This week (Feb. 1–5, 2021) we’re joining the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) in celebrating National School Counseling Week. The focus this year is “School Counselors: All in for All Students,” to raise awareness on the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.
Counselors are the unsung heroes who actively engage in helping students examine their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents. They work in partnership with parents as they encounter the challenges of raising children in today’s world and focus on positive ways to enhance students’ academic, postsecondary, and social/emotional development. School counselors are certified, experienced educators with a master’s degree in school counseling. The combination of their training and experience makes them an integral part of the total educational program.
In LAUSD, the average caseload for each counselor is 690 to 890, far higher than the 250-to-1 ratio recommended by the American School Counselors Association. California’s ratio (622-to-1) is the third highest in the country. It’s no surprise that our students and partner schools benefit greatly from the support they receive from our college counselors.
At Fulfillment Fund, our college counselors work closely with our school partners to provide the support that students need to succeed in their education. In some cases, school college counselors have heavy caseloads and Fulfillment Fund college counselors are able to step in and support access to counseling support for all those students, in other cases, a school may not have a dedicated college counselor and we serve in that capacity instead.
In a conversation with our own amazing college counselors, Jinna Lee said, “Celebrating National School Counseling Week is important because it gives us a chance to show our appreciation to those who support and encourage us, especially during this hardship.” Connie Lucio added that “it highlights the unique contributions counselors bring to our communities and schools.”
“I became a counselor to motivate and help students overcome barriers that impact their educational and career goals.” Connie continued. “Nothing makes me happier than to see students succeed.”
Our counselor Gloria Zeyala found her calling after working in college admissions and staying late at college fairs to help underrepresented students who were lost in the college application process. “I believe that money should not dictate how prepared you are to attend a four-year institution,” Gloria said. “That led me to work with students in South L.A. as a college counselor, and I never looked back.”
Gloria recalled a turning point during her high school years that pushed her: “In the spring of my junior in high school, my A.P. U.S. History teacher told me that I was not college material. He told me that I should find a career that didn’t require much of an education. I walked away feeling worthless, and to be honest, I was embarrassed to be in his class the rest of the semester. I spent the next three weeks trying to figure out why he felt I was not college material— I was passing his class with an A. In any case, I moved on to senior year, graduated, and landed at Boston University— much to his surprise. Years later, as a college rep, I went back to my high school and visited his class— I am confident he did not remember his words as he greeted me warmly and introduced me to his class. I still think about this moment in my life and am thankful for it because it inspired me to select a career that humbles me and inspires me daily. I am lucky to be in a job I love.”
And we are lucky to have such amazing and diverse counselors who connect with our students to provide their guidance and expertise, as well as inspiration and support. This week, they will be joined by the more than 100,000 school counselors nationwide who will be participating in the festivities. Join us on social media in thanking them and the counselors in your life for their incredible efforts in ensuring our kids can have the best opportunities possible.