State law requires the provision of school counseling or guidance services in elementary grade levels (K-8).
Arkansas Administrative Rules 005.19.007-Appendix A. The Standard for accreditation
APPENDIX A - THE Standard FOR ACCREDITATION
Standard 4: Human Capital
Standard 4-E Guidance Counselors
- 4-E.1 Each public school district shall employ guidance counselors that meet the licensure requirements in accordance with the laws of the State of Arkansas and the rules of the Department or are working under an approved waiver in accordance with the laws of the State of Arkansas and the rules of the Department. (D/C)
- 4-E.2 Each public school district shall have a student/guidance counselor ratio of no more than one to 450 students. (D/P)
Standard 4-F Library Media Specialists
- 4-F.1 Each public school district shall employ library media specialists that meet the licensure requirements in accordance with the laws of the State of Arkansas and the rules of the Department or are working under an approved waiver in accordance with the laws of the State of Arkansas and the rules of the Department. (D/C)
- 4-F.2 Public schools with fewer than three hundred (300) students shall employ at least one half-time library media specialist. Public schools with three hundred (300) or more students shall employ at least one full-time library media specialist. Schools enrolling fifteen hundred (1,500) or more students shall employ at least two full-time library media specialists. ( S/P)
Arkansas Code 6-15-215. The Arkansas Smart Core Incentive Funding Program — Definitions.
(c) The Arkansas Smart Core Incentive Funding Program is established to provide a financial incentive to: (3) Provide support to school counselors to improve student services.
Arkansas Code 6-18-2001. Title.
This subchapter shall be known and may be cited as the “School Counseling Improvement Act of 2019”.
Arkansas Code 6-18-2002. Definitions.
As used in this subchapter: (1) “Administrative activities” means activities that are not directly related to the comprehensive school counseling plan and are absent of any direct student services or interaction; (2) “Direct services” means services that are provided through face-to-face contact with students, including without limitation:
- (A) Regular classroom guidance limited to forty-minute class sessions, not to exceed three (3) class sessions per day and not to exceed ten (10) class sessions per week;
- (B) Individual and group counseling;
- (C) Responsive services on behalf of students whose immediate personal concerns and problems put the student's academic, career, or social and emotional development at risk, including the administration of a risk assessment; and
- (D) Interventions for students who are:
- (i) At risk of dropping out of school; or
- (ii) Exhibiting dangerous behaviors, such as drug use, self-harm, or gang activity; and (3) “Indirect services” means consultations between a student, a parent or legal guardian, school staff, and community agencies concerning a student's academic, career, and social and emotional needs.
Arkansas Code 6-18-2003. Comprehensive school counseling program and plan framework.
(a) Each public school district shall:
- (1) Develop and implement a comprehensive school counseling program that ensures student services are coordinated in a manner that provides comprehensive support to all students; and
- (2) Have a written plan for a comprehensive school counseling program that:
- (A) Is implemented by an Arkansas-certified school counselor, a counselor serving under an additional licensure plan, or a school employee acting as a school counselor under a waiver granted under § 6-15-103(c);
- (B) Utilizes state and nationally recognized counselor frameworks;
- (C) Is reviewed annually and updated as needed by the school counselor in collaboration with the building administrator and other stakeholders; (D) Is systemically aligned to kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) within the public school district; and (E) Contains the following four (4) components of a comprehensive school counseling program: (i) Foundation, which includes without limitation: (a) Vision statements; (b) Mission statements; and (c) Program goals; (ii) Management, which utilizes assessments and other data to develop, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive school counseling program; (iii) Delivery, which focuses on direct and indirect services through the implementation of a comprehensive school counseling program; and (iv) Accountability, which ensures regular analysis of the comprehensive school counseling program that is provided. (b) The comprehensive school counseling program required under subsection (a) of this section shall: (1) Guide students in academic pursuits, career planning, and social and emotional learning; (2) Follow the comprehensive school counseling program guidance provided by the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education; (3) Include goals that are developed annually based on the vision and mission statements that are shared by stakeholders to ensure equitable access to opportunities for all students; and (4) Identify student needs through a multilevel school data review that includes without limitation: (A) Data analysis; (B) Use-of-time data review; (C) Program results data; and (D) Communication and contact with administrators, parents, students, and stakeholders.
Arkansas Code 6-18-2004. Comprehensive student services.
(a) Sufficient time at each public school shall be allotted for the school counselor to carry out the duties stated in the comprehensive school counseling plan required under § 6-18-2003. (b)
- (1) A school counselor shall spend at least ninety percent (90%) of his or her working time during student contact days providing direct services and indirect services to students.
