Ms Souder’s January 2018 Counselor Update:
Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a restful and relaxing break.
The next four weeks are extremely busy in the counseling office. Students will have a myriad questions about course selections for next year, college testing, post high school planning, COM courses and internships. I have organized my calendar to optimize STUDENT/COUNSELOR IN PERSON COMMUNICATION (like Snapchat, only better!) to support students to make the most balanced and joyous choices possible, based on their interests, aptitudes and extra-curricular commitments. The key ideas are BALANCE & JOY.
Please review the important research and advice in the Counseling Communication: Designing a Year in Your Life.
Please see my Counseling Calendar for specific grade level activities for students and parents (there are a variety of student and parent workshops, evening meetings and parent teas from January through April). Please select the “List” view on the calendar, and review the details of the meetings taking place and the locations. I have provided a great deal of DETAIL on this calendar, so that I do not bombard you with duplicate information in emails. It is imperative that students attend their group conferences, as these conferences cannot be made up due to student absences. Junior Conference dates have been emailed to students and posted outside my office door.
Please review the grade level calendar for goals and events specific to your grade level. Those are listed on the top of my webpage for each month by student year in school.
Given the fact that I will be in group conferences and workshops frequently, I am requesting that you LIMIT any email communications with me to urgent issues only. Questions about courses for next year, math sequence possibilities, science sequence possibilities, four year planning and junior/senior academies can all be explored on the appropriate pages of my website (everything listed in this email is an active link). SAT/ACT questions have already been outlined to juniors in detail. Students: please prepare any questions about course opportunities and bring them to your grade level conference. Parents are encouraged to give their questions to their student to bring to the student conference. Students and parents will receive detailed information in post conference emails.
Parents: please take advantage of Open House to get information about course offerings directly from the teaching staff.
Students (with input from parents) will have from January 25th through February 8th to input course selections into Eschool Home Access (scheduling directions will be sent from the principal’s office in a separate email). For grade level scheduling information and advice, please see:
- Frosh (Ms Souder’s Counseling Calendar then click on the Home Access Scheduling for details)
- Sophomores – Scheduling Advice for Junior Year
- Juniors – Scheduling Advice for Senior Year
All STUDENTS and PARENTS are encouraged to read Designing A Year in Your Life.
Following that February 8th deadline, any changes can be made by students meeting with me directly. Please DO NOT email me any schedule requests.
I realize that this is a time that often results in anxiety for students and their parents (but their counselor has organized a wealth of activities, information and support for all 340 of her students). I am aware that every student is unique and you are all trying to make good decisions in a short amount of time. However, I have many years of experience, and know that there is ample opportunity for all students to research, reflect, get advice and make good decisions. Later in spring, there is also the opportunity for students to reconsider their decisions and make changes. With that in mind, students are expected to communicate directly with me (and parents are encouraged to empower them to do so), and everyone can trust that it all works out in terms of course advising.
My most important piece of advice is to design a year of joy, challenge and balance. Focus, not on grades and college admission only, but on developing as a well-rounded, curious human being. Build time into your days for reflection, relaxation and mindfulness. Use this Time Management Worksheet to map out a week in your life and ask yourself if it is sustainable and joyful.
This email will serve as notice that I am not able to check emails throughout the day, and often during this month, do not even get to check them once per day. Students should leave a pass to see me, stop by during break, or attend tutorial in the counseling office for any questions or support.
Parent meeting opportunities (Open House, Junior Parent Workshops, Sophomore Night, Frosh & Sophomore Parent Teas) are listed on my Counselor Calendar. Please plan to attend these events for in-person information and support. See In The News and Book Recommendations for additional parent resources.
I have been reading Essentialism, a book recommended by a current parent, and which I now highly recommend. A quote by Stephen Covey stuck with me: "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." My personal connection with my students (your children), in an effort to develop strong relationships, is the main thing. It is this very thing that allows me the opportunity to provide support based on each student's individual needs. It may seem like parents take a back seat, but my website is designed with tons of information for you, so that my days can be spent with your kids. Students are my main thing, and that, both in the short and long run, is a good thing.
Thank you all in advance for your patience and understanding. I’m excited about the spring semester and all the fun we are going to have together. I look forward to spending time with all of you.
Last Updated by Sheila Souder on 01/09/2018.