Record editorial: School counselors in Summit County deserve recognition for an important job

It’s not an occasion most people have highlighted on their calendars.

Nonetheless, Summit County residents — especially those with school-aged children — should find time in the next few days to mark National School Counseling Week by showing their appreciation for the counselors in our schools who play a critical role behind the scenes in helping our children get to graduation day.

Those who have not spent time in a school in many years may be surprised by what, exactly, school counselors do. Long gone are the days when their sole purpose was simply to make changes to a student’s course schedule or provide a list of colleges a student has a realistic chance of getting admitted to.

One could argue, in fact, that the school counselors have never had a more difficult job. In addition to assisting students with college and career readiness — an important mission in itself — school counselors are also tasked with ensuring students develop the social and emotional skills they need to be successful. And as troublesome trends like rising student depression and substance abuse continue to develop across the country and in Summit County, school counselors have become even more important. In conjunction with school psychologists and other mental health experts, they help our youth make it through one of the most challenging periods in life and emerge on the other side ready to take on the world.

Counselors in Summit County’s schools certainly deserve recognition for their hard work. Even something as small as a letter or an email from a parent or student would go a long way in making sure they understand their contributions are valued.

At the same time, nothing shows appreciation as much as giving them the resources to do their jobs well. To that end, the Park City School District and Summit County have delivered.

The Park City School District has funnelled money and resources into student wellness in recent years following the overdose deaths of two students in 2016. Summit County, meanwhile, has alleviated some of the burden on school counselors by giving every school in the county access to an on-site mental health professional, a result of the county’s new agreement with Healthy U Behavioral to provide state-mandated behavioral health services. That’s a development particularly important to schools in the North Summit and South Summit school districts, where officials have not traditionally had the money to invest as heavily in student mental health as their counterparts in Park City.

Given the critical role school counselors have in shaping our students, we encourage all three school districts to continue to find ways to support them. They’ve more than earned the support, as well as our gratitude.

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