Students suffering trauma stemming from various issues, such as homelessness, violence, drug abuse, or the threat of deportation should not be left to cope on their own. Research has clearly shown that trauma disrupts learning, and that school counselors and psychologists can play a vital role in supporting students coping with trauma.
Yet, in Massachusetts, our schools are not equipped with enough guidance counselors or psychologists to meet students’ needs, especially in our most vulnerable communities.
Educators across the state are urging Governor Baker and the State Legislature to close this gap by increasing funding for school counselors and psychological staff. This is the only way we can ensure that students coping with trauma have the support they need to heal and learn.
This is urgent and these students need your voice today! Take action right now and send a clear message to Governor Baker and state legislators: support students coping with trauma!
Nearly 1,000 teachers shared their expertise and experience to shape the creation of policy recommendations for how to better support students with trauma. When surveyed, 90 percent agreed that student trauma is a major challenge in their classrooms. They repeatedly identified increasing counselors and psychological staff as a top priority.
The American School Counselor Association recommends a ratio of 250 students per counselor. As of 2014, Massachusetts had nearly twice that ratio, at 423 students per counselor. In Boston, the counselor-to-student ratio is even higher, with one counselor per 1,293 students.
However, we can change that. The Governor and State Legislature are crafting the state’s 2019 budget. We are asking that funding for school psychologists and counselors based upon student enrollment numbers is finally included. Sign our petition today.
E4E-Boston teachers speak out for school trauma support
E4E-Boston teachers Matthew Clark and Christina Pressley testified on July 25, 2017 to provide funding for school counselors and psychologists. On Wednesday, March 14, 2018 the Boston School Committee met again to hear public testimony on the budget for the next school year, where they heard testimonies from E4E-Boston teachers.
Tell the Governor and the State Legislature to prioritize guidance counselors and psychologists in the FY19 state budget.
In 2015, the Foundation Budget Review Commission, a group of legislators and researchers, found that a $2.1 billion gap exists between the projected costs to school districts and the actual funding that they currently receive. They created a set of recommendations to update the state school funding formula and close the funding gap, one of which was to include a calculation to increase guidance and psychological staff based upon student enrollment, which does not currently exist. The recommended calculation is outlined below:
"Guidance and psychological allotment," the amount allotted within a district's foundation budget for guidance and psychological services; provided, however, that the fiscal year 2017 guidance and psychological allotment, based on a sum of the following calculations, shall be the base year, with the dollar rates adjusted annually by the foundation inflation index:
- $113.61 multiplied by the foundation preschool enrollment and the foundation half-day kindergarten enrollment;
- $227.25 multiplied by the foundation full-day kindergarten enrollment and the foundation elementary enrollment;
- $302.50 multiplied by foundation junior high or middle school enrollment; and
- $379.19 multiplied by the foundation high school enrollment and the foundation vocational enrollment.
Providing additional school counselors and psychologists is key to increasing students’ access to mental health services and supports.