Friday, September 30, 2016

SLHS School Counselor Update for October, 2016

October 2016
Dear Ms. Mouw
My second year of being a school counselor is on its way.  This year I am responsible for the seniors and sophomores  and Mrs. Theisen has juniors and freshmen.  I am test-driving  a Dear Ms. Mouw segment, so if you(this "you" is is directed towards anyone who is reading this blog--students, parents, teachers, etc. . . ) have a question, click on the link, ask, and I will give you an answer or find someone who can answer you.

Seniors and their parents:
1.  If you are a senior, get your FSA ID and be sure to save the user name and password. A good place to keep it is in your wallet behind your drivers license because you will use it until you no longer go to college.

2.  Because you can file for the FAFSA starting October 1st, this handy guide tells students and parents what they need to fill out the form.  I recommend you fill out the  FAFSA  as soon as you can.

3. Here is the link to the FAFSA, which is always free. Never pay money to fill out the FAFSA.

4. Finally, if you want other tips for paying for college, go to this site.

1.This year, Storm Lake Community School was given the opportunity to administer the PSAT for free if only juniors take the test, so we took on that challenge. More than 80 juniors signed up for this opportunity.  

2.Juniors who signed up will be taking the PSAT on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 from 8:15-12:30.
If you'd like to know how and why this test can benefit students, here is a handy guide.

3. If juniors and seniors want to take the SAT, be sure to sign up by November 3rd for the Dec. 3rd test that will be given at the Storm Lake High School. If you get free or reduced lunch, you can get a fee waiver from Ms. Mouw or Mrs. Theisen.

Leadership Series with Iowa State Extension
Students involved in International Club, Student Council, and National Honor Society can volunteer to get some leadership training from 10:00-12:00 on October 26, November 30, February 1, and March 15 with Nichol Kleespies and the Iowa State Extension group. Students  will be trained  on teacher professional development days to learn leadership skills as well as build the legacy they want to be remembered for at SLHS.

National Honor Society 
The new auditorium will be the setting for the National Honor Society Induction with forty-nine inductees on October 27 at 7:00pm.  We hope many will attend this special event.

Current members of National Honor Society will make a trip during homeroom to East to read to the preschoolers.  We are planning to do this once per quarter.

Tornado Talks (Small Groups)
Mrs. Theisen and I sent out a survey wanting to know what students want to learn more about from their counselors, and 142 students responded.  During study hall we have set up a schedule to meet with students starting October 3.  By far the most interest was in making and keeping friends with "What should I do with my life" in second place and stress management a fairly distant third. We are planning to meet twice a month with each group of students that has been randomly put together based on the study hall they have.  These groups are strictly voluntary.

Parent-Teacher Conferences
Parent-Teacher conferences are roughly a month away, so anticipate a letter home that will tell parents how to sign up for conferences. Mrs. Theisen and I are hoping to have second semester schedules ready for the students, and if they are flawed hope to have the fixes made before winter break.

Dollars for Scholars
If you know of an adult who is willing to serve on the Dollars for Scholars board, please contact Laurie Gaffney at

To think about:
We are called to be excellent, not mediocre or below average. We have met our quota of self-centered, wimpy people who have no imagination about how we can rise above what is difficult, reach out to others, and solve problems with compassion and respect knowing that nothing is more important than each individual, unduplicatable human life. 

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