Middle School Guidance Counselor

East-West School of International Studies
 Guidance Newsletter
The Guidance Department
Ms. Park and Mr. Diaz are available to assist the middle school and high school students with their educational, social, and personal needs comprehensively through the implementation of a developmental school- counseling program. The counselor works with all students, including those who are considered “at risk” and those who have special needs. The guidance counselor also provides individual and group counseling services to assist students in coping with and resolving issues as well as discussing developmental concerns.
High School Application Process for 8th & 9th graders
This is a busy and exciting time of the year for you and your children.  Our 8th & 9th graders are beginning to familiarize themselves with the different High School options that are available.  We at East-West believe that we are competitive with other schools and are providing quality and challenging Academic programming in our Intermediate and High School programs.  We would like for all of our students to continue with us through the 12th grade.  However, you should be aware of all of your options in regards to choosing a High School for the upcoming year.  East-West, as well as, other schools throughout the city offer excellent academic, vocational, and humanities related programs of study.  As we all know, the more options we have the more difficult our choices.  Applying a systematic approach to your investigation of the available schools is paramount.  The more you know about each school, the easier it will be to make educated decisions.  The High School Directory provided to your children is a wonderful resource.  Become familiar with the directory and its school descriptions.  The eligibility section, the methods of selection and the address of the school will help you to narrow down your choices among the hundreds of schools.  The eligibility section describes which students will receive priority in placement.  The methods selection indicates how the student will be ranked.
Screened has the most restrictive and therefore more stringent requirements, unscreened has the least restrictive.  Limited before either screened or unscreened indicates there are only a small number of placement opportunities at the school.  Ed. Opt. indicates that half the students will be selected on the basis of particular criteria; the other half will be randomly selected, i.e. by lottery.  The internet is also a useful tool. The website http://www.insideschools.org provides detailed information about everything from school size to their performance.  Visiting High School Fairs throughout the month of October and November will also provide students with an idea of what their prospective school is like.  Making a thoughtful decision will help you to see beyond the bells and whistles at many schools and help you realize that a safe environment means everything to your child’s education.  At East-West, you know that this is our number one priority.

Filing out the High School Application

The application will allow the student to make up to twelve (12) choices.  It is very important that the student consider various factors in making their choices:

  • Travel time to and from the school
  • To write down only school choices that they are seriously considering
  • Their School choices are in the order of preference
  • The School codes are written accurately.

Students should make a copy of the application and use it as scrap to write down their choices before actually writing them down on the application.  This will give them an opportunity to eliminate and finalize choices and prevent erasing/white out on the actual application.  Proofreading also helps to avoid transposing numbers.  Using extra care when writing down school codes will make the difference between being assigned to the correct school or not.  Getting it right the first time avoids having to go through the appeals process which is time consuming and once a student is assigned to a school the Department of Education is reticent to make changes unless there are legitimate grounds.  My suggestion is you may only have one shot at this, so get it right the first time.

Students wishing to continue at East-West should make sure to write it down as their first choice on the application, as they will be given priority in placement.  If they wish to remain but do not place us on the application, they will lose their seat.

Specialized High School Examinations

For eighth and ninth graders interested in taking the Special High School Admission Test (SHSAT), adherence to deadlines and test preparation is essential.  As the test is at the beginning of November, all interested students must notify their Guidance Counselor before October 14th of their intent to take the test.  Additionally, there are different organizations that offer SHSAT prep courses, some at no cost.  Searching the internet can provide you with more information.  

For students interested in attending schools with an emphasis on the arts, auditions and art portfolios may be required.  Beginning to put together these audition tools by meeting with Art, Drama, or Dance teachers and getting feedback on how best to showcase their talents will give students an additional sense of confidence on the day of the auditions.

What’s on the SHSAT

The SHSAT has two sections, Verbal and Mathematics.  Each section has a recommended time length of 75 minutes.  Students will have two and a half hours to complete the test.  Students have been provided with a SHSAT Handbook containing admissions information and sample test questions.  If you haven’t signed up for the test or received a handbook, please see Mr. Diaz .

Students are advised to bring sharpened #2 pencils (the test will be machine scored and cannot read ink), an eraser, and a non-calculator watch to keep track of time.  Do NOT bring a calculator or any other computation aid.

