With nearly $1 million in state funding, a dozen counselors could start work at middle and high schools in Lodi Unified School District soon.
California Assembly Bill 1802 allocates about $990,000 for supplemental counseling services. Statewide, $200 million was made available.
The funds can only be used for counselor pay, so individual school sites must find the office space, storage and equipment they will use.
Barbara Johnston, assistant superintendent of secondary education, noted another drawback to the statewide program.
"Everybody is going to be vying for counselors," she said.
However, the district was so confident the grant funding would be included in the governor's budget that employment advertisements were taken out earlier than the awards were announced, Johnston said. The district has already filled seven to nine positions, with some part-time counselors taking on more hours.
Johnston said the extra counselors will offer more individualized attention to students, and ease the burden of other counselors. There are about 36 presently employed in grades 7-12, she said.
The grant requires counselors provide students with information about the educational and vocational options at their schools. They will serve students who have failed or are at risk of failing the California High School Exit Exam, and those who are at risk of not graduating due to insufficient credits
The grant has two main goals, with specific items depending on the grade level. Basics of the grant for counselors include:
• Meeting with all students in grades 7-12 and their parents, explain academic progress.
• Advising on steps toward earning a high school diploma and passing the California High School Exit Exam.
• Explaining opportunities like college prep classes, vocational programs and career technical education.
• Developing lists of coursework for students at risk of not succeeding academically.
• Scheduling one-on-one conferences with at-risk students and parents.
The district does offer classes for middle and high school students who are at risk of not succeeding in academics. High school students can take "CAHSEE intervention" classes in math and language during the days.
First published: Saturday, January 6, 2007