Freshman Guidance

The freshman year guidance program aims to help each member of the incoming class adjust to high school in general and Regis in particular. It is predicated on the assumption that, if a student who is changing from boyhood to young adulthood better understands himself and his environment, he will be able to better negotiate the challenges he will confront during this transitional year and in the years ahead.

The program acknowledges that in a school of academically talented students each individual needs to feel special and valued. As the challenge of adjustment unfolds, the school reaches out to help in the process by encouraging changes in learning style, by insisting that individual assistance from teachers and counselors is of paramount importance, and by maintaining the position that persistence and effort are more valid determinants of “success” than grades or other forms of external recognition.

Once equipped with a healthy sense of his self-worth and secure in a feeling of belonging, the student is invited to assume greater responsibility for himself and his own development than at any point in his past. He is challenged to confront new ideas and experiences that will require self-awareness, patience, openness and candor, and above all, a willingness to see the world from the perspectives that are distinct from his own. In day-to-day situations, he will be regularly called upon to ask himself how he can learn from the other students around him, and how he might draw upon his own unique assets both to support them and to make a positive difference in their lives.

The program includes both individual and group sessions. Each freshman meets privately with his counselor at least three times during the school year. More individual meetings are scheduled by the counselor or by the student as needed, especially to deal with academic, peer, or family and relationship problems as they may arise. Forty minute group sessions occur once a cycle and are conducted by advisor group. These are both informational and discussion-oriented and provide the student with regular opportunities to both share his ideas on topics of interest and to listen open-mindedly to the thoughts and views of his classmates.

Topics treated in the freshman year group sessions include the following:

How Regis differs from grammar school Getting off to a fast start Organization and planning Environment and concentration in study Study skills Test-taking strategies Adapting study methods to specific freshman year subjects Preparing for and understanding results of the PSAT Extracurricular participation Interpreting and responding to progress reports and report cards Using the available resources of academic help Differences in personality type and in personal values Maintaining a strong sense of self worth Communication and assertiveness Peer pressures Internet Safety Substance use (Assembly group sessions) Coping with stress Responsibilities to community Understanding diversity Sensitivity to others Moral decision making Advanced Placement and SAT Subject Tests Exploration of career interests Summer plans and opportunities

No texts are required for the course, but informational handouts and related exercises are regularly distributed within the group sessions.

Parents are encouraged to phone or e-mail the guidance counselor to discuss matters of particular concern or to provide any personal information they believe it would be relatively importance to share.


SESSION 1: Introduction & Completion of Departmental Forms

The first group guidance class is dedicated to introducing students to their guidance counselor and to explaining the structure of the guidance program at Regis. Tasks include explaining the purpose of individual and group meetings, the content of the Freshman Year Guidance Curriculum and introducing the “Rules of the Road for Guidance”. Students are asked to complete information forms and bring the completed forms to their next Group Guidance class.

Session 2: The Importance of the Red Regis Planner as a Time Management Tool

In this class students review the “rules” for planner use introduced in the previous session. The purpose of this class is to encourage students to use the planner not as a mere assignment pad, but more as a planning tool. Counselors suggest different planning strategies to students encouraging them to find the one that best suits them. The rest of the class discussion centers on the importance of involvement in extracurricular activities and balancing these with academics.

SESSION 3: Study Skills I: Organizational Skills

In this class, counselors introduce students to effective organizational skills. The value of behaviors such as keeping a separate notebook and folder for each class, sorting through and organizing homework, handouts, and graded assignments in separate folders or in a binder, and recording grades in the Regis planner are suggested to freshman as ways to keep themselves structured.

SESSION 4: PSAT Preparation

This class serves to introduce freshmen to the format and purpose of the PSAT exam. Counselors explain the three different sections of the test and suggest test taking strategies.

SESSION 5: Time Management

These classes focus on the importance of managing time and avoiding the temptation to procrastinate. Students evaluate their study habits and are introduced to effective study skills and time management skills.

SESSION 6: Progress Reports

In this class the function of progress reports is explained to freshmen. This class offers students an opportunity to discuss their academic transition to Regis, their perceived expectations of teachers and parents, goals they have established for themselves. Students are asked to evaluate and analyze what motivates them and make decisions based on these evaluations.

SESSIONS 7 & 8: Study Skills II: Academic Help & Study Environment

In these classes students are reminded of the various sources of academic help available at Regis. Discussion centers on the AMP program, resource centers, peer tutoring services, after school teacher availability and creating a productive study environment.

