East Texas schools facing shortage of guidance counselors

East Texas schools facing shortage of guidance counselors
Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 6:42 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2023 at 10:57 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The American School Counselors Association recommends that schools have one school counselor for every 250 students.

In Texas, the average ratio is 1 for every 390 students, and the rate is higher in some districts. UT Tyler Vice President of Enrollment David Barron spoke about what may be causing this shortage.

“This is the lowest level of unemployment for many, many years, so there’s lots of opportunities, and there’s some burn out because of the burdens that I think are on the high school counselors, and we have a lot of folks that are aging out and retiring, so there’s not folks replacing those folks that are aging out,” said Barron.

Chapel Hill ISD Director of Student Services Robin White talked about the impact that these counselors have on their students. Although they are not seeing the shortage in Chapel Hill ISD (they say they have one school counselor for every 200 students), they do understand how critical the role is.

“Our guidance counselors not only provide social and emotional learning for our students to be able to help them cope with situations and challenges once they leave high school, but also they provide guidance for them in their pathway if they choose to go into the workforce or a college or university,” said White.

They point out the lack of guidance counselors in high schools has a negative affect on students preparing to graduate and move on to another institution.

“Students will get less attention about what they’re going to do in the next few years, so if you have one counselor that’s handling 200 students and have a loss, then you may have one counselor handling 400 students, so they’re not able to touch as many students and get in front of those students and provide the information that they need to be successful,” said Barron.