Equal Access to Counselors

Equitable, timely, and effective counseling for all district high school students, regardless of which high school they attend.

In May of 2015, a member of the High School Parent Engagement Group presented this speech to the San Juan Unified Board of Education. In July of 2015, an agreement was reached between San Juan’s administration and teachers’ association to allow more high school counselors to work during the crucial week before school starts this school year, and thereby provide more equitable support for student learning.

“Good evening President Costa, members of the board, Superintendent Kern and Ms. Meyer:

My boys attend El Camino and Arcade. Tonight I want to speak to you about the inequity in our counseling services at the high school level. To begin with, I want to tell you the answer to the math problem. It is one.

Within our district we have counselors with two different contracts –195 days and 185 days. The additional 10 days are used after school is out in June and before it begins in August. One of the many tasks that are handled during this time is planning and preparing the schedules for each high school student. There are 19 counselors who have this 185-day contract. Three of our nine high schools have NO 195-day counselors. They are Del Campo, Encina, and San Juan. This is not equitable. Five of our high schools have two 195-day counselors. As these counselors retire our services will continue to decline.

My son needed counseling support last year when his report card arrived. His counselor is a 185. His Counselor did not return to school until 2 days before the start of the year. Suggestions for summer school might have happened. Thoughtful course planning could have occurred.

I have been told that this issue is a “labor relations issue”. I have met with senior administration, with the president of the teacher’s union, with our principal and my son’s counselor.

Visual Aid used during one of the SJUSD Board Meetings

Here is a solution:

Counselors are paid approximately $400 per day.

19 counselors x $400 = $7,600 per day.

$7,600 x 10 days to make equal contracts for all counselors = $76,000.

One high school student’s ADA money from the State is $8,491.

If we divide we see that $76,000/$8,491 = 8.95 students

The answer is just fewer than 9 students/9 high schools = 1 is the answer!

If we can prevent just ONE student from dropping out per high school we will pay for equitable counselors.

Tonight I am speaking for all the students who need help to stay in school, to graduate, to help them carve a path so they can go to college.Our students deserve equality. Counselors before school starts support teachers and students after school starts.

Thank you."

High School Parent Engagement Group is not affiliated with the San Juan Unified School District