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President’s Letter: Connecting with Our Strengths

By Karen Smith | July 2018

Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year and welcome to another year with the Colorado School Counselor Association (CSCA)! I am thrilled to serve as your CSCA president for 2018-2019.
In June, we met as a CSCA board through our Leadership Development Institute (LDI) to discover and examine what each of us brings to the organization as an individual and as a CSCA board member. We all read “Strengths Based Leadership” by Tom Rath, completed our individual assessment, and then, with the help of Danielle Duarte, MS, director of professional development for Hatching Results, we examined how we as a board could use our strengths to lead our organization toward creating the connections we need to be successful.
Summer is a time of renewal, recharging, regrowth and attending the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) national conference. Personally, the ASCA conference helps me reset and prepare for the coming school year, realign the goals for our programming, review the current lesson plans we deliver to students throughout the year, and decide how to enhance these lessons to offer the greatest impact for our student body.
As we have “Reached for the Stars” in California this past summer, I think back to the ASCA mindsets I wish to continue to help my own students develop and connect to their learning. Self-confidence in the ability to succeed, understanding that postsecondary education and life-long learning are necessary for long-term career success, and a positive attitude toward work and learning will result in improved post-secondary career development and success for all students! As many of you know, my passion is creating environments for students to learn, grow and discover what their passion is, who they are as learners, and how they will use these gifts coupled with hard work to achieve their goals. Creating this connection is the one of the core principles of our role as school counselors and requires creative problem solving, education for career development and being agents of change.
If you were unable to attend the ASCA conference this past summer, please consider attending our state CSCA Conference, “Creating Connections,” in Keystone, Colo., October 17-19, 2018. How do you promote school safety? How do you prepare all students to be college and career ready? How do you increase graduation and attendance rates? How are you intentional with data and intervention? How does your leadership team work together toward these goals for your students, your school, your school district? How can you be the YES person in the lives of your students? How can we (CSCA) meet the unique professional development needs of our school counselors?
Cheers to the new year and your new opportunity to “Create Connections!”
Contact Karen Smith, CSCA president, at