Advocacy

MSCA ADVOCACY COMMITTEE

Chair: Ellen Ryter

ellen@mtschoolcounselor.org

The Advocacy Committee strives to keep the Montana school counseling community connected with important legislative news, updates, and announcements that impact the profession.  Additionally, the committee assists in providing advocacy tools and information for school counselors to utilize in order to support the school counseling profession.  


MSCA ADVOCACY EFFORTS 2020

MSCA Board Director and Advocacy Chair Ellen Ryter with MSCA School Counselor of the Year Teresa Majerus at the state capital


  • January, 27, 2020 - Ellen Ryter, Teresa Majerus, and Kindle Lewis spoke to the MUS 2-year Commission on the role of school counselors in helping students navigate career and college pathways. 
  • May, 5, 2020 - Ellen Ryter was a panelist for the Education Interim Committee’s panel on Student Well-being Amidst COVID and Closure.
    • MSCA is also a voice for school counselors and mental health in schools on the following:
    • OPI’s Safe Schools Advisory Committee
    • OPI’s Behavioral Threat Assessment Work-group
    • OPI’s Student Well-Being Advisory Committee
    • MT Safe Schools Center Advisory Board
  • Upcoming:
    • October, 2020 - OCHE Teacher Recruitment and Retention - Licensure Subcommittee to discuss a possible pathway for school counselors to become educational leaders
    • 2021 Legislative Session advocacy

2021 MT LEGISLATIVE SESSION

This upcoming legislative session has many bills related to education, mental health and human rights. To look up bills being introduced in the upcoming legislative session: https://leg.mt.gov/bill-info/look-up-bill/

If you are interested in the legislative process and want to be more involved with MSCA’s advocacy efforts, please contact Ellen (ellen@mtschoolcounselor.org). There are many ways to be involved ranging from low to high time commitment so please reach out if interested!


CONNECTING WITH YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS

In order to make a difference at the policy level, we need to communicate with all stakeholders about our role as a school counselor as well as advocate for the needs of our students.  It is important to build connections with our legislators as well as the legislators for the school community that we work in. There are a number of ways to do that.    

1. CONTACT YOUR DISTRICT HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATOR
Start building a relationship with the state House Representative and Senator who represent your district. You can come visit them at the State House or locally at one of their district meetings.  Introduce yourself; educate them on the important role of the school counselor; share some of your success stories as well as some of the concerns that you have for your student population; and let them know about any pending legislation that is important to you. 


Look up a Montana Legislator: 
https://leg.mt.gov/legislator-lookup/


2. INVITE YOUR SCHOOL'S HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATOR

Feel free to invite your school's house representative and senator to special events that you have at your school such as Career Fairs, Scholarship Award Nights, etc.  This is an awesome way to showcase the role of the school counselor, for them to see first-hand the wonderful and hard work that you do, and for them to connect with their community.   


Look up a Montana Legislator: 
https://leg.mt.gov/legislator-lookup/


 3. FOLLOW YOUR SCHOOL'S & YOUR DISTRICT’S HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE & SENATOR

You can also choose to follow your legislators on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter.  This is a great way to keep yourself current on the things that are happening within your district as well as a way to continue to build a relationship with your legislators.   


NATIONAL LEGISLATION IMPACTING SCHOOL COUNSELORS

ASCA’S Legislative Affairs is an excellent resource to keep you updated on the current national legislation and court rulings impacting school counselors and the profession of school counseling.


POSITION STATEMENTS

The American School Counseling Association (ASCA) has developed a number of research-based position statements that represent ASCA’s official position on a variety of school related topics.  These position statements can be utilized to clarify the role of the school counselor and to inform school counseling practice for school counselors to utilize with parents, administration, and stakeholders. They are also helpful in guiding your communications with school and community stakeholders when you are faced with an ethical dilemma.  Currently, there are 47 statements that are updated approximately every five years and are available on the ASCA website