Dear Students and Parents,
Welcome to another school year at Capital High School. As we get rolling this fall, the counseling department wanted to get some important information out to all parents and students to assist you better as you go through the Fall semester.
23-24 Year at a Glance (Important dates by month)
First off, we would like to introduce you to our counseling team. We have some new faces and are excited to introduce you to them.
A-D Last Names- Mr. Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
E-K Last Names- Mrs. Meldrum (email@example.com)
L-Ri Last Names- Ms. Lindner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ro-Z Last Names- Ms. Hamper (email@example.com)
Career Counselor- Ms. Aspen Herndon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Counseling Secretary- Mr. Arin Herndon (email@example.com)
Schedule Changes for Semester 1
Students have two weeks from the start of the school year to make schedule changes. We had the final day on September 14th. Students can still make changes for Semester 2, but S1 is now locked in.
To help avoid missed class time and less wait time, students and parents need to schedule appointments with Mr. Herndon. Passes will be given to students to see their counselor at appropriate times. Any student in crisis will still receive care from their counselors, but all other appointments need to be scheduled.
If you want to schedule an appointment, you can call your student counselor or schedule through Mr. Herndon at 324-2604 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Junior/Senior College Fair
On September 25th, the MPSEOC will be hosting a college fair at Carroll College from 1:30-3 in the Hunthausen Activity Center (Next to the PE center). If juniors or seniors have a 6th or 7th period and want to attend, they need to sign out in the career center to have the missed class considered a school-related absence.
Here is the link for students to sign up. This is also shared directly with students. https://www.montanacollegefair.com/college–career-fairs.html
By attending, students have a chance to win a $1000 scholarship.
Senior Credit Checks/Senior Check-ins
On Wednesday, September 7th, the counseling department delivered the Senior 101 presentation to all Seniors. Access to what was shared can be found here: https://chs.helenaschools.org/departments/counseling-and-career-center/senior-information-101/
In the weeks following the presentation, we will be meeting with all seniors one-on-one to discuss post-secondary plans, graduation requirements, and other pertinent information.
Senior Parent Night
On Monday, September 25th at 7 PM in the CHS Auditorium, Ms. Aspen, Mrs. Meldrum, and Valarie Curtin from Helena College Financial Aid Office will host a Senior Parent Night. This evening will include post-high school planning and timelines.
AP Test Registration
We are excited that you have chosen to take on the challenge of an Advanced Placement (AP) course. AP courses offer students the opportunity to get a head start on college while in the supportive environment of a high school classroom. Students can earn college credit or placement by taking the AP exam at the end of the school year while achieving a higher level of learning. (https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/getting-credit-placement/search-policies).
Taking an AP exam is optional, but we encourage students to consider the opportunity. Please review the steps below to ensure that you are registered for your AP exam(s) or that you have communicated your desire to not take an AP exam.
Step 1: Join your AP class section on College Board; an exam CANNOT be ordered for you if you do NOT join your class section!
a. College Board profiles are the same accounts used to collect prior year PSAT/NMSQT® or AP® Exam scores. Do not create a new account if you already have one. If you have never created a College Board account, create one by clicking ‘Create Account’ on http://myap.collegeboard.org.
If a student is opting out of the exam, please email email@example.com and include your full name and the exam(s) you are NOT taking.
Step 2: Pay your exam fee ($100 per exam) between October 2nd and October 27th.
b. If you are on free/reduced lunch, the fee is $53 per exam (you will indicate this in the RevTrak system).
If you have any questions regarding AP registration and payment, please contact Capital High School’s AP Coordinator: Ms. Hamper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mental Health Screener- RBHI
Twice a year Helena Schools will be doing a school-wide mental health screener in all grades 6-12. The Rural Behavioral Health Initiative (RBHI) offers survey assistance and helps provide outside therapists who support CHS counselors while they aid identified struggling students.
The CHS windows for these screeners are November 1st-9th and February 21st-29th.
Students will take an online survey that will screen for several risk factors including anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. All students who flag high will receive an opportunity to meet with a licensed therapist. Parents will be informed if a student has any high-risk factors.
