SJND's Counseling Department is dedicated to providing support for students’ personal, academic, and college admission success.
SJND has a low counselor-to-student ratio of 1:112 (national average is 1:500), including a dedicated Learning Services Counselor for students with documented learning differences, and a College Counselor who works with all students.
Academic and College Counseling
SJND counselors are dedicated to guiding students to their highest academic potential. Starting in ninth grade, the students learn how to select academic course work and enrichment opportunities that encompass their interests and abilities. All students are encouraged to pursue courses with the appropriate level of challenge for them, including Advanced Placement, Honors, and elective courses that fuel their interests and prepare them for the rigors of college. With the help of this guidance, students are able to find a good match for their life goals and their post high school plans.
The college counseling program at SJND takes a holistic approach to the college search, application, and decision process. Counselors advise students to approach the college application process with the intention of finding and ultimately enrolling in schools that will be the best fit for their talents, interests and life goals.
SJND’s college counseling program aims to cultivate in students a sense of self- knowledge, self-advocacy, college-going knowledge, and other applicable skills. It is a partnership with families, supporting parents and guardians through the sharing of information and resources, strategic planning, and dialogue. The guidance is based on a strong belief that effective college counseling is not merely getting a student admitted to a college of their choice. It is helping the student find their "best match" school so that they will persist and graduate with a degree. College counseling and the college choice process is merely the first step in facilitating college success.
SJND's college counseling staff helps students identify their college goals starting in ninth grade. This is a scaffolded, year-by-year, program to hone specific areas of college preparation. Students are encouraged to take advantage of college essay writing workshops, visits with college admissions representatives, and regular updates on college news and deadlines available through SCOIR, our college admissions software. SJND has a long history of impressive outcomes for college acceptances for graduating seniors.
Adolescence is a time of growing independence, maturity and exploration of self. SJND counselors are professionally qualified to support students on all matters related to personal growth and development. This support is a collaboration with students and their families to provide a safe and caring environment.
Some of the areas that counselors explicitly focus on with students are:
Maintaining good health and personal well-being, including healthy strategies for managing stress
Gaining awareness of their strengths, talents, and interests
Learning responsible decision-making skills
Creating and maintaining healthy, life-affirming personal relationships
Services for Students with Documented Learning Differences
SJND provides educational support for students with documented learning differences. SJND’s Learning Services Counselor provides counseling and guidance to these students, as well as research-based teaching tools and strategies for faculty and staff. They work very closely with the students in alliance with their families and their teachers. From as early as the point of admission in 8th grade, our Learning Services Counselor assesses students’ strengths and needs for accommodations in the form of an Individual Learning Plan (ILP). Our Learning Services Counselor and the counseling team provide an ongoing process of individualized, strategic guidance to support students to be lifelong, successful learners. Read Our Learning Services Handbook.
Special services that are offered in this program include:
Creation of a learning plan with requisite accommodations to enhance and maximize a student’s abilities
Participation in the after school Pilot Prep program, which is staffed by academic coaches who provide tutoring and help for developing skills for time management, organization and exam preparation
Submission of formal accommodations requests to College Board and ACT for college entrance testing
Social and Emotional Learning Program: Counselors in the Classroom
In addition to our individual student services and college counseling, the SJND counseling team has designed and implemented a four-year program to address the distinct social-emotional needs of our student population. According to the American School Counselor Association’s National Model, the purpose of a school counseling program is to teach students specific skills and provide learning opportunities in a proactive manner, ensuring that all students can achieve school success through academic, career, and personal/social development experiences. Through the Counselors in the Classroom Program, students develop knowledge and skills appropriate to their developmental level. The three main areas addressed in the Counselors in the Classroom program are Sex Education, Drug and Alcohol Education, and Stress and Anxiety Management.