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Minnechaug High School forms Guidance Advisory Committee


Nov. 14, 2013
By Chris Maza

chrism@thereminder.com

WILBRAHAM – The Minnechaug Regional High School guidance office is in the process of formulating a High School Guidance Advisory Committee.

Director of Guidance Keith Poulin told Reminder Publications that it was his plan to create a small group that would meet every other month to discuss issues relating to guidance and creating a better understanding of the department’s function.

“The principal, Mr. [Stephen] Hale, asked me to consider it and I think that to get more feedback from teachers, parents and students in a formal avenue and to have that communication back and forth would be valuable,” he said.

Poulin explained he was hoping to assemble a group made up of four students and four parents – one from each grade – as well as a handful of teachers, but said that makeup was not etched in stone and depended on interest and scheduling issues.

“If there were two parents from the same grade who were just really motivated to do it, I wouldn’t say no because we only have one,” he said. “I’ve gotten three responses from parents from the information we put in our [school] newsletter. I’m waiting to get a feel for how much interest is out there. We’ll be meeting after school, so parents’ jobs may prevent them from volunteering, so we’re playing that by ear.”

Poulin’s initial plan, he said, was to host meetings after school from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., starting in January.

“It’s right before the new semester starts,” he said. “We’re probably looking at the third week in January and the meetings would be the third Thursday of every other month after that.”

Poulin said the perception of the guidance office’s role in education has been understated in the past.

“For that very reason, I think this advisory council would be useful. There are certain perceptions out there about what guidance does and what guidance doesn’t do,” he said. “Even internally between teachers and guidance counselors, I think we can improve upon that.”

Poulin said that in addition to helping seniors choose a college or other post-high school avenue, his department is heavily involved in ensuring that children are on a path to success throughout their high school careers.

“We monitor students’ progress, from students who have individual education plans to another kind of monitoring status, to make sure they are meeting all of their graduation requirements,” he said. “And, of course, toward the end we help with the big life decision of what they’re going to do after high school.”

Poulin added that the department is in the beginning stages of utilizing a new software package called Naviance, which offers “comprehensive college and career planning solutions” and allows schools to “optimize student success, enhance school counselor productivity, and track results for school and district administrators,” according to its website.

“We introduce the program to [the students] as freshman,” Poulin said. “It’s our second year of using it to process college applications and we’ll be introducing and implementing more of the tools it has to offer as far as helping students decide on a potential career field or academic major to pursue and search for colleges that fit their needs.”

Those interested in participating in the Guidance Advisory Committee should contact Poulin by phone at 596-9011 or via email at kpoulin@hwrsd.org.

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