Colorado School Counseling Association
COMMITTEE ON JOINT EDUCATION
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07:38 AM -- Colorado School Counseling Association
The presenters provided several publications, which are available for viewing at the State Archives.
Tracy Thompson, counselor at Evergreen High School and president of the Colorado School Counseling Association, introduced herself and her colleagues, Ari Rosner-Salazar, Director of Recruitment and Outreach at the Community College of Denver and President-elect of the Colorado Council on High School and College Relations, and Carlos Jimenez, Assistant Director of Admissions, Colorado College and representing the Rocky Mountain Association for College Admission Counseling.
Ms. Thompson first provided an update about the school counselor corps, which was created by a bill passed in the 2008 legislative session. She said there are 76.5 new counselors in the state because of grants provided under the counselor corps bill.
Ms. Thompson continued, providing statistics about the number of high school students who graduate and continue on to higher education. She talked about the costs to society of high school dropouts and the importance of creating a college-going culture. She talked about how this culture can be created, saying it takes everyone in the school building to establish such a culture. Ms. Thompson provided examples of how high schools are developing relationships with higher education institutions and local businesses.
Mr. Rosner-Salazar provided information about the Colorado Council on High School and College Relations, which is an organization that teams up high school counselors and college admissions officers to create a college-going culture. He talked about resources and professional development provided to high school counselors and college admissions staff by the council. Mr. Rosner-Salazar told the committee about the Counselor of the Month program and other programs of the council. He provided an example of how the council shares information among members to help students.
Mr. Jimenez spoke briefly about Colorado's school counselor corps. He described the Rocky Mountain Association for College Admission Counseling and its work with students and collaborations with other organizations. He talked about an upcoming conference of the association, and described the importance of conferences. Mr. Jimenez talked about the connections between counseling toward both college and career and technical training. He described a guide published by the association that helps students achieve their goals of going on to higher education.
Mr. Jimenez concluded his remarks about the association, saying college access is both an economic and moral issue. He said the association is seeking to provide input and assistance to members of the General Assembly as they craft legislation.
The presenters responded to questions from the committee, including a question from Representative Solano about counseling at the middle school level. Representative Solano noted that many students start thinking about dropping out at the middle school level. Ms. Thompson responded, discussing the importance of the college-going culture in middle schools and in elementary schools as well. She talked about standards around counseling at the elementary and middle school levels.
Mr. Rosner-Salazar responded to a question from Senator Heath about what is communicated to students who do not go on to college. He talked about his work as director of recruitment at the Community College of Denver. Mr. Rosner-Salazar talked about the importance of community colleges. Senator Heath expressed concern about the message to kids, who may feel that if they do not go to a four-year college, they have failed. Ms. Thompson responded to Senator Heath's comments, saying counseling also focuses on critical-thinking skills, and said the focus is more than just college.
Representative Baumgardner asked the presenters to comment on what high schools offer in terms of technical education for those students who may not continue to higher education. Ms. Thompson responded, talking about career paths for students that do not involve moving on to higher education. She talked about the importance of students getting out into the workforce. Senator Bacon commented that many high schools partner with community colleges to provide technical and career education. Ms. Thompson talked about career plans made by students in her school district. Discussion between Senator Bacon and Ms. Thompson ensued.
Committee questions for the presenters continued, with a question from Representative Schafer about relationships with labor unions that have apprenticeships and internships for students. Mr. Rosner-Salazar responded, saying those partnerships do not currently exist. He said he would take the concerns he has heard from committee members back to the council, and remarked that sometimes community colleges do feel crowded out. In response to Representative Schafer's question, he talked about existing partnerships between high schools and community colleges and career and technical colleges.
Representative Middleton talked about the term "postsecondary and workforce ready" and the importance of language in talking to students about their futures. She made a response to Representative Schafer's comments as well. She asked about policy obstacles, other than funding issues, facing the presenters. Ms. Thompson responded, saying the lack of a way to follow the progress of students into higher education presents a challenge. Mr. Rosner-Salazar responded as well, saying the presenting organizations are committed to students' educational and career success. He reiterated that the organizations would like to continue a dialog with the members of the General Assembly.
The committee adjourned.