Our Student Support Services team is comprised of highly trained professionals who provide a variety of developmentally appropriate services for students in Grades 9-12. Counselors work in partnership with students, staff, and parents to promote and develop academic achievement, social growth, emotional well-being, and higher education planning for all ACS students. The high school program is dynamic and continually evolves to meet the needs and challenges faced by our students.
Counselors meet with students each year to individually discuss the selection of courses and how they relate to future goals. Time is allowed for students to discuss options with parents and teachers to ensure best-fit. Many factors are considered when supporting students during this process:
College and career goals
Balance with non-academic activities.
As a college preparatory school, ACS students are encouraged to take the most challenging curriculum where a student achieves success. All course choices should foster individual goals, strengths, and weaknesses. ACS encourages balance between academic and extracurricular life.
Once students are enrolled in their courses, counselors provide support by closely monitoring student progress in collaboration with the Student Support Team; intervening when appropriate.
When a student is struggling with coursework, the student/family should first go to that teacher. The teacher is the best resource for giving individual feedback and advice related to a specific course. The counselor’s role is to advocate for students and to help them advocate for themselves to ensure they are receiving the necessary support.
Social / Emotional Support
Adolescence is a busy time marked with rapid change and growth. As a result, some students experience social or emotional challenges that require support. ACS counselors have an open door policy and welcome students to stop by when anything is troubling them.
Common teenage social/emotional topics that High School counselors encounter include: grief and loss, anxiety, stress, relationship concerns (with peers, parents, teachers, dating), managing pressure, depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and peer pressure. ACS counselors are willing and able to help students with these and other types of concerns, and encourage students/families to come forward and advocate for themselves/their children or their friends when help is needed.
Throughout the year, ACS counselors meet with students to provide structured guidance lessons. Lessons are delivered to students during advisory as well as in our health program focusing on the understanding of how to navigate the many adolescent challenges that may arise.
ACS counselors also have a network of outside institutions/resources that are available for recommendation to families when a student needs ongoing support.
ACS counselors work with families during their transition into ACS. They assist with answering questions, building an academic schedule, arranging new buddies and providing orientation events.
When making an academic schedule, students may be required to sit for course placement exams. There are opportunities to sit these exams remotely or on campus. ACS counselors use Google Meet and email to conduct preliminary interviews and answer questions. When possible, new students are highly encouraged to meet with their school counselor face-to-face prior to the start of school.
The purpose of the advisory period is to advance student learning and success. This program is proactive in nature and developmental appropriate by enhancing the establishment of a personal relationship with at least one consistent adult, who serves as an advisor. The program’s curricular themes are designed to bridge the gap between the academic curriculum and the skills necessary for success in school and postsecondary life. Areas of focus include mental wellness, school success skills, academic planning, career exploration, post‐secondary planning, and interpersonal/life skills.
Some students are required to take standardized college admissions tests. The most common are the SAT Reasoning, SAT Subject, and the ACT. A growing trend for colleges and universities is to be test-optional, meaning that students are not required to submit a standardized test score for admissions.
ACS counselors are well-versed with college/university admission requirements and assist students when planning for admission testing.
Counselors provide access to a variety of methods when students are preparing for college entrance tests. Preparation support ranges from SAT Prep courses, one-on-one tutoring and web-based support.
Each October, ACS offers the PSAT free-of-charge for students in Grades 10 and 11. In addition, ACS hosts SAT and ACT testing on-campus throughout the year.
Visit our University and Careers page for more information.