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What role do counselors have in assisting migratory secondary students?

Many school districts have a counselor assigned to a school setting, contract the counseling services with an ESC or community provider, or assign a district administrator to perform counseling duties. The responsibilities vary from district to district. MEPs, depending on funding, may hire a migrant counselor or strategist to address the unique needs of migratory students beyond the responsibilities a school counselor performs.

Migrant counselors who support migratory students may do the following:

Request and receive a list of migratory students for each grade level.

Provide services to PFS students first and monitor these students closely. The Student Services Spreadsheet may be used to assist in tracking provided services.

Understand the “90 percent rule” for attendance8 and how to apply the rule to migratory and transfer students.

Review the transcripts of migratory students in grades 8 and above soon after the students enroll to determine any issues that may have arisen as a result of their mobility; and, to ensure that the student is on-track for graduation in his or her home district. MEP staff and counselors may use the Sample Student Conference Form to determine which credits are needed for graduation and if there is a need for credit accrual options. Ensure an updated graduation plan is included in the student’s permanent record and is sent with the student upon withdrawal.

Develop a plan for awarding partial credits (as per local policy) when migratory students and other transfer students move from another district.

Explain the district’s secondary credit accrual options to migratory students as an option to the regular class offerings, including those that have been developed specifically for migratory students.

Assist migratory students in participating in the credit accrual option that best meets their individual needs, explaining the benefits as they apply to each student’s unique situation.

Reach out to the MEP coordinator to determine whether migrant funds may be used to pay for any course options which may incur costs (e.g., credit recovery options for a fee), if financial assistance is needed.

Explore potential opportunities to learn more about services in support of secondary migratory students...

  1. Contact your ESC MEP staff to request professional development and/or resources on this topic.
  2. Attend the Texas Migrant Interstate Program Annual Interstate Secondary Credit Accrual Workshop, the Association for Migrant Educators of Texas (AMET) Conference, and/or the National Association of State Directors of Migrant Education (NASDME) Conference to learn more about how to support the unique needs of migratory students, or other conferences related to this topic, if program funding is available.

Contact a counselor in a sending or receiving district that share a migratory student (depending on the districts/state the student will attend throughout the year) to speak directly about the student’s graduation requirements and transcript. When speaking to another district on behalf of a migratory student, it is important to discuss how to collaborate to ensure the shared student will:

  • Complete required courses;
  • Take appropriate Credit-By-Exams for courses not yet completed (such as Spanish I, II, III if the student’s first language is Spanish);
  • Select appropriate options for completion of endorsements for graduation; and
  • Ensure duplication of coursework is avoided.

Note: Utilize the Texas Migrant Interstate Program for assistance in reaching counselors in other districts or states.

Help motivate migratory secondary students to take college entrance exams, complete community service hours and apply for scholarships as early as possible. If students understand the goals and steps to take in order to reach higher goals, they can dream and reach beyond their current aspirations. Provide as much information as possible to students and assist them in completing the necessary steps toward obtaining a postsecondary education and/or career path.

  1. Provide students fee waivers for SAT/ACT exams and college application fees. Qualifying students may receive fee waivers for up to two of each college entrance exam as well as application fee waivers to four colleges. (Migratory students qualify for these fee waivers because they automatically qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) Program.) Visit the College Board website for information regarding SAT fee waivers; Spanish version of SAT fee waivers ; and ACT website for ACT fee waivers.
  2. Share helpful Internet sites with students wishing to pursue post-secondary educational opportunities. Helpful sites include, but are not limited to, College For All Texans , Texas On Course, and Pathway to Scholarships.
  3. Explain to high school seniors that if they want to apply to receive financial aid for college or vocational/technical training programs, the first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. Instructions for this application are also available in Spanish. Texas secondary students without legal status may complete the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA). Instructions for this application are also available in Spanish (Spanish Instructions for TASFA).
  4. When a student has decided to apply for college, guide them to the Apply Texas College Application or the  Common College Application which may help facilitate the process.
  5. Organize college field experiences and visits to various universities, especially to the institutions of higher education that offer the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP). (Provided by Weslaco ISD
    • Contact CAMP universities to establish a rapport with the representatives.
    • Using TX-NGS and Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS), generate a grade/transcript report for high school students.
    • Identify a cohort of students that will be best served by a college field experience.
    • Schedule a college visit (usually with the CAMP Office or Admissions Office).
    • Create a list of criteria to be used to determine the students who will be eligible to attend the trip (e.g., passing all courses, good attendance, completed standardized tests).
    • Invite students that meet the criteria above to attend the trip.
    • Schedule a meeting with parents of the students attending the visit at least two to three weeks before the trip to explain the experience and secure the necessary permission slips.
    • Ensure duplication of coursework is avoided.
  6. Arrange for a CAMP recruiter to visit the high schools to facilitate the application process for migratory seniors. (Provided by PSJA ISD)  
    • Contact CAMP universities to establish a rapport with the representatives.
    • Prepare passes for seniors with date and time of presentation.
    • Email teachers to inform them of the CAMP visit and to provide permission for students to be excused from classes for the day.
    • Notify the attendance clerk to code students school activity (college presentation, college visit, etc.) on PEIMS.
    • Counsel students on required documentation, test scores, recommendation letters, tests, resume, community service hours, etc. for CAMP applications.
    • Contact CAMP recruiter if needed for one-to-one follow-up with students.
  7. Coordinate leadership opportunities for migratory students. Opportunities may include:  
    • Migrant student extracurricular clubs that ...
      • Meet regularly
      • Are specific to migratory secondary students
      • Are designed to help students resolve issues related to late entry and/or early withdrawal
      • Provide leadership opportunities
      • Facilitate social engagement with school community
    • Close Up  events that offer migratory middle school and high school students week-long leadership programs in Washington, D.C to develop leadership skills, learn about policy making, and provide experience with institutions like Congress and other governmental agencies.
    • A migrant student retreat or conference where students can hear motivational speakers and participate in leadership skill-building sessions.

8 Texas Education Agency, TEA Letter to the Administrator-Attendance, Admission, Enrollment Records, and Tuition-August 2017. Attendance for Course Credit. (Austin, Texas: Texas Education Agency, 2017) .