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The Staples High School community inspires learning, fosters integrity, and nurtures empathy.

About Staples School Counseling

School Counselor-Student Assignments

Students are assigned to a school counselor using an alphabetical system upon entering the ninth grade. They will be assigned to the same school counselor for their four years of high school. Students may schedule a meeting with their school counselor in the counselor's appointment book located in the Guidance Office. School counselors are available to students for personal, academic and post-high school counseling.

Philosophy and Mission Statement

Philosophy

The Staples High School Guidance Department values every student. Our philosophy is predicated on the belief that each student is a developing, capable, and unique individual who will learn from experience and grow personally and educationally throughout adolescence. We believe helping students to understand themselves will assist them in making sound decisions today and in their future.

Mission Statement

The Staples High School Guidance Department supports our school’s mission to “inspire learning, foster integrity and nurture empathy.” Toward that end, we strive to provide each student with a developmentally appropriate program that fosters an understanding of, and appreciation for, one’s unique self. Based on the Connecticut School Counseling Association model, our counseling services are proactive, developmental, and responsive to the unique needs of every student. We cultivate balance, strength, direction, and resilience. Our specific services, delivered by way of individual and group meetings, are geared toward enabling each student to develop the intrapersonal and interpersonal skills necessary for them to achieve their goals and lead successful adult lives in an increasingly complex and diverse society.

What do School Counselors do?

Professional school counselors, formerly referred to as "guidance counselors," provide a wide range of services in the schools, based on individual student needs and student interests. Staples school counselors are an integral part of the total educational experience through which students prepare for meaningful and rewarding lives as productive members of a changing society. At all times throughout the year, school counselors are seeing students in all grade levels with academic as well as social and emotional issues. There are crisis situations which are confidential that may take a large part of the day and are priorities. PPTs and 504s, meetings, conferring with teachers, parents, nurses and administrators as well as phone calls and e-mails take time and are all necessary to do the job right. School counselors are often the first person that students, parents, and school staff come to with a question or concern. School counselors strive for personalization, are passionate about their job, and work hard to do the very best they can for their students.

Counseling Services focus on three main aspects of development, described in detail below:

  • Academic - Academic Guidance
  • College/Career - College and career awareness, exploration and planning services
  • Personal/Social - Social, emotional counseling services to students and their families

Academic Counseling

Academic counseling is available to all students to help them understand their individual strengths, set goals, and assist them in planning an appropriate program of studies. Counselors, teachers and parents work together to support and encourage all students in reaching their full potential.

Some of the areas in which a counselor can work with students and parents are:

  • Planning a high school program relevant to the student's interests, abilities and post-high school plans
  • Assisting students in selecting appropriate courses each year
  • Checking each student's progress through a review of quarterly report cards and interim progress reports
  • Consult with teachers and other school staff regarding student performance
  • Counseling students experiencing academic difficulty and developing strategies for improvement, including referrals to various academic resources at the high school
  • Reviewing credit status leading to graduation

College/Career Counseling

College counseling is offered to all students seeking post-high school education. Designed to help students identify and clarify their abilities, interests and goals, college counseling assists students in making appropriate educational decisions. The formal post-high school planning process begins with individual and group sessions in the junior year conducted by the school counselors. These sessions continue through the senior year.

In order to assist students fully, the following activities take place:

  • Students are encouraged to take appropriate standardized tests
  • Students are encouraged to utilize the facilities of the College and Career Center, which includes computer based college search programs, college catalogs, and college DVDs
  • In the junior and senior year, students are encouraged to schedule appointments with their counselor
  • Parents are encouraged to attend the college planning sessions in junior year
  • Students and parents are encouraged to attend Junior Parent Night, college panels and financial aid programs, as appropriate
  • All juniors receive a Post-High School Planning Guide
  • Starting in the junior year, students are encouraged to prepare drafts of their resume and college essay(s) to assist in preparing for the college process
  • Counselors write letters of recommendation for students when asked
  • Counselors direct students to a variety of available resources about colleges and other post-high school options
  • Counselors maintain a current state of knowledge about colleges by attending conferences, visiting colleges and meeting with college representatives

Personal/Social Counseling

School counselors, social workers and school psychologists are available to all students to assist them in managing developmental issues that arise during adolescence. Staff help students to enhance self understanding and learn effective problem solving skills so that they are better equipped to deal with the variety of concerns that high school students encounter. Students, staff or parents may initiate individual counseling sessions. When warranted, referrals may be made to appropriate community resources.

Some of the issues and concerns that may be addressed include:

  • Academic Performance
  • Peer Relationships
  • Transition / Adjustment Problems
  • Social Pressures
  • Emotional Concerns
  • Family Conflicts
  • Community Influences

School Counseling Program Timeline

8th to 9th Grade Transition

January

  • 8th Grade Parent Night (Transition to SHS)
  • SHS counselors and SHS Student Ambassadors meet with 8th grade students in groups at middle schools
  • Grades 6-12 Department Chairs meet with high school counselors, middle school counselors and middle school teachers to discuss 9th grade course recommendations

February

  • Curriculum Open House

June

  • High school counselors meet individually with each 8th grader to review their schedule for next year.

