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Ohio's School Counselors Could See New Evaluation Standards

A new set of evaluation rules for the state’s school counselors is included in Governor John Kasich’s proposed operating budget. And the Ohio School Counselors Association, or OSCA, supports the idea.

School counselors aren’t evaluated like teachers. OSCA created its own guidelines a few years ago, but assessments are still handled at the local level. Association President Sarah Collins says that means there’s no unified approach, so school counseling programs vary depending on where you are. She points out a counselor’s effectiveness also depends on the demands on them and if they are pulling double duty like filling in as substitute teachers.

“You may have one counselor that has 250 students, which is the recommended ratio by our national organization. There are some counselors that have 1,000 kids, or 2,000 kids in multiple buildings. So how do you evaluate those fairly?”

And she says having set guidelines written into law means everyone would also be speaking the same evaluation language.

“What’s working in your district with this? And what’s working in your district with this? I mean, certainly we know that the resources are probably are never going to be completely an even-playing field. But it at least gives us a starting point for administrators to talk, for superintendent to talk, for other school counselors to be able to talk using common language.”

Collins says her organization will continue working with lawmakers as they consider the rules. If the idea is approved, the state board of education would need guidelines in place by May 2016.