Dear Students and Families,

We hope you are continuing to be well and staying safe at home. With remote learning officially kicking off this week we will see a change in our routines, and how we engage with one another. As always your School Counselors are available to help and we encourage you to reach out to your counselor directly if you have any questions or need advice on anything school or personally related. The weekly Guidance newsletter will keep you up to date on the latest information related to college admissions, standardized testing, and what you can be doing at home to further your respective explorations. It will be sent out via School Messenger and  posted on our website  along with the previous editions. While we have reiterated some content from previous weeks, there are plenty of updates as well.

Below is grade based support for your students during this time. In particular for juniors and sophomores who would otherwise be in Guidance Seminar, students can work on these activities at their own pace as this process is about you, for you. In addition to what is listed below, you are encouraged to visit the WHS Guidance Website for resources.  Please check it regularly for updates, as we will only send emails if something is of a timely nature and may require action on your part. We will continue to support you, wherever you are at, in this self and post-secondary exploration process.

Special Live Event:

MASCA and NEACAC are joining together to present on College Admission Counseling in Times of Crisis – The View from Both Sides this Thursday from 3:00 to 4:00.

Here is the

For Seniors: Many of you are receiving your final decisions from colleges. The April 15th deadline to receive decisions is later this week. While Admitted Students Days have been cancelled, colleges are providing other ways for you to learn about their institutions in order to make this important decision. Most of these options are being posted through your admissions portals of a given college.  Other ways to see campuses include:

Further, many have extended their decision deadline from May 1st to June 1st. The list of those who have done so is included in this NACAC Link. As always you are encouraged to visit a college’s admissions websites for specific details. Of course, reach out to your School Counselor if you’d like to discuss your decision.

PLEASE make sure you are keeping your Naviance account updated with all the decisions you receive as well as where you decide to attend.

For Juniors: You may have noticed an addition to your schedule and Canvas – Jr Sem Remote Lrng with Ms Plunkett as your teacher. This is not a new class! This is where, moving forward, we will be posting all seminar activities as well as helpful videos. This also allows us to send out important information via Canvas email to all of you. We expect to have content loaded into Canvas for you by the end of the week of April 10th. Individual counselors may have additional information from earlier this semester you will find helpful as well.

Colleges have communicated that they understand  this will be a unique search and application process for the Class of 2021. Decisions and changes in the process will continue to be made.  While we always encourage you to check individual college websites for current information,  we will keep you abreast of the general trends. It is always important to check with individual schools about their specific policies/procedures.

Below is the most pressing information to be aware of:

  • The May SAT has been canceled. Students who were registered for the March or May SAT will receive refunds. At this time, the June SAT is still available.
  • Many colleges are cancelling tours and open houses this spring. They will be offering alternative ways to get to know their institutions.  Please check EACH INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL for any changes in programming and what they are offering instead.

Below are tools you can use to begin your search and plan your post-secondary timeline:

  1. College research: Learn about different colleges and which ones might be a good fit. Potentially begin going on campus visits. Given current school closures, check out videos and virtual campus tours. For information about how colleges are accommodating these unusual circumstances, please refer to the NACAC link.

Other resources for exploration include:

Admissions 101

List of college virtual tours

International Virtual College Fair- Students are invited to register to chat with 18 universities from 7 countries including Ireland, UK, Australia, Spain, France, Canada and Switzerland via a virtual fair put on by The AIRR-NA Board on April 14 from 7pm-9pm EDT/4pm to 6pm PDT.

  1. Naviance is our web-based program that WHS utilizes for the post-secondary process. It is an effective platform to build your college list, search colleges and, in the fall, facilitate your applications. Students have their access information which they should share with their parent/guardian.

In January Naviance required many students to update their passwords for increased security. If you are having trouble logging in it maybe because your password needs to be updated. Click “reset” and enter the code provided by Naviance. You will then be able to reset your password. Please make sure it follows their new requirements:

Must be at least 10 characters in length

Username not allowed in password

Passwords may not include more than 2 identical characters in a row

Commonly used passwords, simple patterns, and common names not accepted.

  1. Study for standardized tests: Most students take the SAT/ACT in their junior year and repeat the same test again in either the summer or fall. We encourage you to take advantage of the extra time to study and consider taking a couple of free, graded online SAT/ACT exams.  KaplanKahn Academy  and Summit have on-line resources as does Engaging Minds and Princeton Review.
  2. Learn about financial aid: Once senior year rolls around, you’ll be too busy doing college applications to research the financial aid process. So focus on understanding that (and taking note of deadlines!) now. To start, here’s a good primer on how college financial aid works, and here’s an explanation of the most important financial aid acronym: EFC (Expected Family Contribution).
  3. Student Data Portfolio:  SDPs provide valuable information to your school counselor to support their recommendation writing process. If you have not already received a SDP to complete from your school counselor you will shortly. Please take your time and be thoughtful with your answers. The more thorough this is the more helpful to your counselor it is. Don’t be afraid to toot your horn!!
  4. Parent Feedback Form: Parent’s input can be valuable in the recommendation writing process as well. Please consider completing the attached form and sending it to your student’s school counselor.
  5. Teacher Recommendations: As part of the admissions process you will need 1-2 teacher recommendations. Students typically begin asking teachers directly after the April vacation. Under these circumstances we are developing an equitable way to manage this process. Details on how this will be done will be forthcoming. In the meantime we ask that you please do not ask teachers at this time.
  6. School Counselors: As always we are available for consultation in this process. In doing so we expect that students and families are actively engaged in utilizing the resources listed in both the weekly guidance newsletters as well as on our WHS Guidance and Counseling websites and New Canvas site. We expect students to be prepared for meetings with specific questions about their individual process.

