EDUCATIONAL SERVICE DELIVERY
This chapter reviews the educational service delivery of the Rockwall Independent School District (RISD) in the following sections:
- A. Curriculum and Instruction
- B. Organization and Staffing
- C. Student Performance
- D. Gifted and Talented Education
- E. Special Education
- F. Bilingual/English as a Second Language Education
- G. Career and Technology Education
- H. Title I/State Compensatory Education
- I. Guidance and Counseling
- J. Alternative Education Program
I. GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING
The 1996-2000 Long Range Plan of the State Board of Education includes the board's goal to provide all Texas students with equal access to developmental guidance and counseling. TEC, Chapter 21.356, requires the commissioner of education to develop and periodically update a counselor job description in consultation with the state guidance association.
In 1998, TEA published A Model Developmental Guidance and Counseling Program for Texas Public Schools. The guide addresses achieving program balance by allocating resources to the following four components of developmental guidance and counseling.
- Guidance Curriculum - planned lessons covering seven areas including self-confidence development, motivation to achieve, decision-making and problem-solving skills and responsible behavior. School counselors can teach all or some of the curriculum through direct instruction or can consult with teachers who integrate the curriculum into the classroom;
- Responsive Services - interventions on behalf of students whose immediate personal concerns or problems put their continued personal-social, career and/or educational development at risk. Counselors can meet with individuals or groups of students as indicated in the particular setting;
- Individual Planning - guidance for students as they plan, monitor and manage their own educational, career and personal-social development. Counselors can perform activities such as conducting group guidance sessions, interpreting standardized test results and consulting with individual students and their parents regarding colleges and financial aid; and
- System Support - services and management activities that indirectly benefit students. Counselors can consult with teachers, participate in developing campus-based school improvement plans and support parent and community relations efforts.
The guide recommends that school counselors divide their time between these four components depending on the developmental and special needs of the students served. Each district or school will determine the amount of counselor time devoted to each component. Allocations will vary, but Exhibit 2-56 showsTEA's suggested allocations. RISD does not monitor counselor time formally, so no percentage allocations are available.
Exhibit 2-56Source: TEA, A Model Developmental Guidance and Counseling Program for Texas Public Schools, 1998.
TEA's Recommended Percentage
Distribution of Counselor Services by Level
Service Type Elementary School Middle School High School Guidance Curriculum 35-45% 35-40% 15-25% Responsive Services 30-40% 30-40% 25-35% Individual Planning 5-10% 15-25% 25-35% System Support 10-15% 10-15% 15-20%
RISD employs a full staff of certified counselors to serve their schools. Exhibit 2-57 lists the numbers of counselors based at each school.
Exhibit 2-57Source: RISD coordinator of Student Services.
RISD Counselors by School
School Population Counselors Student to
Rochell Elementary 524 1 1:524 Amy Parks Elementary 636 1 1:636 Cullins-LP Elementary 951 2 1:476 Pullen Elementary 642 1 1:642 Jones Elementary 580 1 1:580 Hartman Elementary 381 1 1:381 Dobbs Elementary 583 1 1:583 Nebbie Williams Elementary 465 1 1:465 Reinhardt Elementary 424 1 1:424 Williams Middle 885 2 1:442 Cain Middle 673 2 1:336 Utley Freshman 748 2 1:374 Rockwall High 2,002 5 1:400 Alternative School 99 1 1:99
TEC Section 33.002 requires school districts with 500 or more enrolled elementary students to employ a certified counselor for every 500 students.
Counselor-to-student ratios at individual RISD schools vary from one counselor per 99 students at the Alternative School to one counselor per 642 students at Pullen Elementary School. In elementary schools, the ratio varies from 381 students per counselor at Hartman to 642 students per counselor at Pullen Elementary.
RISD offers a variety of programs at schools to meet student-counseling needs. RISD's Student Services coordinator serves as a central office contact for the counselors in the district. The coordinator organizes a meeting with them once a month for one hour to discuss issues related to counseling. The coordinator also develops a two-day in-service for the counselors each summer. Exhibit 2-58 shows the counseling activities in RISD.
