner. The first election of officers took place and the Governing Board approved the first legislative agenda. The format of the newsletter was developed and a layout manager was hired. Larry Steele served as president. The second statewide conference was held in Arcadia featuring legendary performer Peter Yarrow and counseling theorist and author Dr. William Glasser. Membership grew to 500.
Legislative efforts produced two significant bills for counselor role (unfortunately neither became law). Follow-up recommendations for the pupil services AB 722 report were published. Strategic planning was begun with the development of goal priority areas and point persons. Darcel Cannady-Jamerson served as president. The third annual conference was held in Long Beach featuring Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg. A “Webster” was hired to revise and expand the CASC Web site. Membership grew to 700. Loretta Whitson became the aging Executive Director.
Legislation efforts through the Pupil Services Coalition resulted in the passage of the AB 956. This legislation expanded the definition of teacher to include all pupil support services personnel. Also, SB 1639 was sponsored by CASC to modify the California Education Code in order to clarify the authority and responsibility of school counselor to more closely align with the ASCA National Model and to promote a critical review and monitoring of the requirements for all school counselors to have a pupil personnel services credential with authorization in school counseling. The theme of “Taking Care of Business” was carried out under the leadership of President Paul Meyers. The very successful fourth annual Southern California two-day Conference was held at Kellogg West Conference Center at Cal Poly, Pomona and a second smaller first-time Northern California Conference was held at the Sonoma County Office of Education with the sponsorship of Santa Rosa Community College. Renown counseling leader from Stanford University, John Krumboltz was the keynote speaker.
Advocacy and legislative efforts continued to support the expansion of the role of the school counselor, the school counselor licensure movement, and appropriately credentialed school counselors serving California’s students. President Leanne Kruk presided over two outstanding conferences with the theme of C.A.R.E.- Counselors Achieving Results in Education in Northern California at the Sonoma County Office of Education with the sponsorship of Santa Rosa Community College and in Southern California at Kellogg West Conference Center at Cal Poly, Pomona. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell spoke to the Southern California conference audience. The first CASC Monograph was published showcasing best practices, featured from The California School Counselor newsletter, and action-oriented research articles. Continuing education provider status was approved by the National Board for Certified Counselors. The CASC Web site was revised setting a nationwide standard of excellence. CASC filed a letter to ASCA requesting review of the California School Counselor Association’s ASCA state charter as a significant step in the effort to attain a state charter for CASC. Membership increased to over 900.
Advocacy and collaboration were the keystones of another successful year in CASC. President Laura Christopher led the organization with the conference theme of “School Counseling: A World C.L.A.S.S. Profession: Collaboration, Leadership, and Student Support.” The Southern California Conference was held in Pomona and the Northern California Conference in Santa Rosa. CASC collaborated with the Center for Student Support Systems in cosponsoring the First Annual School Counseling Research Summit at the University of San Diego; it was a huge success with 250 counselors, counselor educators, graduate students, and community members present. Talks with the San Diego School Counseling Organization were begun to establish chapter status. Four newsletters were produced; two paper newsletters and two online newsletters. The School Counselor Monograph #2 highlighted Best Practices and theory and research articles.
Early in 2006, Loretta Whitson, Executive Director, represented school counselors in the California Gubernatorial primaries and participated at press conferences with democratic primary candidate Phil Angelides. Angelides campaign message advocated for doubling the number of school counselors in California. After the primary election that was won by Angelides against Steve Wesley, Governor Schwarzenegger held a historic phone conference with school counselors to announce his May Revise Budget proposal of $200 million for school counseling in grades 7-12. AB 1802, the budget trailer bill, was signed in July, 2006 establishing a new categorical program, Middle and High School Supplemental Counseling Program, adding approximately 2,500 new counseling positions in the state. Opposition from both the Assembly and Senate was addressed when CASC Executive Director Loretta Whitson organized an Emergency Legislative Action Task Force to advocate for the Governor’s budget proposal and the legislative efforts on behalf of the additional funding for school counseling.
CASC members attended the ASCA Advocacy and Public Policy Institute. ASCA revoked the California School Counselor Association charter, opening the door for CASC to apply for the ASCA state charter. Membership continued to grow, as CASC became the recognized school counseling organization in the state.
A banner year for school counselors in California and for the California Association of School Counselors, Inc. The numerous accomplishments commenced with the rolling our of 200 millions for school counseling following the passage of AB 1802, legislation. The Middle and High School Supplemental Counseling Program (Grades 7-12) emphasis was on at-risk students and high school graduation (passing the California High School Exit Exam). The kickoff of the professional development effort was held in Sacramento on October 9, 2006—The New School Counseling Program in California: AB 1802-Implementation Conference with guest of Honor Governor Schwarzenegger. The event was a huge success, with over 1,100 participants- mainly school and district administrators. This event put school counselors on the map in California!
