Oklahoma education department to help fund more school counselors statewide

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Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman File

After years of advocating for more school counselors in districts across the state, Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has found the funding to establish a School Counselor Corps to provide additional mental health resources for Oklahoma students.

The state Department of Education will use $35 million in pandemic federal relief dollars to help districts hire more school counselors, licensed school-based mental health professionals, social workers and recreational therapists.

“For many years, Oklahoma children have suffered the highest rates of trauma in the nation, and over the past 15 months they have endured additional trauma from the pandemic,” Hofmeister said. “If we are to ensure our students are on track for academic success, we must first take action to wrap supports around the whole child.”

Oklahoma’s current student-to-school counselor ratio is 411-to-1, well above the American School Counselor Association’s recommendation of 250-to-1.

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