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4 Reasons to Get Excited About D-11’s New Counselors - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

4 Reasons to Get Excited About D-11’s New Counselors

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More than 10,000 students in Colorado public schools – 2.4 percent of the student body – dropped out in 2014. This rate has been on a downward trend since 2008, thanks in large part to Colorado’s School Counselor Corps Grant Program (SCCGP).

The program funding is awarded to eligible school districts and charter schools to help increase the availability of school-based counselors and level of counseling services. The goal is to increase graduation rates and student preparedness for college.

In 2014, D-11 received the largest Counselor Corps Grant to date. After a year of planning, the district is set to launch new counseling services and programs for the 2015 - 2016 school year.

Here are 4 ways D-11’s robust counseling program will contribute to better results for students and families:

1. More counselors mean more student support

Today, school counselors do more than just hand out college applications. They aid students in everything from emotional and social development to career advisement.

Thanks to the grant funding, D-11 was able to hire 11 new school counselors, lowering student to counselor ratios. Smaller case loads mean students have better access to counseling services and get the support they need.

“A student to counselor ratio closer to 250:1 as recommended by the American School Counselor Association should really increase availability of a school counselor,” says Cory Notestine district supervisor for school counselors (K-12) at Colorado Springs School District 11. “Then things should trickle down to being able to provide better services for students.”

2. Students are better prepared for college

Counselors also play an important role in navigating college prep and applications. More counselors mean that more students can ask questions and understand their postsecondary education options.

“If students have easier access a school counselor, they can be better prepared for post-secondary education, whether it be scholarships, college advising, or academic advising,” says Notestine.

3. Programs to help ease student academic transitions 

The transition between middle school and high school can often be filled with emotional stress and trouble adjusting.

With the Counselor Corps Grant funding, D-11 is implementing programs like The Boomerang Project, to train counselors to make those transitions successful. Utilizing peer mentoring, these programs are great tools for decreasing dropout rates and helping student feel like they belong.

4. Counselors can better target emotional and social well-being

Two other major areas of concern for school counselors are suicide prevention and bullying.

“Part of what counselors will be doing with this funding is putting programming in place to help students be able to cope with the things they’re struggling with,” says Notestine. “We’re really focusing on ‘how do we create a safer environment for everyone?’”

Smaller caseloads are a key part of these preventative measures, allowing counselors to go into classrooms to deliver curriculum on social and emotional learning and lead small group counseling sessions.

D-11 counselors are committed to supporting students and helping them realize their personal and academic potential.

The counseling program at D-11 has 49 middle and high school counselors and all counselors hold at least a Master’s degree.

For more information about D-11’s counseling program please call (719) 520-2000 or visit the counseling page.

This article was produced for and sponsored by D-11. It is not a product of or affiliated with KOAA News 5.

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