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txteach95 06-20-2016 08:21 PM

No counselor at our small school
How many of you work at a school that has no counselor? Our Tx small rural school has about 120 students Prek-12 and we have not had a school counselor ever in the history of our school. Our superintendent believes that our kids don't need counseling and that the teachers can take care of the day to day problems. No one to prepare our juniors/seniors with career counseling/fairs, help with scholarship applications, etc. He has one of the high school teachers doing schedules and making sure the kids are taking the classes they need. He just doesn't believe in the mental health of our kids. Wondering if there are any other districts/schools out there experiencing the same thing? If so, who takes care of the career prep, scheduling and state testing coordination?

Thank you for your responses ahead of time.

tx teacher

GraceKrispy 06-20-2016 10:25 PM

YES! I have worked in a few schools that have done away with counselors. It seems librarians and counselors are often the first positions cut :( In my last middle school (1100 kids), they cut the counselors down from 3 to 2 then to 1, then to none :(

I haven't, however, worked in a high school without at least one guidance counselor for scheduling purposes. I was the counselor in a K-12 for a whole and did a lot of college prep (amongst other things). I've seen state testing coordination run by other school personnel (sometimes a teacher with a lighter caseload/parttime caseload). With all the issues in the news, I would think administrators would want to have a mental health worker in the school. I think it's short-sighted to not realize that academics (which is usually the focus with admin like this) are heavily impacted by mental health).

Who is currently doing those roles at your school?

eeza 06-21-2016 07:28 AM

no school counselor
When I taught at an elementary, the counselor was there part time at first and then she wasn't because it was a high income school and she was needed more at lower income schools. Like only lower income students have problems!

I work at a high school now and we have four counselors for about 1700 students. We even have mental health clinicians since the counselors do more with scheduling, scholarships, etc. The sad part is is that we could use more clinicians. Then there is the whole thing of whether or not we should be providing mental health services on that level because we're a school. That is a whole different discussion!

I think your superintendent is naive to think that students only have day-to-day problems. You need someone on site to at least be there for crisis intervention. What if a kid is suicidal? Do you want a teacher to make the decision whether or not send this kid to the hospital?

I hope your superintendent wisens up or he is replaced at some point with someone who is more aware of the mental health issues in the schools.

txteach95 06-21-2016 01:36 PM

no counselor
Response to Grace Crispy:

scheduling/all dual credit: one of the hs teachers (hs principal's wife)
state test coordination: principal
discipline/counseling: no one; principal tells us not to bring any students to the office
college/career prep: no one

It is so frustrating. I talked to the superintendent about 3 years ago. I proposed to him to have a school counselor for our students to do dual credit/scheduling/counseling/college & career prep and possibly state test coordinator. I wanted a change and he encouraged me to go back to school and get my masters in school counseling. I continued to work and every semester I would meet back with him and give him an update on how I was progressing. I graduated 1 year ago and looked forward to moving into that position at the end of last summer. Two weeks before school started he let me know by phone that I would be teaching one of the elementary grades and not fulfilling any duties as a school counselor. There just wasn't any room in the budget. Well, he retired and the principal is now going to be our superintendent. There will be no principal hired---just a lead teacher for elementary and lead teacher for jh/hs. This is crazy!! My own two kids go to this school and have since kindergarten. One is in hs and the other in jh. I want more for them and the other kids. No one is getting anything the way it is set up now.

I really don't know what to do? Any suggestions? Seems like it is just going to be the three of them running the show. It's their way or else. They think they know what's best for all the kids. The elementary lead teacher is best friends with the secondary lead teacher. The secondary lead teacher and superintendent are husband/wife. This is definitely going to be a conflict of interest! I know there is other teachers/staff waiting to see how this year plays out and plan to leave if it doesn't go well.

Your ideas/suggestions/comments are appreciated.


eeza 06-21-2016 03:09 PM

no school counselor

Well, he retired and the principal is now going to be our superintendent. There will be no principal hired---just a lead teacher for elementary and lead teacher for jh/hs.
What?!? I have never heard of no principal. Sure, there are interims, but never no principal. The lead teachers at our high school have very specific duties and they do not include principal duties. I am so sorry you have go through all of this craziness!

GraceKrispy 06-23-2016 09:32 PM

You know, with administration like that leading the show, you'd need cold, hard facts to make a difference, imo. This site has lots of information on WHY having counselors, but this link might make the biggest difference (empirical studies on the effectiveness of school counselors).

Some additional links to help:

If you google, you'll find a ton more (I found these via google).

If you really want to try to make this work, I would make an appointment with the people in charge and plan for a short powerpoint or have a handout with pertinent points ready on WHY school counselors will BENEFIT the district (and also the kids themselves). I'm guessing the studies that focus on the academic benefits will be of the most interest to administration that is focused on test scores and the like.

Good luck- let us know how it goes!!

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