Students at Overton High School in Memphis are in luck this year: One guidance counselor will focus just on helping them navigate the tricky path to college.
The school is one of 30 across Tennessee getting a college counselor through a $2.5 million initiative called Advise TN, Gov. Bill Haslam’s office announced Monday. The initiative pays for a counselor dedicated to the college process — a luxury at schools where guidance counselors juggle social work, scheduling, and test administration.
More than 100 schools applied for the extra funds after Haslam announced the program this spring. Only schools with a college-going rate lower than the state’s average, about 60 percent, were eligible.
Though 30 eligible schools were in Memphis, Overton is the only area school getting the extra help. According to one metric, how well students do on the ACT exam, just 2 percent of Overton seniors were college-ready last year
The extra resources are temporary. This year, the state set aside about $82,000 per school for the program, which could fund up to two years of the extra position. After that money is spent, the partner schools are expected to come up with their own funds to keep the extra counselors. Tennessee currently gives schools money for one counselor per 350 high school students — 100 students more than the American School Counselor Association recommends.
Here’s the full list of schools getting the extra funds:
Cheatham County Central High School
Hunters Lane High School
Dickson County High School
Dyer County High School
Franklin County High School
Humboldt Junior and Senior High School
Chuckey-Doak High School
North Greene High School
Grundy County High School
Brainerd High School
Henry County High School
East Hickman High School
Hickman County High School
Jefferson County High School
Fulton High School
Austin East High School
Lake County High School
Halls High School
Lincoln County High School
Lenoir City High School
Liberty Technology Magnet High School
Sequoyah High School
Kenwood High School
Northwest High School
LaVergne High School
Overton High School
Warren County High School
David Crockett High School
White County High School
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The Chicago Police Department doesn’t adequately screen and train the officers it assigns to Chicago Public Schools, and their roles in schools are poorly defined, according to a sharply critical report released today by the Office of Inspector General Joseph Ferguson.
The report lists a litany of failings, including basic administration: There is no current agreement between the police department and the district governing the deployment of school resource officers, or SROs, and neither the schools nor the police even have a current list of the officers working in schools this year.
The inspector general’s report also mentions several sets of SRO resources and best practices created and endorsed by the federal government, then notes that Chicago hasn’t adopted any of them. “CPD’s current lack of guidance and structure for SROs amplifies community concerns and underscores the high probability that students are unnecessarily becoming involved in the criminal justice system, despite the availability of alternate solutions,” says the report.
Chalkbeat reported in August about incidents in which SROs used batons and tasers on students while intervening in routine disciplinary matters.
Scrutiny of SROs is nothing new, and is part of the broader CPD consent decree brokered this week between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. That agreement calls for better training and vetting of SROs, as well as a clearer delineation of their roles on campuses—including a prohibition against participating in routine school discipline — beginning with the 2019-20 school year.
But the report from Ferguson’s office says that the consent decree doesn’t go far enough. It chastises police for not pledging to include the community in the creation of its agreement with the school district, nor in the establishment of hiring guidelines; and for not creating a plan for evaluating SROs’ performance, among other recommendations. In addition, the report criticizes the police department for delaying the reforms until the 2019-20 school year. A draft of the inspector general’s report was given to the police department in early August in hopes that some of the issues could be resolved in time for the school year that began last week. The police department asked for an extension for its reply.