Counselors begin scheduling for next school year

Counselor+Danielle+Brino+begins+scheduling+classes+for+freshman+Nora+Yousif+for+the+2019-2020+school+year.+

Arabella Bunn

Counselor Danielle Brino begins scheduling classes for freshman Nora Yousif for the 2019-2020 school year.

That time of year has come again: scheduling. Eighth graders are considering their options for their first year of high school and juniors are planning their classes for senior year while beginning conversations about life after high school. Rising juniors are considering programs outside of HHS such as Massanutten Technical Center, Blue Ridge Scholars and Massanutten Regional Governor’s School (MRGS).

On Jan. 19, many sophomores turned in their applications for MRGS, an environmental science and technology-based school in Mt. Jackson, Virginia. Sophomore Stella Alexiou is applying to the highly competitive program and has to plan two schedules for her junior year, one that includes MRGS and one that doesn’t.

“The opportunities at Gov School in my opinion are unrivaled and absolutely incredible,” Alexiou said. “I’m really interested in the environmental sciences and research-based assignments.”

Students who attend MRGS spend the first half of their day at the school and return at 11:15 a.m. for third and fourth block at HHS.

“I’m going to come up with a schedule as if I’m not going to get into Gov School just in case because I don’t want to be unprepared,” Alexiou said. “If I do get into Gov School, I will talk to my counselor and try to fit in all the classes that I want to take along with the classes at Gov School.”

Attending MRGS would mean sacrificing four classes at HHS for Alexiou. HHS offers numerous opportunities and different programs for students, including many electives. Counselor Korey Lamb advises students to take advantage of the variety of electives available.

“Electives are really an opportunity to start to learn what it is you enjoy, what it is you can see yourself doing as a career or what it is you see yourself studying as a major in college,” Lamb said. “My advice would be to take that elective choice opportunity seriously and try to pick things that make sense for things you might be thinking about past school.”

Scheduling is a stressful time for counselors. Each counselor meets individually with all of his of her 330 to 360 students. In addition to meeting with students to discuss classes for the upcoming year, counselors also have to manage the other responsibilities that come with counseling.

“Trying to manage all of the stuff that we have going on, [like] meeting with students individually for social [or] emotional things, on top of trying to meet with every single one of our kids before our deadline is really challenging,” Lamb said. “Once we meet with students one on one, we have to hand enter their requests into the computer, and that’s pretty time consuming as well. It’s just a lot to do in a short amount of time.”

Counselors not only have to take in account what the student wants, but also what the student’s teacher has recommended.

“[For] Things like math and language, things that kind of build on each other and that you definitely have to have certain levels done before you can move on to the next, we definitely try to consider teacher recommendations really strongly, [especially] when it comes to those two subjects particularly,” Lamb said. “If there’s any discrepancy, like if a teacher has recommended a class that a student does not want to take, then we just encourage the student to have a meeting or conversation with that teacher about what their recommendation is and what their issue or challenge is with that recommendation. But at the end of the day, it is the student’s choice [and] up to the family.”

While scheduling is a long, challenging process for counselors, Lamb looks forward to it every year because he gets to have a conversation with every single one of his students.

“It does kind of keep me connected to everyone. I probably see 20 of the same kids every week, but when I do scheduling, I absolutely get to see at least everyone once,” Lamb said. “It does help me get to know everyone and make sure that we know each others faces and they know who I am.”

Counselors have begun pulling students out of their classes to plan for next year, starting with current juniors. If you need to contact your counselor for scheduling or other concerns, click here.

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