Student to school counselor ratio still high

Albert Lea School District offices

ALBERT LEA, Minn. – One area in education, leaders say could see some improvement in Minnesota is the number of school counselors.

A new study shows it has the third-fewest counselors compared to students, a ratio of nearly 800-to-1.

In his State of the State address Governor, Mark Dayton called for more school counselors, but they have got a long way to go before reaching the national average of 460-to-1.

Wisconsin is almost  450-to-1 and Iowa and the Dakotas are even better.

“As we look at career readiness and that type of thing, the counselor role does take on a bit more of a larger portion of what should go on in a high school and that’s something that we wrestle with as we look at programming and we continue to do that every year,” said Jim Quiram, Director of Human Resources for Albert Lea Public Schools.

He said, sometimes you do have to look past the numbers and look at things on a district by district basis for their needs.

“That’s a concern when there isn’t enough or when you’re low down on a list, but also, what model do you use in your district and how many social workers do you have and who do they service? Special ed students or regular ed students, that sort of thing,” Quiram said.

He said Albert Lea has two counselors district wide and both are located at the high school, but he said they have a social worker in every building across the district.

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