2019 Conference Schedule and Descriptions

MSCA Conference 2019

Schedule of Events and Descriptions


Wednesday, April 3rd

4:00 - 8:00 p.m.   Check-in Social - 20th Floor- Hosted by Rocky Mountain College

Thursday, April 4th

6:00 - 6:45 a.m.   Yoga -Conference Room 1 - extra mats provided

7:00 - 8:00 a.m.   Check-in/ Breakfast

8:00 - 9:45 a.m.   Opening Remarks- Ballroom- Keynote with Chris Cavanaugh: DEA, Drugs what’s new, what’s different and how it affects kids and families.

9:45-10:00 a.m.   Exhibitor Break/ Snack

10:00-11:30 a.m. Keynote - Ballroom-  Earl Campbell: How criminal minds use social media to target our Youth

11:30-11:45 a.m.  Exhibitor Break

11:45- 1:00 p.m.  Lunch/ Member Meeting and Awards -- REACH HIGHER sponsor

1:00 - 1:15 p.m.   Exhibitor Break

1:15 - 2:45 p.m.   Session 1

2:45 - 3:00 p.m.   Exhibitor Break

3:00 - 4:30 p.m.   Session 2

4:30 - 5:30 p.m.   Level Sharing

5:30 - 6:15 p.m.   Social - 20th Floor

6:30 - 8:30 p.m.   Pub Crawl - follow map - all welcome- pay as you go if you did not win tickets.

Friday, April 5th

7:00 - 8:00 a.m.   Breakfast

8:00 - 9:30 a.m.   Keynote - Ballroom-  Julia Taylor: Strengthening Sisterhood: Empowering Girls to Resist Societal Pressures, Fight Unrealistic Media Standards, and Develop a Healthy Body Image

9:30 - 9:45 a.m.   Exhibitor Break

9:45-11:15 a.m.    Keynote - Ballroom- Julia Taylor: Self-Harm, Suicide & Social Media: Helping Students Ask for Help

11:30-12:30 a.m.  Lunch/ Photobooth

12:45- 3:15  p.m. Julia Taylor: Continued





Thursday April 4, 2019

Chris Cavanaugh, DEA , Drugs What’s new, what’s different and how it affect kids and families

Information on the newest drug use trends with both teens and adults, how these trends are affecting our kids and families, statistics specific to Montana, and hear REAL stories of MT people that have been affected by drugs.

Earl Campbell, BPS Police Internet Crime Against Children Task Force, How Criminal Minds Use Social Media to Target our Youth

Receive information on the new apps and digital opportunities that criminals use to attack our youth and learn tools they can use to protect themselves.

Session 1 Options


Digital Documentation in the School Counseling World  

Recommended for K-12

Introduction of a computer program that can be adapted to meet the counselor’s need in any school setting.  The learning objectives is to create an awareness of the program, how to navigate the program and how you can customize it to meet the needs of your school counseling program.


2-Year Post-Secondary Education as a Pathway

to Student Success and Career

Recommended for 9-12

Readiness In the next ten years, Montana will experience a labor shortage. Fortunately, the Montana University System’s two-year colleges are well-prepared to meet this challenge by educating and training place-bound and Montana resident students who will fill this gap in the workforce. Representatives from the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, MSU Billings, and City College as well as a current student will hold a panel discussion on the robust opportunities available in Montana’s two-year colleges including degree program options, Montana’s job market for two-year degree holders, and how high school students can leverage dual enrollment in pursuing a two-year degree. The panel will also discuss Montana University System initiatives that help two-year degree-seeking students stay in school and graduate, including innovative strategies like block schedules, new approaches to development math and English, and ways that the system has made it easier for students to more successfully transfer from two-year colleges to four-year colleges for students who want to continue their education. The goal of the panel is to update high school counselors on the educational, career, and personal development opportunities and student success initiatives at Montana’s two-year colleges, which offer the most responsive academic programs at nearly 50% of the tuition of four-year campuses.


Voices of Incarceration Project: Healing Families from the Inside Out

Recommended for K-12

Learn from personal stories from students who experience dealing with an incarcerated parent.  What are their experiences and how can a school counselor support these students. Follow up with information on this 8 week project; how can you refer students and parents?


