Is Less More? How a Growing Student Population is Affecting Counselors
With 1,950 students attending South Saxon High School this year, and only four counselors to group them into, it has become apparent that the counselors are beginning to get too much on their plates.
Even divided, each counselor is responsible for five hundred kids each. There are 170 days in the school year which gives each student about one hour with their counselor a year. Even at that, some kids take more time, making it difficult for other students as well as the counselors.
The counselors at South are in charge of the letters of recommendation for college, helping kids with learning abilities, medical issues, attending PO meetings, administrative meetings, and all of the college preparation. These counselors include: Tracy Isham, Ryan Marshall, Andrea Oropeza, and Todd Bobeda.
The American School Counselor Association [ASCA] recommends a ratio of 250 students to one counselor. Each counselor at South is responsible for five hundred students, going well over the suggested ratio.
“I feel like it would be really difficult for the counselors because if only fifty percent of each student body for each of the counselors ask for a request then that would be still 250 students per counselor that they have to deal with,” Jacob White ‘18 said.
When Todd Bobeda first began working at South, the ratio of students to counselors was 360 to one. Bobeda mentioned that he was able to see kids a lot more, connect to them, and had a reasonable amount of e-mails to answer, as opposed to now.
“Anytime I turn around I got eighty emails waiting for me, so it was much better customer service. The reason is money,” Bobeda said.
“That[taking care of students]’s what we care to do, that’s what we want to do, so that’s fine. But no, I wish I had more time. I don’t want to say I wish I had less kids, I just wish there were more qualitative people to handle the ones I couldn’t have.”