School screens documentary highlighting need for more counselors

Mike DeNardo
January 18, 2019 - 4:00 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Hundreds are expected to attend Monday's local screening of a documentary illustrating the need for more school counselors. 

The film, "Personal Statement," tells the story of three Brooklyn high school seniors who not only navigate their own way through the college application process, but they act as school counselors to help their classmates.

"When I saw the film, it just gave me goose bumps," said Heather Marcus, a member of Philly School Counselors United. "The documentary really sheds light on the fact that the college application process, financial aid process, they can be very challenging, very stressful. And all students need help with the process."

The film follows New York City schools, which Marcus said are similar to Philadelphia schools in that there are not enough school counselors available.

Marcus is also a counselor at Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School, where there are three counselors total for 1,200 students. She said the American School Counselor Association recommends one counselor for every 250 students.

"People really need to understand that counselors aren't an extra," she said. "If we had enough, we could be assisting all of these kids. These kids are phenomenal. They just need a little bit of extra direction."

Marcus arranged a local screening of "Personal Statement" for Monday at 3 p.m. at the Harold L. Zellerbach Theatre at Penn. A panel discussion will follow with students from the film.

Admission is free, but registration is required.