SOS Suicide Prevention Program-

Overview of the program and a districts implementation

Recommended for 6 -12

The SOS Suicide Prevention Program, created by SMC (Screening for Mental Health, Inc), is an intervention designed to assist school counselors and social workers in identifying potential depression and/or suicidal ideation in middle and high school students. The program trains personnel on how to conduct parent and school staff information sessions, student presentations, and provide follow up counseling and parent contact based on the results of student depression screening. Additionally, the program teaches middle and high school students how to identify possibly at-risk peers and the steps they can take to seek adult assistance. The SOS program was implemented in Billings Public Schools in fall 2017.


Careers Build a Community: The Formula to Set Your

Students Up for Success

Recommended for Pre-K- 3

The Montana Career Lab has been mixing up something good! We formulated a hypothesis that says students who are exposed to careers at an early age, will have more success planning a fulfilling career path. Now we need your help in testing our hypothesis. We want to introduce you to our newest career curriculum through fun, hands-on activities and exciting new ways to connect your young students with careers in their community. We will talk about our newest curriculum for first through third grade, “Career’s Build a Community,” and touch on some of our completely free resources for other ages as well. Grab your safety goggles and dive hands into a new approach at career education.

Learning Objectives:

1)    Why we need to have this discussion early on

2)    I Can Be: Resource for Pre-K

3)    Career’s Build a Community: Resources for 1st-3rd- Hands on activity- bulk of time.

4)    Other Resources: Briefly present them, have them at the front of the room to go over at the end.  


Session 2 Options


Think outside the box

Apprenticeships and military career - open conversations

Recommended for 6-12

Two for the price of one!

Apprenticeships: The objective for this presentation is to create awareness and inform counselors about registered apprenticeship as a viable career path for their students. This is intended to be an introductory crash course that will include: - What is a registered apprenticeship? - How do registered apprenticeships work? - Why and how is this a viable potential career path for my students? - What registered apprenticeships are available? - How do I learn more or help my students learn more about apprenticeship?

Military: As a high school dropout, I was guided to a career in the Navy where I became a Career Counselor.  Briefly learn about my journey and my experience in the reality that I was not an abnormality. Now I move to the civilian world as a school counselor.  Let me share an inside look on how these two different worlds connect, allowing you to ask questions frank questions like:

1. Who are recruiters how do the services determine who goes recruiting. Career recruiters versus non career.

2. What are the services expectations for recruiters at schools.

3. What can schools use recruiters for.

4. Fear of recruiters lying to kids. Can the military really do what recruiters claim? What to do if you suspect?

5. What is the recruiting process? What documents do recruiters need from schools? Timelines that recruiters should respect.

6. Service trips to see what the military is all about.


Power Up, Speak Out!:  Teaching Healthy Relationships, Boundaries, and Consent to Middle School students

Recommended for 6-8

Turn on the news, flip through the newspaper, or scroll down Instagram and you’re bound to hear of numerous accounts of devastated lives upset by unhealthy relationships. Bullying, sexual violence, and teen dating violence cause our Montana students trauma that affects their whole lives. How can we prevent that?

Students are usually told what NOT to do. They’re often left without guidance about what TO do. Power Up, Speak Out! can help!

In this session, we’ll guide you through a lesson you can take back to your schools. This lesson gives the foundation for teaching students the critical thinking skills they need to have healthy peer and dating relationships through their whole lives.

Learning Objectives:

*   Participants will learn how to teach Power Up, Speak Out! “Lesson One: Healthy Relationships” and will receive a FREE copy to take back and use in their schools

*   Participants will be able to define a Healthy Relationship as:

*   I get to be myself

*   I treat others well

*   I can say no

*   I have fun

*   Participants will learn how to use the above Healthy Relationship Statements to help their students think critically about their peer interactions

*   Participants will experience an overview of our lessons on Boundaries and Consent through hands-on participation in activities.


The Many Ways to Support Students Using EdReady Montana

Math & English Program

Recommended for 9-12

In this sectional, counselors will learn about the many use cases for educators and schools using EdReady Montana to support students.  Successful use cases include ACT prep, Hi-SET prep, credit recovery support, placement, college readiness, elective classes, summer program, and many others.  Counselors will understand how this free program can help your students gain skills in both math and English by using a self-paced learning path with high-quality resources.


