Sunday, November 20, 2011

Counselors See Conflicts in Carrying Out Mission


From Education Week online
Middle and high school counselors believe they have a unique and powerful role to play in preparing all students for good jobs or college, but they feel hamstrung by insufficient training, competing duties, and their own schools’ priorities, according to a study released today.
The online survey of 5,300 counselors was conducted this past spring for the College Board’s Advocacy & Policy Center. One of the largest-ever surveys of counselors, it paints a picture of a committed but frustrated corps that sees a deep schism between the ideal mission of schools and the work that takes shape day to day.
Nine in 10 counselors, for instance, said that two objectives should top their schools’ priority lists: ensuring that all students have access to high-quality education and that they graduate well-equipped for college and careers. But fewer than four in 10 said their schools actually operated as if those goals were central to their mission.
That disconnection was even sharper among counselors in public and low-income schools than in private and wealthier ones. Only 19 percent of counselors in high-poverty schools said college and career readiness was part of their schools’ day-to-day mission, compared with 30 percent of counselors overall. Two-thirds of those in private schools said so, compared with one-quarter of those in public schools.
“We have more than 100,000 counselors in our [school] system, and yet they’re not being strategically deployed,” said John Bridgeland, the lead author of the report and the president and chief executive officer of Civic Enterprises, a Washington-based public-policy group that includes high school improvement among its focus issues.
“Counselors are uniquely positioned to see the whole life of the child; to see their family circumstances ... their social and emotional needs, the nonacademic supports they may require, and their academic progress and challenge, not just in a given year, like a teacher can, but over time,” he said. “That’s an advantage that’s extremely powerful. Not deploying counselors in a way that takes advantage of that unique role is a huge national loss.”

Click here to read the rest.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

In DCSS the counselors have 100s of kids per counselor (especially at non-title one schools) and need to really focus on graduation requirements and "retention" -- as opposed to "career advice" or "college placement" or "college guidance" and getting kids into college and getting them money (read David Marcus book "Acceptance" for an example of a truly outstanding public school counselor in a NY school -- now retired). Our private school experience has been somewhat different -- the numbers are smaller and they (honestly) don't have to worry about "retention" issues.

Anonymous said...

In our DCSS high school students have a new counselor for each grade. This makes it nearly impossible for the counselors to build relationships with the students, and the senior counselor is "supposed" to write recommendations for students they have known for only a few months.

These are hard working, conscientious counselors, but it's very hard to do a good job.

Anonymous said...

My child is a senior this year and there is only one counselor for all the seniors in this school of about 1500 students. She is fairly new to the school and is overwhelmed with the day-to-day counseling and scheduling needs. Consequently, college forms and transcripts are not being sent timely. There is really very little in the way of "college counseling" done in this public school. It is not her fault- it is simply too much for one person.

When I talk to friends with students in private schools I am amazed at the high level of coaching they have had all along. And in their senior year the counselors help with applications, write incredible references and assist teachers with recommendation forms. The private schools know where the college money is and how to tap it whereas the public school counselor is struggling to get transcipts sent on time. It is very, very sad.

Anonymous said...

What school has only one counselor? I have a hard time believing this.

Anonymous said...

I think counselors do a very necessary job.

However, I'm a little puzzled by the comments about DCSS not having enough counselors.

Gwinnett County with 58,000 more students has only a few more counselors than Dekalb with 98,000 students. Cobb County with 7,000 students has just a few more counselors.

What is really an eye opener is that the DeKalb's per counselor compensation is 24% more than Gwinnett and 27% more than Cobb Schools.

While Gwinnett and Cobb pay their counselors on average almost exactly the same compensation as teachers, DeKalb pays its counselors 23% more than than they pay their teachers.

Does anyone know why DeKalb counselors have such extremely high compensation in comparison to other counties? The other metro counties have counseling compensation at almost exactly like their teachers. Yet in DeKalb, our counselors make so much more.

