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    Welcome to Grosse Pointe South Counseling
     
     Seniors: Once you have submitted your college application complete this form to ask your counselor to send materials
    Every application must be submitted using this form in order to send transcript/Letters/Profile.
     
     

    Looking for Resources on Mental Health and Wellness?  Head over to South Counseling LinkTree 

    Looking for Resources on Academic Support?  Click on Academic Support Page

    Who is my student’s Counselor?

    COUNSELOR ASSIGNMENTS 2020-2021

    Counselor Assignments

    How do I get in touch with my student’s counselor?

    Click here for Counselors emails and phone numbers

     

    March 2021 Update

    Thankfully, the sun is shining and the occasional crocus dares to poke through the snowy ground promising us warmer days ahead. 

    Parents, we appreciate the time that you spent with your students discussing course selections and schedules for next year. We will be meeting with students over the first two weeks of March to help them enter their selections and complete career work on Naviance. Please remember that families are still welcome to make changes to next year’s course requests if necessary. Feel free to make adjustments so that we can support a healthy balance in our students’ lives.  Evening Conferences will be on March 4 at South. This is great timing as it is halfway through the 3rd quarter. We will again be virtual using PTC Wizard to schedule conferences.

     

    SENIORS:  

    It’s not too late to search for Scholarships and Financial Aid. Be sure to check weekly e*blasts, Naviance, and the Career Resource Center webpage for an ever-updating list of scholarships.  Make sure that you have completed your FAFSA, as well. Even if you don’t think you will get any grant (free) money you will get school scholarships and low/no-interest loan offers that you may accept or decline in whole or in part. Questions about FAFSA are conveniently answered by the chatbot 24/7.  Also, completing the FAFSA is a great idea to show interest in receiving money from colleges – sometimes this opens doors that were previously hidden. For general scholarship searching, I am a big fan of www.fastweb.com and http://www.finaid.org/  These are both packed with GREAT information and resources.  On the Counseling Center Website, I have links to a presentation I did last spring on “Understanding Different Sources of Financial Aid” as well as a direct link to the slide deck for this.

    This year we are learning that college applications at competitive colleges were high - possibly due to the test-optional format of most college admissions. Smaller colleges and many state schools were lower in application numbers.  Consequently, there are still many excellent opportunities to apply to schools.  It is not too late.  On May 5 NACAC will post a comprehensive list of all colleges and universities with admissions openings. You will be able to see this list here.

    Mid-year transcript requests should be made here.

     

    JUNIORS:  

    Virtual Financial Aid Night will be Thursday, March 25. See Linda Schultz’s Friday E-Blast for the link closer to the date. It will be a live web-x so you can listen and ask questions. Topics include the elements of financial aid, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), private resources available, and more!

     

    Current Juniors who are planning to apply to colleges in the Fall of 2021 should make sure that they are doing the following: 

    1. Many schools are already choosing to be test-optional next year however, I think it would be wise to attempt to register for the ACT and/or SAT tests.  You can do this online at www.actstudent.org or www.collegeboard.org I understand that North will not be offering these tests through June so you may want to select a different local option like U of D. ALL juniors will be taking the SAT at South in April. Your student will register for the test in school.  You do not need to do anything to sign him or her up online. My advice at this point is to consider NOT sending student test scores to the colleges until we know what the situation will be with required testing and testing opportunities.
    2. Make an hour-long appointment with your counselor for the Junior Meeting to discuss possible choices that match your individual profile. Please note in the Calendly appointment that we will be discussing college so that counselors will be prepared.
    3. If it is possible, try to visit college campuses. Right now most are closed and it will have to be a virtual visit.  However, I’m hopeful as we move toward summer we can get closer to open air opportunities.



    Valentine’s Day was a wonderful reminder to build gratitude and love into our everyday interactions. “Winter Blues” are real issues along with more serious mental health and wellness concerns.  If you are noticing changes in your child’s grades, interactions, behaviors, or friends this may be a message to seek support.  Please connect with your child’s counselor or another member of the school’s mental health team to find resources. If you are in immediate need of assistance with concerns of suicide please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255) or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org for live chat. Students may feel comfortable texting the Crisis Text Line, a free, 24/7, confidential text message service for people in crisis. Just text HELLO to 741-741

    Wellness Wednesdays since our last issue have included: Empathy, Depression, Self-Care

     

    Upcoming Events:

    The Family Center does a great job listening to the needs of our community and responding by programming events to meet those demands.  Visit the Resiliency Hub to learn about new programs available on-demand via podcasts and webcasts on the following topics:

    • Family Dynamics with Ellen Miller
    • Understanding the Effects of the Pandemic on Kids with Dr. Ashley Falco
    • Building Emotional Resilience During Crises with Miriam Engstrom and Liane Lyne
    • Recognizing non-verbal symptoms of Crisis with Sarah Emmerson and Nicole Runyon (Available March 15)

    There will also be a live virtual program Reading and Self Care with the GP Library 

     

    All programs are free and you will find more information at: www.familycenterweb.org 

     

     

    February 2021 Update

    Welcome to semester two! In our house a “half-way there” reference would immediately launch into some quality renditions of Jon Bon Jovi’s 1980s masterpiece, though I am sure there must be a more refined allusion (or at least more modern) that your student can offer. It’s probably a TikTok. In any case, the new start means that we begin again with a fresh start in grades, attendance and classes. Hooray!