Montana Youth and Their Health Risk Behaviors

Recommended for K-12

This session will present results from the Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey, trends, and awareness for various student sub-populations that are at increased risk for unhealthy behaviors. Topical data points and results will be discussed regarding unintentional injuries and violence (e.g., suicide ideation), tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual behaviors, nutrition and dietary behaviors, and physical inactivity.  Attendees will learn how to use their own school-specific results to inform school and community efforts that target youth health and well-being. This session will share ways in which data can tell a story!


Foundations: Core Skills in Sex Ed

Recommended for 6-12

Many professionals in an educational setting want to teach sex ed and support young people when they are approached with personal concerns, but don’t have adequate training to address sensitive topics confidently. Understanding Montana’s sex ed policies, answering difficult questions and values clarification are challenging components of teaching sex education and being an approachable adult. Planned Parenthood is here to help.  This session will provide an introduction to the Foundations: Core Skills Training for Sex Ed (Foundations) training. Foundations consist of one day of core skills training, and additional half day topics include LGBTQ inclusion, trauma informed approaches and sex ed strategies.

In addition to learning about the Foundations training, members of the Billings Teen Council will discuss the need for comprehensive and inclusive, medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education in all Montana schools from their perspective as peer educators.  Attend this session to learn more about this exciting opportunity to improve the quality of sex ed in Montana.



*      To improve the confidence and competence of education professionals by offering core skills training for sex ed in Montana.


Participants will

*      Learn about the Sex Ed Foundations: Core Skills training

*      Understand the need and support for sex ed in Montana

*      Leave with the ability to  host or attend a local training


The Dirt on Childhood Grief: Interacting with Kids about Loss
Recommended for K-12

Schools are uniquely poised to provide support for grieving students. When loss is traumatic, grief responses can be complicated. This workshop integrates practical tools for interacting with and supporting bereaved youth and helping to mitigate possible negative outcomes following tragedy. Learning Objectives:

1. Illuminate differences in grief responses of youth and adults

2. Outline developmental influences on grief

3. Explore helpful caregiver interventions, especially for responding constructively to intensive emotions and challenging behaviors in school (i.e. isolation, anger, intense sadness, fear, anxiety, guilt)

4. Introduce special considerations following suicide and traumatic loss

5. Outline tools for discussions and activities related to end-of-life, death, grief, hope


Friday April 5, 2019

Julia V. Taylor, Ph.D.


Strengthening Sisterhood: Empowering Girls to Resist Societal Pressures, Fight Unrealistic Media Standards, and Develop a Healthy Body Image

Today’s standards of beauty are unrealistic and unattainable. It’s not a coincidence that body image disturbances are widespread, contagious, and toxic. Girls are inundated with confusing messages that often interfere with their ability to learn, lead, and develop authentic relationships. This session will address these important issues, with a focus on helping girls develop leadership skills to combat and revive a generation that has become exhausted by body bashing, social media saturation, and the myth of perfection.

Expected session outcomes:

*    Participants will have a clear understanding of body image, media literacy, and the pressures girls face on a daily basis.

*    Participants will learn how to creatively assist girls and their families in developing leadership skills that promote a healthy and balanced life.

*    Participants will learn specific counseling techniques to empower girls to rise above our cultural standards of success.

*    Participants will learn tools to teach girls to assertively advocate for themselves.

*    Participants will be provided with a plethora of resources that can easily be integrated into a comprehensive school counseling program.

Self-Harm, Suicide & Social Media: Helping Students Ask for Help

Students who self-harm and complete suicide have often showed warning signs or disclosed their intent on social media. This presentation will focus on helping students prevent, intervene, and break the code of silence regarding self-injurious and suicidal behavior. Participants will gain insight into the darker side of social media, including sensitive self-disclosures and anonymous communities of support, along with school-wide strategies to promote mental health literacy and encourage students to reach out for help.

Expected session outcomes:

*    Participants will learn about the social media sites where students often reach out for help and/or receive encouragement to continue down a destructive path.

*    Participants will explore the wide-range of self-harming behavior and learn to better identify students who may need help.


Conference Sponsors 

Triple Platinum
Montana GEAR UP
Reach Higher Montana
Visit Billings
Rocky Mountain College
Montana Contractors Association
BOLD Beauty School
University of Montana
The College Board
Montana National Guard
Entry Level 
Office 360
​Stockman's Bank