Category Archives: For Juniors

Junior Parent Coffee is Tomorrow Morning, Tues., Jan. 30

Please join us for the junior parent/guardian coffee tomorrow,  Tuesday, January 30. The coffee will be held at 7:45AM in the Newton South Faculty Dining Room.  Members of the guidance staff, junior class liaison Marc Banks and class advisers will join us to share information and answer questions. Refreshments will be served. Please feel free to come for whatever time fits your schedule.

Newton South College Planning Guide is Online

Did you know that Newton South has a College Planning Guide?  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. To access the online version of the guide, click here.  Hard copies of the guide are also available in the College and Career Center for $10.


Junior Parent Coffee : Tue., Sept. 26, 8-9:30AM

The first junior parent coffee will be held on Tuesday, September 26th, from 8 to 9:30AM at the home of Christine Breslin and Glenda Ganem at 44 Varick Hill Rd., Waban. Look for the green houses at the end of the road.

The NSHS PTSO holds grade-wide parent coffees three times during the school year. This is an opportunity to meet as parents to ask questions, discuss issues, and get to know each other. We have no set agenda, other than checking in with each other about topics relevant to the school year.  The coffees operate like open houses and are very flexible. Parents are welcome to come late or leave early to fit their schedules.

SouthFest Urgently Needs Volunteers! Please Sign Up!

Thanks to all the parents who have volunteered so far to help at SouthFest or made a donation to support this great event. We have great food, entertainment and decorations.   But we need YOU to make SouthFest safe and successful!   We don’t allow senior parents to volunteer at the event, so we depend on non-senior parents to pay it forward  by volunteering, knowing that other parents will take a turn to ensure your kids’ fun and safety when it is their turn for SouthFest. And though it takes place late at night, it’s a lot of fun to meet other parents and spend time with the seniors at SouthFest.   SouthFest takes place on Tuesday June 6 from 11:45 PM to 3:00AM.  We are urgently in need of chaperones and casino volunteers, primarily for the late shift, 1:00 to 3:00AM (though we still have few early spots).  We could also  use a few volunteers for the clean up crew after the party.  Please click here to volunteer for a shift at SouthFest.

We are also still in the midst of raising funds for SouthFest. We are just about half way to our goal, but still  need a lot of help from the community to get us the rest of the way. Please consider making a donation to support this great event.  Click here to donate online or find out how to donate by check.


Reminder: Presentation on Supporting Your Child through the College Application Process, Tomorrow, Wed. Feb. 1 at 7PM

Please join us tomorrow evening from 7 to 8:30PM in the NSHS Auditorium for Cindy Kaplan’s presentation, “Keep the Sanity, Lose the Stress! How to Support your Kid through the College Application Process.” Cindy has a Master’s in psychology and is a certified parent coach, and is also the parent of a Newton South senior. She will talk about tools and strategies you can use to help your child manage the stress of navigating the college application process. She will also discuss ways in which you can use the process as an opportunity to strengthen and enrich your relationship with your child.

Reminder: Junior Parent/Guardian Coffee Tomorrow, Jan. 27 at 7:45 AM

Please join us tomorrow morning for the Junior Parent/Guardian Coffee at 7:45 AM in the Newton South Faculty Dining Room. Members of the guidance staff, House Dean Josepha Blocker and class advisers will join us to share information and answer questions. Refreshments will be served. Please feel free to come for whatever time fits your schedule.

Reminder: Junior Parent Night Tomorrow, Jan. 25 at 7PM

Junior Parent Night will be held tomorrow evening, Wed., Jan 25 at 7Pm in the Newton South Field House. The program will begin with brief remarks from Dan Rubin (Director of Guidance) and Kathy Sabet (College & Career Counselor) before transitioning to more detailed presentations with your child’s counselor.

The Newton South College Planning Guide for the Class of 2018 will be on sale outside the Field House before the program begins for $10.  If you are able to bring exact change, that would be much appreciated.  The guide is also available online.

Reminder: Junior Parent Night is Tomorrow, Jan. 18 at 7PM

Junior Parent Night takes place tomorrow evening,  Wednesday, January 18th, in the Newton South Field House at 7PM.  Parents will first hear from Principal Joel Stembridge, Guidance Director Dan Rubin, and College & Career Counselor Kathy Sabet, and will then break into smaller groups with their child’s guidance counselor.

Prior to Junior Parent Night, there will be a free presentation, “College Admissions Testing: SAT vs ACT” from 6 to 6:30PM in the auditorium.  The goals of the presentation are twofold: to minimize the anxiety that surrounds these tests, and to help students/families begin thinking about their own, unique testing plans. (Which test? When to take? How to prepare?) In this seminar, presented by the Summit Educational Group, we will also explain the role of standardized tests in the college admissions process, and the differences between the SAT and ACT to help students and parents better understand these tests’ design. Sample problems will be examined for the two tests to highlight the differences between them.

Save the Date: Junior Parent Night & PSAT Score Information

Dear Parents/Guardians of Juniors,

As we near the December break, in the Guidance Department our hope is that students are experiencing a challenging, yet manageable junior year. We hope to see growth in students’ academic achievement, extra-curricular participation, while seeking good social and emotional health. During first semester we work with students to help them achieve balance between school, outside interests, and other responsibilities. During the second semester of junior year, the focus naturally shifts more to post-high school planning and therefore, we begin to incorporate more activities associated with that process. We will kick off that process formally at Junior Parent Night on Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 at 7:00 pm in the NSHS Field House. (Snow date January 19th) 

The purpose of this evening is to become acquainted with information that is essential to the post-graduate planning process. The program will begin promptly at 7:00 pm in the Field House, where you will hear from a few key people involved in your educational experience. You will then have the opportunity to meet with your child’s counselor in a group setting, when general information will be shared about what to expect for the remainder of the year and transitioning into senior year. Junior students will have a corresponding Guidance Seminar session with their counselor on the same day. For students, this is a follow up session to their first seminar meeting, which took place yesterday, at which time counselors presented an overview and facilitated a question and answer session about what to expect during the spring of junior year.