Grade 9

August

  • Individual 9th grade tours
  • 9th grade BBQ
  • 9th graders see counselors to assist with scheduling issues
  • Orientation for all new students and parents for all grades

September

  • Transition to SHS meetings - small group meetings with 9th graders
  • Freshman Parent Coffee
  • Activities Fair

November/December

  • Letter to 9th grade families with Naviance software information including password and brief explanation

January

  • All 9th graders complete “Do What You Are” exploring personality type and career choices using Naviance; College & Career Center staff conduct this lesson through Phys Ed classes
  • Students see counselors to assist with scheduling issues for second semester
  • Course recommendations are available for viewing via Home Access Center

February-March

  • Transcripts available for viewing via Home Access Center
  • Individual Educational Planning and Decision Making Meetings (includes course selection)

June

  • Individual student meetings to assist with scheduling issues.

Grade 10

September

  • Students see counselor to assist with scheduling issues
  • Transcript is available via Home Access Center

November

  • Goal setting meetings (personal & academic) – small group meetings with 10th graders

January

  • Students see counselor to assist with scheduling issues for second semester

February/March

  • Updated transcripts available online via Home Access Center
  • Individual Educational Planning and Decision Making Meetings (includes course selection)
  • 10th graders may take the PSAT10 through Westport Continuing Education

April/May

  • Sophomore Parent Coffee
  • Letter to parents of all special education and 504 students who currently receive testing accommodations regarding applying for accommodations on PSAT, SAT, ACT, and AP tests
  • Post-High School Planning I - counselors meet with students to introduce them to the post-high school planning process in US History classes
  • All 10th graders complete the Career Interest Profiler and Resume Builder using Naviance; College & Career Center staff conduct this lesson through Phys Ed classes

June

  • Individual student meetings to assist with scheduling issues.

Grade 11

September

  • Students see counselor to assist with scheduling issues
  • Register for PSAT

October

  • PSAT for 11th graders

December

  • Post-High School Planning II (for students) - counselors visit students in English classes to provide information and answer questions about the post-high school planning process
  • College Search with Naviance (for students); counselors and college & career center staff conduct this lesson through Phys Ed classes

January

  • Students see counselor to assist with scheduling issues for second semester
  • Junior Parent Night (Post-High School Planning) - occurs shortly after student classroom presentations to provide information and answer questions about the post-high school planning process
  • Individual Post-High School Planning Meetings begin (student/family)

February/March

  • Individual Post-High School Planning Meetings continue (student/family)
  • Individual Educational Planning and Decision Planning (course selection)
  • Course recommendations are available for viewing via Home Access Center

April/May/June

  • Job Shadow Day for 11th graders only - utilizes parent and community volunteers with their knowledge of career experience
  • College Panel Night (students/parents) - college admission counselors from various colleges/universities present a program in the auditorium about the latest admission trends
  • College Personal Essay and Interview Workshop for students - presented by a college admission representative during all 3 lunch periods – all 11th graders are invited
  • Jump Start to the Common Application Workshop for students - presented by Staples counselors during all 3 lunch periods - all 11th graders are invited to attend
  • Counselors meet during lunch waves with their assigned students in small groups to review progress to date and timeline for summer/fall of senior year

Grade 12

September/October

  • Students see counselor to assist with scheduling issues
  • Letter to parents with college application timeline; transcript is sent to be checked for accuracy
  • Letter to parents with graduation credit check information specific to each student
  • Senior Parent Coffee (College Application Procedures and Information)
  • Senior English Class Visit (College Application Procedures and Information)
  • Student and/or family meetings continue to review each student’s post-high school plans
  • College admission representative visits to Staples begin
  • Common Application Workshop for students available during all 3 lunch waves
  • Students may review his/her college essay with counselor
  • Financial Aid Night (students/parents)

November/December

  • College admission representative visits to Staples continue
  • Students may review his/her college essay with counselor
  • Counselors continue to meet with seniors as needed to review post-high school plans and 1st quarter grades (1st quarter grades sent to colleges if requested)
  • Alumni/Senior Panel (students) - Offers seniors the opportunity to hear college experiences and advice from recent SHS grads who are currently in college

January/February/March

  • Students see counselor to assist with scheduling issues for second semester
  • Continue to monitor progress towards graduation
  • Meet with seniors who still need assistance with their post-high school plans
  • Scholarship information available through the SHS website and College & Career Center

April/May

  • Counselors continue to meet with any students who have not yet finalized their post-high school plans and/or need monitoring of graduation credits
  • All seniors complete Post-High School Information Survey in Naviance and review application outcomes individually with counselor

June

  • Graduation
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