Category Archives: For Sophomores

Winter Guidance News Specific to Sophomores

Course Selection

Students will be reviewing course options for next year in the coming months. This presents an excellent time to talk with your children about their interests, abilities, talents, and future aspirations. Encourage them to consider the most beneficial selection of courses in light of their future plans. It is important that they create a schedule that ensures their eligibility for the type of higher education/post-secondary path they seek, allows them to explore different academic and elective interests, and keeps in mind the necessity for maintaining a balance in their lives among academic, extracurricular, family, and work obligations.

MCAS Test Dates

Your tenth grade students will have MCAS tests this Spring in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and if they have not previously passed the Intro Physics MCAS as a ninth grader, Science. The first round of MCAS testing is English Language Arts scheduled for the following March test dates:

  • Tuesday, March 22 – ELA Composition Sessions A & B
  • Wednesday, March 23 – ELA Reading Comprehension Sessions 1 & 2
  • Thursday, March 24 – ELA Reading Comprehension Session 3

SAT Subject Tests

Sophomores who have done well in honors courses sometimes consider taking SAT Subject Tests such as Chemistry or World History in June. Each SAT Subject Test is one hour in length (students can take up to three per testing date) and content based. Therefore, it is logical to take subject tests in June, as close to the end of the course as possible. Many of the most highly selective colleges require two or even three SAT Subject Tests scores as part of the application process.

PSAT

If your tenth grader took the PSAT exam in October, he or she should have received their PSAT score by now. Students can access their score by creating an account on www.collegeboard.org using the same email they provided on their PSAT answer sheet. If your child needs assistance in interpreting his or her score, please encourage them to make an appointment with their counselor to review.

PSAT Score Report Update

Dear Parents/Guardians of Sophomores,

A number of sophomores took the PSAT exam in October and in early January students will be able to access scores electronically, via The College Board website. Students will be notified by email when scores are available (on or about January 7th). For your reference, I have attached a PSAT/NMSQT sample score report as well as an interpretive guide as helpful tools for understanding the scores. You can also get additional information from the College Board’s website at www.collegeboard.org.

As you likely know, the PSAT is a practice exam, and scores do not count towards college admissions, nor are they sent to any colleges. Please note that the PSAT score report refers to a “College and Career Readiness Benchmark” and it is possible that your son/daughter’s score may not reach the maximum level. Please do not worry about the benchmark since the PSAT is normed for juniors and this year’s scores serve as a data point for future testing opportunities. Sophomores can take the PSAT again in the fall of junior year and then may take the official SAT or ACT in the spring of their junior year.

This year’s new format for score dissemination is a significant change in process. Most significantly, school counselors will not receive copies of student score reports until after students receive theirs. We feel it is important for students to meet individually with their counselors, who will explain the score reports and have a meaningful conversation about future testing options. Therefore, we ask that students schedule meetings with their counselors soon after they get their scores. During these meetings students will receive their test booklets to refer back to when going through the score report.

The Newton South Guidance Department is committed to providing appropriate advice and personal support regarding college admission testing and eventual post-secondary planning. We hope to stand as a united front with parents/guardians to help students reduce unnecessary pressure related to the PSAT and other similar events and activities.

If you have any questions, please contact your son/daughter’s school counselor.

Sincerely,

Dan Rubin/Kathleen Sabet

Director of Guidance & Counseling/College & Career Center Counselor

PSAT Sample Score Report

PSAT Score Report Case Study

 

Semester 2 Expanded Sophomore Campus Access

Dear Newton South Sophomore Families,

During second-semester, sophomores have the option of using different areas of the South campus during their directed study blocks (library, commons rooms, student center, courtyards), with parental and housemaster permission. This expanded access allows eligible sophomores to use other areas of the school or to work with available staff on a variety of projects.

The criteria and guidelines for this opportunity are as follows:

  1. During their directed study blocks, approved sophomores must remain on school grounds.
  2. Sophomores still DO NOT have an open campus, and may not leave school grounds at any time during the school day unless officially dismissed from school.
  3. Students MAY NOT be present in other areas of the school (including corridors) unless under the direct supervision of a staff member.
  4. Housemasters must pre-approve student requests for this program, reserve the right to disallow any requests, and may revoke this privilege at any time. Approval is not based solely on a student’s academic record. A variety of information including student attendance and any prior disciplinary actions will be reviewed prior to granting release.

To Obtain This Privilege:

  • Review the guidelines above and obtain a parent/guardian signature and a daytime phone number on this permission form.
  • Take the signed form to your house office for an approval signature.
  • If necessary, housemasters may call to discuss this with parent/guardians.
  • Sophomore release will begin for all approved students on January 25, 2016.

Completed forms are due to the House Office no later than Friday, January 8, 2016. Late forms will be reviewed after February Break. Questions? See your housemaster for clarification.

Best regards,

Candice Beermann, Vice Principal

PSAT Reminders from Our PSAT Coordinator

Please share this information with your child if (s)he will be taking the PSAT on Wednesday, October 14th:

  1. Please bring your student ID.
  2. You will need several #2 pencils and your own calculator. Calculators will not be provided.  Here is more information about approved calculators.
  3. Unlike the MCAS, College Board tests such as PSAT and SAT are timed tests. You must arrive on time (7:40). This was written incorrectly on the notes you received at registration. Once testing begins, you will not be admitted.
  4. There is no make-up.
  5. The room assignments will be posted in the front lobby of Wheeler House. Please check the lists on the afternoon of Oct.13th or the morning of the exam, Oct. 14th.
  6. Your information packet contains a full length practice exam and there are more available on the College Board website.

