Category Archives: Guidance

AP Exam Schedule

May 6 AP Exams (A.M. Chem, P.M. Psych)
May 7 AP Exams (A.M. Sp Lang)
May 8 AP Exams (A.M. Calc AB/BC, P.M. Chinese Lang)
May 9 AP Exam (A.M. Eng Lit)
May 10 AP Exam (A.M. Eng Lang, P.M. Stat)
May 13 AP Exam (A.M. Bio/M Theory, P.M. Physics)
May 14 AP Exams (A.M. US Gov, P.M. Comp.Gov./French)
May 15 AP Exams (A.M. US Hist, P.M. Euro Hist)
May 17 AP Exam (A.M. Sp Lit)

Extra Help Centers at Newton South

Math Center
Room 4201
Monday: 9AM-2PM, Tuesday 8:40-9:35; 11:10-12:55, Wednesday 9:30-3:20, Thursday 10:50-1:35, Friday 9AM- 2 PM

The Science Help Center (SHC)
SHC is staffed by teachers during B1-B4, D2, E1, and F1. Outside of those times, students may be available to do peer tutoring.

Writing Center
Off Goldrick Commons; J Blocks, after 11 am everyday for drop-in help, or email Mrs. Westhues for an appointment.

Language Support Center
Room 6154: Peer tutoring as-needed.
Students can request a tutor through their teacher, and the Department will do its best to provide a tutoring match during free block, study hall, or J-Block.

Guidance Notes By Class

FRESHMEN: You have nearly completed your first year at South, and can soon look forward to sophomore year-congratulations! Be sure you have plans for the summer, including relaxation.

SOPHOMORES: This is a good year to think about your strengths and interests. In the fall you will have access to an online tool called Naviance to assist you with this.

JUNIORS: Most Juniors (some sophomores) opt to take the PSAT’s, which are administered only in October. Many Juniors will then opt to take SAT’s or ACT’s later in their Junior year.

SAT subject tests can also be taken at the end of junior year. However, many colleges/universities do not require any. Please speak with your teacher or guidance counselor to see which ones might be appropriate.

SENIORS: Be sure to complete the graduation survey on Naviance. You will find it under the “Careers” tab. Enjoy the rest of your senior year. You’ve worked hard and can now move on to the next exciting phase of young adulthood-good luck and best wishes!


At Newton South, we are fortunate to have a school community with families from many different countries, cultures and backgrounds. Exposure to diversity provides a unique educational opportunity for students, faculty and staff, as we learn from and about one another and the world. One group of students who enrich our school is the members of our English Language Learners (ELL) program.

Newton South’s ELL Program is comprised of students from all over the world. Walking into an ELL classroom at Newton South you are likely to see students from China, Israel, Korea or Spain learning together. These classes also provide opportunities for students to teach their peers about their country of origin, interact and speak to peers and other adults while becoming a vital part of their new school. One of the goals of the program is to connect students with the rest of the school. There are benefits for all involved. There are several ways that this can happen. We are starting a language-pairing program where we would connect ELL students, who speak Spanish, for example, with an English-speaking student who is studying Spanish. Students would meet on a regular basis to speak to each other. Not only could their foreign language speaking skills improve, but they might also acquire an expanded world perspective. If you have a son or daughter who might be interested in being part of a language pairing, please have them email

Another opportunity is for non-ELL students who are bilingual to tutor students who are not native speakers. Course credits are given for being a peer tutor. If interested, students should contact Kara Veley. It is also important to know that your child’s guidance counselor and housemaster are available and eager to assist new student in feeling welcome, supported and involved in the Newton South community.

The Newton South PTSO can be helpful by reaching out to other parents and families who are new to Newton and our school community. When a new family arrives, PTSO can connect them with a Newton South parent to welcome them, becoming an invaluable parent-to-parent resource. If you speak Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Korean, Hebrew or another language, and are interested in reaching out to help a new family, please can contact Lori Lass, PTSO Co-President, at It is helpful if the parent speaks the primary language of the new family, but is not essential.

Kara Veley, Guidance Counselor and ELL Liaison, Goodwin House
Homer Turner, Guidance Counselor, Wheeler House

Class of 2014: What You Can Do Before September

• Relax and enjoy summer- you have earned it
• Register for ACT’s to be held in September (registration deadline is August 23, 2013) and/or SAT’s to be held in October (registration deadline is in early September).
• Explore college options with Naviance and websites.
• Email colleges to get on their mailing lists.
• Create an organizer for each college.
• Carefully consider your responsibilities if applying Early Decision or Early Action.
• Begin drafts of college essays.
• Plan college visits.
• Register for TOEFL if necessary.
• Watch Naviance starting at the end of August for college representative visits to take place in the fall.
• An evening meeting for parents and a student meeting will take place in early September to discuss the application process. Watch for the dates.

Transitions: Where Do I Go From Here?


