Frisco ISD Staffing Changes to Add Thousands of Hours of Counseling Time to Address Students' Needs

The change is expected to create an extra 27,000 minutes of available counseling time per year per campus

A time analysis study conducted at the beginning of last school year unveiled a problem: counselors were missing critical time with students.

"Three and a half months out of their school role, in terms of minutes and so those were direct counseling minutes that they were losing out on," said Stephanie Cook, Director of Guidance & Counseling with Frisco ISD.

That's 27,000 minutes, per campus, per year, spent on things like standardized testing and helping students with disabilities at the elementary and middle school levels. Counselors across the district wanted to focus on mental health and educating teachers to provide an extra layer of support.

"I think we realized that all the things that counselors were doing had reached a breaking point, so we needed to give them some relief," said Frisco ISD Board President John Classe.

The relief will come in the form of 44 new hires, Classe said. They will be dedicated to doing things the counselors will no longer have to.

Earlier this month, trustees unanimously approved about $1.7 million to fund the employees, who will be in addition to the hundreds of staff hired to fill four new schools ready to open in August.

"I hope that when kids have questions and they need to go see their counselor, that it's going to be easier for them to have the time to do it," Classe said.

"I've had counselors so excited they've been in tears, they're overjoyed at the idea of really getting to meet with kids," Cook said.

She said building a foundation of trust from the early years is key - and so is catching a potential problem at the start. 

"Early identification. If we can identify them early, intervene and educate them early, then we can prevent them from getting to a place where they are in a mental health crisis," Cook said.

The number of crisis counselors at the high school level is going up from five to 11 this coming school year.

Frisco ISD will also hire someone to help plan for emergency response and the budget allocates an extra $1.6 million in funding for future safety help as needed.

Contact Us