Office of the Superintendent Donald Gill, Ed.D. Interim Superintendent
excellence • equity • accountability July 26, 2010 Contact: Donald Gill, Superintendent (925) 776-2020 Fal Asrani, Administrator, High School Reform (925) 776-2060
For Immediate Release COUNSELORS ARE AN INTEGRAL PART OF HIGH SCHOOL REFORM Many states have made important strides in class-size reduction, higher academic standards, greater accountability and improved teacher preparation. The important missing link in these initiatives to improve student learning is the need for more school counselors. In many states, students' access to counselors varies by grade level, and some school districts have no counseling programs at all. When counseling programs exist, counselors are often asked to add administrative duties such as testing and supervising. This past year Antioch Unified School District, a Year 2 Program Improvement district, has implemented several reform initiatives. One such initiative is the addition of counselors at each of the high schools, for a total of four counselors at each site. Funded by categorical dollars, this was the first step towards meeting the academic and social needs of the students. Reform Administrator, Dr. Fal Asrani’s priority was to add this critical resource, “Counselors are the backbone of this work; they are the first point of contact when families and students have questions about graduation and college”. Parents and students have expressed their satisfaction at this additional resource in their schools. Principal Rocha of Antioch High School, who himself started his career as a high school counselor, reacted to this news; “finally we can do the work we set out to do. We can give every student a chance to meet a counselor for their academic success”. One student commented, “Having the counseling meetings this school year was an enlightening experience, to sit down and have a face to face meeting with someone skilled in the development of a personal education plan was powerful” while some seniors reported to Principal Rocha that “I wish I had the opportunity to have met with a school counselor when I was in 10th grade to develop a graduation and college going plan”. Parents applauded the action steps for increasing the counseling staff and shifting the delivery of service from large classroom/workshops to one on one personal contact for all students. Many staff commented that there was a buzz of energy when students lined up to meet with their high school counselor to discuss their course selections and academic 4 year plan at the end of the year. Over the past several years, each of the schools had 2 counselors. With student body numbers at over 2400 in each school, the counselors found their task impossible to do. Under the new structure, all counselors are scheduled to meet with every student during the school year. Antioch High School has assigned a part of the alphabet to each counselor; these students will stay with their counselor for all four years. Ms. Stephanie Anello, 510 G Street, Antioch, California 94509-1259 (925) 776-2020 - FAX. (925) 757-2937
Director of Program Improvement, concurred â€œCounselors lay the road map to student success and are the key players in creating a college-going cultureâ€?.