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Register for the conference here!

When you register you will be required to choose which sessions you would like to attend. Please reference the session information below.

7:30 AM Check-in/ On-site Registration and Program Information Center

8:15 AM – Welcome Remarks

Session A – 8:45 AM – 9:45 AM

A-1 Parents: The ABCs of Partnership

The importance of parental partnership on student well-being throughout the school community: what does it mean, what is expected, how to get it, and how to give it? This presentation will discuss the relevance of VIP (very important people) in the life of our students and the resulting social, academic, and behavioral impacts.

A newly minted school counselor, Barb Cappucci has had a 20-year career in the public and private education sectors, including higher education, as a college admissions representative for SUNY Geneseo. Barbara was the district-appointed parent representative to the Garden State Coalition of Schools (2008-2012) advocating for quality public education.

Audience: All

A–2 Leading the School Climate Change Process Using the New Jersey School Climate Improvement (NJ SCI) Platform

This presentation will introduce the New Jersey School Climate Improvement (NJ SCI) Platform, planned for statewide release during the 2022-2023 school year. The NJ SCI Platform is a free, web-based application designed to increase district and school access to tools and resources for data-driven school climate improvement planning and implementation. This includes the NJ SCI Survey, which helps schools identify school climate strengths and needs, and use these data to create strategic plans to improve conditions for teaching and learning. The NJ SCI Platform was developed by the School Climate Transformation Project (SCTP) via a collaboration between Rutgers University and the New Jersey Department of Education.

Alicia Raia-Hawrylak, Ph.D. is Co-Project Manager of the School Climate Transformation Project (SCTP) at Rutgers University.  Alicia provides consultation, coaching, and training to members of school leadership teams working with the SCTP.  Alicia is a former middle school language arts teacher in New York City and Asbury Park. She is a member of the leadership team for the Social Emotional Learning Alliance for New Jersey (SEL4NJ).

Audience: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

A-3 Examining Shame Resilience: Applying Brené Brown’s Theory to Personal and Professional Counselor Development

As school counselors, we are often called upon to support colleagues and students as they navigate the uncertainty of our world, particularly during this time of COVID-19. As a result, many of us may be struggling to nourish ourselves while navigating burnout, healthy boundaries, and authentic connections in our lives. Each of these areas can easily become shame triggers and can lead to further mental health consequences if we do not recognize and address them openly! This presentation will introduce you to the four components of Brené Brown’s Shame Resilience Theory (SRT) and discuss its application to school counselor practice.

Sarah Springer, Ph.D., LPC is an Associate Professor at Monmouth University, a former school counselor, and Certified Daring Way (TM) Facilitator. Sarah designed a graduate course based on Brown’s research to support pre-service counselors in learning about wellness and client conceptualization.

Katheen Grant, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at TCNJ and a former school counselor. She has presented and written on Shame Resilience Theory within the counseling community.

Audience: All

A-4 I Think We Got it Wrong: How Acting Out Behaviors Are an Additional Mental Health Crisis We May Not Have Prepared for

As schools prepared for in-person full-day school there were discussions surrounding student anxiety, isolation, depression, and possible school refusal. Professional development was designed to equip school counselors with tools to support these students. I think we got it wrong.

As the school year is unfolding a common concern from schools is the extraordinary amount of acting out behaviors. Formative years for our students in relationship building, distress tolerance, and building coping skills were disrupted by COVID-19 and quarantines. Practical evidenced based suggestions for counselors are provided as we move forward in this new normal.

Kristina Donovan, Ph.D. is the Program Director for the School Counseling program at Georgian Court University. Kristina  worked as a school counselor and supervisor and is now the Administrative Supervisor of Student Services for a large regional high school district.

Vanessa Bernal is a school counselor in Princeton, and is an adjunct professor at Georgian Court University and Monmouth University.

Audience: Middle School, High School

A-5 First Touch Point Program Planning for 9th, 10th, and 11th Graders

Looking for a way to build a comprehensive, 3-year approach when you meet with your students for the first time each new school year? This engaging, creative, and strategic approach will allow you to better understand a student’s academic strengths, support them in goal setting and help them evaluate their involvements in extra-curricular activities. This presentation will allow both new and seasoned counselors to see a sequential format to the development of their students.

For the past 21 years, Scott Petrillo (he/his/him) has worked as a school counselor in the Summit School District. While at Summit High School, Scott expanded his counseling work, also working as an athletic coach, club advisor, and student support mentor. Additionally, he worked as an adjunct faculty member at Kean University teaching in the Department of Counselor Education. 

Session B – 10 AM – 11 AM

B-1  Teacher Consultation: Academic and Emotional Classroom Support Strategies

As the pandemic continues and students present with an array of academic and emotional skills, there has been in increase in teacher consultation with school counselors. This presentation will provide you with specific academic and emotional strategies for classroom procedures and infusing in content related to social emotional learning and ultimately engaging students as partners in their own learning. SEL (self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision making, relationship skills, and social awareness). These strategies can be used for pre-I&RS or during data collection.