    Mental Health Still Matters

    One silver lining of the pandemic is the emphasis that the whole world has recognized the impact of mental health and wellness for good physical health and academic success. Our Wellness Wednesdays posted on Schoology in the past month have included Empathy vs. Sympathy, intro to different Anxiety disorders,  Resilience, No Stigma Mental Health, and Goal Setting.

    Our partners at The Family Center are embarking on a neat project with our South Mental Health Coalition students to take over instagram for the day March 3. The topic will be Everything you ever wanted to know about seeing a therapist but were afraid to ask! With the mission of normalizing taking care of our mental health just like our physical health senior student Megan R. will be asking counselor Nick Bernbeck about what it's like to see an outside counselor.  Be sure to check out the rest of Family Center programs at the Resiliency Hub on their website.

    Freshman, Sophomore, Junior Parents:

    Scheduling This year we kicked off a paperless course selection process for 2021-22 with our Course Recommendation Day on February 3.  The big news is that we are totally digital this year so if your student has not already shared their course selection document via email please ask them to do so. The course selections are due February 10 and can simply be submitted online in the student’s schoology class. 

    We want students to challenge themselves in their studies, but not overextend their academic commitments such that their lives are out of balance resulting in added stress and anxiety.  Families should dedicate some time together for thoughtful discussion about the commitment the student is making in selecting these courses within the context of their other commitments to family, friends, faith, sports and activities.  Our students are amazing and want to do EVERYTHING! It is our role as parents and educators to support them in building balance, making some hard choices about what is a wise selection and what is better to let pass. Families know their students best and need to play an active role.

    On Course Recommendation day, all teachers spent time in each class discussing individually with students their recommendation for future classes.  Each core academic class has a Course Expectation Planning Guide outlining the average time and activity commitment required for success in the course.  This will also help students and families in course selection decisions.  In the case of electives, teachers will discuss other electives available to students. When we return from Mid-Winter Break we will be meeting with students in their English classes to review course selections for next year, input them on the computer, and complete the annual Educational Development Plan (EDP) review. If you have any lingering questions or concerns about course content and requirements, the Program of Studies is available on the school system website.  We will be sending out a reminder towards the end of the school year of the classes that your student has selected.  At this time, if there are any changes you will be welcome to make modifications.  Things to consider include the overall workload of the student, post high school plans, extracurricular demands and possible summer school classes that may replace grades in previous courses.  As always, it is all about balance.

    We will also be completing the EDP at this time. The EDP uses the Naviance program to help students define their interests and match them to careers that best fit their skills and interests.  It also takes the next steps to link students to college matches and even has a scholarship search engine. You can access this program from home by logging in directly from South’s homepage or https://student.naviance.com/gpshs You can use your Parent Portal Password to sign in the first time.

    Senior Parents: While the majority of seniors have applied for college for next fall, some have waited for the first semester senior year grades to be available before applying.  Please encourage your senior to see their counselor immediately to discuss either their college application plans or employment, military service, travel or technical school plans.  In addition, any senior who wishes to have their first semester of senior year grades sent to a college can request midyear grades to send online

    If you haven’t already, now is the time to complete the FAFSA for next year’s college freshmen. Also, look to see if the prospective college or university requires the CSS/Financial Aid Profile 

    Junior Parents:  

    Another reminder to make that Junior meeting for an uninterrupted hour of personalized college counseling with your student’s counselor.  This is critical to understand the college application process at South as well as getting tips on research. Call the counseling center to make your appointment 432-3519 and let them know it is for the college meeting so we set a full hour.

    Standardized tests are already a murky subject for next fall.  Many top colleges have already decided that they will be test optional for at least an additional year. That said, it is not a bad idea for each junior who intends to apply for college admission to register for and take an additional ACT and/or SAT test beyond what they will take with us in April.  Students can register online at www.act.org  for the ACT and www.collegeboard.org for the SAT.  Please encourage your student to pay attention to deadlines and not to put off registering until the last moment.  Test center availability at nearby locations may be at a premium, especially for the April, May, and June tests. 

    Test Prep: We get the question so often about ways to prepare for the standardized tests.  I want to point out a few of the free and convenient tools that we have available. For the SAT the easiest and most helpful online program is the free Khan Academy. Students can link their PSAT results and get a free customized test prep program. The Michigan Electronic Library (MEL) is a state resource available through our school library web page that offers free test prep. Mr. Spencer kindly created a video addressing how to access it at: http://youtu.be/pM9KUDzEkFw

    Also Shmoop, accessible through our library web page, has great online tutoring options.  Our “magic word” when you sign up is “COLOSSAL” This is a free service thanks to the library and the Mother’s Club.  We can also offer suggestions for private tutors or tutoring programs upon request. 