This is why we need a salary audit. This doesn't seem quite right to me. DeKalb is overpaying for counselors in comparison with other metro systems. Perhaps if we "rightsized" the salaries, we could either employ more counselors or teachers for students.

Here are the numbers from the State Salary and Travel audit:

Gwinnett:
Number of students: 158,000
346 Counselors
$22,400,000 cost for counselors including benefits
$64,751 average compensation per counselor including benefits

($65,995 average compensation per teacher including benefits)

DeKalb
Number of students: 98,000
310 Counselors
$24,900,000 cost for counselors including benefits
$80,241 average compensation per counselor including benefits

($65,294 average compensation per teacher including benefits)

Cobb
Number of students: 107,291
324 Counselors
$20,400,000 cost for counselors including benefits
$62,962 average compensation per counselor including benefits

($63,984 average compensation per teacher including benefits)

source:
Counselor salaries:
State Salary and Travel audit
http://www.open.georgia.gov/

Georgia DOE
Gwinnett County
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=667&T=1&FY=2010
(Click on Personnel Fiscal)

Dekalb County
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010
(Click on Personnel & Fiscal)

Cobb County
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=633&T=1&FY=2010
(Click on Personnel & Fiscal)

Student Enrollment:
Georgia DOE
http://app3.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fte_pack_enrollgrade.entry_form
(Select By District and then select DeKalb)

Kim Gokce said...

The comment was that there was only one counselor for all "seniors" - not the entire school That is believable.

At Cross Keys, where we have extremely dedicated counselors and between 130-170 graduates per year, it is a challenge. This year, the team did a great job of getting the seniors and their families in early in the year for a "parent night" dedicated to helping everyone understand that their responsibilities were growing exponentially this year (to prepare to complete high school and move on to what's next).

We also have the benefit of extremely dedicated recent alumni who are mentoring the younger students on everything from where the money is, to where the lessor known schools are they should consider, to essay writing coaching. Mpaza Kapembwa '11 and Uyen Ha '09 are the two best recent examples of this and I am working with them to support their efforts and looking for ways for the Cross Keys Foundation to support their efforts.

I think that this type of mentoring by alumni is a very positive way to get the attention of the current students. Another great example is Leonel Ayala '11.

Leonel Ayala is the 2010 and 2011 AA Cross Country State Champion. He was an incredibly hardworking student and athlete. Inspired by his faith in God and by his pride in his family and culture, he became a role model while at CK and continues now that he is at Emmanuel College. Yesterday, he competed as an individual qualifier in the NAIA Nationals as a freshman.

While at CK, he helped inspire dozens of young people to consider running as an extracurricular and as a way to get scholarship money. Leonel continues to inspire and give back to his CK community - this week he'll be holding running clinics and evaluations for the young people back here in Doraville, Chamblee, and Brookhaven. He is a living example of what some of our low income kids can accomplish and is a great role model for our kids to emulate.

While much is unique about the CK cluster schools, I do know that other DeKalb schools share the experience of poverty, graduation rate challenges, parental involvement, and lack of broad community support.

I have learned to rely heavily on the children themselves to be agents of change and sources of leadership in the Cross Keys case. To their credit and to our embarrassment, they are part of the solution while many of us adults continue to be part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Oops! 2 corrections
Cobb has 7,000 more students than DeKalb

and...
in the source section:
Teachers salaries (add 20% for benefits)

Georgia DOE
Gwinnett County
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=667&T=1&FY=2010
(Click on Personnel Fiscal)

Dekalb County
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010
(Click on Personnel & Fiscal)

Cobb County
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=633&T=1&FY=2010
(Click on Personnel & Fiscal)

NOT Waiting for Superman said...

Counselor Concerns ...

It's very tiresome to see so many parents throw up their hands in defeat when they run up against an obstacle. Surely, you are smarter and more competent than that!

