Speaker Matt Fleck

Matt is a former school counselor and current director of the nonprofit Inspire Success. Matt hosts the podcast Encouraging Words for School Counselors.

Affinity Groups Help Connect & Support School Counselors (#102)

Affinity is defined as a “similarity of characteristics suggesting a relationship.” Using this definition, the American School Counselor Association has formed “affinity groups” for new school counselors, rural school counselors, and many more, including a school counselors of color affinity group. Aimee Portteus shares a conversation this week with high school counselor Lukas Mendoza to learn more about his involvement in ASCA’s School Counselors of Color Affinity Group.

Balancing the Passion for Both Work & Play (#101)

Inspiring School Counselors
Inspiring School Counselors
Balancing the Passion for Both Work & Play (#101)
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Every day when you return home from school, wouldn’t it be great if you were engaged in an activity that you love, keeps you fit, AND continues to benefit students? Michigan School Counselor Kelsey Smith has managed that unique balance,…

Embracing Fun & Connectedness as a School Counselor (#100)

With only five years under her belt as school counselor in Texas, Ashley Wright has already been recognized as an outstanding school counselor. Listen in this week to discover the two resources Ashley says are key to her success, her practical tips on working with teachers and community partners, and why her students lovingly refer to her as Counselor DJ Ash-Bash!

Practical Practices in Trauma-Informed Care (#99)

When you have worked as a teacher, coach, and administrator for almost 20 years you learn what works and what doesn’t. This week, our guest Alisa Kaczorowski shares the practical tips she has learned about what works with trauma-informed care.

Lezlie DelVecchio-Marks (#98)

With much enthusiasm, guest school counselor Lezlie DelVecchio-Marks shares with us how the growth mindset has not only helped her students but herself, the challenges of achieving RAMP, and the many practical ways she fosters “connections” with her students.

Marianne Matt (#97)

Guest School Counselor Marianne Matt describes why her high school students love the Accuplacer (yes, really), a favorite time-saving trick, and her rediscovered habit of journaling.

Summer Break (#96)

Join us for a brief message as we take a summer break after a long school year and share a few upcoming changes to the podcast, including how YOU can be a part of the new Inspire School Counselors podcast coming this fall.

A Graduation Story You Can Dance To (#95)

More than a decade ago, in an effort to help a struggling student stay engaged with and eventually graduate from high school, counselor Aimee Portteus and her student Hannah developed a friendship and a fundraising effort that dramatically shows the power of what school counseling can do for students and communities.

Moving Ahead by Challenging Our Fears (#94)

Though she has been a school counselor for only 8 years, Missy Smith is already the President of the Oklahoma School Counselor Association and a former state School Counselor of the Year. But her rise to leadership, though swift, required Missy to overcome some tough personal challenges.

Showing Your True Self Opens Doors (#93)

Students are sometimes surprised to see us at the grocery store or in a public place not tied to a school event. Betsy Kanagawa has found that these moments, and other times when we help students see us as our true selves, can actually be a way of strengthening connections with students.

Supporting Kids as They Ride the Rollercoaster (#92)

To get a comprehensive picture of what a school counselor does, take a listen to Virginia School Counselor of the Year Kathleen Otal. She has been a counselor from first grade to high school graduation and has learned a few lessons along the way.

Purposeful Play Therapy Yields Results (#91)

Almost every school counselor would like to have more time with students. That’s because we know, as our guest Donna Brooks reminds us this week, that the purposeful use of time and evidenced-based practices with students can truly yield positive results.

A Counselor Advocacy Reminder from Alaska (#90)

Have you ever thought about transferring to another school or school district? Maybe one with fewer challenges?! If you’re thinking of Alaska, think again. Alaska’s School Counselor of the Year Elizabeth Congdon-McGee shares time with us this week with a reminder that school counseling is hard work no matter where you are.

Creativity, Caring, and the Ukulele Group (#88)

What’s better than an incredible, enthusiastic, and effective school counselor? The answer: two school counselors who share those attributes. Listen in on this first of a two-parter with middle school counselors Ricky Almeida and Rebecca Cohen from Portland, Oregon as they share stories AND resources that you’ll want to know about.

A Kee to Success (#87)

In this week’s series highlighting school counselors of the year, we talk with TaRael Kee who’s work as a school counselor and school counseling advocate reaches across the country.

When ‘Nothing Happened’ Is a Sign of Success (#84)

For Jillian Fackenthal, recognition as Florida’s School Counselor of the Year means thinking differently, collaborating with others, and involving students in finding solutions – even when success is measured in nontraditional ways.

Doing A Lot for the Littles (#83)

Transitioning from being a teacher to a school counselor is not uncommon. But for School Counselor of the Year Belinda Tutor, it was a calling that has opened new doors of opportunity for her and her students.
Todd Schimmell and a young lady

An SRO Providing TLC is A-OK (#82)

Todd Schimmell is not your typical School Resource Officer (SRO). Not only can he handle tough situations he is also an author, an illustrator, and a great benefit to the school district’s school counseling program.

