Letter: State leaders urged to support school counselors

To the Editor:

I am a school counselor at Park High School, and I was happy to learn that Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed Feb. 3-7  “School Counseling Week.”

Minnesota has one school counselor for every 792 students, ranking it 48th in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Education. 

My fellow school counselors across the state and I are feeling stretched beyond capacity.

We do have the good fortune in this district of great support for counselors and student support services, but we can do even better.

As certified and licensed educators, we help students explore their abilities and interests and support their academic success, career readiness and social development.  We also support a safe learning environment by helping students deal with depression, family and social problems, and negative behaviors.

Just within the past three days, I supported two students who had suicidal thoughts, developed interventions for two students with high academic failures, connected two students to community therapy services, and connected one family to an alternative education option.

This is on top of regular collaborations with teachers, administrators, and other staff, regular checkins with students on my caseload, and other systemic supports.

State leaders, I urge you to give school counselors the support we need. 

We are overwhelmed by the number of students we serve and the unrelated responsibilities that take our focus off of student counseling services. 

By addressing the severe lack of counseling services for our kids, you will increase their chances of success.

Jodi Danielson

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