Of course it makes no sense to have a different counselor for each grade level. It is not possible for a counselor to get to know students well enough to give helpful advice and write recommendations if there is a full turnover of students each year for each counselor.

Soooo ... why have you not said something to the school principal? It is your school. You are the taxpayer. You are paying the bills.

Get together a group of like-minded parents. Research best practices online. Connect with American School Counselor Association (www.schoolcounselor.org). Put a plan in writing and take it to the principal. Make your case. Let the principal know that you expect his/her cooperation and will accept nothing less.

Stand up and take action.

Anonymous said...

Oops! I meant Cobb has 9,000 more students than Cobb. I want this to be very exact. We're talking about almost $25,000,000 in compensation here.

I have nothing against counselors. They do a fine job. However our salaries are so much more than the other systems and substantially more than we pay our teachers.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago, the central office basically forced all high schools to go to block schedule. Chamblee and Lakeside fought to retain the 7 period day. A few years later, central office told high schools the counselors had to be assigned by grade level. Again Lakeside went to bat for what was best for the students and fought to keep counselors assigned by alphabet so they stay with a student all 4 yrs. and have students in all grade levels. This means no one counselor has to do all college applications and no one counselor has to handle all freshmen. In addition, it means a counselor keeps their finger on the pulse of the requirements for each grade level instead of working in isolation. It also means they keep ongoing relations with the admissions officers for thier region rather than interacting with them once every 4 years.
While they don't get to spend lots of time each year with
each student or family, they do see them each year and
often have siblings over the years so relationships can
develop. There is only so much they can do with 450-500 students (lakeside's senior class has 450 and the school has just over 1900 students and 5 counselors- you can do the math)

This is another example of the central office not understanding the day to day operations of each school and giving them some flexibility to do what works in their
school for the children.

NOT Waiting for Superman said...

Before he retired, Dr. Art Thompson was the head counselor at Chamblee High School. Every month, Dr. Thompson published a Junior-Senior Newsletter that was full of current information, including deadlines, about grants, scholarships and other financial opportunities, as well as summer opportunities.

This information is available through the Georgia Student Finance Commission [http://www.gsfc.org/gsfcnew/index.cfm] and GAcollege411 [https://secure.gacollege411.org/default.aspx]. A monthly electronic newsletter, delivered by e-mail, or online blog, delivered via RSS, detailing this information could easily be set up and produced by several parent volunteers at your school or in your school cluster.

Chamblee High School parents also arranged for the director of admissions at a top university to do a seminar for parents and students. The PTA provided an honorarium and a CHS gift basket with t-shirt and coffee mug. Now such a seminar also could be easily shared as a webinar.

Another Chamblee parent shared an organized system for tracking college visits, college applications and other related materials and information. Today that could be easily set up (using Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access) and shared.

Chamblee and Dunwoody partnered on a well-organized, annual college fair, alternating between the schools. Perhaps they still do. It was open immediately after school in the gymnasium for two hours. Then, PTAs provided a salad supper for college reps and the fair opened again in the evening for three hours so that students could come back with their parents.

If your student needs letters of recommendation, give the process a helping hand. You and your student, together, should draft such a letter for the counselor and/or teacher to work from. Include information about significant activities; short-term and long-term goals; achievements; and other relevant information. Give the teacher and/or counselor complete information about what is required in the letter. Provide a complete name, title and address for mailing. Be a sport and provide a book of stamps, too -- especially if you are asking for several letters.

Teachers and counselors are being asked to do more than ever with fewer resources. Don't whine about what isn't being done. Just step up and do what needs to be done -- and be part of the solution.

Share your ideas and "what works" here.

Anonymous said...

There's only one really good counselor at Lakeside. The rest come and go. During the time my child was there she had three different counselors, all due to the counselors leaving the job.

Anonymous said...

