Counseling Newlsetter Archive

Posted on September 5, 2018

Counseling Department Fall Newsletter 2018

Dear Students and Parents.

Welcome (Back) 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 better assist you as you go through the Fall semester.

Schedule Changes for Semester 1

8/30/18 The 1st day of the new semester- Students wanting to make schedule changes for the new semester have until 9/13/18 to get them signed off and finalized. All changes require teacher and parent signatures. Changing of instructors only is not permitted by the counseling department. In addition, going less than 6 credit bearing classes must be approved by Mr. Chancy.

Changes in our Career Center

We are welcoming 1 new addition to our counseling department this year. Mrs. Anna Doran is our new career counselor. We are excited to have her join our department and see what exciting opportunities she is able to help students connect with.

Scheduling Appointments

We have decided to make some changes for appointments in hopes to have students miss less class time and spend less time waiting to see their counselor. After the 13th (last day for schedule changes) students or parents that want to see their counselor, we ask that you make an appointment with Mrs. Crane. She will then write the student a pass to get out of class at an appropriate time. Of course, if there is a student in crisis we will adjust to help them, but for everything else we are going to try and have it be scheduled appointments.

If you want to schedule an appointment, you can call your students counselor or Mrs. Crane @ 324-2604 or email

This will be a big change and will take a little getting used to, but we hope it will allow us to not rush through our time with you and be able to provide a better service to you.

Helena College Dual Credit Time Line

Students in Dual Credit Courses (College Writing, Technical Writing, Speech, Technical Math, College Algebra, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Accounting, MS Word, MS Excel, Welding 3, Calc-Linear Algebra, Computer Science) will be getting their registration forms on Tuesday. (9/4/18)

They are due to the counseling department on this Tuesday, September 11th.  The reps from Helena College will be in the counseling department from 7:30-2:30 to collect the registration papers. If they are not turned in during this window, students will have to deliver them to Helena College by 9/17. Bills will be sent out 9/18 and will be due to Helena College 10/8. Items that miss the deadlines will not be accepted.

Also, there was a big announcement by Gov. Bullock that a new partnership with the Montana University system, students will now get their 1st 2 dual credit courses (up to 6 credits) for FREE!! Any additional credits will still be at the reduced dual credit rate. Also, there will be some assistance for students on Free and Reduced Lunch to get all their credits paid for. See Mr. Robinson for more information.  For more info on this new program

If your student does not have the appropriate ACT scores for the college credit portion of the dual credit course, they will need to call 447-6939 to schedule an appointment to take the Accuplacer test at Helena College. For more info, please check out

Carroll College Dual Credit

We also have a partnership with Carroll College to offer dual credit courses, their information can be found here

Also this summer, Carroll announced a new program where high school students are able to classes on the Carroll Campus for free. The Early Access program is off and running and we currently have 24 CHS students in the program. For more info-

Senior College Fair

On September 24th, the MPSEOC will be hosting a college fair at Carroll College from 1:30-3:30. Seniors will not be excused early to attend, with it being a PLC Monday, all students are out of school by 2:30. If you want your child to attend earlier, please call the attendance office to excuse them.

We will be registering students for the college fair on September 17th-19h. For more information regarding the college fair and which schools will be there, please go to

Senior Credit Checks/Senior Career Cruising

The counseling department will be meeting with all seniors 2 times at the beginning of the school year to make sure they have everything they need for graduation and to start the post-secondary planning process.

September 17th-19th  in their American Government classes. We will be doing credit checks, giving them their transcript ordering information, as well as signing them up for the college fair

September 24th and 25th in their English 4 classes, we will be doing a career cruising lesson, where we will focus on narrowing down the college search as well as scholarship searches, and post-secondary planning for all paths.

Senior Parent Night

We will be hosting a Senior Parent night in the Auditorium on Thursday, September 27th from 6-7 PM. We will be presenting a lot of information about scholarships, college admissions, FAFSA. We will also be having a presentation by Marti Johnson of Reach Higher Montana about the changed FAFSA process.

If you are unable to attend the parent night, we will be posting the presentations after the fact on our website in the counseling department’s page.

Suicide Prevention at CHS

September 10th through the 16th is National Suicide Prevention Week and we will be having special announcements, this will all build up to the NAMI walk, Sunday September 23rd at Memorial Park. We hope to see you there.

