Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October Update

with the exception of the 7% who were absent on certain days in the past two weeks...
Our student body has now activated their accounts at the Naviance Family Connection!
Through this portal, students can conduct college searches using many different criteria, save the colleges they are interested in and rank their interest level, and eventually request transcripts to be sent to those colleges. On the faculty side of the site, the school uses Naviance to submit transcripts and letters of recommendation to colleges where the students are applying.
One of the most popular uses of Naviance is the scattergram, which allows students to see how previous students from their high school have historically fared at popular colleges:

We will also use Naviance to help our ninth graders identify career clusters that are of interest to them, sophomores identify their Holland Career Interest Type, and juniors determine their Myers-Briggs Personality Type. Combining these three assessments helps individuals to get a clear picture of what occupational roles and tasks offer a suitable and gratifying fit for their futures.
As a special shout out, the following students have logged on more than their classmates and deserve recognition for investing their time in exploring their options for the rest of their lives:
12th grade: Kara S.
11th grade: Austin G. and Nicholas O.
10th grade: Parker B. and Ismail H.
9th grade: Waham A. and Jamie N.

With the activation of Family Connection accounts, this marks the second time that every one of our students has had contact with a school counselor, plus whatever personal, group, or lunch duty contact individual students may have had. Our goal is for students to have the chance to interact with school counselors in individual, group, and classroom settings more than ever before in the history of Pikesville High School.

Thanks to the support stemming from Twitter and the previous post, we were able to fund two iPads for the school counseling department. Students have used these iPads for SAT and ACT registration, assistance with Naviance, and have streamlined the school counselors' ability to make and log contact with students outside of the office. If you can, please contribute whatever amount you are able for the third iPad and complementary keyboard covers through DonorsChoose.

Now, for some announcements:
October 3 - college planning workshop, led by Loryn Strauzer, from the admissions office of Towson University. Mr. Goldman, assisted by Ms. Andrea Wilson (school counseling chair from Owings Mills High School), will inform parents about Naviance Family Connection and help parents activate their Naviance accounts.
The school counseling department will also hold its first-ever advisory council meeting, taking another step toward alignment with the ASCA National Model. We will have representative students, parents, community members, teachers, and college admissions counselors to provide feedback. If you would like to provide feedback on the program, please do so at

On October 16, all juniors, all sophomores, and about half of the freshmen will take the PSAT. Approximately 100 freshmen will take the ReadiStep assessment. Information was provided in English classes or directly from Mr. Goldman, and PSAT-takers were given practice test booklets so that they can prepare. The ReadiStep assessment is explicitly intended as an assessment for which students should not prepare or study.
The seniors will engage in a series of post-secondary readiness workshops. Financial planning, independent sustenance, career options, and of course mock interviews, are among the stations through which the seniors will cycle during the three-hour period when the underclassmen will be engaged in testing.
At approximately 11am, the school will resume its usual schedule beginning with mod 4 (fourth period or A lunch).

Plan to attend the NACAC Fall National College Fair on November 12 and 13 at the Baltimore Convention Center to interact with dozens of colleges and learn about the multitude of opportunities for students to find their post-secondary #PHSfit.

SENIORS and their deadlines
Now that seniors have activated their Naviance Family Connection accounts, it is crucial that they use the site regularly to get comfortable with it. While the process is posted in other places, it won't hurt to list here as well:

  1. Seniors need to submit the transcript release form, signed by parent/guardian, to the school counseling secretary. This is necessary for us to have permission to send the transcript, and Ms. Billingslea can then unlock the ability for students to request transcripts.
  2. For those who are applying using, they need to complete the Education portion (denoted with a green check), add a college to their list on CommonApp, and click on "Assign Recommenders." Read, complete, and sign the FERPA agreement. In Family Connection, type the email address that is used for the Common App account and click "MATCH."
  3. In Naviance Family Connection, add colleges to the "Colleges I'm applying to" list, and add transcript requests for each of those schools. Make sure that every common app school is included.
  4. Provide $2 for each destination to the school counseling secretary, either in cash or a check made out to Pikesville High School. 
  5. For those who need letters of recommendation (which is true for all common app schools), complete and submit the "School Counselor Recommendation request" survey, located in the "About Me" tab in Family Connection.

Once steps 1-4 (and 5, if applicable) are complete, requested documents will be sent within TEN SCHOOL DAYS. You can monitor the progress from your family connection account.
Teachers also have the ability to submit letters of recommendation through Naviance Family Connection. You should always discuss your requests with them personally, but you will need to add them in the "Colleges I'm Applying To" list with a pull-down menu to select the 1-2 teachers from whom you are requesting letters of recommendation.
Please keep your list up-to-date, so that you are able to meet (or beat!) deadlines.
Once you receive admissions decisions, please bring a copy to the school counseling office so that we can track our students' success rates at the colleges to which they apply.

As always, please feel comfortable coming in to schedule appointments with your school counselor. We are here to help.

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