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Schools need to step up for students

By Staff | Nov 21, 2014

After attending the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Business Symposium last week with dozens of local high schoolers, some of my personal thoughts on our high schools were confirmed. Those thoughts focus on the support, or rather lack of support, given to our high school students in preparing them for their future.

Several in attendance at the symposium voiced that the guidance counselors at the high schools (both Jefferson and Washington) do nothing to help them either seek college admission or job placement. One student, a senior, went so far as to say that he only saw the counselor once when he had to change a class at the beginning of the semester. My own child has shared that she doesn’t even know who her counselor is.

What a disservice these professionals are doing to our children. Their job is to provide guidance, hence the name. What they do exactly has been a mystery to me since my first child went through the system graduating in 2009. The guidance counselor at that time provided no information on what classes were needed for college enrollment, what potential scholarships were available or even how to seek assistance for any problems. Being an inquiring minded parent I called about things, sometimes too late to take advantage of deadlines of which students should have been made aware.

It was discouraging to say the least to hear these students last week share that nothing has changed in the schools despite new staffers coming on board.

Learning from my oldest child who did her student teaching with a guidance counselor in a middle school environment in another part of the state, most of the time is focused on test scores and how to make the school look better. Actually helping real, individual students is put at the bottom of the list of priorities.

I would challenge our school system to hear the cries of these kids who need some help with life skills, college entrance, scholarships, jobs…the list goes on. They are more than a statistic in making a school administration look good. Who cares what the outside world sees if the inside is of no help to the individual needs. Step up counselors and administrators! These children are our future.