The counseling departments at both 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. Some completed in the fall, the rest are finishing this month. For more info on YAM, please contact Mrs. Meldrum or Josyln Davidson at

QPR (Question, Persuade, Respond)- Sophomore program run through the Health classes by health teachers. The focus of this program is for 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 was to try to learn how to recognize the signs of mental health struggles in themselves or peers and to reach out for help. Students learned ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell)

Career Cruising for other grades

The counseling department has completed career cruising lessons with the Freshman, Sophomore, and Senior 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 19/20)

Sophomore year– Reality Check- Looking at the lifestyle students want and the salaries needed to provide that lifestyle. We then researched careers and the salaries and checked to see if they would match up with the lifestyle plan.  (Tentatively scheduled for December 19/20)

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 11/12)

College Application Week/FAFSA Help

We will once again be hosting College Application week at CHS. We will have dedicated application support as well as other fun activities. This year it is October 1-4th and during this time all Montana schools have either deferred or waived their application fees.

Also during this week will be offering a FAFSA workshop (10/3) at Helena High, where you can come in and get help filling out the FAFSA with experts from Helena College, Carroll College, and Reach Higher Montana. This is extremely important due to changes that went into effect last year that moves the timeline up to the fall. The FAFSA window now opens October 1st and most colleges have their priority deadlines for things like grants set at December 1st.

College Reps and College Visits

As you are starting to narrow down your college choices we have some 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.

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.

Career Center Evening Hours

The 1st Wednesday of every month, we keep our career center open from 5-7 to offer help on things like college applications, scholarship searches, job searches, career matching, etc.

We do that so parents can come in after work and get help with our career counselor. Also you can call and set up and appointment with Mrs Doran.

PSAT for Juniors

Capital High will be hosting the PSAT Test October 10th at the Civic Center and students will sign up through the book keeper between September 17th to October 5th.  The cost should be $16. 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:

ACT for Juniors

Once again, CHS will be facilitating the ACT test for all juniors on Tuesday, March 20th . You will receive several communications from CHS regarding this, but we wanted to make sure it is on your calendar.

We have several ACT Prep opportunities upcoming, you should receive an orange flier about this as well this spring.

Scholarship Information

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.

Contact Info

If you need to contact your counselor, you can at

A-D students- Mr. Robinson

E-K Students- Mrs. Meldrum

L-Ri Students- Ms. Bawden

Ro-Z Students- Mr. Ferlicka

We hope this helps you navigate this fall and all the big things happening.

All the best, CHS Counseling Department

Posted on April 18, 2017

Our Response to 13 Reasons Why on Netflix

A new TV series addressing many sensitive topics such as substance abuse, harassment, sexual assault, and teen suicide has recently premiered on Netflix. These episodes have explicit scenes, some of which are quite disturbing. The premise of the show, see book review and Netflix trailer below, is to learn about the reasons why the protagonist takes her own life.  We in the CHS,  HHS, and PAL Counseling Departments are grateful for anything that embraces suicide prevention, but we are concerned that the show leaves out the biggest cause for teen suicide, which is mental illness. 

If you haven’t heard about the show, here is a little background on it. 

13 Reasons Why is based on a novel by Jay Asher (for more info click here)

A trailer for the tv series

Here is a review of the show by a high school student, Jaclyn Grimm, who also struggles with mental health and suicidal thoughts. 

For most viewers of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, the message is clear: Be kind, it could save a life. But that isn’t what I watched.

Since its release on March 31, viewers have taken to Twitter and other social media platforms to proclaim their love for the show, stressing how important they think it is. I’ve seen people go so far as to suggest it become required viewing for middle and high school students, despite the graphic displays of assault and, ultimately, suicide.

I’ve dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts since middle school, about the younger age of 13 Reasons Why’s audience. I never imagined logistics: razor blades cutting delicate skin, the quick violence of a gunshot. What I saw in my mind was crying peers and thousands of flowers and people wishing they had reached out to me. I didn’t want pain; I wanted control. While watching the show, the bullying, assault and even the suicide itself didn’t stand out to me. All I could focus on was the power the main character had after her death.

That’s no spoiler — 13 Reasons Why opens with the aftermath of high school student Hannah Baker’s suicide. Clay Jensen, Hannah’s classmate and co-worker, receives 13 cassette tapes detailing the reasons Hannah killed herself. Hannah was bullied, assaulted and ignored while she was alive, but her death and the tapes she left behind changed that. She gained power through suicide, and that’s a dangerous message.

People argue the show is important because it discusses suicide in a straightforward way that other shows haven’t. But for a supposedly important discussion of teen suicide, mental illness isn’t explicitly mentioned in any of the 13 episodes. Hannah explains the reasons that caused her to commit suicide, but the show fails to acknowledge that 90% of people who commit suicide suffer from mental illness. While external circumstances such as bullying can contribute to suicide, the show misses the opportunity to discuss the underlying cause.

13 Reasons Why isn’t dangerous only for depressed and suicidal teens. Where the show romanticizes the aftermath of suicide, it also blames everyone in Hannah’s life.

