School counselors on how to support students through a trial and COVID-19

Tables are spread across a large room.
Hand sanitizer and test kits sit on tables in the cafeteria of Parkview Center Elementary School in Roseville, Minn., last month.
Evan Frost | MPR News file

Pandemic stress continues, even while vaccine availability expands and most Minnesota students have the option to be in school for in-person learning again. How can we better support students and address mental health needs?

School counselors are helping students and teachers navigate feelings sparked by the pandemic and the ongoing trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

But often, there aren’t enough school counselors. Nationally, the school counselor-to-student ratio is about 430-to-1, according to the latest data available from the American School Counselor Association. Minnesota was one of six states with a ratio above 600-to-1. 

On Thursday, host Angela Davis talked to two school counselors about strategies they’re using to help staff and students through the stress and turmoil. They also talked about how their school communities are navigating conversations about race. And a Minneapolis-based counselor who works with teens also joined the conversation, along with counselors and parents from across the state.


  • Derek Francis is the manager of counseling services for Minneapolis Public Schools and serves on the Minnesota School Counselors Association board. 

  • Casie Nauman is a school counselor at Mayo High School in Rochester, Minn. 

  • Jason Clopton, known as The Teen Whisperer, is a Minneapolis-based counselor who works with teens.

Use the audio player above to listen to the program.

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