Highlighting new and noteworthy data from kidsdata.org
The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health | Sept. 15, 2010

Are There More Nurses, Counselors in CA Schools Than 10 Years Ago?
Some Surprising Findings...

Over the past decade, California students’ access to professionals providing support beyond the classroom -- counselors, psychologists, nurses, librarians, social workers, resource specialists, and speech/language/hearing specialists -- improved from a ratio of 340 students to 1 pupil support personnel in ’98 to 211:1 in ’09. Despite these gains, California still falls far short of national recommendations on some ratios of support staff to students. See related Data Points blog post, School Support Personnel: Gains Mask Needs, that provides more depth on this issue. 

These are among the findings from an analysis of newly posted data on pupil support personnel for school districts and counties across California. Student support staff provide a range of crucial services: counselors offering prevention programs; speech/language/hearing and resource specialists working with children who have special learning needs; and nurses who serve as a link to health resources and often provide basic health care and screening.

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Key Facts

  • Access to professionals providing support beyond the classroom varies greatly by county. Students in some California counties have access to roughly twice or three times as many pupil support personnel as other counties.
  • In 2009, school districts across California employed 9,360 full-time equivalent counselors, up from 5,592 in 1998. However, the ratio of students to counselors, 668:1 in 2009, was more than double the American Counseling Association's recommended ratio of 250 students per counselor.
  • There are more nurse FTEs in California public schools – about 25% more in ’09 than ‘98. However, California’s 2009 ratio of nurses per student – 2,035:1 – is nearly three times worse than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation of 750 students per nurse.

  • In California, there were roughly 12,500 more pupil support FTEs in 2009 than in 1998, although numbers declined slightly from 2008 to 2009.

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Use These Data in Your Work

Kidsdata.org is a free, public service that provides hundreds of indicators of child health and well being for all cities, counties, and school districts in California. You can use these data, as well as related economic and demographic data, in reports, presentations, proposals, advocacy work, program or policy planning, or other efforts.

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Kidsdata.org is a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, which uses data to promote the health and well being of children.

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