While the characters mentioned in Hannah’s cassette tapes should certainly be held accountable for their actions, the show misleads the viewer into believing there is someone to blame for suicide. The premise perpetuates the idea that there is always liability when someone commits suicide. One character even states: “Well, we ALL killed Hannah Baker.”

Friends of those who commit suicide already go through a sort of survivor’s guilt, whether they have a reason to or not. In many cases, they are Clays — bystanders to bullying and depression. Clay isn’t explicitly blamed in Hannah’s tape. In her own words, “Your name doesn’t belong on this list. … You’re good and kind and decent and I didn’t deserve to be with someone like you.” But though she says Clay can’t be blamed, it’s clear the show is condemning him for never stepping in. He ends the show by admitting, “I cost a girl her life because I was afraid to love her,” and while an adult reminds him love can’t save lives, the show ultimately agrees with Clay’s perspective.

Being kind isn’t a bad message, but in the context of the show it becomes complicated. The last episode ends with Clay reaching out to Skye, a student similar to Hannah in many ways. It implies that by being kind, he is able to save her in the way he didn’t save Hannah. Because the show doesn’t discuss mental illness, this scene suggests that saving someone from suicide is as easy as a friendly gesture. Clay doesn’t see suicidal warning signs and direct Skye to someone who actually can — an adult who could make sure she sees a mental health professional. Instead, he presumably saves her just by being nice; that’s not how suicide works.

There are no magic words or gestures that can make a suicidal person want to live. Teenagers should be aware of signs of depression and suicidal thoughts, but they shouldn’t think their kindness can “fix” anyone. That idea prevents depressed teens from getting actual help and places an enormous weight on the shoulders of the people left behind.

In 13 Reasons Why, I don’t see a daring and powerful teen drama. It’s just a tired attempt at discussing a difficult topic. It’s clear the creators see suicide only for its shock value, and I worry for the teens like me who will watch the show.

Jaclyn Grimm, 18, is a writer and high school student who lives in Orlando. Follow her on Twitter @grimmjac

From CNN

According to a variety of expert sources, harmful portrayals of suicide may include some of the following features, many of which “13 Reasons Why” uses in its portrayals of Hannah and her community:
  • They may simplify suicide by suggesting that bullying alone is the cause.
  • They may make suicide seem romantic by putting it in the context of a Hollywood plot line. A simple, logical, and well-connected plotline may satisfy the story arc needs of a viewing audience, but it is rarely, if ever, the way that suicides really happen.
  • They may portray suicide as a viable option, one that can be an understandable outcome given a particular set of circumstances. In nearly all cases, people who die by suicide have a diagnosable (and therefore treatable) mental health problem at the time of their death.
  • They may display graphic representations of suicide which may be harmful to viewers, especially young ones and those who are highly sensitized to suicide imagery, as most attempt survivors and loss survivors are.
  • They may advance the false notion that suicides are a way to teach others a lesson, and that the deceased person will finally be understood and vindicated. They won’t. They’ll still be dead.
None of the criticism of “13 Reasons Why” means that we shouldn’t talk about suicide; we should. In fact, it’s critical that we do. But we need to do it right. We know that contact-based education — when people share their personal stories of struggle and recovery — is by far the most effective way of breaking down stigma surrounding suicide, which is the primary reason people don’t speak up or get help.

An additional Chicago Tribune review went a little further

The “Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide,” a list of guidelines for media outlets developed by suicide prevention experts and journalists, emphasizes that suicide is usually the result of multiple causes, often involving mental illness, and not something that can be blamed on a person or single event. And experts advise against sensational headlines or describing a suicide in graphic detail, which studies have shown can lead to suicide contagion or “copycat” suicides.

While “13 Reasons Why” is fiction, it presents similar concerns for advocates working to educate the public. In 2014, suicide was the second leading cause of death for children and young adults ages 10 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Teenagers, a key demographic for the book and, ostensibly, the series are at particular risk when it comes to contagion.

Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), said he has received calls and emails from parents and school guidance counselors about the show. “There is a great amount of concern in the suicide prevention community around this series,” he said.

The show deviates from the book and unfolds over a longer period of time, but the overall conceit is the same. For Reidenberg, the fact that Hannah gets to tell her story after her death, through the audiotapes, glamorizes the death and sends a potentially dangerous message to viewers.

“Young people are not that great at separating fiction from reality,” Reidenberg said. “That gets even harder to do when you’re struggling with thoughts.”