I was a counselor in the DCSS. It does make more sense for the counselor to be assigned students by the letters of the alphabet. This allows you to get to know your students over a period of time and the family. Imagine trying to write a meaningful letter of recommendation in November, for a student that you have only known since August. I say November, because many of the highly sought after colleges have an early admission deadline. It is difficult in a public high school for one counselor to be responsible for all of the seniors. Back in the day when I first became a counselor, my first year I did not have as many seniors as the other counselors. I was also guided and support by the head counselor in the college application process. Counselors in DeKalb work a nine hour day. That is why their pay is different.
In my department we had counseling meetings and we shared information about scholarship and supported one another.
A school should be able to decide which format is best for them in terms of the assignment of students.
It takes time for a counselor to build the trust with students and their families.
DeKalb also has Graduation Coaches. I am not sure how their role differs from that of a counselor.
The job of a counselor is very demanding. You are also responsible for making sure that a student stays on track and has the correct requirements for graduation. That was a lot easier before we used eSIS.
A program should be easy to use. I hope that the new IT person looks at improvements to it or a change to it.Training for counselors is very important. Counselor will also not have a pre planning day at the end of the semester.
When will the counselor have an opportunity to check schedules or contact students that may need to change a class.
i know that the blog mentioned at one point that DeKalb may change its math options at the start of the second semester. Without a planning day for staff, I hope that is taken into consideration in making this change.

Anonymous said...

Also Lakeside's classes start with 400-500 students but only graduate between 250-350....

Anonymous said...

@ 10:55 I am sure that counselors work hard, but they should be paid on the same salary scale as teachers. Teachers (good teachers) also work 9-10 hours a day and don't get any money for the extra hours worked.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:55
Counselors in the other counties are paid at the same scale as teachers. Only in DeKalb are they paid at 24% to 27% more.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 10:56
You are correct - in the past 9th grade classes at Lakeside have had around 350 - 450 (which includes freshmores who are 10th graders with less than 7 credits so not able to be classified as 10th graders - this always makes the 9th grade class appear larger than it is because it is not limited to just those that came in from 8th grade); This year, however, there are roughly 450 on target to graduate - meaning one counselor would carry a huge burden if they only did seniors.

Anonymous said...

12:55 am -- that must be from the NCLB Jr transfers last year .. I guess that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Let's get something straight about Lakeside. The fact is that many school in the whole of the United States lose students in highschool from the 9th grade to the 12th and graduation. Take Berkmar HS which is is Gwinnett (is Gwinnett the gold standard?)They start a cohort of 1125 freshman and end up with 453 seniors. If you do not believe me go to the Georgia Department of education website and look at the report card for any school and then look at enrollment over time in demographic data. If it is a national problem where do they all go? I have no idea, but it can not be good.

BhutrasGolly said...

PS
Kudos Kim for some positive input. I am begining to think we need to find out the things that go right and figure out how to spread those accross the system.

Anonymous said...

9:21 am -- yes, I want folks to start addressing where they all go... we are really losing kids and it really can't be good long term... we've got 50% of our teens being "lost" and I think they are mostly (but not exclusively) male and I don't think that bodes well long term for society -- play it out 10 years; 15 years... what are they going to be doing? It's not like they are just going to disappear and are not going to come back and be a problem to "us" (as a society...... rapists, murders, welfare recipients, workers at menial jobs not able to add or subtract... play it out

Anonymous said...

Bhutras, you're right! I checked the state web site and both systems DeKalb and Gwinnett show a loss of students between 2007 and 2010. Gwinnett started wtih 13618 students in the 9th grade and ended with 9042 in the senior class. Likewise DeKlab had 9647 in the 9th grade and ended with 6149 seniors.

Cerebration said...

There is a big problem with graduating in four years in high schools. They say college isn't for everyone - when in fact, high school isn't for everyone. I've seen kids blossom at vocational high schools in the midwest. They are being taught the same curriculum as students at 'regular' schools, but have the added curriculum that is career focused. They love school! They love it because they know that it will lead to a respectable job after high school. Or -- if they choose, they will have the credits they need to attend a college or junior college. NO ONE in DeKalb -- and I mean NO ONE - encourages and prepares students for the world of work after high school. Thus - many - many students lose interest and feel like failures because they can't keep up with the college-prep curriculum.