Additionally, through the RBHI program, CHS students will have access to ongoing mental health services. More information about this program and an option to opt out will be coming in October. If you have questions about RBHI and the district’s involvement in the program, please contact Lona Carter at email@example.com
Suicide Prevention at CHS
The counseling departments at both Helena high schools have worked hard to help develop a comprehensive suicide prevention and mental health awareness program.
YAM (Youth Aware of Mental Health)– Freshman year program run through the Frosh PE courses presented by outside mental health professionals. For more info on YAM, please contact Joslyn Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org
QPR (Question, Persuade, Respond)- Sophomore program run through health classes by health teacher and Jess Hegstrom at Yellowstone County Health Department. The focus of this program is to educate students to reach out for help if they feel their friend is at risk.
SOS (Signs of Suicide)- Junior year program, presented in US History classes by counselors. SOS will be presented in December, and the focus is to learn how to recognize the signs of mental health struggles in themselves or peers and how to reach out for help. Students learned ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell).
Career Lessons for Other Grades
The counseling department has completed career lessons with the Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior classes.
The focuses at each level are:
Freshman Year– Learning Styles Inventory, Career Matchmaker (looking at interests and careers that match them (Tentatively scheduled for November)
Sophomore year– Reality Check- Look at the lifestyle students want, and the salaries necessary to provide that lifestyle. We research careers and salaries and check to see if they would match up with the lifestyle plan. (Tentatively scheduled for December)
Junior Year- Post Secondary High School planning. We will spend the period working with them on their post-high school plans. (Tentatively scheduled for March)
Capital High School has partnered with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry to offer up to 1970 hours toward a journeyman license in several construction trades. Even if you have taken one class on the list, you can start your apprenticeship paperwork and register your hours with the state. It is a fantastic way to make money in the trades right out of high school. For more information about our program click here https://chs.helenaschools.org/about/chs-course-registration/course-catalog/apprenticeship-opportunities/
College Application Week
We will once again be hosting College Application Week at CHS. We will have dedicated application support and other fun activities. This event will be held during the first week of October. During this event, all Montana schools have either deferred or waived their application fees.
Montana universities now provide a common application. Students from MT can now apply to any of the 16 Montana University System schools with one application for free, any time. The application can be found here: https://applymontana.mus.edu/
Thursday, November 5, from 5-7 PM, you and your student can receive assistance with the FAFSA form from experts from Helena College, Carroll College, and Reach Higher Montana. Changes that went into effect last year moved the timeline for applying to the fall. The FAFSA window now opens on October 1st and most colleges have their priority deadlines for grants set on December 1st.
Before completing the FAFSA, all students and at least 1 parent need to create an FSA ID. This unique login replaces using SSNs on the financial aid documents. To create an FSA ID, go to https://studentaid.gov/fsa-id/create-account/launch
College Reps, Military Reps, and College Visits
As you are starting to narrow down your college choices? We have opportunities for you to meet with reps from various colleges around the region. Keep up with our Facebook page and webpage as well as daily announcements to see when they are coming in.
We post all college and military recruiter visits to CHS here: https://chs.helenaschools.org/departments/counseling-and-career-center/college-military-recruiter-visits-other-activities/
Also, you can have 2 absences marked as school-related if you are using those days to tour colleges. See your counselor for more information.
PSAT for Juniors
There have been changes to the PSAT through the College Board. The PSAT exam nationwide is now a digital exam. Because of this, we will be hosting the PSAT Test on Saturday, October 14th at Capital High School. We did early sign-ups for this new exam and all spots are currently full. To get on the waiting list, email Mrs. Meldrum at email@example.com
Students will need a school-issued Chromebook to take this exam on our secure network. If your child is taking the exam and uses a personal laptop, please have them see their counselor before October 15th.
The PSAT is a practice SAT exam that also is a qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship Program. For more info on the PSAT please go to: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10
ACT for Juniors
Once again, CHS will be facilitating the ACT for all juniors on April 9th. The exam will be done online again this year, so logistics are still being ironed out. You will receive several communications from CHS regarding this, but we wanted to make sure it is on your calendar.
Remember to keep checking our scholarship page; it is updated at least weekly.
As always, you can also follow our social media accounts for up-to-date information.
We hope this helps you navigate this fall and all the important things happening.
All the best,
CHS Counseling Department