Despite Progress, Experts Say More Counselors Needed in California Schools

Schools have made tremendous strides in improving students’ mental wellbeing, particularly through the hiring of school counselors. But experts say more are needed to meet growing demand.

Today, there are 622 students for every one counselor. Nationwide, the ratio is 464-to-1. The California Association of School Counselors recommends a ratio of 250-1. To reach that goal, California would need to spend an additional $2 billion annually.

In the past five years the state’s schools have increased counseling staff by 30%. Some districts have done better than others, as EdSource reports.

San Francisco Unified leads all large districts in California with a counselor ratio of 1 counselor for approximately every 110 students.

“We know that counselors play a crucial role in supporting students during times of crisis and guiding students and families toward the resources they need to thrive,” said district spokeswoman Laura Dudnick.

Stockton Unified has tripled its counseling staff over the past decade, from 40 to 120, and last year hired 31 mental health clinicians to provide longer-term support for students who need it. The district’s goal is to reach the 250-1 ratio recommended by the American School Counselors Association.

Read more about the efforts to boost counseling staff here


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