Next week is National School Counselors Week, so today is a good time to express the PFT’s sincere appreciation and admiration of these invaluable members of every school’s team of educators.
Philadelphia’s schoolchildren come from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. Unfortunately, many children come to school every day, trying to learn and succeed despite dealing with trauma at home. They are often a lifeline, connecting children to critical programs and services that they–and often their parents–aren’t aware of. They serve as guides to nervous high school seniors, ensuring that their college applications are properly completed and submitted. Our school counselors are the people who make sure these students don’t feel helpless and alone.
This is why the PFT negotiated language in our contract to ensure there is at least one full-time counselors at every school. And it’s why, in the midst of budget cuts, we organized educators, parents and elected leaders to get the District to restore every counselor that was laid off in 2013.
Our work to get more counselors into schools isn’t finished. All of our schools have student-to-counselor ratios that are much higher than the recommendations of the American School Counselor Association. Changing this dynamic is one of many goals in our ongoing fight to secure more funding for public education. Ultimately, we want all of our schools to be able to provide counselors and other school staff with all of the tools they need to educate and support our children.
Until that day comes, I know that Philly’s counselors will continue to do outstanding work for our schoolchildren every day.
Jerry T. Jordan, President