A citizens advisory committee asked the Alexandria School Board last night to require at least three of the 10 counselors at the city's only high school to specialize in counseling for vocational education in addition to their other duties.
The Vocational Education Advisory Committee had already reported that it found that many problems perceived in Alexandria's vocational education program, such as students lacking basic academic skills, were the result of improper counseling.
About 2,000 of the 2,400 students who attend T.C. Williams High take one or more courses -- ranging from typing to bricklaying -- run by the school system's vocational education department. Instruction in trades such as masonry and carpentry are offered at an adjacent career center.
Earlier, the committee proposed hiring a single specialist in vocational education counseling, but school officials opposed that step and suggested that all counselors be required to take specialized vocational guidance courses.
The committee's latest proposal was called a compromise last night by committee member John Papp.
Board President Lou Cook said the board will consider changes in counseling services and the vocational education program next month as part of a major curriculum review.
Members of the guidance staff have regarded complaints of counseling inadequacies as unfounded. James McClure, director of guidance at T.C. Williams, told the board last night the guidance department is a traditional "whipping boy" and maintained that counselors are already fully qualified to counsel students in vocational education as well as academic programs.