Do Schools Have to Hire More School Counselors? “NO!”
There have been many inquiries expressed by members regarding the school counselor amendments. School Social Workers are expressing concerns that their districts may feel compelled to hire more school counselors as a result of these regulations or be replaced. That is not the intent of the regulations.
Please familiarize yourself with the following information as well as the regulations so that you can use your expertise to discuss the interpretation of the regulations with your district.
Amendments to Commissioner’s Regulations Related to School Counseling
In 2015, NYSED issued Regulation 100.2 guidance document that covers the comprehensive counseling/guidance program.
A memo dated January 3, 2018 “is to inform you that amendments to Commissioner’s Regulations related to school counseling were adopted by the Board of Regents effective, July 1, 2017. The amended regulations impact the comprehensive developmental school counseling program beginning with the 2019-2020 school year.” See memo and regulations for more details.
The amendment makes the distinction between “program” and services. School Counselors are responsible for designing just the program which does not require that someone be on site full time in a particular school. The word “access” is key. “Each school district shall also ensure that all students in grades kindergarten through twelve have access to a certified school counselor(s)” (p. 28, (2))
We have discovered a document from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) dated November 10, 2016 that provides critical communication that not only included the Amendment to the Regulations (pp. 16-43) but also NYSED’s “Assessment of Public Comment” which provides the Department’s responses to 1000’s of inquiries (starting on page 44) which should be very helpful to you in educating and providing clarification to administrators and districts. (Proposed Amendment of Sections 52.21, 100.2(j) and Part 80 of the Commissioner’s Regulations relating to School Counseling, Certification Requirements for School Counselors and Program Registration Requirements for School Counseling Preparation Programs)
Here are a few of NYSED’s Responses to Comments:
“This regulation is also not intended to displace the roles played by other certified and licensed professionals in schools and the Department has revised the proposed amendment to make this clear.” (Attachment C: Assessment of Public Comment: Department Response to Comment 2: p. 45)
“Moreover, school counselors, as defined by the certification title contained within Part 80 of the Commissioner’s regulations, are trained and capable of “triaging” student’s needs and then, where appropriate, making referrals to trained clinicians, such as school social workers and school psychologists. The proposed rulemaking does not replace the roles of school social workers and/or school psychologists with that of the school counselor.” (Department Response to Comment 6: p. 49)
“Consistent with the existing regulation and each respective scope of practice, the proposed rulemaking does not remove the ability of certified or licensed school psychologists, or certified or licensed school social workers to provide individual or group counseling. Nor does the proposed rulemaking state that such counseling may only be provided under the supervision of school counselors. The proposed rulemaking continues the existing collaborative approach among school social workers, school social workers and school counselors.” (Department Response to Comment 12: p. 53)
“16. COMMENT: Many commenters expressed frustration and concern that the amendment would have a disparate impact on school social workers and school psychologists, leading to a loss of positions for these individuals. DEPARTMENT RESPONSE: See Responses to Comments #2 and 6. The Department understands the concern, and wants to make it clear that the proposed amendment was merely intended to update the guidance program, which has been delivered by certified school counselors, pursuant to Commissioner’s regulation §100.2(j) for decades. The Department truly believes that school social workers and school psychologists play a critical role in the lives of our students and disagrees that this rulemaking would exclude these pupil personnel services providers from working in schools.” (p. 55 & 56)
If you are experiencing concerns with administration around this issue, we encourage you to read the November 10, 2016 communication noted above as well as the January 3, 2018 Memo. If you have questions, you can e-mail Maribeth Barney, supervisor of education programs at the Office of Student Support Services at the State Education Department. Her email is Maribeth.Barney@nysed.gov.
If there appears to be possible loss of School Social Worker positions in any districts in your area, please let us know immediately and we will contact Renee Rider, at the State Education Department.