Most juniors took the PSAT exam in October and beginning Monday, December 12th students will be able to access scores electronically, via The College Board website. We feel it is important for students to meet with their counselors, who will explain the score reports and have a meaningful conversation about future testing options. Students schedule meetings with their counselors soon after they get their scores. For your reference, I have attached a PSAT/NMSQT sample score report as well as a link to The College Board’s “Understanding Your Scores” website. You can also get additional information from The College Board’s full website at

The College Board has partnered with Kahn Academy for free test preparation for the SAT and students can link their College Board and Khan Academy accounts to get a free, customized SAT study plan. For more information comparing the SAT and ACT, please refer to the attached Comparing the SAT and ACT document.

Lastly, we encourage you to review the Newton South College Planning Guide. This comprehensive guide serves as a resource manual with rich information to help you navigate the post-secondary planning process. Hard copies will be available for sale at the Junior Parent Night.

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


Dan Rubin/Kathleen Sabet

Director of Guidance & Counseling/College & Career Center Counselor

Comparing the SAT and ACT

Sample PSAT Score Report

Understanding Your PSAT Score Report

Fall Guidance News Specific to Juniors

PSAT Update

Most juniors took the PSAT/NMSQT on October 15th. In mid-December, students will receive their scores, their test booklets and all of the correct answers. Through The College Board’s partnership with Khan Academy, students will be able to link their College Board account to Khan Academy to create a fee, personalized study plan to help prepare for the SAT. In upcoming guidance seminars, counselors will preview what students can expect when they receive their scores.

The Pressure of Junior Year

You may notice that your son/daughter is exhibiting signs of stress this year – or showing more concern about academic performance this year than in the past. It is true that students’ academic work this year is somewhat more important than it was in 9th or 10th grade because it will be the most recent full year of achievement that the colleges will see during the application process.

Junior year performance generally reflects consistent progress for most students and it is the unusual case where one’s junior year indicates a marked increase or decrease in academic performance. It is rare that junior year performance alone will make a significant difference in a student’s chances for acceptance to a particular college. In addition, senior year grades are also extremely important because most college admissions officers place heavy emphasis on academic work throughout high school.

We need to work together to help our juniors keep things in perspective. Many students will continue to progress, achieving as they have in the past. Others will perform better this year because they are more motivated and conscientious in their approach to academics. Still others will improve academically because they are maturing and taking school (and perhaps life in general) more seriously. Most college admissions officers view the junior year as a good window into the type of student one will be in college, but many juniors need to be reminded that their consistent efforts will reap the same good results as they have in the last two years. It is not a time to panic or to feel that all their college acceptances hinge upon this year’s performance.

Conversations at Home

As you begin (or in some cases, continue) to discuss the college selection process with your junior, it is wise to focus on the more philosophical aspects of this developmental process. What is most important for your child in the next year is what he or she learns about him or herself. Students will be making decisions about many issues as they go through the college search process: how far from home they want to be; the academic and social atmosphere they think they would like; possible majors or areas of interest; whether they want to be in a large university setting, in a smaller more intimate liberal arts college, or more specialized school, or a post-graduate program; whether they want to be in or near a city or whether they prefer a more rural setting. It is important to keep in mind that there are colleges in every level of selectivity that will fit each student’s criteria.

One of the greatest gifts you as parents can give your child as your family goes through this process is the understanding that it is your child’s search, that it will be exciting and interesting to see what happens, and that you have no pre-conceived idea of where they should go to college. The anxiety that many students bring to the college search can be greatly diffused by the influence of philosophical and realistic parents. On the other hand, that same anxiety can be seriously exacerbated by those who impose their own wishes or expectations too strenuously into the mix. We will have the opportunity to discuss these issues in our Junior Parent meetings in the spring, but please call or make an appointment with your child’s counselor if you would like to discuss your child’s particular situation. We look forward to the formal “kick-off” of Junior Post-Secondary Planning at our January 18th, 2017 Parent Information Night.

College Planning Guide

If you would like to begin to explore any of these topics in greater detail at this point in time, please consult the College Planning GuideThis resource was graciously created, revised and shared with the Newton South community through the generosity of the Newton North High School College Planning Guide Committee. A very special thanks to: Jo Doherty, Marion Golin, Melissa Hanenberger, Sarah Hoffman, Brad MacGowan, Beth Swederskas and Claudia Wu. Hard copies of this guide will be available for purchase at Junior Parent Night in January.

College Board Testing for LD students

As you may be aware, students with current documented disabilities may be eligible for extended time on the SAT Reasoning, SAT Subject Tests and AP tests. The guidelines from the College Board are as follows:

Center testing is available for students who normally receive up to 50 percent extended time for school-based tests and who can use a regular type or large type booklet and machine scorable or large-block answer sheet. This testing is done on the national test dates at test centers. Eligible students are allowed 50% additional time on each section of the SAT Reasoning test and on each SAT Subject Test.

School testing is available primarily for students who normally receive more than 50 percent extended time for school-based tests of who have other accommodations including, but not limited to, a word processor or reader. This testing must be completed in school, in the days following national center-based testing.

In order to apply for extended time the students must have and IEP or 504 plan AND use extended time on regular school tests. An appeals process must be used when there is no plan on file or when extended time is not used on school tests.

Extended time testing requires an additional application verifying a student’s disability which is signed by the student and completed by the guidance counselor or special educator. Consult the counselor to see if the student is registered for testing accommodations.