The Eagle's Eye

Students suffer from large counselor workloads

Jacey+Saylor-Carroll%2C+counselor+for+the+Social+Services+Academy%2C+reviews+paperwork+she+uses+to+keep+track+of+student+progress.+All+Akins+counselors+struggle+with+caseloads+above+the+ratios+recommended+by+the+American+School+Counselor+Association.
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Students suffer from large counselor workloads

Jacey Saylor-Carroll, counselor for the Social Services Academy, reviews paperwork she uses to keep track of student progress. All Akins counselors struggle with caseloads above the ratios recommended by the American School Counselor Association.

Jacey Saylor-Carroll, counselor for the Social Services Academy, reviews paperwork she uses to keep track of student progress. All Akins counselors struggle with caseloads above the ratios recommended by the American School Counselor Association.

Mylo Bissell

Jacey Saylor-Carroll, counselor for the Social Services Academy, reviews paperwork she uses to keep track of student progress. All Akins counselors struggle with caseloads above the ratios recommended by the American School Counselor Association.

Mylo Bissell

Mylo Bissell

Jacey Saylor-Carroll, counselor for the Social Services Academy, reviews paperwork she uses to keep track of student progress. All Akins counselors struggle with caseloads above the ratios recommended by the American School Counselor Association.

Monse Rubi Soto, Staff Writer

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The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends a student to counselor ratio of 250:1.

This fall the Akins enrollment number was calculated to be about 2,810, creating a ratio of about 500:1 student-to-counselor ratio.

Each academy at Akins is different, so the caseload of a counselor varies, but the smallest academies still struggle to find the time to be able to properly help a student.

Margarita Moreno, Green Tech Academy counselor and the lead counselor for Akins, said that she balances her workload as best as possible between her academy caseload and her leadership role at Akins. However, she said it is possible that Akins counselors could end up with 500 or more plus students per counselor.

“We try to help out as many kids we can, especially since we know kids struggle a lot,” Moreno said. “So counselors have to balance mental health with academics and that is a very difficult balance.”

Melinda Van Horn, Academy of Business, Leadership, and Legal Enterprises (ABLLE) counselor said she has about 540 students on her caseload.

“It’s harder to do more frequent check-ins with students and (there’s no time) to be able to just sit one on one and talk with students,” Van Horn said.

Having twice the ideal caseload affects counselors. Van Horn said that she isn’t able to do activities that they would like to do.

“I’d like to do more and have more time with students directly but because there’s so much stuff to have to do, just paperwork wise, ”

— academic counselor Melinda Van Horn

Because of the counselors’ overload of students, and paperwork some students suffer the consequences. In some cases, students struggle to find their counselors for academic or emotional help because they are not in their office or are really busy.

“Usually when I stop by the counselor’s office she isn’t there. I’m guessing she’s busy, but when she is there she answers the questions I have,” junior Mirella Garcia said. Junior Cassandra Resendiz said that she often ends up handling her problems herself when she can’t reach her counselor.

“It’s hard to reach them and ask for help because when I do, she’s not at her office (or something),” she said.

Some students do not know about the Student Support Services (SSS) office. The SSS focuses on emotional and mental health needs. It also helps students in need of basic resources like coats, backpacks, and snacks.

“I think (the SSS) really values our students and cares for all parts of them not just their academic success but their mental health success,” social worker Meg Scamardo said, who heads the SSS.

Senior Alison Butler said that she is glad the campus has a social worker.

“If we didn’t have a social worker the other counselors or everybody else here wouldn’t have time for their kids,” senior Alison Butler said. “It’s nice to have someone here that’s available for the students.”

Although counselors can be busy and have a lot on their plate they always try their best to attend a student.

“I still think this is the best high school on the planet,” Van Horn said. “It would be great if we did have more counselors.”

 

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About the Writer
Monse Rubi Soto, Staff Writer

Name: Monse Rubi Soto
Grade: 11
Academy: Green Tech
Year on Staff: 1st
Title: Staff Writer
Why they are on staff?: I enjoy learning new things, and...

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