PCPS Receives School Counselor Corps Grant
Mike Seals - June 29, 2021 10:14 pm
Ponca City Public Schools has received an Oklahoma School Counselor Corps grant in the amount of $560,400. The school district was notified late last week by State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. Funds will be allocated annually in the amount of $186,800 for three years, ending June 30, 2024.
PCPS has hired four additional “response counselors” and 1.4 therapists to focus on improving the social and emotional well-being of students and staff after living through a global pandemic.
Oklahoma’s current student-to-student counselor ratio of 411:1 is significantly higher than the recommended ratio of 250:1. School counselors and school-based mental health professionals play an integral role in helping students build academic, college and career, and social and emotional skills, thus positively impacting student mental health and well-being.
Ponca City Superintendent Shelley Arrott was thrilled after hearing the news. “I am very excited about this opportunity for our district. Without doubt, there will be academic gaps after more than a year of educating through a global pandemic. However, I am so thankful our State Board of Education understands the social and emotional well-being of our students must be a focus for learning to occur,” said Arrott. “The effects of COVID-19 have been extremely difficult for everyone, and we have a lot of healing to do. With this opportunity of additional support from counselors and mental health professionals, coupled with a heightened focus on building positive relationships with students, staff and the community, we can effectively support the healing process.”
School counselors are trained to design and deliver school counseling programs that improve student academic, attendance and discipline outcomes. They are equipped to lead, advocate and collaborate to promote equity and access for all students by connecting their school counseling program to the school’s academic mission and school improvement plan.