Also, FWIW - Lakeside has had well over 500 - even 600 freshmen for several years in a row now - only graduating about 300 or so seniors. One time, someone asked Johnny Brown to track students better. Where do the students go? His response? "Lots of them move to places like North Dakota." I kid you not - that is what he said. That is how deluded our leadership can be. Or at least in denial and unwilling to find out the truth and take steps to address the issues as they are revealed.

Anonymous said...

"Again Lakeside went to bat for what was best for the students and fought to keep counselors assigned by alphabet so they stay with a student all 4 yrs. and have students in all grade levels."


This make perfect sense. But why did the Central Office only allow it because Lakeside parents were squeaky wheels? The Board of Ed has allowed the Central Office to operate in a less than competent manner. Dr. Atkinson clearly needs to right the ship by making every Central Office administrator re-apply for her/his job.

Anonymous said...

To me, we need to have all of the schools working the same way. Why should some kids have counselors who know them from day one, and others get a new counselor each year?

As I have tried to explain to people in my neighborhood, what your child experiences here is not necessarily what another child in another encounters.

There are serious problems throughout the county and until the ship is turned around, something that will not be easy, and I am not sure can be done with the current board members running the show and time and time again showing people before the kid's education.

UGH!

Anonymous said...

@10:03, check out the stats for size of the corresponding 8th grade class at the feeder middle school. You'll see that whether at the state level, county level, or school level, the size of the 9th grade class is larger than the corresponding 8th grade or 10th grade classes, due, as 12:55 AM says, to "froshmore" repeaters who spend 2 years in 9th grade.

So perhaps the problem is why students are not prepared for 9th grade, rather then why there are many more 9th graders than 10th graders.

Kim Gokce said...

Cere: "NO ONE in DeKalb -- and I mean NO ONE - encourages and prepares students for the world of work after high school."

You know I have to take issue with that one! :)

The Career Pathways at Cross Keys HS are doing that in a big way. I presume the Tech South programs are doing the same. At CK the Manufacturing/Mechtronics/Robotics programs I've made so much noise about this year are but one of the amazing tracks available to kids from seven areas high schools' attendance areas.

The Health Sciences Pathways (Nursing and Dental Assistant certification available) would blow the minds of the average reader here. Our first scholarship winner from the Foundation is a product of the Certified Nursing Assistant program and is working in a dental office in Stateboro while completing her core work at Georgia Southern. We EVEN have a few students from Lakeside taking advantage of this program. :)

Why don't more student take advantage of these programs? Why don't more families know about them? There are multiple reasons -

Firstly, the move from Tech North to Cross Keys was devastating for some of these programs because during the renovation they did not have the space or equipment necessary to support them effectively. In essence, a two year set back ensued.

Secondly, due to policy the full-time senior counselor that was assigned to Tech North was eliminated at CK. I think this was very short-sighted and a decision to enforce the letter, not the spirit of the policy (only one senior counselor per principal?). This person would normally be the lead for recruiting and promotion of the programs.

Lastly, I think there are significant biases working against the programs: 1. Parents think "Career Tech" is for kids who aren't college material, 2. Due to the long-standing political beatings and isolation of CK, some families don't consider it a viable option.

These mis-conceptions and fossilized political perceptions are one reason why I am personally and deeply committed to making 2012 the break-through year for these technology programs in terms of recognition.

We are going to accomplish this via STEM workshops, a Countywide Young Inventors Program, competitive Robotics teams, Science Assemblies, and more.

If anyone wants to join us in this effort, we can use your time, your advocacy, your network, and, of course, your donations. See: Unbounded Opportunities and Tech promotion at CKF

We are hunting very big game for the benefit of our entire DeKalb community this year!

