School-Counselor-Advisory-Council-Meeting graphicMichelle Sircy, program coordinator for comprehensive school counseling at the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), spoke with the Commissioner’s School Counselor Advisory Council about the annual Use of Time survey results during the council’s meeting on May 30.

KRS 158.4416(3)(e) requires local superintendents to annually report to KDE specific data related to school-based mental health services providers, including school counselors. The reports provide information related to the position held, placement in the district, certification or licensure held, the source of funding for each position, a summary of the job duties and work undertaken by each school-based mental health service provider, and the approximate percent of time devoted to each duty over the year. This reporting requirement was created by Senate Bill 102 (2022).

Sircy presented the reports from the 2023-2024 School Counselor Use of Time Survey Report and the 2023-2024 School-Based Mental Health Provider Use of Time Report to council members, breaking down the number of responses they received.

“A total of 1,841 valid responses were collected from 167 school districts across the state, providing a district response rate of 97%,” said Sircy.

Sircy said that of the 1,841 valid responses received, 40.6% were from elementary schools, 20.6% were from middle schools, 34.2% were from high schools and 3.6% from those who serve multiple sites or grade levels. Early childhood centers made up 1% of the responses.

“We know that many school counselors may serve one or many schools in their districts,” said Sircy, who explained that 8.1% of Kentucky school counselors reported serving multiple schools.

Based on the report, Sircy showed data that broke down how early childhood, elementary school, high school and middle school counselors use their time. The average of all counselors across each school level reported that 53.7% of their time is spent on direct services, 31% of their time is on indirect services and 14.9% of their time is spent on other services.

These types of services are defined as the following:

  • Direct Services: Small group and individual counseling, appraisal and advisement, check-ins and crisis response;
  • Indirect Services: Consultation, collaboration and referrals on behalf of students;
  • Other Services: Program planning, analyzing data, creating action plans and reports, conferences, minimal school functioning duties.

The survey results help inform KDE staff and district leaders as they develop training for school counselors and administrators to address themes in the survey responses and help schools align more closely to the American School Counseling Association model.

According to the Kentucky Framework of Best Practices for School Counselors – which is designed to serve as a resource for school counselors – counselors are getting close to the recommendations of how they should be spending their time throughout the school year.

Based on Kentucky legislation, Sircy said the recommendations for the appropriate use of a counselor’s time should be 60% direct services, 20% indirect services and 20% other services.

The 2024-2025 Commissioner’s School Counselor Advisory Council will meet again on Sept. 26.