Taken from “Transition to College: Separation and Change for Parents and Students”
Jess P. Shatkin, MD, MPH and the Staff of the NYU Child Study Center

Moving on to life after high school represents a significant step towards adulthood. Whether the student lives at home or goes away to attend college, the move represents an emotional separation for both parents and child. For most, the end of high school marks the symbolic end of childhood. The following are some suggestions about what parents can do to ease the transition, both for themselves and their child.

• Ideally, discussions about values, which have occurred throughout the child’s life, serve as a foundation. Before the send-off, however, it is useful to re-discuss specific issues, since college students are usually confronted with situations involving sex, drugs and alcohol, as well as tough academic and interpersonal issues.

• Address individual needs. Parents should investigate and inquire about available resources. Arranging for necessary services for a student with a learning disability, mental illness or physical condition should be done preventively.

• In the event of a crisis, it is preferable to support the student’s own coping and problem-solving abilities rather than to rush in as savior, however difficult it is to hear cries of distress. Crises described from afar often sound worse than they are and can often change dramatically in the course of a few minutes or days.

• Guide rather than pressure. Your children need to pursue their own passions. Although parental input can be useful, children should not be expected to live out their parents’ dreams. This should be a time of self-discovery, even if the process is marked by some fits and starts.

• Plan ahead, i.e. deciding about such things as checking accounts, phone cards and spending money before hitting the road is useful.

• Determine appropriate expectations and guidelines and be explicit. For example, if parents expect or want a weekly phone call, they must say so. If parents and students want to spend a particular holiday together, they should plan ahead.

• Allow for mistakes. Parents must encourage and accept the child’s ability to make independent decisions. Both the college student and the parents must realize mistakes will be made along the way – it’s called life experience.

Learning from mistakes is another type of learning.

Keeping Balance in Life When Selecting Courses

“Course requests will soon be submitted, while we are working diligently to ensure that students’ schedules are challenging while still allowing time for the pursuit of other activities both in and out of school. With this in mind, please be sure to read the letter below, from Newton South’s Department Heads, emphasizing the importance of balance in the lives of our students and suggestions for minimizing stress” (Shelly Borg, Director if Guidance).

Dear Newton South Community,

As registration time approaches, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you to think about balance as you are discussing student classes for next year. South is no stranger to stress, which can come from many sources. When thinking about ways to manage stress, students should consider the following big picture questions:

  • What are all the courses I would like to take this coming year?
  • What are all the courses I would like to take over the course of four years of high school?
  • What are my commitments outside of school?
  • What are my commitments to school activities and athletics?
  • What are my plans for physical activity?

Once these are considered, the question becomes, how much time would be left for both a reasonable amount of sleep and a reasonable amount of downtime with no scheduled activities? These last two should be considered as separate entities of great importance to a balanced lifestyle. If there is insufficient time left for either of these items, then we strongly recommend reprioritizing courses and/or participation in activities/athletics in order to create an appropriate balance.

We ask that students and parents have these conversations at home, and that teachers and guidance counselors have these conversations with students in school. We believe it is appropriate for the adults in a student’s life to say no to a student’s plans if they are not in the best interest of the student’s health and wellbeing. We believe that together, we can help students make appropriate choices.

Newton South High School Department Heads

Grade-Specific Reminders

Seniors:  May 1 is the deadline to reply and send deposit to colleges.

Juniors: Plan your SAT/ACT test schedule now. Here is a link to the test dates and a comparison between the two tests.

Sophomores:  Sophomore Guidance Groups with counselors during advisory following February Break  on February 26, March 5, or March 12.

Freshmen: Have you checked out any of our clubs and activities

NSHS Student Support Center

The Student Support Center is up and running in Room 1312! We are currently working with many 9th and 10th grade students who need support in mastering academic content, organization and/or work production. Students are scheduled for either peer tutoring in a particular subject area or for a small focused study hall based on teacher and counselor recommendation. Upperclassmen are serving as peer tutors for a number of subjects: Chinese, chemistry, math and physics as areas of high need. If your child would like to be a peer tutor in one of these areas or for any subject in which they excel, he/she can contact their guidance counselor for an application. We look forward to helping all students succeed at Newton South High School.

Counselor Corner: NCAA

We’re pleased to introduce a new column you will see featured in this and forthcoming Guidance Department Newsletters: The Counselor Corner. In the column, you might find a counselor’s professional interests highlighted, their perspective or insight on a professional or personal topic of interest, or the inclusion of an article and resources that a counselor has selected to share with the community. We hope you enjoy this first article about student athletes and the NCAA, written by Joanna Norton, Goldrick House.

Getting the Ball Rolling With Your Student-Athlete
by Joanna Norton

With the perspective of both coach and counselor, I’d like to offer some information and insights about the process for becoming a college-bound student-athlete. Participation in high school athletics can be a fun, exciting and rewarding time for students. Moving on as an athlete at the collegiate level requires commensurately more time, commitment and talent, which can reap lifelong fulfillment and rewards. While many students participate on high school teams with the hope of one day playing at the collegiate level, far more will participate on intramural or club teams after high school than those who play on college sports teams. Continue reading