Help Me Help You

Sahuaro Counselor:Student Ration Highest in TUSD


Evan Schubert, Co-News Editor

Sahuaro’s Counselors begin the 2016-2017 school year more over-worked than ever.  They do everything from coordinate tests, to planning special events, accommodating the needs of students, changing schedules, tracking at-risk kids, listening to family and life problems, career planning, dealing with attendance issues and more.  They spend at least two days a week working nearly three extra hours, and still can lovingly speak of their role with the same luster that they had on day one.

Mrs. Echols, Mr. Irwin, and Mrs. Boice , the guidance counselors here at Sahuaro, are allocated with a 600 to 1 student to counselor ratio which tops all of TUSD high schools. When earning their degree, they were taught that a preference of 250 to 1 is ideal; however, that number is unrealistic, considering a student body of nearly 2,000. Santa Rita probably only has no more than 500 kids, if that, but last year they had  two counselors—one full time and one part time.  The three Sahuaro counselors are swamped trying to take care of their students’ needs and their other job duties with at least 120 more students per counselor.  Sabino and Santa Rita have 1 to 3 counselors with a smaller population (500-1,000 students) but one might be part time or listed as a different job title, such as ‘college and career” or ‘academic’ counselors. Sahuaro has three, whose roles predominantly consist of being jacks-of-all-trades, encouraging the success of almost 2,000 students. The counselors have been asking for years for another counselor to be hired to alleviate some of the workload, especially since enrollment seems to go up every year.

Mr. Lundstrom, Assistant Principal of Curriculum, states, “My role in keeping it all functioning is to surround yourself with good people and help them to do their job.” The counselors’ sense of community sparks their determination and lends them a team to fall back on at the end of the day.  Mrs. Echols said it best, “I love what I do.  I believe that I have helped and impacted more students than I ever could through the classroom.  It can be emotionally draining at times and sometimes I’ll come home and cry about the day that I went through—but who doesn’t sometimes, you know?  I do know that this is where I’m supposed to be at this point in my life.”