Guidance and counseling services
At the high-school level, students are assigned by academy, with each counselor providing service to about 300 students.
At the middle-school level, students are assigned to a counselor by team and grade.
All guidance counselors meet with students at least once a year, but typically more often.
At the middle-school level, guidance counselors help students in a variety of ways, such as:
- Meeting individually with students about their course work, their relationships with teachers and other issues such as building self-confidence.
- Conducting group sessions on course selection, summer employment, working papers, self-assessment and more.
- Working closely with each academic team to make sure students are keeping up with their coursework.
- Listening carefully to students and making appropriate referrals.
- Coordinating parent, teacher, and o/or team conferences to help students with difficulties they may be having, academically and socially.
- Scheduling for the next grade level and high school.
- Lending support for planning beyond high school.
- Reviewing test results to provide information on abilities, needs, achievements and interests.
- Visiting elementary schools to provide orientation information about middle school.
In January or February, middle-school guidance counselors conduct a series of classroom presentations for eighth-graders on a variety of topics, such as "how the high-school schedule works," "what to expect in high school" and "getting working papers."
In addition, counselors conduct small group sessions focused on a variety of issues. There is a boys group and a girls group where students discuss a variety of topics. There also are more focused groups such as the Loss/Grief, Divorce, Gang Prevention, Child of Alcoholics, and Anger Management groups. Students volunteer to attend these meeting which are held twice a month during the school day. Throughout the year, the counselors meet with students who have questions or who are having academic problems. This is done on as as-needed basis.
There are no scheduled meeting with parents, but parents are invited to anytime to set up a meeting--especially if they are concerned about their child's personal or academic development.
There also are a variety of events held throughout the year, at which parents can interact with their child's guidance counselor. These include open houses, college financial aid nights, course offering nights, award ceremonies and so on.
At the high-school level, guidance counselors help students plan their courses and prepare for what comes after high school, be it college or work. This includes helping students search and apply to colleges or places of employment, and assisting students in finding financial aid packages or scholarships. The guidance staff also hosts numerous college fairs at Albany High each year, with representatives from colleges and universities throughout the Northeast participating.
Additionally, if a student is having difficulty with course work or is experiencing other academic problems, the guidance counselor is often the person who helps find solutions. The counselor also is the key person who facilitates communication between and among the students, parents and teachers.
In the fall, high-school guidance counselors focus on helping seniors start the college application process. For freshmen, they help them to orient themselves to the high school by conducting a series of workshops on a variety of topics, ranging from "how to study" to "how to get working papers."
Beginning in January, high school counselors meet fist with juniors, then sophomores and finally freshman to help them schedule their classes for next year. During that period, they also are busy helping juniors begin the college-selection process and prepare for college visits. Throughout the year, the counselors meet with students who have questions or who are having academic problems. This is done on as as-needed basis.