P.O. Box 752 Safety Harbor, FL 34695-0752 Phone or Fax: (888) 785-8611 www.Fla-SchoolCounselor.org [email protected]
March 5, 2013 Dear Florida School Board Member, As the President of the Florida School Counselor Association I represent the thousands of professional school counselors in our state. You may already know that school counselors are highly trained professionals who are concerned with student achievement, personal success, and ensuring a safe and secure learning environment for all students. Specifically, the school counseling curriculum advances student personal, social, academic, and career competencies. School counseling programs are designed to reach every student at every level. School counselors strive to develop and deliver comprehensive school counseling programs according to Florida’s Frameworks for Student Development Programs and the Standards developed by the American School Counselor Association National Model. Your school counselors endeavor to engage all students with data-driven and evidence based interventions that are part of an overall accountability system.
The Florida School Counselor Association (FSCA) expands the image and influence of professional school counselors through advocacy, leadership, collaboration and systemic change at the state level. FSCA empowers professional school counselors with the knowledge, skills, linkages, and resources to promote student success in the school, the home, the community, and the world.
So how can your school counselors deliver such labor intensive programs and adequately help students when the average counselor to student’s ratio in our state is 1:475 (the national standard for student-to-school counselor ratios is 1:250)? This is a problem that gets in the way of school counselors doing what you have hired them to do. FSCA has a solution that will help although we cannot do it without you. We need your help to support school counselors in better preventing student failure. Our bill, SB 0154 and H 0801, Student Failure Prevention Act, has been filed again in Florida’s Senate by our champion, Senator Nancy Detert. The bill is being drafted in the House and we expect filing before the deadline in early March. Representative Adkins who filed our bill last year and is still a staunch supporter cannot file for us this year due to changes in her committee assignments. However, she is chair of an important committee to us and is working hard with FSCA to ensure that the bill gets filed and has support. What you can do? 1. Write a note to Senator Detert thanking her for her tireless support. 2. Write a note to Representative Adkins and thank her for helping us help students. 3. Contact your own legislators (and others who may cover your school district in neighboring jurisdictions) and let each know that you want their support. Tell them that you support SB 154 and any companion legislation filed in the House to increase school counselors in every school, improve student access to counselors, and to ensure that every student has adequate and sufficient school counseling programs.
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We strongly anticipate that the successful passage of this bill will positively impact Florida’s graduation, attendance, and discipline rates. Parents, educators, and our communities want students to be prepared to learn, to work with others, and to exit schools with the best learning and career development skills possible. The Student Failure Prevention Act is what we all need to help make this happen. Support your district’s school counselors to do their jobs well by helping to advocate and promote this advocacy effort. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to talk more. Sincerely,
Russell A. Sabella, Ph.D. President Florida School Counselor Association
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