Edmond Public Schools is among 181 districts across the state that will receive funds to hire additional school counselors through a grant from the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE).
OSDE is using $35.7 million in federal relief to fund the grant program called the Oklahoma School Counselor Corps. Of that, Edmond will receive $768,000 to partially fund the hiring of five elementary school counselors and three high school counselors. The additional elementary school counselors will allow the district to provide school counselors assignments to early childhood Pk-2 and upper elementary 3-5.
“With the addition of these school counselors, we will be increasing student support at all Tiers, and we will be able to strengthen Tier I and Tier II, resulting in a more comprehensive school counseling program,” said Superintendent Dr. Angela Grunewald. “In addition, we will be able to teach the school counseling core curriculum every day and be able to offer small support groups.”
The additional three high school counseling positions will allow the district to reimagine the school counseling program and caseload assignments. The district will provide students more access to school counselors who will serve students holistically by providing preventative, direct services in all three domains: academic, career, and social-emotional development.
“Schools have wrestled with inadequate numbers of counselors and mental health professionals for far too long,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “With academic success dependent on student well-being, this marks a critical investment for our students.”
Oklahoma’s current student-to-school counselor ratio is 411-to-1, but the American School Counselor Association recommends a ratio of 250-to-1.
Districts applied for Oklahoma School Counselor Corps grants to fund approximately 50% of the cost of the salary and benefits of qualified positions. The grant will fund the positions for three years or through the 2023-24 school year.