Thursday, April 5, 2018

“Let them drive the process….”

by Erik Ormberg

Five senior parents reflect on the future planning process

In early April the MHS Guidance office invited junior parents to hear from a panel of five senior parents as they shared thoughts on the future planning process. After two future planning events, two visits to classrooms and an upcoming college fair it was time for the guidance counselors to step aside, stop talking and let the parents in the trenches shares some insights, anecdotes and trade secrets.

We had a nice mix of “landing” spots. Two of the parents had kids committed to Providence College, two more were on the fence, one with Villanova and one with Temple and a final speaker’s child was going to decide between Loyola, Maryland or High Point University. The event was moderated by third-year guidance counselor, Kathy Mahoney.

Guidance department head, Stephanie Worthley kicked things off by welcoming the crowd of about forty and quickly turned things over to the panel.

Some general takeaways:
  • Tremendous stock was put in visiting colleges while school was in session and not during the quieter summer months.
  • Get a jump on essay writing and try to complete the common application over the summer.
  • Respect where each individual kid is in the process and allow a conversation to be had, or a spreadsheet designed or an essay assignment “outsourced” to a tutor.
  • Give the college admissions tests (ACT/SAT) their due diligence, but don’t sign up to take them more than 2 or 3 times.
  • Letting the students drive the process.
That last takeaway was a common thread that tied the entire morning together. As parents of seniors began the process they were intent on guiding their child and not becoming an overbearing presence amid the challenging timeframe of future planning with it’s written and unwritten deadlines.

One parent shared how their family began the process. The student was asked to come up with twenty schools based on interest. That list was then whittled down after a few visits and further research. She went on to explain that as a junior her son “THOUGHT” he wanted to go far from home, but as the sense of urgency became more real and vivid, he tended to look at schools closer to home.

At the end of the day is was clear to the audience that these five parents were not looking to relive a visceral experience through their children. A sense of individual pride permeated the discussion. And that pride wasn’t based on competitiveness or winning any specific brass ring. The pride was based on the fact that each parent knew their child had great options ahead of them.

And the driving force behind that? They let their child drive the process.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Sophomore Parent Night Recap

by Julia St. Jean

March 22, 2018 was the first annual Sophomore Parent Night run by the Guidance Department. The evening was filled with guidance-related information for sophomores, including a thorough junior year timeline, an overview of the sophomore guidance curriculum, an emphasis on the importance of life balance, an introduction into college and career readiness tools, and much more. In case you missed it, here are some takeaways from Stephanie Worthley, Russell Becker, Kathy Mahoney, Erik Ormberg, and Amanda Padden!

Sophomore Curriculum
During sophomore year, the Guidance Department connects with the entire sophomore class in classrooms about relevant topics to keep on their radar. During this interaction, counselors address and define high school transcripts, GPA and graduation requirements. Counselors also introduce Naviance (our online college and career platform) and it’s particular career exploration tools, including a Career Interests Profiler, which asks students a series of questions in order to determine which careers may be good fits as well as help students understand and set up resumes. These classroom visits get the process started in thinking about postgraduate plans as they relate to careers and best preparing students for their futures.

What Can Sophomores Do Now?
  • Attend the TEC College Fair at Westwood High School, which will be held on Wednesday, March 28, from 6:30-8:30
  • Career Speakers are coming to Medfield High! Individuals from different professions, including a Pediatric Nurse, Psychologist, Engineer, Sports Broadcaster, ESPN Talent Producer, Business Professional, and Teacher, are coming to visit the school to discuss the ins and outs of their particular career path.
Resources for Sophomores with Amanda Padden and Kathy Mahoney

In this breakout session, counselors drove home the importance of viewing sophomore year as a time of exploration and curiosity- what are your strengths and interests? How can you complement these through various types of involvement and conversations? We then walked through different available resources that help to support that exploration, including Naviance and Big Future- particularly which careers may be a good fit, how to get there, and what courses may be helpful to take.

Balance with Erik Ormberg and Russell Becker

Guidance Counselor Erik Ormberg and Adjustment Counselor Russell Becker focused on the importance of balance for high school students, encouraged families to discuss how they define success and how to accept and learn from stumbles along the way. They also spoke about mental health statistics in the greater Boston area and different mental health resources available to students and families, including speaking with our School Adjustment Counselor and reaching out to the Interface Helpline at 1-888-244-6843, which helps to connect individuals to therapists in the area.

Breakout Sessions: 
Guide to Postsecondary Planning for Students with Disabilities with Kathy Mahoney
Alternative Future Plans with Amanda Padden
Postgraduate Planning for Artists, Athletes, and Musicians with Erik Ormberg

There is an academic, educational, and career path for each student. While the process may feel daunting (which is very normal!) it is also incredibly exciting. Part of this juxtaposition of feelings is the hefty amount of options for students: what support services are available? What are my options once I receive a high school diploma? What if my college application requires a portfolio? These are all great (and common!) questions. As a Guidance Department, and school, there are resources, and people, here to help, and to hear, your questions, goals, and dreams, which will be unique and subjective for each student. Come visit us in Guidance to speak more about these topics!