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NAU school counselor program bringing more help to classrooms

Dr. Haas says people are seeing the need for counselors in Arizona and are stepping up to help.
Published: Mar. 13, 2022 at 7:56 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona ranks last for school counselors. The American School Counselor Association says Arizona has one counselor for every 716 students, which is the highest ratio in the United States. The association recommends a ratio of 250 to one.

Northern Arizona University has its grad students in the classroom as they complete their degrees. The NAU School Counseling Program Coordinator Dr. Sara Haas says the program is growing as more people apply to join.

“They recognize they could have used school counselors during their time, so they all come with this purpose of wanting to be the nurturing person to help facilitate healing with our students,” Dr. Haas said.

The program will accept students every year moving forward, but they used to only accept students every other year. Dr. Haas says people are seeing the need for counselors in Arizona and are stepping up to help. She says the university is hiring more people to keep up with the extra grad students.

NAU has about 25 students learning and training in Arizona schools while finishing the program. Dr. Haas wants to double that number as the program grows. She says it’s excellent training for students and provides a need in schools.

Counselors can help kids get through a tough time at home or in school, and they can also guide students on what to do after they graduate high school. After two years of virtual learning, now is the time to ensure students have the help if they need it.

“Our students are having a tough time right now adjusting to the way the world is,” Dr. Haas said.