Previous Page  15 / 32 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 15 / 32 Next Page
Page Background







, W




a meeting, answer hundreds of emails, and I can go on. At the high

school level, counselors are also the college counselor, writing

hundreds of college recommendations, assisting a student in putting

together a list of best fit schools, filling out college forms, sending

transcripts, and recommending and assisting students with financial

aid and scholarships. We spend many of our days doing drive by

counseling, unable to do the intentional, comprehensive work that

we are trained to do because of the sheer numbers of our caseload

and because of the overwhelming needs of our students.

Recent studies show that 1 in 4 people struggle with some sort

of mental health issue. Graduation requirements continue to change,

sometimes yearly. We have more students with greater needs every

year. Our task list gets longer and our student’s needs are not able to

be met, which is our ethical responsibility. We all have the passion

and the heart to provide equitable resources for all of our students,

but because of the nature of the job and the cavernous needs of our

student populations, we are no longer able to do so. The only viable

option for us to do WHAT’S BEST FOR STUDENTS, is to lower

counselor caseloads to 250:1. It’s what’s best for them and it’s

what’s best for all of us.

Karla Allen is the Coordinator of Counseling Services for Hanover

County Public Schools. She also serves as the Vice President Elect

for Supervisors for the Virginia School Counselor Association and

is an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in the

Counselor Education graduate program. She is an active member

of the American School Counselor Association, the National

Association of College Admission Counseling and the Association

for Career and Technical Education.

180,000 new jobs and $14 billion dollars in new investment under the

leadership of Governor McAuliffe.

The Republican candidates had different remarks concerning the

lagging economy in Virginia and a need for changes in tax reductions

and regulation reforms.

Three of the four Republican candidates for Governor attended

the conference and talked about their personal backgrounds and

emphasized their economic positions.

Mr. Ed Gillespie, a political and business consultant, said that

reforms were needed with Virginia’s tax system and emphasized coal

production and offshore resources opportunities.

Chairman Corey Stewart, of the Prince William Board of

Supervisors, promoted himself as a personal income and business tax

cut candidate. He said that government should support core services

and streamline regulations.

For most of us, when we were in school, we accessed the resources

of our school guidance counselor, whose main focus was to help us

select our classes, make sure we were on track to graduate, and to

talk to us about what we wanted to do after high school. If we wanted

to go to college, they would send a transcript to the college and we

would wait to hear that we got in, and then go along our merry way. I

don’t recall feeling any stress about the college process, or worrying

about what classes I was taking, or even thinking that I may not get

in. I was awarded a full tuition scholarship to the college I attended,

and looking back on it now, I am not sure how that even happened!

Fast forward to 2017. My how times have changed. Students

begin to stress about the college application process as early as middle

school. I have heard comments from 6th graders about community

service opportunities and how they will look on a resume. There are

record numbers of students applying to college with no more seats

added over the years, which has made it even more difficult to get

into a four year


add on to that the graduation requirements

of SOL tests, verified credits, a virtual course, a credential exam, a

sequential elective, an academic career plan, First Aid CPR training,

computer literacy and what do you want to be when you grow up

and how will you pay for it? Students on at risk lists are tested and

retested multiple times in SOLs, and now the credential exam is

added to that retest list for those on the standard diploma, which

is usually the same student who is already retesting SOLs. All of

this then results in stress and anxiety and sometimes escalates into

mental health concerns.

Fortunately, the American School Counselor Association and

many counselor graduate school programs have recognized this shift

in the profession, and counselors are now trained in comprehensive

school counseling programs which are data driven and utilize delivery

systems of classroom, small group and individual counseling. School

counselors are also tasked with working with students in the three

domains of career, academics, and personal/social. All current school

counselors are licensed professionals with a minimum of a master’s

degree. With our current state recommendations for caseloads, the

counselor student ratios are: elementary 500:1, middle school 400:1,

high school 350:1. However, with localities under budget constraints

in the past few years, many counselor caseloads are much higher

than that. In a given day a counselor can sit in on an IEP meeting,

hold a parent teacher conference for a failing student, run a 504

meeting and set up accommodations, do a suicide assessment on a

high risk student, make a CPS call, set up resources for a homeless

student, run a small group on test anxiety, help a student with a

career interest inventory, teach a classroom lesson on graduation

requirements, see multiple individual students who have requested

State Senator Frank Wagner emphasized maintenance with

new construction in Virginia’s highways, career education and less

government regulation of business establishments.

Congressman Rob Wittman did not attend the conference but

through a tele-conference appearance stated that there were too much

government regulations. Since then, he has decided to stay in his

present position and not run for governor.

Businessman Denver Riggleman recently announced that he has

initiated an exploratory committee for a possible gubernatorial run in

the June 13 Republican Primary.

Michael E. Belefski is President of CPC CORPORATION, a

Communications and Marketing Firm specializing in Performance

Management Analysis in Business, Law and Political Systems.

From Guidance Counseling to School Counseling:

What’s Best for Students? Counselor Student 250:1 Ratios

By Karla Allen

Hugh A. Joyce


cell: (804) 305-9595

1905 Westmoreland Street

Richmond, VA 23230

o ce:

(804) 358-9333

fax: (804) 358-4066