Two other successful professional development conferences were held, one in Southern California at the Ontario Double Tree Hotel and in Northern California at the San Ramon Valley Conference Center. The theme- School Counseling—Building Bridges To The Future emphasized school counselors’ roles as communicators, collaborators, and visionaries; some 800 school counselors attended the conferences. Dr. Carolyn Stone, ASCA President, was the guest speaker challenging us to “Level The Playing Field: Closing the Opportunity, Information, and Achievement Gaps”. Advocate of the year was awarded to two individuals this year. Margaret Fortune who served on Governor Schwarzenegger’s administration over education and Patrick Ainsworth Assistant Superintendent at the California Department of Education and instrumental in the legislative language for the Middle and High School Supplemental Counseling Program.
CASC cosponsored with the Western Association for College Admission Counseling and the Los Angeles County Office of Education the AB 1802 Clearinghouse Web site www.ab1802clearinghouse.com, a project of the University of San Diego’s Center for Student Support Systems (CS3). The purpose of the Clearinghouse is to provide comprehensive, reviewed, updated information on implementation, research, and on-going professional development associated with the Supplemental School Counseling Program established by AB 1802.
Loretta Whitson was the invited speaker at the American School Counseling Association’s Public Policy Institute. On June 21, 2007, the American School Counselor Association Delegate Assembly voted to charter the California Association of School Counselors, Inc. as the official school counselor organization in California. Kathy Rapkin, CASC President, took her seat that day in the ASCA Delegate Assembly, to represent CASC.
Four paper editions of The California School Counselor were published and mailed to members, and the 2005-2006 CASC Monograph #2 was published and well received at the AB 1802 Implementation Conference in Sacramento. Membership continued to increase with over 1,200 members.
As a downturn in the economy seemed imminent, CASC lobbyist advised CASC to produce a white paper that showed evidence of the impact on students from the Middle and High School Supplemental Counseling Program. Dr. Lonnie Rowell, University of San Diego, Loretta Whitson and Suzie Thomas, Saint Mary’s College authored a document that became a key artifact in Sacramento towards maintaining the Middle and High School Supplemental Counseling Program. CASC in partnership with the Western Association of College Admissions Counselors coordinated a Legislative Day where CASC Board members and supporters visited key legislators to emphasize the potential impact if vital funds were cut from counseling programs. Evidence published in the "White Papers" was disseminated to the legislators encouraging their support of school counselors and the continuance of school counseling funds.
CASC supported legislation on dropout rates was spearheaded by Sen. Steinberg. Legislation was passes 405/AB 347 by Senator Darrell Steinberg that further defined and add components to the AB 1802 student conferences in the areas of college and career counseling. CASC experienced record membership at over 1600.
CASC published California Standards for the School Counseling Profession. This landmark work defined a set of criteria that defines the work of California school counselors. The document helps educate administrators establish specific performance measure with school counselors and school counselors are able to set annual goals while using the “Standards” to communicate reasonable performance expectations to their administrators.
CASC held two conferences - the Southern Conference was held in San Diego at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in collaboration with Dr. Lonnie Rowell at the University of San Diego. Two pre-conferences workshops were presented with Loretta Whitson, Dr. Lonnie Rowell, and Linda Metcalf – Solution Focused Counseling; and Dr. Trish Hatch, George Montgomery and Paul Meyers – AB1802 Conference Training. The Northern conference was held at the San Ramon Marriott. The combined attendance was estimated at approximately 1000 attendees.
George Montgomery was President. The leadership of CASC accepted the ASCA Policy and Governance model introduced this last year to improve efficiency and productivity of the Board. Naylor publishers launched a "new" CASC newsmagazine look. This was the first year for CASC to serve as the chartered organization to represent Californians at the ASCA Delegate Assembly.
CASC awardees at the Southern conference were, Rosemary Rubin, Exceptional Service Award; Senator Darrell Steinberg, Legislator of the Year; Dr. Van Riley, Administrator of the Year; Dr. Suzy Thomas, School Counselor Advocate of the Year; and Marsha McDonald received the Don Hays, Counselor of the Year Award.
The focus of this year was California’s failing economy and the maintenance of funding for school counseling. A budget deal was reached between the Governor, Assembly and Senate with most categorical funding becoming unrestricted, allowing districts to use those monies to balance general fund obligations. The Middle and High School Supplemental Counseling Program will remain unrestricted for five years. This means that districts are not obligated to hold AB1802 conferences and they can use those funds in any way they see fit. Job layoffs were reported for all ranks of employment in California Public Schools. It is unclear if school counselor layoffs were disproportionately high compared to teachers, administrators and classified staff.
Senator Wiggins carried legislation (SB272) that was intended to update California Education Code 49600 that outlines the role of school counselors in California’s Public School. It was passed through the California Assembly and Senate; however, it was vetoed by the Governor. CEC 49600 had not been updated since 1987.
The roll-out of the California Standards for the School Counseling Profession continued this year. Nancy Shubb was President. One conference was held this year at Disneyland Resort with over 575 in attendance. Highlights from the conference included preconference workshops on Standards implementation, Solution-Focused Theory, a keynote address by Jason Womak and dozens of vendor exhibits. CASC awardees at the conference were, Darcel Cannady-Jamerson, Exceptional Service Award; Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, Legislator of the Year; Bob Tyra, Administrator of the Year; Marilyn Harryman, School Counselor Advocate of the Year; and Cynthia Lopez received the Don Hays, Counselor of the Year Award.