Trust Your Journey (#81)

Listen as Indra Owens, school counselor at Chelsea Heights School in Atlantic City and the 2020 New Jersey School Counselor of the Year, shares her personal passion to educate, engage, empower, and equip families with the tools they need to take advantage of social-emotional and mental health supports.

Changing the Focus of SEL Challenges (#80)

Political discourse around social-emotional learning has risen to a fever pitch in some communities around the country. One way to lower the temperature is to do what Stephanie Stewart Bridges does, keep the focus on students.

Big Changes from a Small Intervention (#78)

Helping students become aware of when things are working right, or the way they want them to work, is a principle concept of brief counseling. This week’s guest Carey Hughes shares the perfect example of putting this principle into practice with students.

Be Mindful of the Benefits of Mindfulness (#77)

If you’ve ever thought, ‘I wonder how well mindfulness techniques actually work in the classroom,’ listen in this week as Oklahoma School Counselor Specialist Sarah Kirk shares two stories of the ways in which mindfulness has benefited students AND teachers.

The Ropes Course Challenge (#75)

As we enter the new year, well-respected author and resource provider Dr. Russell Sabella shares a favorite story of a ropes course experience with at-risk students that produced several unexpected positive results.

Encouraging Words for the New Year (#74)

What quotes or phrases resonate the most with you? The start of a new year is a good time to reflect on these encouraging words, and the helpful practice of regularly reviewing these words in the days ahead.

Taking Care of Busy-ness Over the Holidays (#73)

Be sure to add a very important person to your gift-giving list this holiday season: YOU. This week we explore the business of busy-ness and the value of using the holiday break to “break” unhealthy habits.

The School Counselor Fan Club (#72)

There is an unrecognized group of students who truly admire their K-12 school counselors. Though you may not always realize they exist, this week’s guests reveal that many school counselors have their own secret fan clubs.

The Power of Persistence (#71)

When Mindy Weaver-Flask submitted her graduate school application for School Counseling, the college lost it and told her she had to reapply. Instead of taking that as a sign she shouldn’t be a counselor, Mindy saw it instead as indication to be persistent. In this week’s story, Mindy shares WHY she feels her persistence will pay off.

Sharing Thanks: Listening Can Be Noteworthy (#68)

Though school counselors know some of the best counseling “techniques” are the basics – such as empathy, caring, and active listening – it can be a challenge to find time to practice these with students. But the payoff from using these skills can sometimes be noteworthy.

Sharing Thanks: The Six-Word Note (#66)

We start our November Sharing Thanks series with the touching story of a six-word note that Bruce Bushnell received from a student years ago. Though it was a short note, it meant the world to both Bruce and his student.

Sharing Time for Caring (#65)

Counselors interact with students hundreds of times each day and never know which interactions will resonate most. Fabion Vicks shares one of these moments that ended up being a lasting memory for him.

It’s Going to Be OK, Take One Step (#64)

Often the most helpful advice is not something startling new, but something familiar that hits a chord with us at the right moment. This week’s guest Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge reminds us of how we can be helpful to students and parents by starting with a simple phrase.

Encouraging Songs (#63)

School counselors know there are many ways to reach students; sometimes through conversations, artwork, sports, and even music. This week we share our listeners’ 2021 Encouraging Songs for School Counselors playlist which might be useful to both students and counselors.

New Counselor 101: Fake It ‘til You Make It (#62)

For many school counselors the last two years have been rough, but imagine what recent school counselor graduates must be going through. For perspective, new counselor Cal Beneze shares his unique insights this week with advice on how to make it through.

A Passion for Helping Students Find Their Passion

With more than 30 years of experience in career counseling, Spencer “Skip” Niles’ work with students reflects the Maya Angelou quote that appears on his email signature which says, “My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Career Guidance as an Investment (#58)

Kuder Career Coach Alesia Ruffin has a three-point career exploration strategy for her 7th through 12th grade students in Alabama: 1) Build relationships, 2) Diminish generational “curses,” and 3) Create opportunities. In this week’s podcast Alesia shares her belief that career guidance is an investment in our students’ future.

Career Assessments and Family Dynamics (#57)

No matter how often we listen to others, it often requires a different perspective to hear what others are saying. This week’s story from Elizabeth Moore describes how that maxim strengthened the bonds between a student and her mother.

Turning Tragedies into the Hope Squad

Student suicides are devastating tragedies that many school counselors, sadly, have experienced at one level or another. But there is hope. Hear how Dr. Greg Hudnall’s vow to prevent one more suicide at his school has turned into an international movement.

For the Love of Learning (#53)

This week we feature one of our favorite podcasts from the past year. Retiring school counselor Kent Cocking shares a story of a 60 year old retiree whose love for learning touched the lives of all those around him.

Using Data to Leverage Student Success (#52)

Collecting and using data may be the last thing some school counselors want to do. But in this week’s summer rebroadcast we hear how Kentucky School Counselor of the Year Amy Beal used data as an effective advocacy tool to help more students have a positive school experience.