Washington Framework for Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling

School Counselors and Dropout Prevention

The problem of student dropouts in Washington State.

There are about 1 million students attending schools in Washington State. About three out of every 10 public middle- and high-school students drop out of school each year though statistics vary by school district and region.

Graduation Rates by School, District and County for Washington State

Notably, in a December 2008 report, the Washington Building Bridges Workgroup called attention to the 20,122 students who dropped out of school in the 2007–08 school year, a figure that remains relatively consistent from year-to-year. The group also cited statistics in the December 2009 report indicating that the annual savings to taxpayers by preventing one student from dropping out is $10,500 in 2009 dollars:

Annual Savings to Taxpayers Generated by Preventing One High School Student from Dropping Out

School counselors and dropout prevention

The dropout issue is a chronic problem in our school system and school counselors must determine how to partner with others to build comprehensive programs that successfully engage and retain students. The Washington Framework for Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling, rooted in the American School Counseling Association National Model (ASCA, 2004), can lay the foundation for a school’s dropout prevention efforts.

School counselors can be leaders and change agents in their schools and communities regarding this systemic problem. They tend to work at the intersection between individual student problems and other systems in the school. School counselors are therefore able to identify students, provide and/or build effective intervention programs, assist in evaluating the effectiveness of school improvement plan centering around dropout prevention, and help to coordinate community services for our highly vulnerable students. Tree