Kara Ieva, Ph.D., (she/hers) is an Associate Professor in the Counseling in Educational Settings program at Rowan University. Kara’s career spans over 20 years as a Spanish teacher, administrator, and school counselor. Kara  delivers professional development nationally on strategies for cultivating a safe, equitable, and inclusive mental health and neurodiverse culture.

Jennifer Grimaldi is the Director of School Counseling for Washington Township public schools in Gloucester County and previously served as the Director of School Counseling for Black Horse Pike Regional School District and 12 years as a high school counselor in Haddonfield public schools. Jennifer is also an adjunct professor at Rowan University.

Audience: Elementary, Middle, High School

B-2  Urban School Counseling: How Prepared are You?

The workshop provides an opportunity for a brief understanding of urban school counseling concerns. Addresses current theoretical and practical issues in urban school counseling which typically are not addressed elsewhere.

L. B. Best is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at Caldwell University. Doctoral work will focus on the low number of African American male school counselors. A practicing school counselor with experience at all grade levels in public, charter, small and large schools and districts in several NJ counties.

Audience: All

B-3 Beyond the Basics of ACEs: Using Research to Promote Healing and Resilience

From the stressors of the pandemic to racism, our students are coming to us with a significant number of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This program will take participants beyond a basic understanding of ACEs by providing an overview of current research into the broader array of experiences that can be considered ACEs, as well as the importance of also giving weight to positive childhood experiences. From there, participants will learn about how to respond with more informed interventions at both the individual and school community level. This will include a focus on cultural responsiveness and resilience- building practices.

Christina Liparini, PhD, LPC, has been an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Professional Psychology and Family Therapy at Seton Hall University. She also is a consultant to Good Grief on a grant-funded project to expand school-based resiliency education.

Matthew Graziano, M.S.W, Ph.D., LP is an Assistant Professor in the same department. He continues to work in private practice serving a multicultural and diverse client base including large scale clinical and educational interventions to children, adolescents, emerging adults, and adults.

Audience: All

B-4 Intervention Strategies for Students Experiencing Emotional Dysregulation

The isolation of the pandemic has left many students in a state of emotional dysregulation and disconnected from opportunities for positive interaction and socialization. This presentation provides an overview of the common indicators of emotional dysregulation in elementary and middle school students, as well as intervention strategies that can improve their functioning in and out of the classroom. Participants will gain knowledge of specific skills (asking object-oriented questions, consulting and following the contact) to improve the effectiveness of intervening with students through discussions of the common situations that we face as school counselors.

Annette Vaccaro, Ed.D., is the Coordinator of the Masters in Mental Health Counseling Specialization in Art Therapy at Caldwell University and Director of Curriculum at The Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis (ACAP). She specializes in art therapy and clinical supervision in a variety of settings including schools.

Stacey Solomon, Ph.D. is a Past President of NJSCA (2011-12). Stacey works as a school counselor educator at Caldwell University.

Audience: Elementary School, Middle School

B-5 The College Rx: Seeking Alternative Post-Secondary Options

The goal of this presentation is to open up the conversation regarding other post-secondary options for students aside from the normally “prescribed” college path. As a society over the years we have made a push towards a college going culture which is valuable, but not the only option and sometimes not the right fit for students. Just like a doctor does not prescribe the same medicine to every patient, we as school counselors should not “prescribe” the same path to every student. We will discuss trends, the importance of implicit language, and explore the varied other post-secondary options available to students.

Since 2018 Kait Sleight MA, NCC, BCC has served as the College and Career Counselor at Chatham High School. Her professional experience in higher ed has included roles as an Admission Counselor, Residence Director, and current Counseling Adjunct Professor at Rider University for ​the Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling. At Rider, Kait developed a graduate course titled Vocational/Career Development in Educational Settings to further support graduate students as they developed as future counselors.

Audience: High School, Postsecondary

Session C – 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Keynote Address – Stephen Sharp

Stephen Sharp is co-author of Amazon Best-Selling Book and 2019 Hot New Release - 50+  Tech Tools for School Counselors. Steve is a school counselor and Apple Certified Educator. He has worked to provide students with the knowledge and skills to be healthy and successful in the 21st century. Stephen has served on the governing boards of both his local and state school counseling associations. Stephen completed his M.Ed. at Millersville University of Pennsylvania, and BA from Lycoming College.

Stephen Sharp is a co-founder of the Leadership Summit, a community-based social justice network to provide students the language and tools to understand and combat the many forms of oppression.

Stephen is a Nationally Certified School Suicide Prevention Specialist, and continues to work with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to pilot an electronic behavioral health screening for schools. He works tirelessly across the state to provide education and training on mental health, substance abuse, inequality, and a world changed by technology.

