National School Counseling Week

February 1 – 5, 2021 is National School Counseling Week. Our School Counselors are critical to the success of our schools on an ongoing basis, and are needed more than ever as we navigate the pandemic. We encourage PTAs to use this opportunity to thank our hard-working counselors for everything they do for our children, as well as to help elevate the importance of the profession and advocate for more resources in our schools.

How can your PTA help?

  • Drop off flowers or treats for our school counselor(s) to show your appreciation.
  • Write cards of encouragement and thanks, and encourage students and other families to do the same.
  • Ask your school to include one or more of these announcements on the morning news.
  • Share promotions on social media using #NSCW21.
    • Post a picture of your School Counselor and ask families to share their appreciation in the comments on the post. Since most volunteers are not able to enter campus at this time, you could ask a school employee to take a picture for you, or you may have a picture from before COVID you can use.
    • Use this image as your PTA Facebook page cover and this image as your profile picture for the week.
    • This promotional toolkit contains sample posts you can easily copy and paste.
  • Use this image as your Zoom background if you have any PTA or school meetings this week.
  • Promote the Alachua County Public Schools page, which provides a place to recognize your School Counselor as well as links to mental health and wellness resources within our schools.
  • Other parent resources
  • Other social media images:

Advocacy Resources

The role of School Counselors has changed significantly in recent years. Their primary purpose is to ensure student success through academic strategies and social emotional learning, and to assist with postsecondary options. However, many of them now spend a significant amount of time on paperwork and the administration of standardized tests.

According to the American School Counselor Association, the recommended ratio of students to school counselors 250:1. In other words, there should be one school counselor for every 250 students in each school. In 2018/2019, the average ratio in Florida was 459:1. The ratio in Alachua County that year was 450:1.

Recent increases in state funding for mental health have allowed our county to hire additional coordinators at the district level. The district also partners with local organizations such as Meridian and the University of Florida to provide supplemental resources. But, that isn’t enough. Our children’s mental health needs to be a higher priority for funding within our state.

Your PTA can help in the following ways:

  • Meet with your School Counselor(s) to learn what resources your school currently has, and what else is needed. Ask what PTA can do to assist them. Communicate this information with ACCPTA as well, so we can include it in our district and statewide advocacy efforts.
  • Contact your state legislators and ask for more resources to support mental health in our schools. Enter your address here to find out who your state Senator and Representative is.
  • If you have other ideas or want to get involved in further advocacy about this topic, contact ACCPTA.

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