The Florida School Counselor Association has had a very strong year. We have been moving to increase our services, improve our communications, start an ambitious advocacy agenda, and directly manage our membership and member services. Among the many benefits of membership in FSCA are our upcoming Summer Academy in June and our convention in October. As we continue to grow our services and our influence we have also revised our structure, our policies and our By-Laws. This is a year of many firsts.
Our By-laws were recently changed as a result of our first Delegate Assembly on March 5, 2008 and subsequent voting in April. As of April 13, and for the first time Florida school counselors and those in affiliated fields may now join FSCA without the obligation to join any other counseling association or group. We certainly encourage every counselor to assess their professional needs and the services of counseling and related groups at the local, state and national level and to join those that best meet their needs. We believe with this freedom of choice, school counselors will continue to join FSCA. In doing this, FSCA joins 35 other states that do not require that school counselors join two associations and models ourselves on the relationship ASCA has with other counseling associations.
As another first, FSCA has revised it policies to allow chapters (school counselor or related associations at the local or regional level) to apply for and become charter chapters of FSCA. Over recent years we have noted that many local associations have been changing their names to "SCA" and that many more are made up entirely of school counselors with school counselor interests. As FSCA moves to improve our responsiveness and representation of school counselors, having local branches seemed like a natural next step. Again, based on a model of freedom of choice, being a FSCA Chapter is not based on any obligation nor is it exclusive. chapters or affiliate of other groups may still apply for FSCA Chapter designation.
Another First is our first annual Summer Academy. This year we will be in Tampa and have planned a program based entirely on school counselor needs and the ASCA model and Florida Frameworks. We will have national speakers and expertise from within our state. All this and counselors can attend the Academy for one low price that includes all working meals and materials. There are limited spots for us and we expect a full-house and productive weekend in June.
Yet another first is our convention in October in Orlando. We are already working with invited speakers and have put out our call for proposals. We expect this will follow-up our first summer academy with targeted presentations and opportunities to network and stay current with the latest developments in our profession in Florida.
Other firsts concern the implementation of our revised by-laws and the creation of new and more inclusive governing Board positions, our adoption of a Policy governance model of operation, the improvement of our communications (newsletter, website, email blasts), establishing an on-line membership system, automating FSCA's operations including a virtual office, increasing our fiscal responsibility by transforming many of our costly activities (Board meetings, paper newsletters as examples) into technology based or outsourced activities, and preserving the bulk of our resources for member services and investment in our future. We have growing numbers of counselors active on our committees.
If you are a member of FSCA you should consider attending the Summer Academy and/or the Convention. If you are not a member of FSCA, please go to our website, review our services, positions and opportunities, and use your freedom of choice to join FSCA today.