Simplified: Sioux Falls School Board members on Monday unanimously approved the adoption of a new K-12 counseling curriculum.
Why it matters
- It's the first full-scale review of the counseling curriculum since 2001, said Patti Lake-Torbert, senior coordinator of student support services.
- The new comprehensive curriculum is focused on data and consistency. Whichever building in the district a student may move to, they'll see the same "non-negotiables" in the curriculum, Lake-Torbert added.
- The challenge in maintaining that consistency, though, is the already heavy workload of school counselors.
"We have been putting out a lot of fires and helping with a lot of behaviors," Lake-Torbert told board members. "When additional help is needed, it's the school counselors that’ll be called to come in."
How did we get here?
The district created a 23-member steering committee to review the counseling curriculum.
- That committee – made up of parents, administrators, counselors and community members – met starting in October 2020 and throughout 2021 and the start of 2022.
The district also contracted with a company called Hatching Results, which provided training for Sioux Falls school counselors.
What will students learn?
It varies by grade level.
Elementary students will focus on "core competencies" like self-awareness, responsible decision making and self-management.
At the middle and high schools, counselors will focus more on career counseling.
- Middle schoolers will also see units on bullying, goal-setting, decision-making and managing relationships.
- High schoolers will have a two-week suicide prevention awareness campaign, along with some guidance on preparing for life after high school and career counseling.
What will the new curriculum cost?
Just over $131,000.
- That includes curriculum materials and the $20,000 contract with Hatching Results.
What happens next?
The curriculum will be implemented in the 2022-23 school year.