Number of Pupil Support Service Personnel, by Type of Personnel

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Learn More About Pupil Support Services

Measures of Pupil Support Services on Kidsdata.org
Kidsdata.org provides the number of and ratio of students to full-time equivalent pupil support service personnel, by type of personnel. Pupil support service personnel include school counselors, librarians, nurses, psychologists, psychometrists, resource specialists, social workers, language specialists, special education personnel, and others.

School staff reports on the extent to which, at their school, there is adequate counseling and support services for students, effective confidential support and referral services for substance abuse or other problems, and collaboration with community organizations to help address youth problems also are provided.
Pupil Support Services
Characteristics of Children with Special Needs
College Eligibility
Demographics
Children's Emotional Health
English Learners
High School Graduation
Math Proficiency
Health Care
Reading Proficiency
School Climate
Youth Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use
Youth Suicide and Self-Inflicted Injury
Why This Topic Is Important
Pupil support services address students’ social, emotional, behavioral, physical, and cognitive needs to help them reach their maximum academic and health potential (1, 2, 3). The availability of an array of pupil support personnel indicates a school’s capacity to meet a wide range of student needs. For example, school counselors often help students learn coping, conflict-resolution, and goal-setting skills that are critical to future success (1). Counselors also provide immediate support during crises and referrals to other services as needed. School psychologists provide some of these same services and also offer mental health counseling, identify learning challenges, and assist teachers in tailoring instruction accordingly (4). Speech/language/hearing and resource specialists provide direct service and case management for students with specific disabilities (5, 6). Nurses manage the daily health needs of students, which may include providing basic health care and screenings, connecting students to health care resources, and helping students manage chronic health conditions, among other responsibilities (3). Nurses and other student support staff help ensure that children are healthy and have the support they need to be successful learners (1, 3). These support services play an important role in creating a positive school climate, which is linked to improved student behavior and academic achievement (2, 3, 7).
For more information on pupil support services, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section.

Sources for this narrative:

1.  California Department of Education. (2017). School counseling programs – CalEdFacts. Retrieved from: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/cg/mc/cefschoolcounsel.asp

2.  American School Counselor Association. (n.d.). Empirical research studies supporting the value of school counseling. Retrieved from: https://www.schoolcounselor.org/asca/media/asca/Careers-Roles/Effectiveness.pdf

3.  National Association of School Nurses. (2015). The complementary roles of the school nurse and school based health centers. Retrieved from: https://www.nasn.org/nasn/advocacy/professional-practice-documents/position-statements/ps-sbhc

4.  National Association of School Psychologists. (n.d.). Who are school psychologists. Retrieved from: https://www.nasponline.org/about-school-psychology/who-are-school-psychologists

5.  American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2010). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists in schools. Retrieved from: https://www.asha.org/policy/PI2010-00317

6.  Cal. Ed. Code § 56362. Retrieved from: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=EDC§ionNum=56362

7.  Voight, A., et al. (2013). A climate for academic success: How school climate distinguishes schools that are beating the achievement odds. WestEd. Retrieved from: https://www.wested.org/resources/a-climate-for-academic-success-how-school-climate-distinguishes-schools-that-are-beating-the-achievement-odds-full-report
How Children Are Faring
In 2017, public school districts in California employed one full-time equivalent counselor for every 681 students, a psychologist for every 1,124 students, a speech/language/hearing specialist for every 1,181 students, a nurse for every 2,502 students, and a social worker for every 9,277 students. As in previous years, 2017 data for counties and school districts show wide variation in student access to support personnel.

Across all types of pupil support personnel for which data are available, statewide ratios have improved since 2011; nevertheless, they do not meet recommendations from the American School Counselor Association (250 students per counselor), the National Association of School Psychologists (500-700 students per psychologist), or the National Association of Social Workers (250 students per social worker).

When asked whether their school provides adequate counseling and support services for students, 23% of responses by elementary school staff, 30% of responses by middle school staff, 27% of responses by high school staff, and 44% of responses by staff at non-traditional schools reported strong agreement in 2013-2015.
Policy Implications
Pupil support services, such as those provided by school counselors and nurses, can be critical to student success, particularly for students with physical, emotional, or behavioral problems. Yet with limited school resources and numerous demands, policymakers face difficult decisions about the priority of non-teaching staff. Pupil support service personnel meet student needs that otherwise may fall to administrators and teachers to address, or may not be addressed at all. Access to school counselors, school nurses, and school-based health services can be linked to positive learning environments and improved student behavior, engagement, and academic achievement (1, 2, 3). These support services are especially critical now that California law requires school districts to address student engagement and school climate among other priorities (1).

Policy and program options that could improve student access to quality support services include:
  • Maximizing partnerships and existing funding streams, such as California’s Local Control Funding Formula and the Mental Health Services Act, to ensure that students have access to school counseling and other mental health services, and promoting the use of research-based techniques to target specific student outcomes (1, 2, 4)
  • Promoting the delivery of health care services at school by funding school nurses and school-based health centers; as with mental health services, public funding streams can be leveraged to expand health care at schools—e.g., using Medicaid funds for school health services (1, 5, 6)
  • Integrating student mental health and health care services into a coordinated and comprehensive system of supports; a key aspect of such a system includes engaging school staff (teachers, administrators, etc.), students, parents, and the community (7, 8)
For more information about pupil support services, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section, California Department of Education, California Association of School Counselors, California School-Based Health Alliance, and California School Nurses Organization. Also see Policy Implications under kidsdata.org’s Education & Child Care and Emotional & Behavioral Health topics.

Sources for this narrative:

1.  California School-Based Health Alliance. (n.d.). The Local Control Funding Formula: Maximizing the new school funding formula to expand health supports. Retrieved from: http://cshca.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/LCFF-Toolkit-FINAL.pdf

2.  American School Counselor Association. (n.d.). Empirical research studies supporting the value of school counseling. Retrieved from: https://www.schoolcounselor.org/asca/media/asca/Careers-Roles/Effectiveness.pdf

3.  National Association of School Nurses. (2015). The complementary roles of the school nurse and school based health centers. Retrieved from: https://www.nasn.org/nasn/advocacy/professional-practice-documents/position-statements/ps-sbhc

4.  California School-Based Health Alliance, & Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California. (2014). Connecting students to mental health services: Creative collaborations, funding, and evidence-based practices. Retrieved from: http://cshca.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Connecting-Students-to-Mental-Health-Services_FINAL.pdf

5.  California School-Based Health Alliance. (n.d.). About school-based health centers: Financing. Retrieved from: https://www.schoolhealthcenters.org/school-health-centers-in-ca/financing

6.  California School-Based Health Alliance. (n.d.). Free Care Rule. Retrieved from: https://www.schoolhealthcenters.org/policy/policy-priorities/free-care-rule

7.  Center for Mental Health in Schools and Student/Learning Supports. (n.d.). System change toolkit: Transforming student and learning supports into a unified, comprehensive, and equitable system for addressing barriers to learning and teaching. Retrieved from: http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/summit2002/resourceaids.htm

8.  California Department of Education. (2017). What is coordinated school health. Retrieved from: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/cs/csh.asp
Websites with Related Information
Key Reports and Research
County/Regional Reports
More Data Sources For Pupil Support Services