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 School Counselor Conference First in San Diego County

​​A school counselor's job is never done.

Between preparing students for college and career, being there for them emotionally and socially, and helping with students' academic plans, school counselors don't often get the chance to leave their campus. So when they do, it has to be for something worthwhile.

The School Counselor Leadership Conference on May 25 at the University of San Diego was one of those events.

"This was the first time we had a school counselor conference in San Diego," said Lisa Stout, a counselor on special assignment in San Marcos Unified School District.

"It was very relevant and practical; there were things that counselors can take away and use immediately," said Stout, who was on the advisory group for planning the conference.

The conference drew nearly 250 counselors and educators from elementary to high school. It was spearheaded by Tracy Wilson, SDCOE counseling coordinator on the Equity and Access Team.

As a school counselor for years in the Grossmont Union High School District, Wilson knows the unique challenges faced by school counselors, as well as the pressure faced under the new Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP).

"Our school counselors are often isolated, and there hasn't been professional learning available locally that's developed specifically for them," Wilson said.

Counselors play a key role in helping students succeed in school and the transition to college. But in California, those resources for students are stretched thin. Statistics show the state has had one of the highest counselor-to-student ratios in the nation.

With the LCAP priorities on student achievement and engagement, school counselors are integral to a district's success in meeting its outcomes.

"Professional learning at the School Counselor Leadership Conference is critical to support current and future school counselors, who are tasked with meeting all students' academic, social and emotional, and career needs," Wilson said.

There were more than 30 presenters at the conference covered a range of topics such as parent engagement, international student transcripts, human trafficking, and college admissions.

"I heard from several attendees that they had a hard time choosing which presentation to attend," Stout said. "This conference really hit on everything school counselors do on a daily basis."

See what others had to say about the conference on Storify

The Equity Symposium​ from Sept. 8 to 9 will be the next SDCOE Equity and Access opportunity for counselors, site and district leaders, and other educators to network and learn.