    January 2021 Update

    Happy New Year!

    January 2021 is the start of a year like no other. Again we are challenged as parents to be the stable foundation for our students supporting balance and a grounded sense of security that our kids can lean on when the rest of the world feels so unbalanced and insecure. Here is a nice resource on How To Help Children and Youth Process the Capitol Insurrection There are many resources to support kids on the counseling center webpage including Mental Health & Wellness links and Academic Support.

    This year school has canceled mid-term exams so the semester grade/credit will be determined by first and second quarter grades averaged 50/50. We strongly encourage students to attend academic support hours with teachers in the afternoons to help improve their grades before the end of the semester on Jan 22.

    We are looking forward to the return to school with hybrid/face to face learning.  See the email from Linda Schultz for details on start dates, times, and cohort schedules. Parents and Students can locate semester two classes on MiStar by logging into the parent portal or student portal and going to “Schedule.” This includes all relevant info: period, term (e.g. YS, S1, S2), course code, class name, teacher, room number, and entry and exit dates. Term YS are year-long classes. Students can also check their locker information  Click on the "Enrollment" area in the portal and scroll down until you see this:

    The locker ID # is displayed here, and by clicking on the gold lock icon on the left, you will get a pop-up window that shows both the locker ID and the combination. This extra step is required as a safety measure so that the combination only displays when it's safe for the student to look at it. Please be sure students check the portal for all of this information before semester two begins.

    We will be scheduling classes for the 2021-22 School year in February. The process will be digital.  More details to follow next month. 

     

    Senior Parents

    If your senior needs a mid-year transcript sent they can request it here. Transcripts will be sent out as soon as they are ready in February. We are still very happy to support senior’s initial applications to college.  If they would like additional help they can get in touch with their counselors here to call/text or schedule a meeting. For every college application that a student completes they should fill out this form so that counselors know to send all of the supporting materials from the school like letters of recommendation and transcripts.

    If you haven’t already completed the FAFSA, now is the time. This is the first step to seeking financial aid support from the school. Some colleges will also require the CSS Financial Profile. Click here to see the list of schools on the profile. See December High Pointes for more details. Here is the video I created last spring on Understanding Sources of Financial Aid and the Powerpoint Slide Deck used in the presentation if you would rather skip to that.

     

    Junior Parents

    Juniors will take the PSAT/NMSQT on January 26. This is primarily a practice test for Juniors that was rescheduled from October. However, this is the National Merit Qualifying Test so it is significant for students that are top performers on standardized tests. Ms. Parravano will be sending details on test administration closer to the date. Students in the 9, 10, and 12 grades will not have classes on this date. 

    Junior Meetings!  Each year we attempt to meet individually with each Junior (and parents if they would like to join us) to have an in-depth, personalized discussion about college searching, applying, and financing.  In efforts to meet with more students, we have moved these meetings up from Spring to Winter, so make your appointments now!  We are anxious to get started.

    Students should register now for the ACT and/or SAT tests that will be given in the second semester. Keep in mind dates for AP testing and final exams.  Remember, that your child will take a free SAT at South in April as a part of the state tests. This score is official and may be used for college applications. Taking an April or June ACT is a great idea since students will have addressed the entire Algebra II math curriculum required for the test.

    You can go directly to the testing companies’ websites (www.actstudent.org and www.collegeboard.org ) to register and to obtain more information about the tests. 

    We recommend that you register early to secure a spot at your preferred testing center. Please pay attention to deadlines; there are financial penalties for late registration. When you register, you will need to use the Grosse Pointe South school code: 231-802. If you are in financial need please talk with your counselor about having these test fees waived.  

     

    Sophomore Parents

    If your student is thinking about pursuing a technical career like Cosmetology, Auto Mechanic, Construction Trades, and the like there are many programs available beginning next year. Check out this video. Many of these are two-year certificate programs so now is the time to look into potentially building this into the school day for Junior and Senior year. Take a look at potential CTE program offerings here and here

     

    Freshmen Parents

    Counselors are working to meet individually with each of the freshmen so we can get to know each other better.  If your freshman hasn’t met with his or her counselor yet please encourage them to get in touch.

    December 2020 Update

    Happy Holidays! I honestly think parents, students, and staff should get ‘a major award’ for getting through 2020. (Cue the holiday movie) My goodness, it has been a challenging year. While we are not free of the virus yet, there is certainly hope on the horizon. We know many are struggling with social/emotional wellness and our students are not immune. Often this impacts academics as well. On the school homepage, we have links to Academic Support and Mental Health Resouces that we hope are helpful. Also, counselors are happy to meet with students and families as helpful.  Contact info is here.

    Wellness Wednesdays: we post for students each week on schoology.  They have some great talking points to connect with kids on Anger, Remote School & Mental Health, Safety Languages and Feeling Overwhelmed

    Students and staff have also been working together to build additional mental health and wellness outreach opportunities. One outcome is our new Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/gps.mental_health_coalition/ Check it out!

