Sadie Sprague-Lott: Students hurt when District rolls over on college support


sadieAs my 11th grade year is coming to a close the constant question of where I am looking at colleges and what I am thinking of doing after high school seems to some how make its way into every conversation.  This is also been a constant question in my mind as well. I just had my first college meeting with my  college counselor where we looked over my PSAT scores, grades, and other things that start to shape the  makeup of what colleges you should apply to. As I went through this process with my college counselor I found many new schools that fit the mold I am looking for in colleges.

Sadly because of the budget cuts, The Philadelphia School District has taken away college counselors from many high schools in Philadelphia. Without these counselors students are losing out on opportunities for scholarships, financial aid, and better college opportunities over all.

At Central High School the colleges that students have applied to are getting transcripts late because they do not have remotely near the number of college counselors that they need for a school with that many students.

The School District over the past year cut back on things that they felt were not immediately necessary. But when does it come to a point where helping kids find colleges that are fit for them and that they can afford  is no longer a priority? If that is not a priority then what in the school district is? As next year’s budget crisis approaches and more cuts are being made, the question of what new cuts to expect in our future comes full circle once again.

If we continue to accept the bare minimum,  we are not doing anything but putting students in worse situations to not only be able to attend the colleges of their dreams but also have the proper education to attend these schools.

Sadie Sprague-Lott is a junior at Science Leadership Academy and an intern with Parents United for Public Education.

4 thoughts on “Sadie Sprague-Lott: Students hurt when District rolls over on college support

  1. The SDP has Asst. Superintendents that are supposed to watch over schools. Why can’t they go into one school a day, every week and assist with counselor duties. Let’s not just complain about ” what is not functioning” let’s demand what they should do!!!!!

    1. I agree with what you are saying there are a lot of positive things that can be done by the school district. However in order for them to feel the urgency of doing these things it is important to let people know of the issues and hopefully get more people aware of how damaging these budget cuts really are.

    2. I understand the sentiment, however I think it’s important to be clear on a couple of points. First, counselors have specific roles. It’s more than just occupying a seat. I’m not sure I would want an AP dealing with my child around private mental health issues, home or domestic concerns, stress, or college counseling for that matter. Counselors have an important field of expertise that can’t be filled by just anyone. Second, when it comes to college access, counselors don’t just get files and paperwork together. Ideally they are reviewing a student’s record, have a sense of familiarity with their students, interview them and their teachers, and help them make the best choices given this information. This includes not just advice on which college but what scholarships, programs and other information is needed.

      We should be careful not to promote the idea that specific roles and duties can be occupied by any warm body. The demand must be that school counselors are at a minimum distributed at a professionally accepted standard of 1: 250 students, and at a lower ratio at schools with higher needs for behavioral supports, special programs (like restorative justice practices/PBIS), or college access.

  2. Hi to all our friends at ParentsUnited from PhillySchoolCounselorsUnited!! Thanks for all your support this year, and for those thoughtful comments above by Helen Gym and Sadie Sprague-Lott. We wanted to invite you and all your student friends to our upcoming big event. Here’s the info:

    On June 12th, Thursday, from 5 pm to 6:30 pm, at the Musser Room in the Franklin Institute, PhillySchoolCounselorsUnited (PSCU) presents:

    *The debut screening of ” #phled: Schools Interrupted “–a student-made documentary highlighting how students are affected when schools are deprived of basic resources.
    *A panel discussion comprised of students and counselors, exploring the impact of the underfunding of our schools.
    *The presentation of the first ever PSCU Book Award, a $2000 prize to the winner of our essay contest.
    *A raffle for several lucky students to receive individualized HS or College Admissions counseling with a PSCU counselor.

    Please come out and share in the conversation, as well as try for a winning ticket for extra personal college or HS admissions counseling!!
    Hope to see you there!!
    Your friends, the counselors of PSCU!!

Comments are closed.