By Carolyn Jones
Geovanna Veloz, a senior at Mission High School in San Francisco, has always known she wants to be a nurse. What she didn’t know was how to get there.
Her parents couldn’t help much. Immigrants from Mexico, they speak limited English, work long hours and don’t have much experience with education. Neither went to high school at all, in fact.
Enter the school’s academic counseling staff. They ensured that Veloz took the right classes and helped her pick colleges, sign up for the SAT, submit applications and fill out financial aid forms. Veloz is now waiting to hear from three California State University campuses and two University of California schools.
Source: How some California school districts invest in counseling—and achieve results – The Reporter
By Evie Blad
Among the findings from the most recent federal Civil Rights Data Collection that got the most attention: 1.6 million students attend public schools that have an on-site law enforcement officer but no school counselor.
That’s a relatively small share of the nation’s students, but civil rights groups—many of which have pushed for a scaling back or removal of police from schools—say it points to poor spending priorities, particularly those that enroll large shares of students of color.
A new White House blog post examines an analysis by the Council of Economic Advisers and takes a closer look at the figure, finding that black and Hispanic students are more likely to be enrolled in schools that spend money on law enforcement but not counselors, who are often crucial to helping students, particularly low-income students, develop social-emotional skills, secure financial aid, and gain access to higher education. Hispanic students are more likely than their black and white peers to be enrolled in schools with neither an officer nor a counselor, and white students are the most likely to attend schools with counselors but not police, the analysis finds.
Source: Schools With Police But No School Counselors: A Closer Look – Rules for Engagement – Education Week
By Andrew Ujifusa
School counselors will soon be able to apply for the U.S. Department of Education’s School Ambassador fellowships, the department announced on Friday.
The ambassador program seeks to connect those working in schools with their peers, and promote their views with respect to public policy. The program already includes the Teacher Ambassador Fellows, which is in its 10th year, and the Principal Ambassador Fellows, which is in its third year. The former is intended to “create a community of teacher leaders” and help involve teachers in policymaking that impacts the classroom, and the latter is designed to help improve the recruitment and retention of principals, among other things. The newest round of Principal Ambassador Fellows was announced in August.
Source: Education Dept. Expands Ambassador Program to School Counselors – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Nick Sestanovich
Students who return to Benicia High School this year will notice several major changes: the construction of a new stadium, a new vice principal—Dr. James Brown, who was hired to fill Brianna Kleinschmidt’s place after she was promoted to principal- and a new counselor, bringing Benicia High’s counselor total to four.
Mynor Maldonado will be joining Megan Guenther, Justin Keppel and Kathleen Wallace to make up Benicia High’s counseling department, where he will be assisting students with their academic goals, helping them with personal issues and overall providing them guidance throughout their high school careers. Previously, the department had to do all of this with only three counselors, which Keppel said created some problems.
Source: Benicia High School hires fourth counselor
By Michelle Maitre
Tawnya Pringle was named one of the best school counselors in the nation this year, has won accolades from colleagues and students, and will soon be honored at a special White House ceremony.
But ask her to describe a typical day on the job, and she hesitates. “A typical day…” pauses Pringle, a veteran counselor at Hoover High School in San Diego. “My job is so varied.”
She rattles off a range of duties, from checking up on a suicidal student referred for mental health counseling, to meeting with 9th graders struggling with attendance and grades, to corralling juniors and seniors to review financial aid applications. The day might round out with a visit to the home of a struggling student.
via Counselors optimistic about resurgence in schools | EdSource#.VMJ5EGctHGg#.VMJ5EGctHGg.
By Keri Luiz
What do Benicia High School counselors do? Given the school’s population of more than 1,500, perhaps the best description is “too much,” Benicia Unified School District trustees learned Thursday.
Trustees heard a report that illuminated the role of the school’s three counselors, Kathleen Wallace, Justin Keppel and Heidi Mejias.
The counselors help students with enrollment, schedule changes, and of course, preparing to apply to college.
Keppel meets with students whose last names begin with A-F, Mejias G-O, and Wallace P-Z. Each meets with students in all four grade levels twice a year, Wallace told the board, not counting “drop ins” by students and parents and email and phone communications.
via Trustees learn impact of counselor shortage at Benicia High School.
Reflecting the dismal state of education funding in California, the Vallejo Unified School District has increased efforts to win outside money and is celebrating the recent acquisition of two grants — including one that targets students on probation.
“These are students that have all the odds stacked against them,” Superintendent Ramona Bishop said of “crossover youth” during last week’s board meeting.
via Vallejo school district wins grants for counselors, ‘crossover youth.
By Susan Frey
To improve school safety, Californians overwhelmingly believe that having guidance counselors in every school would be more effective than deploying armed police officers.
That is a principal finding of a poll of 1,200 registered voters conducted in the wake of the Newtown school massacre, which has raised concerns about school safety throughout the nation. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they would choose putting a counselor in every school over having an armed police officer there. The mid-January survey, released Thursday, was commissioned by The California Endowment, a nonprofit health foundation.
via Poll: Counselors are more important for school safety than police officers – by Susan Frey.
By Susan Frey
As a mourning nation focuses on the need for more mental health support for students, California has regularly ranked at or near the bottom among the states in the number of counselors per student.
In California, there was one counselor for every 810 students in 2009-10. Nationally, there were almost twice as many. The American School Counselor Association recommends a ratio of one counselor to 250 students.
“We don’t have enough counselors in school,” said Art Revueltas, deputy superintendent of Montebello Unified School District near Los Angeles. “As they transition out of our schools, they’re abandoned. There’s no mental health services for them out there.”
via California near bottom in number of school counselors – by Susan Frey.
By Susan Frey
(EdSource Today writer Kathryn Baron contributed to this article.)
In an era of budget cutbacks and more pressure on students to perform, some districts and teachers are finding ways to stretch their dollars to provide mental health services for students.
The secret sauce in programs that try to improve student behavior is relationships. The goal is to get students to feel connected – to their school, to their classmates and to their teachers. One strategy developed by an education professor showed that it doesn’t always have to be time-consuming for already jammed teachers; it can take as little as two minutes a day.
via Districts use creative methods to counsel students – by Susan Frey.