Exhibit 2-58Source: RISD coordinator of Student Services.
RISD Counseling Activities
Program Description We Help Ourselves (WHO) The WHO Program from the Mental Health of Greater Dallas organization focuses on the anti-victimization of children. RISD counselors offer program presentations in kindergarten and grades 2,4,6,7 and high school. Adventure Challenge-based learning Challenge Learning is a series of activities customized for the classroom or for professional staff development. The focus is on team building, defining success as related to self and group, determining roles and norms, conflict resolution and development of related group skills such as communication decision-making and problem solving. Counselors provide interactive presentations at their school. Character Education Character education is an integral part of the school academic coursework. Each school selects and endorses the program that best meets the needs of their students. School counselors provide the coordination. Support groups Counselors bring students with common problems together in support groups. The groups provide peer support, problem-solving opportunities, communication skills development, individual assertiveness promotion and interpersonal relationships development. Counselors at all schools facilitate these groups in conjunction with the Phoenix House at Rockwall High School and the Child Guidance Center at UFC. Substance abuse counseling Students who have tested positive in the mandatory drug testing for all students in athletic programs at the high school receive one on one counseling with parent conferencing. School counselors provide the counseling. Pregnancy related service The Pregnancy Related Program is designed to assist pregnant and parenting teens to continue meeting their academic requirements while providing support and safety or the physical and psychological well being of the student. School counselors provide the counseling. Career awareness All counselors in the district provide information to students and their parents regarding
RISD provides a comprehensive school guidance and counseling program.
The counseling department at Rockwall High School implemented a creative way to advise students and their parents or guardians regarding the importance of higher education, coursework designed to prepare students for higher education, financial aid availability and requirements.
The 2001 Legislature enacted legislation reflected in TEC Section 33.001 and 33.005-33.006 pertaining to the work of the school counselor. Beginning in 2001-02, the legislation requires each counselor at elementary, middle and junior high schools, including any open-enrollment charter school offering those grades, to advise students of the importance of higher education, coursework, financial aid availability and requirements. The legislation also requires the high school counselors to provide information to students and parents during students' first year and senior year in high school regarding:
- the importance of higher education;
- the advantages of completing the recommended or higher high school program;
- the disadvantages of taking courses to prepare for high school equivalency;
- coursework designed to prepare students for higher education;
- financial aid availability and requirements;
- instruction on how to apply for federal financial aid;
- the eligibility and academic performance requirements for the TEXAS grant;
- information concerning the financial aid center operated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board under TEC Section 61.0776; and
- the automatic admission of students who graduate with a grade point average in the top 10 percent of the student's graduating class to state universities as provided by the TEC Section 51.803.
RISD gives each junior student at Rockwall High School a document entitled Junior Wallet. This brightly colored yellow document is kept in a clear plastic portfolio that unfolds for easy viewing. The wallet contains:
- important dates for junior students to remember such as College Career Day and PSAT test dates;
- activities to remember such as visiting the resource center in the counselor's office and checking for college admission requirements;
- Web sites of popular colleges, post secondary options and careers;
- information about financial aid and scholarships including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Web site and others; and
- Web sites that contain important testing information.
RISD gives each senior student at Rockwall High School a document entitled Senior Passport. This bright orange document is also kept in a clear plastic portfolio that unfolds for easy viewing. The passport contains:
- important dates for senior students to remember including College Career Day, dates to take the SAT or ACT, dates to apply to universities and confirm housing;
- a form students can fill out to help them remember their PSAT scores, TASP status, Plan Test scores, GPA and class rank;
- check boxes students can mark to help them decide if they need to take the SAT, ACT, SAT II, ASVAB, or other Two Year College Assessments;
- a place to write down the courses needed to graduate and determine the credits needed for the graduation plan chosen; and
- Web sites for important testing information; post-secondary options and careers; financial aid and scholarships; and the FAFSA Web site.
Rockwall High School counselors provide each junior or a senior student with valuable documents to help them make higher education decisions.