Arizona schools improving in student-to-counselor ratio but still last in nation

Feb 17, 2022, 1:17 PM

A guidance counselor talks with an elementary school student. (AP File Photo/Eric Gay)...

A guidance counselor talks with an elementary school student. (AP File Photo/Eric Gay)

(AP File Photo/Eric Gay)

PHOENIX – Arizona schools have been improving their student-to-counselor ratio in recent years, but the state still ranks last in the nation, according to recently released data.

Arizona had 905 students per counselor when Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman took office in 2019, the Arizona Department of Education said in a press release Thursday.

The state’s student-counselor ratio was down to 716-to-1 in the 2020-21 school year, according to a report issued this week by the American School Counselor Association. It was 848-to-1 in 2019-20.

“I am proud of the gains Arizona has made to prioritize school safety, the mental well-being of our students and the overall health of our communities,” Hoffman said in a press release.

“But there is so much work left to be done. I am hopeful that we will continue to improve and that our ongoing work will be reflected in next year’s rankings.”

Arizona was the only state with more than 700 students per counselor in each of the last two full school years.

Illinois (665-to-1) and Michigan (638-to-1) were the only other states with a ratio higher than 600-to-1 in 2020-21.

The national student-counselor ratio, which has been improving steadily since the 1980s, was 415-to-1 for 2020-21. The American School Counselor Association recommends a mark of 250-to-1, a level reached last year in only two states, Vermont and New Hampshire.

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Arizona schools improving in student-to-counselor ratio but still last in nation