CMS Board pushes for funding for more emotional-social support staffing

Push to hire more counselors, psychologists

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - With the issues our kids are facing today in schools, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) say now more than ever students need to know they have someone to go to directly available in school who can listen to them and help with whatever they’re going through.

They want to make sure they can hire enough of those staff members to fit our kids' needs.

“Its someone who can look at things from the outside, and give a more neutral perspective," says Psychotherapist, LPCA, Danielle Coffey.

Danielle Coffey has been a childhood therapist for two years, she works locally at Isaiah Counseling & Wellness in Charlotte. She says after volunteering with a nonprofit working with children—she knew she wanted to help kids..

“Education has been a really big part of my family," says Coffey.

Coffey says she felt like she could make a impact on kids lives by going into childhood therapy.

“Parents are naturally emotionally involved, and that’s great, we want that, but sometimes that can be hard to see clearly exactly what’s going on," says Coffey.

CMS Board members approving an initiative this week in hopes of getting extra funding to hire more staffing for people in professions just like Danielle.

“We all know those case loads are bursting at the seems," said Ericka Ellis-Stewart, CMS at-large board member, at Tuesday’s BOE meeting.

CMS wants to hire more school counselors, psychologists and social workers to make sure each student’s case gets the attention it deserves.

Right now CMS employs 591 social-emotional staff but the district’s ratio for social emotional staffing doesn’t meet the nationally recommended ratios. For school psychologists, the recommended ratio is one psychologist to 500-700 students—CMS’s ratio is more than double that—at 1 psychologist to 1849 students. Parents agree, the need is there.

“She spends so much time in school anyways that if there is someone there that she can talk to about school issues, because you know shes growing up to be a young woman," says CMS parent, Lamarocus Evans.

“I think its a good idea kids because kids need extra support, that extra nurturing and a lot of times they don’t get it at home," says parent Hope Drummond.

“I mean I think the more we can do for our kids, the better," says Parent Will Miller.

Parent’s say they think adding more positions will have a wider impact on the schools in the long run.

“I think it will probably do CMS some good because we might see a change in how the students behave because they have someone to talk to," says Evans.

CMS says there still working to find the exact number of positions this could create in the district. This is still a proposal from the board, tomorrow morning the board will meet with state legislative delegates to go over this recommendation and the full agenda.

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