    Senior Parents

    As college admissions are trickling in for the early birds, many students (especially in the arts communities) are just getting their college applications sent out.  Other students may still be unsure about where to apply or what steps to take next. Remember that we are always happy to help!  Just send your student to see us and we will be more than happy to talk post-high school options. 

    As we move into the second semester, we begin to shift our senior focus from admissions to financing college.  Click here for the counseling center’s slide deck on Understanding Different Sources of Financial Aid. If you would prefer to hear my presentation on this click here. 

    We strongly encourage parents to apply for federal student aid via FAFSA.  Some schools may require the CSS Financial Aid Profile.    Parents can only apply for the FAFSA online. FAFSA worksheets are available online to print in PDF form to prepare. In order to apply for financial aid, you must go online to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/  Step one is to apply for your financial aid ID (FSA ID) now at the website. Once you get your FSA ID, you will be able to fill out the application immediately. If you are not sure that the FAFSA will be fruitful, we recommend that you complete it anyway as an opportunity to trigger institutional aid offers that you may not otherwise receive.  Colleges will start awarding money as soon as they receive your information from the federal processing center, so don’t delay.  Some schools may require the CSS Financial Profile.  Click here to see the list of schools on the profile. 

    Tips on Applying for Financial Aid

    1. If you are in doubt as to whether or not to apply for aid…apply.
    2. Students will need their social security number.
    3. Secure the necessary forms.  Check which form is needed by each college.
    4. Always read the entire form carefully.
    5. Download the FAFSA Worksheets and use them as a rough draft.
    6. Use the FAFSA Chatbot for help
    7. Double-check that proper school code numbers are used.  PROOFREAD!
    8. Keep a copy of everything you send (electronically or via mail).
    9. Do not send a copy of your taxes with the FAFSA or Profile.
    10. Investigate possible outside sources of aid.
    11. Read carefully any responses you get and respond.
    12. Call the college’s financial aid office for help with forms or problems.
    13. Develop a personal calendar.
    14. Meet all required deadlines.
    15. Do not get distracted by frauds that guarantee aid in return for an enrollment fee.

    Junior Parents

    Junior Meetings!  Each year we attempt to meet individually with each Junior (and parents if they would like to join us) to have an in-depth, personalized discussion about college searching, applying, and financing.  In efforts to meet with more students, we have moved these meetings up from Spring to Winter.  So make your appointments now!  We are anxious to get started.

    Students should register now for the ACT and/or SAT tests that will be given in the second semester. Keep in mind dates for AP testing and final exams.  Remember, that your child will take a free SAT at South in April as a part of the state tests. This score is official and may be used for college applications. Taking an April or June ACT is a great idea since students will have addressed the entire Algebra II math curriculum required for the test.

    You can go directly to the testing companies’ websites (www.actstudent.org and www.collegeboard.org ) to register and to obtain more information about the tests. 

    We recommend that you register early to secure a spot at your preferred testing center. Please pay attention to deadlines; there are financial penalties for late registration. When you register, you will need to use the Grosse Pointe South school code: 231-802.  

    Freshmen Parents

    Counselors are working to meet individually with each of the freshmen so we can get to know each other better.  If your freshman hasn’t met with his or her counselor yet please encourage them to get in touch.

    Wishing Health, Peace, and Joy to you and your family this holiday season!

    November 2020 Update:

    OK - we all know gratitude is good. But, let’s admit that sometimes gratitude in the midst of an upside-down world feels inauthentic and hard! Let’s be real and acknowledge some important emotions of sadness, loss, and exhaustion that can come with all of the feels. Trying to live a healthy, balanced, successful life during a pandemic is hard. We need to take care of ourselves and our families.  When life feels out of control, intentionally build in some routines for goodness like a walk by the water, a family game night, or even a silly night together with popcorn a Hallmark movie. Reframe your inner dialogue to ask: what is going well? Then build from this.  For a great exploration of what your students may be struggling with and how to help click here for support from local therapists Mary Beth Garvey and Anne Moigis Helping Students Successfully Navigate the School Year, Academically and Beyond

    All parents

    The quarter ended November 6th. Report cards will be finalized and available for review on Parent Portal on November 17.  Report Cards will not be mailed home so it is important that you log in and look at your student’s grades.  This is the time to evaluate grades and review class selections.  If students are struggling in an honors or AP level class, please contact the teacher to discuss if a student should consider moving to the curricular alternative.  The school policy always encourages students to challenge themselves to the extent possible with the curriculum, while ensuring that they are not overwhelmed and out-paced.  Students have until November 20 to make a level change without the previous grade penalizing them.  Call the counselor if you have any questions about this policy.

    If you have a question or concern about a class or grade in a particular class, we encourage you to contact the teacher directly via their email or their direct phone number.  Both of these can be found on the school’s website.  Any problem that may not be resolved via direct teacher contact can certainly be referred to us, but the conversation with the teacher should take place first.    

