FFEA(LEGAL) - COUNSELING AND MENTAL HEALTH: COUNSELING
Certified School Counselor
A district with 500 or more students enrolled in elementary school grades shall employ a certified school counselor for each elementary school and at least one school counselor for each 500 elementary school students [see DBA].
A district with fewer than 500 students enrolled in elementary school grades shall provide guidance and counseling services to elementary school students by any of the following methods:
- Employing a part-time certified school counselor.
- Employing a part-time teacher who is also certified as a school counselor.
- Entering into a shared services agreement with one or more other districts to share a certified school counselor.
Education Code 33.002
Note: The provision above regarding certified school counselors applies only to school districts that apply for, receive, and allocate funds under Education Code 33.002(a). The provisions below apply to all school districts.
School Counselor Duties
The primary responsibility of a school counselor is to counsel students to fully develop each student's academic, career, personal, and social abilities. In addition, a school counselor shall:
- Participate in planning, implementing, and evaluating a comprehensive developmental guidance program to serve all students and to address the special needs of students
- At risk of dropping out of school, becoming substance abusers, participating in gang activity, or committing suicide;
- In need of modified instructional strategies; or
- Gifted and talented, with emphasis on identifying and serving gifted and talented students who are educationally disadvantaged;
- Consult with students' parents or guardians and make referrals as appropriate in consultation with parents or guardians;
- Consult with school staff, parents, and other community members to help them increase the effectiveness of students' education and promote student success;
- Coordinate people and resources in the school, home, and community;
- With the assistance of school staff, interpret standardized test results and other assessment data that help a student make educational and career plans;
- Deliver classroom guidance activities or serve as a consultant to teachers conducting lessons based on the school's guidance curriculum; and
- Serve as an impartial, non-reporting resource for interpersonal conflicts and discord involving two or more students, including accusations of bullying under Education Code 37.083.
Nothing in item 7, above, exempts a school counselor from any mandatory reporting requirements imposed by other provisions of law.
Education Code 33.006
The school counselor shall design the developmental guidance and counseling program to include:
- A guidance curriculum to help students develop their full educational potential, including the student's interests and career objectives.
- A responsive services component to intervene on behalf of any student whose immediate personal concerns or problems put the student's continued educational, career, personal, or social development at risk.
- An individual planning system to guide a student as the student plans, monitors, and manages the student's own educational, career, personal, and social development.
- System support to support the efforts of teachers, staff, parents, and other members of the community in promoting the educational, career, personal, and social development of students.
Education Code 33.005
Parental Consent and Review
A board shall adopt guidelines to ensure that written consent is obtained from the parent, legal guardian, or other person entitled to enroll the student under Education Code 25.001(j) for the student to participate in those activities for which parental consent is required. Education Code 33.003
Each school shall obtain, and keep as part of the student's permanent record, this written consent by the parent or legal guardian. The consent form shall include specific information on the content of the program and the types of activities in which the student will be involved.
Each school, before implementing a comprehensive and developmental guidance and counseling program, shall annually conduct a preview of the program for parents and guardians. All materials, including curriculum to be used during the year, must be available for a parent or guardian to preview during school hours. Materials or curriculum not included in the materials available on the campus for preview may not be used.
Education Code 33.004
Higher Education Counseling
Each school counselor at an elementary, middle, or junior high school shall advise students and their parents or guardians regarding the importance of postsecondary education, coursework designed to prepare students for postsecondary education, and financial aid availability and requirements.
During the first school year a student is enrolled in high school, and again during each year of a student's enrollment in high school, a school counselor shall provide information about higher education to the student and the student's parent or guardian. The information must cover:
- The importance of postsecondary education;
- The advantages of earning an endorsement and a performance acknowledgment and completing the distinguished level of achievement under the foundation high school program;
- The disadvantages of taking courses to prepare for a high school equivalency examination relative to the benefits of taking courses leading to a high school diploma;
- Financial aid eligibility;
- Instruction on how to apply for federal financial aid;
- The center for financial aid information established under Education Code 61.0776;
- The automatic admission of certain students to general academic teaching institutions as provided by Education Code 51.803;
- The eligibility and academic performance requirements for the TEXAS Grant;
- The availability of programs in a district under which a student may earn college credit, including advanced placement programs, dual credit programs, joint high school and college credit programs, and international baccalaureate programs; and
- The availability of education and training vouchers and tuition and fee waivers to attend an institution of higher education as provided by Education Code 54.366 for a student who is or was previously in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services.
When providing information under item 10, above, the school counselor must report to the student and the student's parent or guardian the number of times the counselor has provided the information to the student.
At the beginning of grades 10 and 11, a certified school counselor shall explain the requirements of automatic admission to a general academic teaching institution to each student who has a grade point average in the top 25 percent of the student's high school class. [See EIC]
Education Code 33.007; 19 TAC 61.1071
Notice of Grant Programs
In a manner that assists the district in implementing the district improvement plan, a district shall notify students in middle school, junior high school, and high school and those students' teachers, school counselors, and parents of:
- The TEXAS Grant and the Teach for Texas Grant programs;
- The eligibility requirements of each program;
- The need for students to make informed curriculum choices to be prepared for success beyond high school; and
- Sources of information on higher education admissions and financial aid.
Education Code 56.308(b)(1)