Students might also find this Junior Year Calendar/Checklist to be  helpful.

Print it out and check things off as you complete them!

For Both Juniors & Seniors:The landscape for both the Class of 2020 & Class of 2021 has changed. Rest assured that not only the colleges appreciate this, they  are making adjustments so you can make your best decisions. While it may be challenging not to worry or be concerned, everyone is in uncharted waters and we’ll navigate this together. After all, most of your parents did this the old fashion way: there was no internet, virtual tours or accepted students days. Folks relied on brochures, may have not had the opportunity to visit the campus prior to applying and each application was typed or handwritten. Sounds like fun, right? 

With the changes in grading for Quarters 3 & 4 know that colleges will also be making adjustments knowing that your transcript and application will not look as is typical. Linked here are examples to affirm this commitment on the part of colleges to support school’s decisions of these practices. Please consider this affirmation that there will be a path forward in your respective admissions process.

The NCAA’s response to the COVID situation and remote learning is as follows:

In response to questions regarding schools that have moved to distance or e-learning environments, the Eligibility Center will not require a separate review of distance or e-learning programs utilized by schools with NCAA-approved core courses that have moved to distance or e-learning environments for Spring/Summer 2020 terms due to school closures related to the COVID-19 situation.Students are encouraged to complete their NCAA-approved core courses through the channels of instruction provided or recommended by their school, district or state department of education.For information on COVID-19, please visit and continue to monitor for more information from the Eligibility Center at

For Sophomores: You too may have noticed an addition to your schedule and Canvas – Soph Sem Remote Lrng with Ms Plunkett as your teacher. This is not a new class! This is where we will be posting all seminar activities as well as helpful videos. It also allows us to send out important information via Canvas email to you all. We expect this to be up and running by the end of the week of April 10th.

Sophomore seminar is all about self-exploration. We urge our students to begin by building their resume in Naviance. Here is a link to a planning sheet to get started and things to keep in mind for building a stand alone resume. Also, you can consider sharing your resume with a peer for peer edits, as well as your school counselor for feedback.

In addition sophomores are encouraged to complete their “Career Interest Profiler” and “Do What You Are”, also on Naviance. These assessments prove invaluable when starting the college exploration process (and they are fun to complete and analyze).

Directions on how to access these surveys can be found here.

MCAS English Language Arts and Mathematics – we are still anticipating the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) to provide more details on the MCAS Testing Process for 2020. In turn, we will pass this along to all students.

For Grade 9: MCAS Physics – we are still anticipating the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE), will provide more details on the MCAS Testing Process for 2020.  In turn, we will pass this along to all students.

For AP Students:  As you now know, the College Board has announced that traditional face-to-face exam administrations will not take place. Rather, students will take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home. This will be “open book/open notes” focusing on skills & thematic understanding and applying content learned. We have compiled the pertinent information given by the College Board, and will continue to share updates as we get them.

  • Test dates will be May 11-15, 18-22 with make-up exams being June 1-5.
  • Should school be in session there will be a schedule to facilitate this forthcoming.
  • If you require assistance with technology in order to take an AP exam, please contact AP and complete this form. This needs to be completed by April 24th.
  • The College Board continues to provide free remote learning resources which started on  Wednesday, March 25th. These are free, live AP review sessions.
  • These exams will still allow students to pursue college credit.
  • If you wish to cancel your exam, please email Ms Dutko ( and your AP teacher the following statement: “I wish to cancel the following AP exam(s)   (full name of exam). The Deadline to cancel an exam is Friday, May 1st.
  • [example: “I wish to cancel the following exam: AP Literature & Composition, AP Statistics”.]

Please do not cancel your exam through your AP portal. Ms. Dutko will do that step as part of the cancellation. The Business Office will facilitate refunds if they are cancelled through this notification process.

  • The content of the exam has been altered due to the fact that there has been a loss of instructional time. To see the content covered on each exam, please refer to the College Board’s announcement.
  • Even with these circumstances, no new registrations will be accepted.

Next steps:

  • Be on the lookout for updates from the College Board and WHS as new information emerges.
  • Check out the free online resources that will be provided by the College Board to help prepare for the exams. Your teachers may provide review materials via email or Canvas but will not be introducing new material (luckily, new material is not required for this year’s exams).

For Parents: BRYT  is offering support to parents during this challenging time. These are open to ALL:

Monday April 6 at 1:00 – Mindful Parenting

Tuesday April 7 at 3:00 PM – Parent Support Group

Wednesday April 8 at 8:00 AM – Parent Support Group

Thursday April 9 at 9:00 AM – Mental Health as a Priority

For all students & families: Most important, make sure that you are taking care of yourself and those around you. With remote learning beginning you may have to adjust your daily routine. Make sure you take a walk outside, play a game or cook a meal together, read a book for pleasure, be creative with some crafts, dance to some lively music! Be well.

Jane Barrell     Marissa Coughlin        John Steere    Julie Trask     Cindy Hurley  Janet Sozio     Kristi Stone     Margaret Walendin     Dana Plunkett

April 8 Guidance Newsletter
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