    Senior Parents: 

    Transcripts will not be sent to colleges until students complete the College Application Notification form.  This is critical and if it is not completed will delay your application review at the university. Students can find this form on the counseling website, in the counseling center, or in the CRC office.

    There are many early action and early decision deadlines in the first half of November. It’s not too late to apply to hundreds of great schools!  Don’t delay – apply today.  

    We are anxious to talk with seniors who are still undecided about college or other post-graduation choices.  Please encourage your student to make an appointment to see their counselor if they are in this situation.  It is definitely not too late to start the planning process if they have been undecided up to this time.  

    Financial Aid Alert!

    The FAFSA is a gateway to college scholarships and student loans.  File now at www.fafsa.ed.gov The window opened October 1.  Some colleges, universities, and scholarship programs use the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, as part of their financial aid process for some or all of their financial aid applicants. Here is a current list of institutions that use this process: Check with the Financial Aid office at the colleges where your child is applying. If the financial Aid office requires the PROFILE then check the deadline for applying. You can apply here: https://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile

    Junior parents: 

    The state of Michigan exams (M-STEP) are scheduled to take place at South in April and include a free SAT. However, that doesn’t mean that the ACT is off-limits for our students.  The ACT is still accepted everywhere and typically the students find themselves well prepared to take this test.  Students can still sign up to take the test at North by going to www.actstudent.org.  We encourage students to sign up and take an additional ACT or SAT before the end of their junior year at Grosse Pointe North. Macomb Community College and U of D High School are good alternatives as a second choice test center.  If he or she has not already signed up to take an additional test, please have your junior student register online. The South school code that they will need to register is: 231-802.  We recommend either April or June test dates.    

    Students wishing to take the SAT (and SAT Subject Tests, if required by a college they intend to pursue) should make sure to register soon for their preferred testing dates so they will be assigned to the test center of their choice.  As with the ACT, students can sign up for multiple test dates now.  They do not need to wait until they have taken the test once before registering for a second test.  Go to www.collegeboard.org or to the Counseling Center for more information. Please remember that students cannot take the SAT and the SAT Subject Tests on the same day.  Again, the South school code for the SAT is the same as for the ACT: 231-802.    

    We started an Insta!  Check out our Mindful Monday and Motivation Monday posts @gp_south_counseling on Instagram. 

    Wellness Wednesdays posts in case you missed them:

    Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).

    ~ James Baraz

    October 2020 Update:

    SENIOR PARENTS:  We met with all seniors on Friday, September 11th to review the college application process including how to send test scores, transcripts, request letters of recommendation. The presentation video is available to you here. The slide deck is available here. Once a senior has submitted their application they must fill out this form for every college in order to have their materials sent. Keep in mind those seniors who would like to apply to the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and Michigan State University should be mindful of Early Action dates. MSU is Nov 1 and UM is Nov 15.  We suggested to the students submit two weeks before the deadline to be confident about Early Action applications. Students who require a written evaluation (letter of recommendation) from their counselors must complete a Junior Conference information form either on Naviance or on paper.

    Don’t forget that we have representatives visiting from colleges nearly every day of the week during the fall!  Calendars are posted on Naviance, eBlasts, Facebook page, and on the announcements. Also, there are many virtual visits similar to our College Night.  Check out a listing here.  It’s not too late to research schools!  Many students are still finding their direction on this.  Counselors are happy to help.  Also, we encourage students to use the College Super-Match feature on Naviance.

    APPLICATION HELP! Every Tuesday and Thursday morning in October at 8:00 Ms. Walsh-Sahutske will be available for hands-on college application help. Just use this zoom link. No advance sign up required – just show up!  Or connect with your counselor directly. We love to help.  We would love for every college-bound student to have at least one application sent by the end of the month.

    FINANCIAL AID search starts now. Families can file a FAFSA, the form you must fill out to determine your eligibility for financial aid, beginning October 1. First, create an FSA ID, this is your electronic signature. Then complete the FAFSA form online.  Want help?  Check out resources here from our expert at Oakland University Financial Aid Outreach. You can also preview a paper FAFSA worksheet.

    JUNIOR PARENTS: Thursday, October 1, we presented our Junior College Preparation meeting.   The theme of the meeting was Nuts and Bolts of Junior Year: finding the right fit.  We talked about college research, using Naviance, grades, testing, college matching, how to start with online searching, making the most of college representative visits. The video recording is here.  The slide deck is here.

    Mark Thursday, October 29th on your calendars.  That is the day that the PSAT/NMSQT will be given at South.  This is the practice test for the SAT reasoning test and it is also the test that juniors take to determine eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Students wishing to get some last minute review in may want to check out Khan Academy online for free test prep and reliable practice test. You can actually match your College Board account with your Khan Academy account and they will customize a free test prep program and help you develop a calendar for practicing.

