How Colorado Is Betting on Counseling to Vault Low-Income Kids Into Good Jobs and Postsecondary Education
Sarah Gonser, The Hechinger Report
Mariano Almanza was overwhelmed. With an English paper due at the end of the week, an anatomy packet to complete, and an ever-growing pile of math assignments, the 18-year-old was at a breaking point. He went straight to Miss Mack for help.
Miss Mack, as she is known to students at Coronado High School, is Colleen McElvogue, one of the school’s six counselors and the chairperson of its counseling department. Colorado is betting that a big investment in counseling can improve educational outcomes for low-income students.
So far, the results are promising. As of 2016, graduation rates among participating schools had risen from 65 percent to nearly 80 percent, while dropout rates declined. Enrollment in high school career-and-technical programs doubled. Completion rates for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid increased to 54 percent, compared to 48 percent for the state, and the share of students taking college-level courses grew to 74 percent, compared to 48 percent at non-funded schools.