Chicago Public Schools Celebrates National School Counseling Week
06 February 2023
New $15M grant builds on CPS’ investment in school counseling services
CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is celebrating the start of National School Counseling Week by recognizing the contributions of school counselors to the success of CPS students. Like school districts across the country, CPS is taking this week to reflect on and honor the many contributions of school counselors, especially as students and staff emerge from nearly three years with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“School counselors are fundamental to the health, safety, and academic success of our students,” said CEO Pedro Martinez. “Not only do our counselors support students’ social and emotional needs, but school counselors are uniquely positioned to provide targeted support to students to ensure they are prepared to achieve their postsecondary dreams. I join my colleagues across the country in thanking our school counselors for their dedication to our students and our schools this week and every week.”
This year, CPS received a $15 million School-Based Mental Health Services Grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support the recruitment and retention of school counselors and other related service providers in the District’s schools. The District plans to use the funds to provide financial support for school counselors to pursue professional development and additional certification, as well as stipends for counseling interns and other programs that support the recruitment and retention of high-quality school counselors.
“School counselors have an amazing impact on the success of CPS students, both in and outside our classrooms,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Bogdana Chkoumbova. “With this grant, CPS can continue to make investments where it matters - into supporting the mental, physical, emotional, and academic success of our students.”
Since 2021, CPS has invested more than $10 million to hire additional school counselors in the District’s highest-need schools. The historic investment allowed for the hiring in the past two years of 123 additional school counselors, mostly in elementary schools with the greatest need as identified by the Unfinished Learning Investment Index in consultation with the Equity Framework and Opportunity Index.
The District’s investment in school counselors builds on CPS’ commitment to building robust and effective Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) in every District school. The MTSS model provides a framework to schools to ensure that academic interventions, supports, and services are aligned to the needs of the child. With the support of school counselors and other dedicated professionals, MTSS ensures that CPS is supporting each student across academic, social and emotional, and post-secondary needs.
CPS’ investments in school counselors have reduced the school counselor to student ratio within the District over the past several years. Efforts to reach the American School Counselor Association-recommended ratio of 250 students or fewer for every school counselor are ongoing. In the 2022-23 school year, CPS reduced its high school counselor ratio to 236:1, with an elementary school counselor ratio of 351:1, both below the state and national average. The School Year 2021-22 national average, according to ASCA, is 408:1.
National School Counseling Week was first recognized in 2011 by the ASCA. For more information about CPS counselors, visit the CPS School Counseling and Postsecondary Advising webpage.
About Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools serves more than 322,000 students in 635 schools. It is the nation’s fourth-largest school district.