SESSION 9: Stress Management

This class offers students an opportunity to discuss various stressors in both their academic and personal lives. Through classroom discussion, students are encouraged to analyze how an individual’s roles, settings, and life events impact his quality of life. Freshmen are asked to identify internal and external factors which cause anxiety and are introduced to stress management techniques and relaxation methods.

Timed around first trimester grades are issued but before the mid-year, this session concentrates on report cards and their implications. Counselors help students plan out the second trimester in their red planners.

SESSION 10: Second Trimester Planning/Report Cards

Timed around first trimester grades are issued but before the mid-year, this session concentrates on report cards and their implications. Counselors help students plan out the second trimester in their red planners.

SESSION 11: Communication

This session concentrates on the development of effective communication skills. Freshmen are asked to analyze how the use of communication skills may contribute and/or hinder a group’s progress toward task completion. Students evaluate their own expressions and are encouraged to develop skills needed for appropriate expression of opinions, attitudes, and beliefs in a group setting.

SESSION 12 & 13: Peer Pressure

In these classes students are asked to distinguish between the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy friendships. Freshmen analyze the skills they have for maintaining friendships and evaluate their ability to handle responsibility and conflicts arising from peer pressure involvement. Students have the opportunity to share their personal criteria for group affiliation and analyze the positive and negative effects of group participation. Students are encouraged by to articulate a personal theory of why people behave the way they do and analyze the consequences of unacceptable/irresponsible behavior.

SESSIONS 14: Integrity and Self Worth

These classes focus on furthering and nurturing the development of a student’s personal and academic integrity. Students are asked to reflect on their ability to maintain their personal integrity while participating in groups. Particular attention is devoted to students’ demonstration of their ability to manage conflicts arising from peer group involvement. Freshmen are asked to consider how they would respond in hypothetical situations where their personal or academic integrity is compromised. Students are asked to demonstrate an acceptance of themselves, their limitations and assess their personal standards. They are asked to analyze and evaluate their strengths and are encouraged to express positive attitudes toward work and learning. Freshmen are presented with various examples and are asked to evaluate which examples demonstrate success based on good intentions and quality of effort.

SESSION 15: Summer Programs & Opportunities

In this class freshmen are introduced to the pros and cons of participation in honorific programs and college programs for high school students. Counselors share what they know of the experience of upperclassmen who have participated in such programs. Freshmen are informed of the specific resources available in the Guidance Resource Center that describe and evaluate these programs..

SESSIONS 16: Administration of Study Skills Inventory and Follow Up

Counselors will administer this inventory on the computers in either Room 311 or the Library.

SESSIONS 17-19: Standardized Testing (PSAT Return, AP Tests, Subject Tests)

These classes will help students understand their PSAT results both individually and within the class as a whole. Class time will also be dedicated to explaining the positive and negative factors of participating in College Board’s AP program, specifically the AP Bio Test. In these classes, freshmen are introduced to the SAT Subject Tests and their use in the college admissions process. Freshmen are provided with data (correlating test scores to Regis grades) to help them decide whether to take the Biology Subject Test in June.

SESSION 20: Third Trimester Planning

Counselors help students plan out the third trimester in their red planners.

SESSION 21: Social Media

During this meeting counselors introduce the importance of internet safety. Counselors provide information to make sure students are using the internet safely and ensure their security. Much of the class discussion is dedicated to informing students of appropriate behavior while on-line, particularly regarding websites such as Facebook.

SESSION 22 & 23: Diversity & Stereotyping

This class cultivates an appreciation for the differences and similarities existing among different groups. Students evaluate how respecting others as individuals and as members of different groups enhances interpersonal relationships. Particular attention is dedicated to analyzing a student’s own comfort level when associating with people from cultures different from their own, to distinguishing between valid generalizations and stereotyping, and evaluating the impact of stereotyping.

SESSION 24 & 25: Career Interest Inventory

In these classes students complete the IDEAS Interest Inventory. The purpose of this survey is to foster self- knowledge and to encourage expansion of long term educational and career horizons. The results of the IDEAS Inventory are used as a baseline for comparison as these students will take a similar survey their junior year.

SESSIONS 26: Final Exams

Most of this class is dedicated to explaining the schedule of the final exam period, offering suggestions and strategies to prepare for the exams and assuaging any fear or anxiety students may feel as they approach the end of their freshman year at Regis.

SESSION 27 & 28: Substance Use

This session is intended to help students make sound personal decisions concerning substance use.

SESSION 30: Freshman Year Reflection & Looking Ahead to Sophomore Year

At this final meeting students are asked to complete departmental forms calling for them to describe their plans for the summer and in the process are subtly re-introduced to the categories used in the document entitled The Regis Graduate at Graduation. Time permitting; they are also encouraged to reflect upon their freshman year experience.