Introduced Version Senate Bill 441 History

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Senate Bill No. 441

(By Senator Prezioso, Plymale, Minear, Boley, Rowe, Bowman, Love, Mitchell, Oliverio, Caldwell, Hunter, Redd, Facemyer, Sharpe, Minard, Kessler, Edgell, Fanning, Helmick, Unger, Anderson, Bailey, McKenzie, Ross, McCabe and Sprouse)


[Introduced January 30, 2002; referred to the Committee

on Education; and then to the Committee on Finance.]


A BILL to amend and reenact section eighteen-b, article five, chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended; and to amend article four, chapter eighteen-a of said code by adding thereto a new section, designated section two-b, all relating to public school counselors; making legislative findings with respect to the importance of counseling for providing a thorough and efficient education for all students; establishing recommended number of students per counselor and providing for additional pay when number exceeded; requiring state board rule conforming to national standards for counseling programs to the extent practicable and certain other provisions, including minimum standards for supervision of counselors and minimum required annual staff development related to school counseling; clarifying administrative activities to which counselors may devote a portion of their time and certain duties which may not be the duties of counselors; providing for a statewide salary supplement for counselors who hold national certification and counselors who are licensed in this state or who are both nationally certified and licensed; and providing for reimbursement of expenses for national certification subject to legislative appropriation.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section eighteen-b, article five, chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that article four, chapter eighteen-a of said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated section two-b, all to read as follows:

§18-5-18b. School counselors in public schools.
(a) The Legislature finds that high quality school counseling programs impact student skills and facilitate learning opportunities in an active and preventive manner that ensures all students can achieve school success through academic, career and personal/social development experiences. As specialists in child and adolescent development, school counselors coordinate the objectives, strategies and activities of a comprehensive and developmental school counseling program to meet the personal, social, educational and career development needs of all students. School counselors advocate for all students as they strive to meet the challenges and demands of the school system and prepare for the transition to options after high school. School counselors call attention to situations in schools that are defeating or frustrating students and thereby hindering their success. School counseling programs empower students to overcome obstacles to school achievement and ensure access to appropriate services for students with varying degrees of needs. Therefore, high quality school counseling services are essential for a thorough and efficient system of schools wherein all students achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, set appropriate career goals and realize their full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community.
(b) A school counselor means a professional educator who holds a valid school counselor's certificate in accordance with article three of chapter eighteen-a of this code.
(c) Each county board of education by the school year one thousand nine hundred eighty-seven--eighty-eight, shall provide counseling services for each pupil enrolled in the public schools of the county. By the school year two thousand ten, and thereafter, the recommended number of students per counselor shall be two hundred fifty. If the number of students for whom a counselor is responsible exceeds two hundred seventy-five, the counselor shall be paid an additional salary supplement of five hundred dollars for the school year, which supplement shall be increased by an additional five hundred dollars for each additional twenty-five students.
(d) The school counselor shall work with individual pupils and groups of pupils in providing developmental, preventive and remedial guidance and counseling programs to meet their academic, social, emotional and physical needs in accordance with the rules established by the state board; including programs to identify and address the problem of potential school dropouts. The school counselor may shall also provide consultant services for parents, teachers and administrators and may shall use outside referral services when appropriate if no additional cost is incurred by the county board.
(e) The state board may shall adopt rules and regulations regarding the activities of the school counselor, and the school counselor is authorized to shall perform such services as are not inconsistent therewith. The rules adopted by the state board shall conform to the extent practicable to the national standards for school counseling programs established by the American school counselor association. The rules shall further include: (1) Minimum standards for the supervision of counseling services at the state and county level to ensure a uniform high quality in the delivery of counseling service to all students; and (2) minimum required annual staff development approved by the department of education for all counselors employed in the public schools.
Each county board of education shall develop a comprehensive drop-out prevention program utilizing the expertise of school counselors and any other appropriate resources available.
(g) School counselors shall be full-time professional personnel, shall spend at least seventy-five percent of their work time in a direct counseling relationship with pupils, and shall devote no more than one fourth of the work day their work time to counseling administrative activities, Provided, That such activities are counselor related including, but not limited to, college and career planning programs, career and college fairs, financial aid workshops, organizing group college visits, bringing in career focused speakers, disseminating information on college organized student visitation programs and disseminating information on opportunities for job shadowing, community service, work experience programs related to career majors and the availability of dual credit and college courses for high school students; classroom guidance programs including computer labs to educate students about the changing job market; organizing developmental guidance, preventive focused programs and other such student-centered activities consistent with the national standards for school counseling; writing letters of recommendation for students containing discriminate information; providing a communication link to community mental health agencies and resources; supervising the maintenance of student records; and maintaining accurate counseling case notes. The duties of counselors may not include: Filing student records and forms; data entry; duplication of documents and materials for distribution; and other activities of a clerical nature that limit the amount of time available for counselors to spend on their counseling duties.
Nothing herein shall prohibit a county board from exceeding the provisions of this section.

§18A-4-2b. State minimum salary supplement for certified and licensed school counselors.

(a) The Legislature finds that school counselors who meet the requirements for national certification through the national board for certified counselors or who are licensed professional counselors in this state are highly trained and capable professionals who possess a superior level of knowledge and skills necessary to provide the high quality counseling services needed to ensure that all students receive a thorough and efficient education in the public schools of this state. The purpose of this section is to create an incentive for all school counselors to increase their knowledge and skills by providing reimbursement for national certification expenses and an additional statewide salary supplement for school counselors who hold national certification by the national board for certified counselors and for school counselors who are licensed in this state as professional counselors, or who are both nationally certified and licensed.
(b) In addition to any amounts prescribed in the applicable state minimum salary schedule, each professional educator employed as a school counselor who holds national certification by the national board for certified counselors or who is licensed in this state as a professional counselor, or who is both nationally certified and licensed, shall be paid annually a supplement of two thousand five hundred dollars. The payments shall be paid in equal monthly installments and shall be considered a part of the state minimum salaries for teachers.
(c) Subject to an appropriation by the Legislature for this purpose, a school counselor who attains national certification by the national board for certified counselors on or after the first day of July, two thousand two, shall upon an application to the department of education be reimbursed for expenses actually incurred in attaining the certification. The reimbursement shall not exceed one-half of the certification fee paid by the applicant and six hundred dollars in additional expenses approved by the department of education. If the appropriation in any one fiscal year is not sufficient to pay all of the approved applications received by the department in the order they were received, applicants not paid shall have a prior claim on any funds appropriated in the next fiscal year.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is
to redefine school counseling and institute annual professional development for school counselors. A statewide salary supplement and expense reimbursement are provided to encourage and recognize the superior qualifications of counselors who attain national certification through the national board for certified counselors and for licensed professional counselors. The duties of counselors are clarified to enable counselors to spend all of their time on counseling.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

18A-4-2b is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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