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Counselor caseload makes all the difference

April 30, 2006

Re "Candidates Seek Lighter Load for School Counselors," April 24

Completing my 10th year as high school counselor (1,850 student population), I am fortunate to have a caseload of less than 475 students, unique for a public school in Los Angeles. Although this is not the greatest student-counselor ratio, I know every senior by his or her first name, and I have the ability to work with their families and teachers and to make referrals to community agencies to address family needs.

Our counselors serve as advocates to students in the academic, personal/social and college/career areas, and they work hard for our students and their families. Our school was recently noted in a civil rights project by Harvard titled "Confronting the Graduation Crisis" as one of 15 in California with high graduation rates for schools with a large population of students of color and low-income families. Having a smaller caseload does make a difference in the lives of the students and their families, no matter what the demographics look like.

JACQUELINE BORJA

Counselor, Gabrielino High School

San Gabriel

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