Counselors send a video to all sophomores for a preview/check in on the year and then host follow up Q&A.  I hope that students and parents will review this information together so that we are all working together as a team.  Most students start Sophomore Year feeling confident, experienced, and ready to take on more challenge and community involvement. However, this year is a bit daunting for many and will certainly be a wild ride.

    Our meeting includes a discussion of the following:

    • Effective communication for young adults (more information on how parents can assist with this in final paragraph)
    • Knowing your resources and how to access them
    • Transcript review (accessible online)
    • Practice exams for SAT and ACT.  Detailed information is posted on the College & Career website and on my website under Advice and PSAT Questions.  THIS YEAR IS DIFFERENT.  THERE'S A WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC. THERE ARE CURRENTLY ZERO TESTING SITES IN MARIN FOR THE PSAT SO TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND WAIT FOR UPDATES AS THINGS CHANGE. 
    • I USED TO SAY that I would like each student to take at least one practice ACT and one practice SAT by December of Junior year; hence, I generally recommend the $15 exams offered by Lisa Neumaier, as they will save you money and are offered several times in fall & spring.  Now I say that you will need to keep up on the news from universities, as many are going test optional or test blind (including the UC's and CSU's), so maybe putting a bunch of energy into these exams will become a thing of the past (I sure hope so!). Some students are not yet prepared to take an exam this semester and that is fine. One student asked if it would be better to spend $15 on new guitar strings or on a practice this year if he is going to take another practice next year.  Guitar Strings won out as they will bring more joy into his life than multiple practice exams prior to learning the math covered on the exams. More on that on my website.
    • Internships/Jobs – Greg Davison is here every Wednesday and manages our School to Career needs (internships, job shadows, etc.)
    • Naviance – each student has a list of tasks to complete this year which will help guide them in future course decision making and provide an overview of colleges and other opportunities to help them explore their interests.

    All sophomore students have been assigned a series of tasks to complete in Naviance (under the About Me tab), so please set aside some time to review that information together on the Naviance website.  Please encourage your daughter/son to complete those tasks.  The more they use Naviance, the more they will know about themselves and their opportunities.

    My goal is for all students to know how to earn college preparatory grades in each class, even if it is challenging or they fail a test or two.  Student suggestions are:

    • Do all of the work ... on time
    • Hand all work in ... on time (even if you only did part of the work)
    • See the teacher directly if you are struggling (during weekly mandatory support times)
    • See Ms Souder for assistance and advice when things start to go south (or call or email me)

    Two major areas where many students suggested they needed support from parents:

    • Time Management ... Balancing academics, athletics and social life
    • Limits on time spent on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, texting, etc.
    • Assistance in carving out downtime each day for themselves

    An assignment they should all thoughtfully complete IN WRITING (in Naviance under the About Me Tab, then Success Plan: Goals) is to set achievable and specific goals in these three areas:

    • Academic (i.e., refine my writing, become a more calm and accomplished public speaker, write down all practice/homework assignments prior to leaving the classroom, attend school every day and be on time).  Reminder: this goal cannot simply be a GPA.
    • Extracurricular (i.e., start a club to support students in need of tutoring, work out six days a week to improve my chances of making varsity, try at least one new community activity)
    • Personal (i.e., develop increased patience, think beyond my own needs to the needs of others, be a best friend to my brother)

    Research shows that people who write their goals are more likely to achieve them.  At our meeting in the spring, we will reflect on these goals and our shared successes and continued challenges. 

    How can parents help students to take increased responsibility for effective communication and self-advocacy?

    During sophomore year, parents still generate a lot of questions on behalf of their children, especially as parents sense that their children are under increased pressure to perform in the classroom, all while taking on extracurricular pursuits. A recurring theme shared by sophomores is that they feel more powerful, wise, and experienced.  They said that they know how school works, what teachers expect, and how to figure things out as compared to feeling lost and scared in 9th grade.  This is an excellent time to begin turning over some responsibility to your student.  Put together your questions and concerns and let the student take charge of speaking to her/his teachers/counselor directly.  Information can then be reported back to parents.  Or, have students write the email to their counselor or teacher and cc parents, so that parents can be assured that they remain in the communication loop.  This part is scary, no doubt (as you parents are experts at this), but essential as students learn how to take on increased responsibility and independence (so that they too can develop their own expertise).

    I am very excited about the year ahead with this group of young scholars.

    Ms. Sheila Souder, Counselor


    “It is good to have an end to journey toward,

    But it is the journey that matters,

    in the end.”

    ~~ Ernest Hemingway

     Posted 8/19/2020.