May 9-13, 2022


Monday, May 9
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Childhood and adolescence represent expected periods of tremendous growth and change. Beyond their typical developmental milestones, today’s K-12 students have endured a series of unexpected stressors during the COVID-19 pandemic that have contributed to confusing, overwhelming, and intensified emotions and experiences of grief and loss. As students, families, educators, and school communities work to renegotiate “normal,” we must also continue to unpack the meaning and impact of this time on the intrapersonal and interpersonal health of children and adolescents.

This session will identify signs and symptoms of common mental health concerns that affect children and adolescents, explore the distinction between developmentally normative patterns and those that may reflect higher than expected levels of distress, and present strategies that parents and caregivers can employ to support successful coping and maintain healthy communication with their child.

Dr. Aubrey Uresti is an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education at San José State University. She serves on the CASC Bylaws and Policy, Advocacy, and Legislation Committees. Dr. Uresti’s background as a K-12 educator, school counselor, and therapist informs her research on parental incarceration, grief and loss, and urban school counseling.


Tuesday, May 10


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ASCA’s ethical standards call on school counselors to advocate for and affirm LGBTQ+ students. Sadly, only 32% of LGBTQ+ students in California always feel safe in their classroom and only 27% feel comfortable talking to their school counselor about their LGBTQ+ identity. A lack of cultural humility and fear of pushback often result in hesitancy around LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts leaving these students to fend for themselves. Participants will leave this session with a stronger understanding of LGBTQ+ identities, emerging challenges that impact mental wellness, legal obligations and practical actions school counselors can take to create needed change.

Dr. Vincent "Vinnie" Pompei (he/him) is an education consultant focused on creating safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ+ students and works full-time as an assistant professor in the doctoral program for Educational Leadership at SDSU. Previously, he was the Youth Well-Being Director for the Human Rights Campaign, served as a Project Director for the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership, and served as President for CASC. Pompei authored the LGBTQ section of the ASCA National Model, the California LGBTQ Youth Report, and Supporting LGBTQ Students in Virtual Environments. His dedication to creating safe schools has been recognized by the National Education Association, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Advocate Magazine.

Wednesday, May 11


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As schools continue to address the heightened mental health needs of students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing attention on racial inequity, there is a continued need for school counselors to provide adequate systems of support for their students. This webinar will discuss the current mental health state of youth in K-12 schools, including the continuous impact of racism on the mental health of Black, Indiginous, students of color. Participants of this workshop will walk away with a comprehensive understanding of current mental health trends among adolescents and strategies to implement culturally relevant multi-tiered interventions.

Enrique Espinoza is a school counselor at Garden Grove Unified School District and PhD Candidate at the University of California, Riverside studying racism in K-12 schools. Enrique is a first-generation college student and a practicing school counselor in Orange County, California. His research is focused on issues of mental health, racism and inequity in K-12 schools, particularly on the race-gendered experiences of male Students of Color.

Dr. Rebecca Pianta is a champion for equity and a passionate advocate for the school counseling profession. With 16 years of experience in education, she has been a school counselor at all levels, district lead counselor, administrator, adjunct professor, and co-developer of the Antiracist School Counseling Professional Learning Series. As Coordinator of Counseling and Student Support in her former District, Dr. Pianta oversaw the district-wide comprehensive school counseling program and served on the district's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Team that developed the district's Cultural Proficiency Strategic Plan. Due to her diligent leadership, eleven schools earned the Recognized American School Counselors Association (ASCA) Model Program (RAMP) designation. In 2019, she was recognized as California and Orange County's School Counselor Advocate of the Year. Currently, Dr. Pianta is the Coordinator of College and Career Readiness at Santa Ana Unified School District, and Adjunct Professor at Concordia University. She is also an ASCA Lead RAMP Reviewer and serves on the American School Counselor Association and California Association of School Counselors Board of Directors.

Thursday, May 12

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Self-care is good, but more than just "self" is needed to take care of ourselves. Supporting our students and families has a cost on our own well-being. This session will help attendees to identify helpful short-term and long-term coping strategies to mitigate the effects of stress, anxiety, and compassion fatigue experienced when serving others.

Jeremiah Aja, M.A., M.Div., LPCC is the Assistant Director for the national nonprofit organization, Wellness Together School Mental Health, the Blue Shield of California BlueSky Liaison, and a Registered Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. He has worked with youth and families since 2001 and now helps to lead a team of therapists across California, New York City, and beyond partnering with school districts and universities to provide mental health services for students and educators on school campuses or online. Jeremiah is a member of the California Department of Education State Suicide Postvention Response Team and the California Department of Education Mental Health Collaborative. He holds a Bachelor's in Leadership from William Jessup University, a Master's Degree from Asbury Theological Seminary, and a Master's Degree in Psychology from Brandman University.