    We are planning for the Juniors to take the SAT as part of state testing in Spring.  This is an official test with reportable scores.  Many parents are asking if their students should take the ACT in addition to the SAT.  Either test is completely fine for college admissions, so students should go with the test they feel the most successful taking.  Consider the PSAT score as a good baseline for SAT success. It may be wise to take an ACT as well so you can review both baseline test scores to decide which test he or she will choose to focus on for preparation.  Our school curriculum has shifted in the direction of the SAT since this is the state test. However, if the student feels more confident sitting for the ACT, that is completely acceptable for admissions consideration as well.    

    FRESHMEN PARENTS: The Freshman Orientation Night became a video. My submission is all about making the transition to high school.  It is a big change and we see this in five main themes: Academics, Social, Emotional, Physical, and Financial elements. I hope you find the video helpful.  If Counselors can support your student in getting comfortable and thriving at South please reach out.  A great place to start is joining clubs, teams, and activities. Mrs. Petz in the Student Activities office is a great resource! 

    ALL PARENTS:

    Have you checked your student’s grades on Schoology yet? October 7 is the middle of the first quarter and a good time to take a look at your child’s progress. Remote Learning has created significant challenges for students’ organizational and time management demands. Honestly, this challenge is across the board as students sort out how to track and manage their workflow. On the upside, I can’t help but this the skills they are learning now will pay lifetime dividends.  Here are a few resources that I found helpful in sorting through digital or paper tracking. Hats off to our GPPSS Middle school teachers who developed the Pen and Paper Remote Learning Log. 

      1. How to Organize using the Schoology Calendar Function video
      2. Schoology workflow and organization video
      3. Pen and Paper Remote Learning Log Document

    The Counseling Center has been working to post “Wellness Wednesday” updates weekly on Schoology for students.  Some weeks are more successful than others as we try to sort out posting on the Schoology platform. But here is a link to the weeks we have completed for your review.

    Hang in there, everyone!  I know it is challenging for students, parents, staff (counselors, too!) Pretty much everyone connected to education across the world is feeling the frustration. Practicing patience, gratitude, and grace, as we communicate to make teaching and learning work, is needed. We will get through this and be a million times more adept at technology.

    Strange Days, Indeed!

    These days are weird, stressful, and above all one of the most dreaded words of 2020: UNPRECEDENTED.  I know that’s on my list of words to throw out the window forever, but for now it keeps ringing true. Never has there been a more important time to build and sustain relationships to support us socially, emotionally, and academically! Teachers will be focusing on this as they start their classes and work to build community virtually.  

    Counselors will also work to build and sustain emotional support with our families.  Expect that we will be reaching out to all of our students regularly throughout the year to check-in on them and following up individually with concerns and challenges.  However, if you see that your student is struggling please connect with us.  We want to help. Counselors will follow up with parents as well with recommendations on successful remote learning. Remember the lesson of airplane safety and put on your mask before assisting your children.  We all must build in good self-care and healthy habits to model positive life balance for our children.

    SENIOR PARENTS:  

    Counselors invite all Seniors and Parents to meet via Zoom on Friday, September 11th at 4:00 to review the college application process. Here is the Slide Show.  I will post the recorded presentation here.  During this important information session we will cover the following topics:

    • Using Naviance for the College Application Process
    • Timetable for college preparation
    • The College Application Process
    • Important dates for College Night and Financial Aid Night 
    • The Letter of Recommendation process
    • Important testing dates for Senior year
    • How to Request an official High School Transcript
    • Early Decision and Early Action possibilities
    • How to share important information for your counselor Letters of Recommendation

    We will record this meeting so it can easily be referenced online at the counseling center website.  Counselors will begin processing college application/transcript requests after this meeting.

    An important message on college application timing. 

    All colleges in the US abide by the NACAC Code of Ethics that states

     October 15: This date is the earliest deadline colleges may require first-year candidates to submit an application for fall admission. Members must give equal consideration to all applications received by that date. 

    This means that there is no advantage given to students who apply before October 15.  When college advisors suggest that you “apply early” to a school for your best chance that date is by October 15. We strongly encourage applications for seniors who intend to apply to the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) or Michigan State University by Nov 1 to meet the Early Action deadline of November 15. 

    Due to COVID, we do not anticipate many opportunities for standardized testing (ACT or SAT). I know parents have had as many as six dates scheduled that have been canceled.  There are no indications currently that this will change in the foreseeable future. Consequently, almost all schools are test-optional for admissions purposes. However, I have just learned that South will be offering the SAT on October 14 for Seniors.  No need to pre-register.  South will send out info in the weeks to come with details.

    Please visit our website for additional information about the counseling calendar, testing, scholarships, and financial aid, college planning, and high school visits, writing essays, etc.  

     

    JUNIOR PARENTS: Counselors provide the opportunity for fall junior meeting via Zoom. We will send out a link to the presentation at the start of the year. At the meeting, we will provide information about making the most of this important high school year.  This will include understanding the impact of grades and test scores, standardized testing in the junior year, college night, post-high school planning, and more.  We will record and post this meeting on the counseling webpage the following day. 