- (2) Direct and indirect services may be provided in collaboration with other school personnel and include without limitation:
- (A) Intervening with students who are at risk of dropping out of school to determine if there is a way to keep at-risk students in school;
- (B) Following up with high school graduates; (C) Providing orientation programs for new students and transferring students at each level of education; (D) Providing academic advisement services, including without limitation: (i) Developing an individual planning system to guide a student to access and monitor the student's own educational, career, and social and emotional progress; (ii) Guiding a student along the pathways to graduation; (iii) Guiding a student in goal-setting experiences and course selection aligned with the student's postsecondary goals; (iv) Addressing accelerated learning opportunities; (v) Addressing academic deficits and the accessibility of resources; (vi) Providing student assessment reviews, interest inventories, or academic results needed to develop, review, and revise a student's plan of study; and (vii) Providing support for students who show potential so they are more likely to engage in rigorous coursework and take advantage of postsecondary opportunities; (E) Providing a career planning process that includes without limitation: (i) Guidance in understanding the relationship between classroom performance and success in school and beyond; (ii) The provision of resources to identify career interests and aptitudes to assist a student in age-appropriate college and career planning; (iii) Guidance in understanding the advantages of completing career certifications and internships; (iv) Interpretation of augmented, criterion-referenced, or norm-referenced assessments for students and parents; (v) The provision of information to a parent or legal guardian, such as through workshops on preparing for college, financial aid, and career opportunities; and (vi) Encouragement to a parent or legal guardian to support partnerships in his or her student's learning and career planning processes; (F) Providing social and emotional skills designed to support students, including without limitation programs: (i) To promote cultural and social awareness, positive communication and relationship skills, collaboration with others, and responsible decision-making; (ii) To improve culture and climate in the school so that all students can feel that they are in a safe and supportive environment; (iii) To develop conflict-resolution skills; (iv) To prevent bullying that include without limitation: (a) Training programs for school employees regarding how to recognize bullying behaviors; (b) Protocols for responding to bullying that is occurring in the school; (c) Strategies that support a student who is being bullied; and (d) Strategies that help a bystander speak out against bullying; and (v) To address age-appropriate suicide awareness and prevention through: (a) Strategies that help identify a student who is at risk for suicide; (b) Strategies and protocols that help a student who is at risk for suicide; and (c) Protocols for responding to a suicide death; and (G) Serving as a contributing member of decision-making teams, which include without limitation: (i) Teams that are convened under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub. L. No. 93-112; (ii) Response-to-intervention teams; (iii) English language learner programs; (iv) Parental involvement or family engagement programs; (v) Positive behavioral intervention support programs; and (vi) Advanced placement and gifted and talented programs. (c) (1) Administrative activities performed by a school counselor shall not exceed more than ten percent (10%) of the school counselor's time spent working during student contact days. (2) Administrative activities provided by a school counselor in collaboration with other school personnel include without limitation: (A) Coordinating state assessments, cognitive achievement assessments, advanced placement programs, and language acquisition testing programs; (B) Developing master schedules; (C) Coordinating of: (i) Teams convened under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub. L. No. 93-112; (ii) Response-to-intervention teams; (iii) English language learner programs; (iv) Parental involvement or family engagement programs; (v) Positive behavioral intervention support programs; (vi) Data entry; and (vii) Advanced placement and gifted and talented programs; and (D) Monitoring students in common areas such as the cafeteria, hallway, playground, and bus lines.
Arkansas Code 6-18-2005. Monitoring and support.
(a) Each public school district is responsible for posting its annual comprehensive school counseling plan on the district website under “State-Required Information”. (b)
- (1) Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education shall monitor each public school district to ensure implementation and compliance with this subchapter.
- (2) Failure by a public school district to comply with this subchapter is a violation of the Standard for Accreditation of Arkansas Public Schools and School Districts. (c) The division shall:
- (1) Employ at least one (1) individual who is certified as a school counselor;
- (2) Provide a multilevel system of support to public school districts to assist in complying with the requirements of this subchapter; and
- (3) Provide guidance and technical assistance to public school districts in order to support equitable access to public school counseling services.
Arkansas Code 6-20-102. Guidance program — State aid.
(a) A school district may initiate a minimum of a one-half (½) time guidance program and receive a pro rata share of the regular state aid for a counselor who has completed six (6) semester hours in guidance and counseling. (b) Aid for additional years will be continued provided that the counselor makes six (6) semester hours' progress each year until twenty-one (21) semester hours in guidance and counseling are acquired.