Bill Text: NJ A4860 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes certain program requirements for school counselor certification; requires periodic certificate renewal and professional development for school counselors; mandates number of school counselors per public school; establishes position of School Counselor Liaison in DOE.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 3-1)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-10-22 - Introduced, Referred to Assembly Education Committee [A4860 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-A4860-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 4860

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED OCTOBER 22, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  ANGELA V. MCKNIGHT

District 31 (Hudson)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes certain program requirements for school counselor certification; requires periodic certificate renewal and professional development for school counselors; mandates number of school counselors per public school; establishes position of School Counselor Liaison in DOE.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning school counselors and supplementing Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    The Legislature finds and declares that the Department of Education's guidance document on the reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, "The Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan," directs school districts to consider the impact of social isolation on both educators and students, and recommends that school district reopening plans include the use of social and emotional learning and multi-tiered systems of support to address the social and emotional needs of students.  The Legislature further finds that school counselors are vital to the effort to ensure that school districts are able to adequately address these student needs and to implement appropriate programming.

 

     2.    In addition to any other requirements adopted by the State Board of Education for school counseling programs, the State board shall require that a school counseling program at a regionally accredited college or university leading to a standard educational services certificate with a school counselor endorsement incorporate the following:

     a.     the American School Counselor Association's national model for comprehensive school counseling programs; and

     b.    training in the delivery of social and emotional learning programming as well as postsecondary and career planning.

 

     3.    a.  The State Board of Education shall require the holder of a standard educational services certificate with a school counselor endorsement to renew the school counselor endorsement five years following initial certification and every five years thereafter.  The State board shall establish a renewal schedule for persons holding a school counselor endorsement on the effective date of P.L.   , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     b.    In addition to any other requirements adopted by the State Board of Education for the issuance of a standard educational services certificate with a director of school counseling services endorsement, the State board shall require that an applicant possess knowledge related to the varying duties of a school counselor across all grade levels as well as knowledge related to postsecondary and career planning.

     c.     The State Board of Education shall establish professional development requirements for school counselors.  The State board shall require, as part of the professional development requirements, that each school counselor complete training in areas related to the duties of a school counselor including, but not limited to, the promotion of mental health awareness, suicide prevention, crisis-intervention, trauma-informed counseling practices, cultural competency and responsiveness, the New Jersey Tiered System of Supports, delivery of social and emotional learning programming, and college and career readiness.

 

     4.    a.  The board of education of a school district shall, at a minimum, employ and assign on a full-time basis to each school within the district at least one school counselor.  The maximum student to school counselor ratio per school in a school district shall be 250:1.

     b.    A school district may apply for any federal funds which may be available to implement the provisions of this section.

 

     5.    a.  The Commissioner of Education shall appoint a State School Counselor Liaison.  The State School Counselor Liaison shall hold a New Jersey standard educational services certificate with a director of school counseling services endorsement and have experience in the delivery of social and emotional learning programming as well as postsecondary and career advisement.  The State School Counselor Liaison shall work with school districts and school counselors to facilitate best practices by advancing comprehensive school counseling services that address the mental and behavioral health and wellness of all students.  The State School Counselor Liaison, in performing the duties of the position, shall collaborate with other State agencies and associated stakeholders.

      b.   It shall be the duty of the State School Counselor Liaison to:

     (1)   Serve as a liaison and resource expert in school counseling and comprehensive school counseling services for New Jersey certificated school counselors and the Department of Education;

     (2)   Facilitate the certificate renewal process for school counselors established pursuant to subsection a. of section 3 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill);

     (3)   Foster and promote professional development for school counselors, which may include planning, coordinating, or providing educational guidance, and networking with universities, the New Jersey School Counselor Association, and other providers of continuing education to meet identified needs;

     (4)   Monitor, interpret, synthesize, and disseminate relevant information associated with changes in school counseling practices, legislation, and legal issues that impact school counselors; and

     (5)   Initiate, participate in, and utilize research studies related to school counseling practices, the mental health needs of children and youth, and related issues.

      c.    The State School Counselor Liaison shall report annually to the Governor and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), the Legislature.  The report shall include a summary of the activities of the State School Counselor Liaison during the year and any specific recommendations deemed appropriate and necessary concerning school counseling services and comprehensive school mental health services.

 

     6.    The State Board of Education shall adopt, in accordance with the "Administrative Procedures Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this act.

 

     7.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes certain requirements specific to school counselors and school counseling programs at institutions of higher education and establishes the position of State School Counselor Liaison in the Department of Education (DOE).

     Under this bill, the State Board of Education will require school counseling programs at regionally accredited colleges and universities that lead to a school counseling certificate to incorporate the following: (a) the American School Counselor Association's national model for school counseling programs, and (b) training in the delivery of social and emotional learning programming as well as postsecondary and career planning.

     Under this bill, a school counselor must renew his school counselor endorsement every five years following initial certification.  For current certificated school counselors, the State board will establish a schedule for renewal.  Under this bill, the State board will require an applicant for a standard educational services certificate with a director of school counseling services endorsement to possess knowledge related to the varying duties of a school counselor across all grade levels as well as knowledge related to postsecondary and career planning.  This bill directs the State board to establish professional development requirements for school counselors in areas related to the duties of a school counselor including, but not limited to, the promotion of mental health awareness, suicide prevention, crisis-intervention, trauma-informed counseling practices, cultural competency and responsiveness, the New Jersey Tiered System of Supports, delivery of social and emotional learning programming, and college and career readiness.

     This bill mandates a board of education to employ and assign on a full-time basis to each school within the district at least one school counselor.  In addition, the student to school counselor ratio per school in the district cannot exceed 250:1.

     Finally, this bill directs the Commissioner of Education to appoint a State School Counselor Liaison to work with school districts and school counselors to facilitate best practices by advancing comprehensive school counseling services that address the mental and behavioral health and wellness of all students.  The person appointed to the position is required to hold a standard educational services certificate with a director of school counseling services endorsement and possess experience in the delivery of social and emotional learning programming as well as postsecondary and career advisement.  The State School Counselor Liaison will collaborate with other State agencies and associated stakeholders and perform the following duties:

        Serve as a liaison and resource expert in school counseling and comprehensive school counseling services;

        Facilitate the newly-established certificate renewal process for school counselors;

        Foster and promote professional development for school counselors;

        Monitor, interpret, synthesize, and disseminate relevant information associated with changes in school counseling practices, legislation, and legal issues that impact school counselors; and

        Initiate, participate in, and utilize research studies related to school counseling practices, the mental health needs of children and youth, and related issues.

feedback