    If students are interested in preparing for the PSAT or SAT a fantastic and FREE resource is on Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org). They are the only test-prep partner of the College Board so they will have the very latest in SAT test preparation.  The best part is that it is all free

    FRESHMAN PARENTS Welcome to Grosse Pointe South!  Counselors are happy to meet with you and your student.  Parents and students can make appointments by calling 432-3519.  Please check here regularly to see important information from the counseling team.  

    ALL PARENTS

    Back to School Night will be Thursday, September 17.  I’m not sure how that will look in a virtual environment, but I hope to have the opportunity to meet you.

     

    APRIL 2020 - Counseling Updates

    See below for info on:

    Connect with Counselors

    Counselors are available all day (8am - 4pm) via email and also keep office hours for video or audio meetings via Google Hangouts. Here is how to connect:

    Social/Emotional Support

    Resources in supporting your family throughout COVID as it pertains to mental health, social/emotional and academic resources are available here.  Also, a wonderful resource page for mental health from our School Psychologists and Social Workers here.

    Click for a great at-a-glance list of Emergency Resources to post in your home

    Here is a great, brief video on supporting Mental Health during COVID

    Financial Help

    • Students experiencing significant financial hardship may be able to access support for College Enrollment Deposits, College Application fee waiver, SAT and ACT fee Waiver
    • If you are a college bound senior whose home financial status has changed since completing the FAFSA it is important that you look at this website to learn how you can take action for financial aid reconsideration.
    • Students currently qualified for free or reduced lunch will receive in the mail a pre-loaded Electronic Benefits Transaction (EBT) card – known as a Bridge Card – issued under the name of the oldest student in the household.

    The amount of EBT benefits will be no less than the total amount of free or reduced-cost school lunch benefits that the family would have received during the time that school is closed. The benefits will include $193.80 per eligible student to cover the months of March and April and an additional $182.40 per student to cover May and June combined. Click here for more info

    • If you are in need of food, home, heat, water, or health insurance call 211 or Text your zip code to 898-211 or go to Mi211.org
    • Many health care providers have waived co-pays and created more available resources for families to access care to cope with pandemic-related stress brought on by social isolation, job loss and other challenges. Look at this site to see what is available.

     

    AP Testing

    Exam Length, Structure, and Format

    • The exams will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March. Like many college-level exams, this year’s AP Exams will be open book/open note. Get tips for taking open book/open note exams.
    •  Most exams will have one or two free-response questions, and each question is timed separately.  Students will need to write and submit their responses within the allotted time for each question.
    •  For most subjects, the exams will be 45 minutes long, and include an additional 5 minutes for uploading. Students will need to access the online testing system 30 minutes early to get set up.
    • Students will be able to take exams on any device they have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone. They will be able to either type and upload their responses or write responses by hand and submit a photo via their cell phone.
    • Students taking AP world language and culture exams will complete two spoken tasks consistent with free-response questions three and four on the current AP Exam; written responses will not be required. CollegeBoard will provide more details in the coming weeks to help students prepare.

     

    Students Who Don’t Have Internet or a Device

    CollegeBoard recognizes that some students may not have access to the tools and connectivity

    they need to review AP content online and take the exam. If you are a student or you know a

    student who needs mobile tools or connectivity, you can reach out to CollegeBoard directly to let

    them know.

     

    Courses with Portfolio Submissions

    The following courses will use portfolio submissions and will not have a separate online exam.

    All deadlines for these submissions have been extended to May 26, 2020, 11:59 p.m. ET:

    • 2-D Art and Design
    • 3-D Art and Design
    • Drawing
    • Computer Science Principles (note: this portfolio submission is best done on a laptop)

     

    Exam Timing and Tasks

    Exams will be given from May 11 through May 22. See the full AP exam schedule.

    Each subject’s exam will be taken on the same day at the same time, worldwide.

     

    Preparing for the Exam

    Continue following your class progress via Schoology, but you may also find resources on the College Board site with free, live AP review lessons, delivered by AP teachers from across the country.

     

    Parent Webinar:

    On Thursday, April 16 from 7-8PM EST, Trevor Packer, Senior Vice President of AP and Instruction, will be hosting a webinar for parents and guardians to share information about this year’s at-home AP Exams and how to help your student prepare. Trevor will be joined by Jane McBride Gates, Provost and SVP, Academic and Student Affairs from Connecticut State Colleges & Universities and Kristin Brandt, AP Live Human Geography teacher from Glenbard West High School. This webinar will go into detail about the online exams and format, how to prepare at home for them, and answer common questions parents and students may have. We encourage parents and their AP students to sit in on this webinar together.

     

    If you are a parent of an AP student, you can register for the webinar here and tune in live with your student(s) on 4/16. You can also share this registration link and webinar information with your communities as many of you know parents of AP students. A recording of the webinar will be available via the registration link after the live event.



    Taking the Exam

    In late April, CollegeBoard will provide AP students and educators with information on how to

    access the testing system on test day, and video demonstrations so that students can familiarize themselves with the system.