Useful Tips for Testing

  • To improve verbal skills read many books and articles.

  • Take sample tests to practice “Test Taking” skills.  Knowing what to expect will give the student extra confidence.

  • Read all directions and questions carefully.

  • Simulate the actual testing situation.  Time yourself with the sample tests to calculate how much time is needed for each question.

  • Check your answers on the sample test against the correct answers and analyze whether your strategy worked.

  • After taking the first sample test, wait a couple of days before beginning the second sample test in the handbook.

Suggestions for the Auditions

Those students who will be auditioning in the areas of musical instrument, voice, dance, drama should try to become as familiar as possible with the piece they will be performing.  Practice it in front of your family, friends and listen to feedback.  The audition process can make you very nervous.  If you know your material this will help lessen your anxiety and let your talents shine through.  Remember the judging committee at the audition is looking to see your potential and want you to succeed.  They are not looking for you to fail.  

Similarly, students preparing art portfolios should start looking through their prior work and new creations so that they can demonstrate their range in subjects and different medium used in their work.  Students should seek assistance from teachers and be open to feedback.  While works in progress will be considered, the judging committee is looking for completed work.

Note: Your audition begins the moment you walk through the school doors.  School staff will be observing attitude and demeanor, as well as, ability to deal with long delays.  Be patient, use the time to go over your materials.

Upcoming High School Fairs

Make a note on your calendars of upcoming High School Fairs:

  • Citywide High School Fair, September 24 & 25, 2016, 10:00am – 3:00pm at Brooklyn Tech HS: 29 Fort Greene Place, Brooklyn, NY  11217
  • Borough High School Fairs, October 15 & 16, 2016, 11:00am to 3:00pm Queens@ Francis Lewis HS: 58-20 Utopia Parkway, Queens, NY  11365
  • Stay connected, visit schools.nyc.gov/high for key dates and a calendar of high school information sessions and open houses.
  • Sign up for high school email updates: schools.nyc.gov/subscribe.
  • Save the date for the High School Application deadline on December 1, 2016.

Use these High School Fairs not only as information gathering opportunities but also opportunities to get to know their Principals and Deans.  The “human” contact helps to support your application to the school.  Be prepared to look at and meet with representatives from several schools.  You’ll be surprised at how much is available.  Dress comfortably and go prepared with questions.  Most importantly, remember the location of the school and travel time to the school will definitely impact on academic performance.  So, take note of its location and use internet sites such as hopstop.com to map out time and distance to get a better idea of what that daily trip to school will entail.

Please see Mr. Diaz for any other upcoming High School Events.

Note:  If there are any special accommodations in regards to testing, please notify Mr. Diaz as soon as possible.

Other Important Dates

We have been advised that High School applications will be available by Mid-October 2016 and they should be returned to Mr. Diaz before the Thanksgiving Break without exception.  A workshop is in the planning before the deadlines, to help parents navigate the process.  Mr. Diaz will notify you once the date is set.

Attention 7th Graders

As many of your 8th grade school mates are discovering, your 7th grade report cards are what High Schools will review before accepting students.  It is extremely important that you not only do your best this year but also get involved in Community Service opportunities and make sure your attendance and punctuality are excellent.  These additional factors will help complete the picture of who you are as a student to a High School acceptance committee.

Attention 6th Graders

There will be many opportunities for you to excel this year, so I hope you don’t feel left out as a result of the focus on High School applications.  Actually, this is a time for you to begin thinking about your own future plans.  6th grade is a time of many transitions both academically and personally.  We want to support you as you grow.  You will probably want your parents to give you a bit more independence now that you are in Intermediate school.  Earning this independence is the task that is before you.  Helping your parents see that you can take on more responsibility and handling it well is a great way to begin this process.  Reaching out to classmates, your teachers, administrators and guidance counselors for support shows your growing maturity.

Finally to all of you, you are all beginning a journey about learning; about yourself, your world and how you fit in.  I hope you take the opportunity to see all the wonderful things that East West School of International Studies has to offer you and become involved in our school community.  If you take the time to reflect on the experience, I believe you will see that EWSIS is a very special place.