Anonymous said...

The individual schools determine how their counseling departments are setup. Why would you want a central office administrator who knows nothing about a particular school determine how that school should be run?

Lakeside is not the only high school with counselors assigned alphabetically. I'm not sure where you got that information.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I know that the Dunwoody HS Counseling Department does promote the Cross Keys offerings and the students and parents have been informed about the upcoming visition at Cross Keys on December 2nd thorough the weekly email blast.

Dunwoody has had several students take advantage of the opportunities at Cross Keys.

Kim Gokce said...

The Dept Chair of CK Tech has been to all the service area offices (including Dunwoody) and I think we'll see a bump in enrollment as early as January - folks simply did not know what was coming to CK this year. In the meantime, this means our attendance area kids get to be the first group of high schoolers that builds and races a solar car from Dallas to Los Angeles :).

Dunwoody fields the current State champion Robotics team and they allied with our first team just a week ago at St. Simons to compete together. Our guys have rocketed to the top of the competitive landscape in Georgia in one month. So watch out Dunwoody! :)

The advisor at Dunwoody and Patrick Gunter, CK's advisor, have a long working relationship and they know they will both end up at the top of the heap this year. The VEX League County Championship will be hosted at CK this year and we have an emerging partnership with Georgia Tech that is proving very fruitful for the program development and as a source of mentors for the kids.

So much going on, so much opportunity, and so much need for support! If we as a community do this right this year, we will take the opportunities in these areas for our kids to a level unheard of in DeKalb and Georgia.

Kim Gokce said...

Btw, the investment we're looking to make in the design and construction of a solar car will yield potential benefits for many years to come. The car platform our CK kids build can be used as a learning and competitive platform for nearly another decade. Fielding the first solar car team from Georgia will be of value to DeKalb public education for years to come ...

Anonymous said...

Schools do need some right to make decisions that will work for their population. Equal services should be available at all schools. But there needs to be local input in the way that certain procedures are done at various schools. Saturday tutoring may work for some schools. After school tutoring may work for others. Schools should have the ability to try and reach the needs of their students. There has to be comprehensive help for all students in the Areas of Reading and Math, not just the Title I Schools. These are skills that all students will need regardless of their chosen professions. Career Technology is a viable option for may students. It has to be promoted.
A variety of learning levels is in all schools.
If the parents at LHS got involved and based on that, changes were made for LHS. Great!!!! We can all learn from that. Did anyone see the Tucker or MLK Games this past week end. Parental support is so important. Both of those schools had strong showings not only from the parents but the community. If we can do it in sports, we can do it in academics. Instead of looking for ways to keep everybody down, let us look at ways we can learn and support one another.
Kim, has been a great advocate for Cross Keys. Sandy P. has been a great advocate for Redan. Let us learn from them and advocate for our schools.
We are ultimately responsible to make sure our students get an education that will prepare them for the future.

Cerebration said...

Kim - you know I didn't mean you. I meant counseling - and graduation coaches and anyone else within the school system who can promote (and grow!) these vo-tech opportunities for students. These programs should be ENORMOUS - we should be hosting at least 3 or 4 high tech and/or vo-tech high schools in this county. Our leadership continues to push and support the standard college-prep curriculum - which is simply not suitable for everyone and does not prepare students for the world of work. Fran Millar has created the BRIDGE legislation that connects high schools with tech colleges - I don't see that promoted within our schools. We have NO internal communication about these programs - just the "choice" "magnet" and "theme" schools.

I envision a day when we can host high school "fairs" showcasing all of the offerings of our many different types of high schools and allowing for open enrollment at any school you choose!

Anonymous said...

