Does anyone else find it unusual or strange that the Englewood Board of Education just hired a counseling service (Jonni Sayres and Associates - College Counseling Services) when we have trained guidance personnel? Why, oh why are we spending $400 a day to provide college counseling services to Dwight Morrow High School and Academies@Englewood seniors in order to reach the district’s goal of 100% of graduating seniors completing and submitting college applications. And why, oh why did we wait until they were seniors to begin preparing these students. And why, oh why is that even a goal? Are 100% of our seniors even interested in going to college? What about the students' goals? Do they know that they have a choice? Have they been introduced to the varying career opportunities available to students who are not college bound? By the time a student is a senior, his/her guidance counselor should have a pretty good idea what that student wants to do. A conversation should have even taken place with the student, guidance counselor and parent by this time. Oh, and 2 more questions. Who pays for the application process? What schools are being targeted? Okay, 3 more questions. Who selects the colleges?
This summer, there was a freshmen enrichment program that was supposedly created to prepare 9th graders for the high school. Of course the application had a box at the bottom where parents were expected to circle whether the 9th grader was a DMHS student or an Academy Program Student. Why the distinction?
Why is it that we do not have full year freshmen seminar classes for all 9th graders? Jonni Sayres' services would be better utilized and we would probably get our money's worth if we started to prepare our students earlier in their high school career, like other high schools. Perhaps if the school guidance counselor was doing more than warming a seat behind a desk while we outsource their services fewer students would need a credit recovery program. Full year freshman seminar should be a requirement for all students. Bring in Jonni Sayre's College Counseling Services when they are freshmen. You just might find out something about what our students want and what they are good at. It is time to begin focusing on what our students do well instead of focusing on their weaknesses. The district is literally breeding students with poor self esteem. By the way, that was the first reason on a list of reasons why a student would be sent to the punitive Alternative School that is being proposed. (A little Title I reading and math might help a lot. It might just keep them out of remedial reading and math once they enter college, if they decide that is what they wish to do. It might also keep them out of that orange jumpsuit.)
I recently sat through a board meeting where Dr. Carlisle and Ms. Y. Sheard spoke of something called a credit recovery program. This program seemed to be originating in the Athletic Department. What are we doing here? Is a coach more qualified to counsel and guide students than the school guidance counselor? I think not. What is at work here? What do guidance counselors in the Englewood School District do if they are not involved in helping students get the credits needed to graduate from high school? Most students don't even know what is required to graduate without the guidance counselor. Why is there a college career center at the high school if guidance and counseling services are being outsourced? What is the job description of a guidance counselor in Englewood? Why is guidance being devalued in a town where it is most needed?
In schools where guidance actually functions a student has the same counselor from 9th grade to 12th grade. The counselor is held responsible for making sure that his/her students have the required credits for graduation. Any help they get from the coaches is extra and usually only comes if the student is heavily involved in sports. So what is the job of the guidance counselor in Englewood? Health and Physical Education credentials do not qualify a person to function as a guidance counselor in any other district.
A lot of lip service is given to preparing students, but I see a severe lack of student involvement. I see students being used to achieve what adults think they should want. I do not see any sign that student A might decide that he/she wants to try an honors course and that student A would actually be allowed to try it. If high expectations really existed, students would be encouraged to take honors classes. We all know that they are not. They are constantly being reminded that they are not good enough. They are constantly reminded that another group of students deserves all of the services.
6A:9-13.8 School counselor (New Jersey Administrative Code)
The school counselor endorsement authorizes the holder to perform schoolcounseling services such as study and assessment of individual pupils with respect to their status, abilities, interest and needs; counseling with administrators, teachers, students, and parents regarding personal, social, educational, and vocational plans and programs; and developing cooperative
relationships with community agencies in assisting children and families. The certificate holder is authorized to perform these duties in grades preschool through 12.
Comprehensive Health & Physical Education (pages 118 - 119)
i. Health education: This endorsement authorizes the holder to
teach health education in all public schools;
ii. Health and physical education: This endorsement authorizes the
holder to teach health and physical education in all public
iii. Physical education: This endorsement authorizes the holder to
teach physical education in all public schools; and
iv. Swimming and water safety instructor: This endorsement
authorizes the holder to teach swimming, diving and water safety
in all public schools.
One should note that by "law" these 2 certifications or endorsements do not overlap in any manner. One cannot become a school guidance counselor with Health & Physical Education, Math, or any other certification than the one listed above. If a board of education allows this, they are in violation of the School Ethics Code that they swore to uphold. The very first one, as noted below.
(Copied word for word from the School Ethics Act)
I will uphold and enforce all laws, rules and regulations of the State Board of Education, and court orders pertaining to schools. Desired changes shall be brought about only through legal and ethical procedures.
Where 'O' where is Guidance in Englewood? Oh, and how are the children?