What sets LPS Hayward apart? The culture at LPS Hayward centers on the idea that every student — regardless of race or income — is college material. Dr. Claudia Aguilar leads the college counseling program. Her team creates a college-going culture by systematically removing many of the academic, cultural, and financial barriers that typically hold students back. Her team has identified five keys to success at breaking down those barriers, the second is outlined below.
As a charter school, LPS has had the flexibility to work with Aguilar to make changes and allocate resources in a way that builds a world-class college counseling program. And that investment is paying off in their results. But Aguilar understands that by having a team of three-full time counselors and one career counselor and only 600 students (150:1 student-to-counselor ratio) her team has the luxury of smaller student-to-counselor ratios. Statewide, the average student-to-counselor ratio is 945 to 1. Aguilar believes it is possible for much larger district schools to still find ways to provide similar support — as long as the school administration is on board.
“Principals need to believe that everyone deserves access to hearing about their future options and what it takes to get there,” says Aguilar.
Counselors need administrators who are willing make space for these conservations in the academic schedule. While many administrators often worry about losing instructional time, prioritizing time during the day for college counselors to provide individualized counseling support to students at different stages in the process is necessary for schools to see results similar to those at LPS Hayward.