As DCSS counselors, we have a defined role and curriculum as evidenced by state mandates and ASCA best practices. That being said, DCSS always wimps out by saying that utimately, the principal decides what you are required to do. This results in your child's counselor being assigned many tasks that have nothing to do with counseling. I have been pulled to run errands, cover classes, spent days workingounty on the master schedule, lunch duty, hall duty, bus duty, prepare special lunches for visiting board members.
One middle school parent demanded (and got) the counselor to carry her child's weekly progress report to the teachers because the child refused to.
As counselors we want to do what we are trained and paid to do. Often we can't. After Dottie Toney retired, we have not had a successful county level adminstrator working on our behalf.

Anonymous said...

Kim has done a lot for CK. Given the right vision and leadership, the school could become a bright spot in the system. The Tech department could be used in a way that would finally begin to match the many students who fall through the cracks better with their desires and abilities. Unfortunately, CK is at the moment a shining example for the "too many chiefs and not enough Indians" problems in DCSS. We do not need someone from the state DOE trying to tell us how to teach with clickers and kindergarten whiteboards and so-called thinking maps that are an offensive substitute for having students work with correct sentences and complex expressions. We certainly do not need coaches and other people walking around who do not engage students in any meaningful way and who create burdensome and usually counterproductive new requirements for teachers. CK is blessed with some very good teachers. We have promising young colleagues from TFA, an aerospace engineer, a college reading teacher, an amazing calculus teacher, a veteran gifted teacher, a real Ph.D., and the list goes on. If DCSS is really going to change, it can start by insisting that such teachers are treated in an appropriate way. Just like they are in schools where the parents have enough money and influence to prevent the ridiculous things that have been ruining the education of DeKalb students, especially the students of color, for far too long now.

Anonymous said...

Let the record show! DCSS counselors are mandated to work 9 hour days instead of 8 hour days as teachers have to.This is why they are compensated a little more. Additionally, in surveying other counselors in other cities in Georgia, DCSS elementary counselos have been assigned sole responsibility for SST and most recently RTI and have been assigned as the attendance protocol managers. Now when Mr. Fretwell sent out who is accountable for attendance it CLEARLY says AP's, not counselors. So why is it the elementary principals all get together and assign this job to their counselors. I'll tell you why... Inexperience principals, lack of knowledge for counselors roles or they just don't care. I agree that Dottie Toney spoke out on behalf of counselors and was instrumental in setting the pathway for those who did achieve RAMP. Guess what? Its time for recertification for those RAMP schools and guess what, with all the added duties piled higher and deeper, they are not even considering it. What's sad is that DCSS counselors are leading Georgia in RAMP schools and who even cares? So why is it that Vasanne Tinsley won't step up and speak out on behalf of counselors! ...but we all know how she got her job with so little experience. Her alligience to Gale Thomas is soo scary. Gale pulls her strings and doesn't even allow her to meet with the counselors. She has totally stripped the because they were shining stars and she didn't want them to get any more glory.Gale Thomas is so controlling and the powers that be doesn't even recognize her ways. She has all of them snowed. I hope Dr. Atkinson can truly look beyond the fakeness and see that student support services director is a joke.
DCSS counselors have also been given the responsibility of being the first response when a child states "I can't take it anymore." Or make some type of verbal threat to harm him/herself;another Gale Thomas decision and power move. This is the job of clinicians and not school counselors who have no training in saving lives. DCSS needs to look at Cobb and other system's protocol. DCSS is sooo reactionary and when they can't figure out who needs to do the job they are responding to, they dump in on the counselors. DCSS counselor are glorified flunkys. Also other school systems hire SST coordinators to just do SST.DCSS counselors have to do it all. When you look at the American School counselor model for counselors, it is inhumane to ask counselors to do as DCSS mandate their counselors do. RTI...a joke in DCSS. Again, give it to the counselors, they'll do it. They gracefully embrace it and just do it because they care for children. Again, if they had someone to speak up and not shut up, they can probably be leading the Nation with RAMP. Somebody needs to look at this very closely and certainily that someone should not be Felicia Mayfield. She's part of the problem. Dr. "A" you have your work cut out for you.