SAVE partnered with the Jed Foundation, a youth suicide prevention group, to compile a list of talking points to help parents discuss the series with their teenagers. The list emphasizes that Hannah’s experience with her guidance counselor isn’t “appropriate or typical.” And unlike the show, it uses the term mental illness. Well-established research suggests that 90 percent of individuals who commit suicide experience mental illness, but “13 Reasons Why” never explicitly considers whether Hannah is suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or other issues.

It is not our recommendation that students avoid this wildly popular show. We just hope that it sparks conversation and reinforces the importance of reaching out for help when needed. Through informed discussion and action, we can effectively increase our prevention efforts. We all know our community has been affected by teen suicide, and we just hope the popularity of this show does not lead to more loss. We in the schools are here to help, but we also wanted to link additional resources for students and parents.

Here is a link to the 13 talking points for parents

NAMI Montana

The State of Montana Suicide prevention website

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website

And as always your CHS, HHS, and PAL school counselors are here to help. 

You can contact your child’s school counselor at


Jeramie Robinson, 324-2493

Dana Meldrum, 324-2491

Jamie Bawden, 324-2492

Chance Ferlicka, 324-2490


Ellaina Staldine, 324-2227

Shane Dempsey, 324-2224

Jason Murgel, 324-2226

Chrissy Murgel, 324-2223


Sara Berg, 324-1650


Posted on September 12, 2016

Montana University System Admission Standards

Entrance Requirements

In order to be fully admitted to a 4-year university in the MUS, entering high school graduates are required to meet the following standards:

*Complete the Regents’ college preparatory program:  mathematics (3 years), English (4 years), science (2 years), social studies (3 years), and electives (2 years) – includes languages, computer science, visual/performing arts, speed, or vocational education.

*Demonstrate Mathematics Proficiency:  earn an ACT math score of 22, SAT math test score of 27.5, or complete the Rigorous Core.

*Demonstrate Writing Proficiency:  earn an ACT ELA score of 18 (average of the English, reading, and writing scores) or score 19 on the ACT essay; or earn a SAT writing and language test score of 25 or higher.

*Achieve one of the following requirements:

  1.  Earn at least a 2.5 high school GPA; or
  2. Rank in the top half of the school’s graduating class; or
  3. Earn an ACT composite score of 22 or higher, or SAT total score of 1120 or higher (except MSU-Northern:  ACT score of 20, SAT score of 1050.

Students who do not demonstrate the ability to meet the mathematics and/or writing proficiency standards may be admitted provisionally to a four-year degree program on any campus of the MUS and without condition to a two year degree program.

Entrance requirements do NOT apply to the following groups:  Non-traditional students (those who do not enter college for a period of at least three years following high school graduation);  Summer-only students; and  Part-time students taking seven or fewer credits per semester. In addition, institutions may exempt up to 15% of first-time, full-time undergraduates from the entrance requirements listed above.

This exemption is reserved for students with special talents, minorities, and others who demonstrate special needs. Two-year colleges in the MUS offer open admissions that do not require the academic standards listed above. However, certain programs within the college (such as nursing) may have admission standards.  A high school degree or GED is required for admission to all degree programs.

Rigorous Core College Prep Program

The rigorous core is an alternative to the Regents’ college prep program. Students who successfully complete the rigorous core are eligible for the MUS Honors Scholarship. In addition to the Regents’ college prep courses required for entrance to 4-year universities, the rigorous core adds one additional year of math (4 yrs.), science (3 yrs.), and college-prep electives (3 yrs.).

Provisional Admission Students who do not meet the writing and math proficiency standards are admitted to 4-year universities on a provisional basis. Students who are provisionally admitted can gain full admittance by  earning a “C” or better in developmental course work (must be done within the first three semesters); or  earning the required score on one or more of the math or writing assessment tests, including the ACT or SAT, required for admissions; or  completing an associate of arts or associate of science degree; or  submitting a letter to the admissions office documenting a disability that prevented the student from adequately demonstrating proficiency in a test setting if no accommodation was provided at the time of the test.

Posted on February 9, 2016

Big Sky Pathways


Capital High School and Helena College have partnered together to bring you pathways from high school to a degree

These pathways will show you which classes you should be taking to prepare yourself and which dual credit courses you could take in high school that would replace college requirements, thus making it quicker and cheaper to get your degree.

!CHS Pathways Booklet

The above booklet (which is also available in hard copy in your counselor’s office) contains pathways for the following programs.

Small Business Management
Accounting Technology
Medical Assisting
Medical Administrative Assisting
Nursing (LPN, RN)
Psychology/Sociology- Mental Health
Programing and Network Administration
Legal Support Specialist
Fire and Rescue
Criminal Justice
Industrial Welding
Computer Aided Manufacturing
Sheet Metal Apprenticeship
Automotive Technology