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Government & Politics

New Bill Creates Universal School Counselor Job Description

Ohio School Counselors Association president Nichole Miller talks about the bill alongside OSCA past president Heather Fairs and president-elect Michelle Grimm. It’s sponsored by Reps. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park) and Susan Manchester (R-Lakeview)
KAREN KASLER
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Ohio School Counselors Association president Nichole Miller talks about the bill alongside OSCA past president Heather Fairs and president-elect Michelle Grimm. It’s sponsored by Reps. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park) and Susan Manchester (R-Lakeview).";

Teachers unions and school counselors are backing a new bipartisan bill that would put into law a universal job description for school counselors.

Counselors are responsible for academics, college and career readiness, and students’ social and emotional issues. But Ohio School Counselors Association president Nichole Miller said they’re often doing data reporting or cafeteria duty, filling in for teachers or administering tests – which leaves little time to help students, especially those in crisis.

“We have a joke – ‘other duties as assigned’ is our job. So whatever they come up with, that is what’s handed to us often.”

Ohio School Counselors Association president-elect Michelle Grimm said they also do data reporting and other administrative paperwork, cafeteria duty, and fill in for teachers when substitutes can’t be found.

grimm_counselors_job_description.mp3
Limited flexibility

“But obligations like back-to-back days of testing, often full weeks at a time, present an unsurmountable time vacuum that leaves us with little flexibility.”

The bipartisan bill would require the Ohio Department of Education to develop a universal job description, and counselors are hoping for one that requires 80 percent of their time be spent on direct services to students. But it wouldn’t require schools to have counselors, and about a thousand school buildings in Ohio don’t – most of them elementary schools. The counselors’ group estimates 380,000 Ohio students don’t have access to a counselor.