February 9, 2022 (FAIRLESS HILLS, PA) - 424 to 1. According to data from the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics, the 2019–2020 national student-to-school-counselor ratio was 424:1. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends a ratio of 250:1.
Studies note that smaller ratios support increases in standardized test performance, attendance, GPA, and graduation rates, as well as decreased disciplinary infractions. Additional studies have shown that lower ratios also increase the likelihood of students having important conversations with school counselors regarding college and postsecondary plans; one of the many ongoing achievements of the Office of School Counseling at Conwell-Egan Catholic High School (CEC).
Investments in CEC’s Office of School Counseling have allowed the school to offer a 128:1 student-to-counselor ratio. A staggering contrast to the reality of the current school counseling ratios across the nation. The gap shrinks even more when you factor in the added support from CEC’s innovative Center for Student Leadership (CSL) that focuses on intensive college and career exposure throughout a student’s four years at CEC, as well as the individualized support from the new Academic Resource Center (ARC) – CEC’s new highly tailored approach to tutoring that connects students with tutors in every subject area in a dedicated space.
During a time when high school students have arguably experienced unprecedented stress, the role of the School Counselor at CEC has been more vital than ever; allowing students access to significant resources that address mental health needs, social/emotional development, academic monitoring, as well as college and career readiness. Resources that students are seeking out now more than ever.
Four counselors oversee each grade level at CEC, each focusing on age-appropriate guidance ranging from identity, maturity, problem solving, conflict resolution, decision making, academic excellence, and college and career choices.
This intensive focus on a student’s all-around personal development begins right away with a student’s transition to CEC, with their Freshman Seminar course that introduces these concepts that are expanded on over the next four years, with subsequent courses and electives that are appropriately integrated with their academic roster. The goal being to emerge as a graduate that is well-informed and well-prepared for the modern world – whatever their path is.
Jordan Schiavo, a 2013 graduate of CEC and now Director of the Center for Student Leadership (CSL), coordinates a one-of-a-kind program that allows students to discover and develop their leadership skills. Students are offered valuable internships, learn from executive mentors, and have more opportunities than ever before to engage with real professionals to learn more about the possibilities for their career paths.
The CSL offers a number of resources that, in addition to meeting with their counselor, give students the ability to develop their career interest profiles as well as exploring various career paths. Week-to-week, the CSL invites various alumni and guest speakers to share their stories, experiences, and advice. Students come to the CSL for resume building/writing workshops, to be matched with alumni mentors, and to gain extra knowledge and direction as they prepare for life beyond CEC.
One of the most revolutionary ways the CSL delivers on its mission is with its most recent partnership with Inkwiry, a financial technology company that offers applications and tools that make personal financial life planning easy to digest for the high school student.
Citing that financial literacy skills and knowledge are rarely taught in schools or in the home, Inkwiryoffers a solution with four programs: Plan with Inkwiry, In Personal Finance 101, My Career Sketch, and Finance Explained.
CEC students are fortunate enough to have the entire program sponsored by a generous donor, covering the cost of the application for every Sophomore, Junior, and Senior at the school. The program is integrated into the Seminar course offerings.
“It’s almost like a game where you’re rewarded for each module you complete, and it’s captured everyone’s attention” says CEC Senior Caitlin Egan. “I’ve been able to sit down with my parents and see what exactly my financial future will look like depending on what road I take. It’s really helped to alleviate the overall stress and anxiety I have around college and the future,” added Egan.
“I just opened a high-yield savings account. I didn’t even know that existed a few months ago, and now I can say I understand the importance of financial planning so much better now,” says CEC Senior Christina Finnell.
The mission of the CSL aligns perfectly with the goals of the Office of School Counseling, giving students ample opportunity to learn crucial skills for life after high school and make informed decisions. Skills that aren’t often refined for the average high school student.
“Every senior is given a goal to apply to at least six schools,” says Mrs. Jenny Diamond, Director of School Counseling at CEC. By Thanksgiving, 96% of CEC seniors applied to colleges via early action. “This wouldn’t be possible without the individualized attention we can give to these students as they navigate the process. It’s stressful enough to think about the future as a teenager while juggling the responsibilities of high school, and so for us to be able to walk them through every step of the way, carefully guide them, and be sure they have the resources they need to make informed decisions is crucial to our role as counselors.” Diamond, a Masters-level and Nationally Certified Counselor, notes the benefits of early action include decreased levels of stress for students, as well as better ability to focus on planning for the next steps sooner, giving CEC graduates a leg up across the board.
Research continues to show the importance and positive impact a robust School Counseling program has. Now, more than ever, the investment in these intersecting programs at CEC not only provides further evidence, but reinforces the mission of a school rooted in tradition that is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the modern-day student.
Interested in learning more about Conwell-Egan Catholic High School? Contact the Director of Admissions, Mrs. Kate Rice, at 215-945-6200 Ext. 410 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a tour. Please visit www.conwell-egan.org for more information about scholarship and financial aid programs available for incoming and transfer students.
About Conwell-Egan Catholic High School
Conwell-Egan Catholic High School, a co-ed, college-preparatory school within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, serves 550 students in Lower Bucks County in grades 9-12. CEC’s mission, within the tradition of our Catholic faith, collaborates to build character through service, achieve academic excellence, and demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning. CEC is accredited by the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. To learn more visit www.conwell-egan.org or call 215-945-6200.
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