Thank you,

Joan Bryant

PSAT Coordinator

joan_bryant@newton.k12.ma.us

Late PSAT Registration Tomorrow, Sept. 22

Late registration for the October 14 PSAT will take place on Tuesday, September 22, in the cafeteria during lunch. Please bring $16 in cash or a check made out to Newton South High School with “PSAT” and student’s FULL name on the MEMO line. Click here for more information about PSAT registration, including accommodations, etc.

Newton South College and Career Planning Guide

Dear Newton South Student and Parent/Guardian:

We are very pleased to introduce the Newton South College and Career Planning Guide for 2015-2016, a comprehensive guide to the college search and application process for Newton South students and their families. A team of Newton North/South School and College Counselors as well as parent volunteers collaborated this year to bring you this comprehensive resource.

At Newton South, we understand that students take different paths after they graduate. While the majority of Newton South graduates pursue some form of post-high school education, the Counseling Department has designed this Guide to be relevant to all Newton South students and families contemplating college and other educational or vocational options.

It is our intention to review and update the Guide annually. Access to the document is free and online to all Newton South students and their families through the Newton South website now.  

Newton South College and Career Center

Sophomore Spring Fling on Fri. March 20th at 7PM

It’s time for the annual Sophomore Spring Fling!  Like the Freshman Cruise last year, this is the main grade-wide social event for the sophomore class.  This year the Spring Fling will be on Friday March 20th between 7PM and Midnight at Newton South.  This event will feature dinner, ice cream, tons of games and activities, laser tag, improv games and a hypnotist!  Your student must be dropped off at South before 8:00PM.  Please fill out the bottom portion of this flyer, the field trip form, as well as the hypnotist show consent form (if your student wants to participate as a potential hypnotee in the show.)  Please have your student bring these forms, as well as a check for $40 made out to ‘Newton South Class of 2017,’ to any of the house offices by Wednesday March 18th.

POSTPONED: Sophomore Parent Night now Thu., Feb. 12 at 7PM

Because of the two snow days, the Sophomore Parent Night is now on Thursday, February 12. Parents & guardians of sophomores are invited to attend 10th Grade Parents’ Night at 7:00PM in the Seasholes Auditorium. That evening, you’ll hear information about upcoming sophomore events; course registration; MCAS; standardized testing; an overview of the transition to junior year and time for Q&A.

Deadline for Permission for Expanded Sophomore Campus Access: Jan. 9

Second-semester sophomores have the option of using different areas of the South campus during their directed study blocks (library, commons rooms, student center, courtyards), with parental and housemaster permission. This expanded access allows eligible sophomores to use other areas of the school or to work with available staff on a variety of projects.  Continue reading

From the Principal: Signs of Suicide Screening

We will be conducting the Signs of Suicide (SOS) Curriculum and the Brief Screening for Adolescent Depression (BSAD) for your son/daughter’s sophomore Wellness class on January 6th-8th (for students taking Wellness semester 1) and February 24th – 25th (for students taking Wellness semester 2) . This program has been used by thousands of schools over the past decade. It has proven successful at helping students concerned about themselves or a friend. It is the only school-based suicide prevention curriculum listed by SAMSHA in its National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices that addresses suicide risk and depression. The curriculum includes viewing a video, followed by a discussion period.

The goals of the program are straightforward:

  • Help students understand that depression is treatable and assess whether or not they may have some symptoms of depression
  • Train students in identifying serious depression and potential suicidality in themselves or friends
  • Impress upon teens they can help themselves or a friend by taking the simple step of talking to a responsible adult about their concerns.

Following the program we will provide an opportunity for students to take a few minutes to complete a brief screening form. Mental health counselors from the Newton Public Schools and Riverside will be onsite to speak to any students who may show signs of depression or risk of suicide on the screening form or who express an interest in speaking to someone. These interviews are usually short (15-20 minutes) and are not considered mental health treatment or counseling nor are they a substitute for a comprehensive mental health evaluation. The meetings help us better understand students’ reactions to the material, and whether they have any experience with depression or thoughts around suicide. A few students will also be randomly selected for follow-up questions so that we can learn about student response to the program. Parents will be informed if their child meets with a counselor along with any recommendations.

Please return this consent form to your child’s Wellness teacher. This consent form will allow you to choose from 2 options for your son/daughter’s participation in the program.

  1. Full participation, including viewing the video and participation in in the BSAD screening. This is the recommended level of participation.
  2. No participation.   This option opts your son/daughter out of the entire program.

If you do not chose either of these options, you acknowledge that your son/daughter will participate in the educational portion only, which includes viewing the video and filling out a card asking if the student wants to talk to someone. This option does not include the BSAD screening. Please review the consent form with your son/daughter, sign and return.

If you have any questions about the program please contact Jenn Pontillo at 617-559-6519.   If you are worried about your child/children, please contact their school counselor. Thank you, as always, for your being our partners in this process.

Best,

Joel Stembridge, Principal