Stephen frequently presents and writes on school counseling practice, leadership, technology, emerging career skills, mental health and race in education. Stephen was named the 2017 Pennsylvania Middle School Counselor of the Year.

Designing Futures – the Future of Education and School Counseling

Stephen Sharp will present a lively and inspirational keynote address through engaging discussion about emerging trends in education, student mental health, post-secondary readiness, and labor markets in light of the pandemic. He will focus on the unique role of school counselors to support students, promote equity and design a healing as supportive environment for ALL students.

School counselors will be able to take away at least two trends in education impacting education, understand the key trends in school counseling as tools to promote equitable outcomes for students, and will identify at least two components of design for student support.

Lunch – 12:30 PM – 1:15 PM

Session D – 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

D-1 Antiracism 102

Through an engaging discussion of social justice models and educational practices, participants will develop and understanding of antiracism, as an anti-oppressive practice, to better guide decision-making and development of antiracist policy and practices.

Stephen Sharp…

 D-2  Innovative “Mini” Sand Tray Activities to Engage and Empower Students

Sand tray is a multisensory experience using miniature figures that promotes therapeutic disclosure, empowerment, and mastery. “Sand tray minis” are brief expressive activities that are naturally engaging for individual students or groups. We highlight several minis (IME, What Happened, Mirror Mirror, Circle Within a Circle, Trading Places, Find a Friend, and Hopes and Dreams). Especially helpful during the pandemic, sand tray minis promote calm and safety, facilitate spontaneous expression of feelings, and empower students to navigate through problems in creative and expressive ways. Participants will take home samples of miniatures and directions for using minis.

Jane Webber, Ph.D., LPC is Assistant Professor and Doctoral Program Coordinator in the Counselor Education Department at Kean University where she established a dedicated sand tray room. Prior to academia, Jane was a school counselor and school counseling director.

Maham Tariq, M.A., LAC, Jeanette Torruella, M.A., and Prosline Saint Armand, M.A. LPC are doctoral students in the Ph.D. in Counseling and Supervision program at Kean University.

Maham is a bilingual counselor (Urdu/Hindi), has provided sand tray and play therapy to children and adolescents for 10 years.

Jeanette has worked in NYC schools for 20 years as a school counselor, substance abuse prevention and intervention specialist, and teaching artist using theater arts and writing as creative tools.

Prosline has provided bilingual (Haitian Creole), trauma informed services to children with a history of sexual abuse and domestic violence for 14 years and is passionate about counseling parents of children with autism.

Audience: All

D-3 – Homeless and Displaced Student Resources: An Introduction to the Stewart B. McKinney-Vento Act

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act defines homeless children as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” Doubling up or sharing the housing of others also
classifies students as homeless. Homeless migrant children who meet the eligibility criteria are also eligible for McKinney-Vento services. The Act requires all local educational agencies (LEAs) to ensure that homeless students have access to the same free, appropriate public education, including public preschools, as provided to other children and youth.  This presentation will review the Act using videos and vignettes with time for Q & A.

Diahann De Ruggiero is the Region 1 Director for the federally funded Stewart B. McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Diahann’s background is in social work and education administration with over 20 years’ experience working with children and families. The Stewart B. McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children/Youth Grant through Bergen County Special Services provides districts with the training needed at no cost to ensure that the homeless and disadvantaged children achieve academic success despite extreme hardship.

Audience: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

D-4 Grieve, Heal, Grow In the "Bubble" and in School

Comfort Zone Camp is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization providing free bereavement camp weekends in NJ for kids 7-17. Their motto is Grieve, Heal, Grow. We will highlight the process, activities, and supports needed to help students to grieve, heal, and grow in the camp bubble and in the school building. School counselors will become familiar with this impactful community resource while learning applicable ways to support their students through their grief.

Krista Collopy is the Regional Camp Director at Comfort Zone Camp. Krista first attended Comfort Zone as a camper after the death of her father. As a camper, Krista learned healthy coping skills that she continues to use each day.

Caitlin Fabrocini is a school counselor at Westwood Regional Middle School and has been a volunteer and Healing Circle Leader with Comfort Zone Camp for the last 10 years.

D-5 How to Reduce Stress and Lessen Anxiety in the College Admission Decision Making Process

This workshop identifies unintended stressors self-imposed by students and their parents that heighten anxiety which school counselors deal with on a daily basis when discussing college choices with students Please join the discussion and bring your questions and comments.

Richard Freccia is an independent college counselor and a retired school counselor who worked at Allentown High School and previously at Freehold High School. He has worked with students for over 35 years doing academic, college and career counseling. He has been a Co-Chair and Secondary School Representative for the New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling (NJACAC) and organized and moderated workshop panels for NJACAC over the last 20 years that have discussed timely college admissions issues and topics.

Audience: High School, Postsecondary

2:30 PM – till? Optional Campus Tour











Executive Director:
Jim Lukach

Jessica Smedley

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