Senior Parents: Letter from Dan Rubin, Head of Guidance

A message from Dan Rubin, Director of Guidance on 9/22/20

Dear Senior Parents/Guardians,

So much has changed in so little time. In more typical times, my communication with senior families in the fall encourages reflection about just how quickly the time has passed since first identifying as parents of the class of 2021. This year, so many of our routines feel like distant memories. While we won’t be congregating in the field house for senior parent night, I write to share information about a number of upcoming opportunities to join together to support your students’ senior year journey. 

While so many events beyond our control are having a pronounced impact on our lives, the school counselors are committed to supporting our students’ educational endeavors. In particular, we look forward to helping “launch” our seniors, who have experienced a great many losses so far. Together, we look forward to partnering with you to rise and meet all of the challenges ahead as we prepare your students for a successful transition to life after South.

Senior Parent/Guardian Night:

We are happy to present Senior Parent/Guardian Night on Thursday, October 1 from 7:00-8:15 pm via Zoom. We will start with an introduction from Guidance Director Dan Rubin and College & Career Counselor Kathy Sabet to review the nuts and bolts of the college application process. We will then hear from admissions representatives who will share their expertise on some of the ways they are preparing for this college admissions cycle. The evening will conclude with a question & answer period featuring our guest panelists and members of the counseling department. Please look for the Zoom link and password to be shared early next week.

GPA Explanation:

As you are aware, Mr. Aronson shared in his back to school letter and the accompanying slides the explanation and recommendation regarding GPA for the Class of 2021.  In June, the district established a joint Newton South and North GPA committee to make recommendations based on their expertise of the college process, research of the changing landscape due to the COVID-19 crisis, and survey data. During the summer, committee members surveyed nearly 100 colleges and universities and 14 local high schools similar to Newton South and North. The committee was charged with making a recommendation about how we should calculate the GPA for the class of 2021 in September and then move on to longer-term recommendations for underclassmen. 

Based on the recommendation of the committee, the GPAs, both weighted and unweighted, for the class of 2021 will be calculated using the final grades from grade 10 and the final grades from grade 11, excluding any “Ps” (pass) that were awarded as final grades in Spring 2020. We have updated the GPAs in Naviance and Aspen. 

College Admission Testing Status:

We have just finalized details for Newton North High School to serve as an “unlisted” test center for the Saturday, October 24th ACT exam. This private, “unlisted” test administration is only open to Newton South and Newton North students.  We are working diligently on the safety and security logistics that need to be implemented and securing enough proctors for a successful administration. The ACT registration link will be shared tomorrow, around mid-day, via email along with brief video instructions to select the proper test center. This email will be sent to the student and parent email addresses listed in Aspen.

Senior Seminar on September 25:

As we dive into the college admission process, School Counselors will conduct Senior Seminars that will provide the seniors with important information and resources that they will need in their postgraduate application process. The Senior Seminars will occur this Friday, September 25, via Zoom. Seminars are scheduled for 10:00 am and students will receive a zoom link and google calendar invitation from their school counselor.

Additional Information:

Feel free to check out NSHS Class of 2021 College Application Instructions & Procedures to help organize the steps included in the college application process. In the instruction guide, you can access information on our new online transcript request protocol. This is a friendly reminder to check the INFORMATION FOR THE CLASS OF 2021 FROM THE COLLEGE & CAREER CENTER.

College Guidance Network

The Massachusetts School Counselors Association (MASCA) has partnered with a newly formed organization called the College Guidance Network to provide free virtual expert post-secondary counseling advice through a series of video releases. The initiative brings former PBS Education content producers together with leading national experts on varied issues relating to applying to college during the time of COVID-19.  A detailed schedule of their programming can be found HERE

If you haven’t already, we like to give parents/guardians the opportunity to contribute to your child’s application process. Please fill out this Parent/Caregiver Information Questionnaire and it will be submitted directly to your child’s school counselor.

We look forward to partnering with you to provide our seniors with the typical tasks that they need to accomplish with their post-high school planning and adjust to the new aspects in this unprecedented year.  We hope to “see” you at Senior Parent/Guardian Night next Thursday, Oct 1!

Take care,

Dan Rubin, Newton South High School Director of Guidance