    Here are some suggested tasks to complete:


    INFORMATION FOR THE CLASS OF 2021

    Standardized Tests

    • SAT Testing: At this point SAT national dates (and of course our state test) have been canceled.  The College Board is hoping to open up monthly test dates beginning in August and through December. But of course, this is dependent on schools opening up.  If all goes well then students who were registered for June will get “first dibs” on registering for test dates. Get updates at www.collegeboard.org
      • Please utilize Khan Academy for test preparation. Khan Academy will make personalized recommendations based on your PSAT performance, or take diagnostics if you didn't take the PSAT. 
    • ACT Testing: National Test Sites have also canceled their ACT test dates. Go to www.actstudent.org for more information about tests in the future. ACT has launched ACT Academy. ACT Academy is a free online learning tool and test practice program designed to help you on the ACT test
    • At-Home Tests: Both SAT and ACT will offer At Home testing if Coronavirus closings continue
    • Test-Optional Many colleges are now electing to be test-optional. This means you may not be required to submit a test score with your application next year. Test optional policies for the next application cycle and some colleges are offering this policy for the next THREE years. Check each college on your list to learn their testing policies.

    College Checklist: 

    You may continue working on your college plans during the quarantine. Here are some suggested tasks to complete:

    • Keep working hard on your classes via Schoology.  This is an excellent opportunity to do well in school when you can work at your own pace with a lighter workload.
    • Draft your common app essay.  See essay prompts here
    • Create a list OR resume of activities.
    • Complete your Junior Conference Information Form for your counselor
    • Study for resumed SAT and ACT testing.
    • Clean up social media accounts.  Here is a good resource to figure out how
    • Keep sharp by keeping up with your academic content areas.
    • Reach out to your teachers - they're going through anxiety-filled times as well so check-in, ask questions.
    • Reach out to your school counselor if you begin feeling anxious and stressed
    • Open and explore Naviance; which is a web-based college and career search tool.

    Use Naviance to research colleges that may fit your profile. It's a wealth of information - use it!

    • Take virtual college tours via CampusReel.org to help make your final decisions. You will need to create a free account. Take advantage of these tours to assist in formulating your fit at a college. While it’s not ideal, it is a good way to assist in developing your college list.
    • View the presentations – The College Application Process. 
    • Colleges love to know that prospective students are using their time away from school well. Consider how you are using your time now.  Maybe there is a service activity you can do remotely like making masks for seniors or laundry bags for medical workers. Write a letter to share gratitude to essential workers or to brighten a senior citizen’s day.  Think about how you can create a fulfilling activity that makes an impact on our community.

    INFORMATION FOR THE CLASS OF 2022

    Here are some suggested tasks to complete:

    • Keep working hard on your classes via Schoology.  This is an excellent opportunity to do well in school when you can work at your own pace with a lighter workload
    • Develop your interests outside of class, including extracurricular activities, clubs, and

    volunteering.

    • Work on your reading and writing skills while paying attention to current events
    • Clean up social media accounts.  Here is a good resource to figure out how
    • Begin researching colleges of interest on Naviance; which is a web-based college and career search tool. Use the college matching feature in Naviance to research colleges which may fit your profile. Check out the scattergrams for data on South students admitted. It's a wealth of information
    • Most schools offer virtual tours.
    • Reach out to your teachers - they're going through anxiety-filled times as well so check in, ask questions.
    • Reach out to your school counselor if you begin feeling anxious and stressed.
    • Colleges love to know that prospective students are using their time away from school well. Consider how you are using your time now.  Maybe there is a service activity you can do remotely like making masks for seniors or laundry bags for medical workers. Write a letter to share gratitude to essential workers or to brighten a senior citizen’s day.  Think about how you can create a fulfilling activity that makes an impact on our community.

    INFORMATION FOR THE CLASS OF 2023

    Here are some suggested tasks to complete:

    • Keep working hard on your classes via Schoology.  This is an excellent opportunity to do well in school when you can work at your own pace with a lighter workload
    • Open up Naviance and take a look at some of the careers you marked that are interesting.
    • Begin researching colleges of interest. Most offer virtual tours.
    • Clean up social media accounts. Here is a good resource to figure out how
    • Start a list of your extracurricular activities, electives, interests, and honors.  Use Naviance to record these.
    • Reach out to your teachers - they're going through anxiety-filled times as well so check

    in, ask questions.

    • Reach out to your school counselor if you begin feeling anxious and stressed.
    • Colleges love to know that prospective students are using their time away from school well. Consider how you are using your time now.  Maybe there is a service activity you can do remotely like making masks for seniors or laundry bags for medical workers. Write a letter to share gratitude to essential workers or to brighten a senior citizen’s day.  Think about how you can create a fulfilling activity that makes an impact on our community
     

     

     
     
    College applicants, please note:
     TRANSCRIPTS WILL NOT BE SENT UNTIL THE STUDENT COMPLETES THE
     
    NAVIANCE

     

    Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).

    ~ James Baraz