Sunday, January 22, 2012

Advocacy Update: FSCA Needs Your Help


What an exciting time and week for the Florida School Counselors and the Florida School Counselor Association!
Our companion bills in the Florida Senate and House have been filed (SB1654 and HB1317 respectively). Our legislative champions are Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice) and Rep. Janet Adkins (R-Fernandina Beach). Our advocacy consultant has been meeting with other legislative members as well and many are very interested in the issues surrounding school counselors.
Sen. Detert has named this bill the “Student Failure Prevention Act” and is very excited about the positive changes it will have on the profession, and more importantly, on the students that the certified school counselors work with every day. Our excellent bill sponsor in the House is Rep. Janet Adkins (R-Fernandina Beach) who is very involved in K-12 education and has demonstrates that she “gets” us.
As of today, HB 1317 has been referred to three committees for legislative hearings and we are working on having it placed on the agenda for its first committee stop in the K-20 Competitiveness Subcommittee, which is chaired by Rep. Eric Fresen (R-Miami). For clarification, it is a good sign that HB 1317 has only three committees of reference.
FSCA is still waiting for committee references in the Senate and expect that will happen any time now.
To recap, the drafts reflect maximum ratios of certified school counselors per number of students overall and at each level and states that no school should have less than one full-time certified school counselor. It also outlines specific job responsibilities and more importantly, the responsibilities that should not be assigned to school counselors (like testing management/monitoring, bus duty, lunchroom monitoring, and administrative substitution.) Finally, the bill reflects the name change “certified school counselors” as the correct title of your profession.
Now is the time to get involved in making our bill a reality. In this case, you can stand up for students by standing up for the profession and making sure that All students get the benefits of professional school counseling. You can:
Write a note, email or call our bill sponsors and thank them for their willingness to take on these issues and work with us to improve the lives of our children.
Senator Nancy Detert
District Office:
417 Commercial Court
Suite D
Venice, FL 34292
(941) 480-3547
Senate VOIP: 42300
FAX (941) 480-3549
Toll Free:
Tallahassee Office:
318 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
(850) 487-5081
Senate VOIP: 5081
Legislative Assistants:
Charlie Anderson, Rita Faulkner and GeeDee Kerr
Capitol Office
313 House Office Building
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 488-6920
District Office
905 South 8th Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034-3706
Phone: (904) 491-3664
945 N. Temple Avenue
Starke, FL 32091-2110
Phone: (904) 966-6215
Legislative Assistant:
Larry Williams
District Secretary:
Marianne Marshall Alexis Zink
Reach out to your own legislators and those in surrounding areas who represent your school district and inform them and their staff of your efforts, and ask for their support of these bills. It would be great if they would also consider signing on as a co-sponsor of these bills. To find your legislators go to the House ore Senate websites.
To track the bills you can log onto and to get updates about the bill’s progress.
Want to do and know more…
Watch this space for other things you can do, developing talking points, actions in districts, gathering data and evidence, participating in our statewide video support, and more.
Remember, membership in FSCA helps, action to connect with policy makers and legislators also helps. We will continue to keep you updated as we progress through the next several weeks.

Sample to Sponsor
As a member of the Florida School Counselor Association and someone who cares about student success, I want to thank you for joining us and sponsoring HB 1317. We stand ready to support and assist your efforts in all ways that we can.

Thanks for standing up for student success by helping each and every student benefit from school counseling programs.

To Legislators
I am a member of the Florida School Counselor Association and a Professional School Counselor. I stand for student success and school counselors are critical to that success. I am seeking your support for HB 1317 and SB 1654 which will modernize how school counselors are employed in schools and require that schools and districts make good use of the talents and training of school counselors.
The American School Counselor Association, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Education Trust and many other states and education groups have told us that reduced school counselor ratios are critical to student success and to their career and post-secondary attainment. Ratios, coupled with targeted tasks and accountability, will help Florida’s students and economic future reach the success that our state and citizens deserve.
In face, I believe this bill is so important that I am asking that you step forward as a co-sponsor to show your support of student success. Please contact me with any questions or ways I can help to support the successful passage of these bills.
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