President’s Letter: The Changing Role of School Counselors
By Linda Tyree | March 2019
Kentucky School Counselors have had an exciting year! We celebrated our 50th anniversary with our biggest and best annual conference ever – read more and see photos here. Beginning in the 2019–20 school year, KSCA is transitioning to a fall conference, a time of year much more beneficial to school counselors. The next KSCA conference will be held September 11-13, 2019, at the Griffin Gate Marriott in Lexington, Kentucky. The theme is “Celebrating Today, Creating Tomorrow” with a star keynote speaker: Principal Gerry Brooks. You won’t want to miss it! And please consider submitting a breakout session proposal.
If all that wasn’t exciting enough, we have more to celebrate. KSCA has been working with legislators for over a year now, advocating for the role of school counselors. We are excited that Senate Bill 1, the “School Safety and Resiliency Act” has passed both houses and awaits the governor’s signature. This legislation includes a preventative mental health component, placing a school counselor in every building at the ASCA recommended ratio of 1:250, devoting 60 percent of their time providing direct services to students. The bill clearly defines a “school counselor” as an individual who holds a valid school counseling certificate issued in accordance with the administrative regulations of the Education Professional Standards Board. It was gratifying to see our legislators focus on the rise of mental health issues in schools and we look forward to working with other school-based mental health professionals to better serve our students. Although this is not a budget year, both the Senate and the House have promised to add funding to this bill in the next legislative session.
As all of these exciting changes happen in Kentucky, you will notice your role as a school counselor changing as well. You are a school leader. Your leadership skills are essential as you develop and manage a comprehensive school counseling program. Great leadership starts with empathy, which is a skill that school counselors highly value. Your program is data driven and beneficial to ALL students. You consult with others to support student success and you make referrals to appropriate resources. You are a valuable resource for your teachers, your students, their families, and your community. You design and implement core curriculum at all grade levels in the areas of academics, career development, and social/emotional learning. You are a vital component of every single student’s education.
If these things don’t describe you, then reach out to your professional organizations, KSCA and ASCA, to help guide you into this new role. Make plans to attend the KSCA conference in September, where KSCA will provide opportunities to develop these skills and more. Yes, the role of the School Counselor in Kentucky is changing…and our students will benefit!