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Counseling Newsletter

Counseling Newsletter January/ February 2021

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Scheduling for 2021-22

Teachers in grades 9-11 will be speaking with their students regarding course options and will make formal recommendations for students for the 2021-2022 school year. Teacher recommendations are based upon student performance and work habits evidenced through the first half of the year. The teacher can change their recommendation if there is a decline or improvement in the student’s performance in the second half of the year

Beginning in mid-February, counselors will be working on course requests to review recommendations, formalize their course requests, ensure graduation requirements are being met, and encourage students to appropriately challenge themselves. We encourage families to read through the full list of academic offerings available through the Program of Studies which is accessed on the district Guidance webpage at

Understanding Course Selection and Advising

Following students’ course selections in February for the 2021-22 school year, parents will be notified when verification of those course requests become available in Home Access Center for review and confirmation. This is an opportunity for students and parents to address any questions or concerns with teachers and counselors regarding course level. 

Students and parents seeking a change in their recommended academic level will participate in an academic advising process.  Academic advising ensures that the rationale for course level placement is clearly communicated between teacher, student, parent and counselor so that informed decisions can be reached. Students and parents may choose a level other than what has been recommended by completing an academic advising form.

The last day to request to move up a course level will be April 30. 

The Halfway Mark!

Believe it or not, we are fast approaching the mid-year mark, with the end of the second quarter arriving on January 22nd.  The mid-year point in the school calendar is a good time to evaluate your academic progress and make decisions about how you want to finish out the rest of your school year.  Of course every good decision is backed by a plan, so consider what specific changes you need to make in your habits and touch base with your counselor and teachers if you are not sure how or where to begin.

Students must also be aware of any changes to their spring schedule, such as new half-year courses that are beginning on January 25th.  Moreover, please note that per district BOE policy, February 5h is the last day to add a spring semester elective.  March 1st is the last day to drop a spring elective without notation on the transcript and March 31st is the last day to drop with notation on the transcript.

Seniors must also remember that although mid-year grades are the last set of grades that are factored into an admissions decision, any college acceptance is a conditional acceptance, pending successful completion of the senior year.  If a student’s grades drop, the college may put the student on academic probation or take away the offer of acceptance entirely.  So be smart and plan to continue to work hard through the second half of senior year.

College Decision Letters

Seniors, please let your counselor know when you receive any admissions decisions (whether it is an acceptance, denial, or deferral) from the colleges/universities to which you applied.  If you received a deferral, remember to write to the college to let them know if you remain a very interested candidate.  Good Luck!!

Don’t Forget Your Financial Aid!

This is a reminder that by now all college-bound seniors and their parents should have filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at .  If you list a New York college on your FAFSA, you can link directly to the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).  For more information on TAP, visit . You should not pay for help in seeking out scholarships, filling out the FAFSA, or applying for financial aid.  There is help available either online or by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).  Various websites offering help with filing the FAFSA for a fee are not affiliated with, or endorsed by, the U.S. Department of Education; many are scams. 

Be sure to check with individual colleges to find out if they require the Financial Aid CSS Profile form (available online at and/or other forms.  Note that there is a fee associated with the CSS Profile.  Links to all forms, financial aid presentations, and other financial aid tools and information are available on the district Guidance web page.

Junior Parent Conferences Begin

What is a Junior Parent Conference (JPC)?  JPCs are meetings designed to continue the work counselors have begun with students towards their post high school planning.  In these meetings which include parents/guardians and students, counselors will:

  • Review the student’s academic progress/profile
  • Provide planning specific to a student’s post high school goals
    • For example: college process, standardized testing timeline

Conferences with eleventh graders and a parent or guardian are beginning January 11.  Please contact the Counseling Office and speak with support staff to schedule a phone or Google Meet  appointment during school hours.  Please note that the focus of a JPC does not necessarily have to be on the college process, as some students and families may also be exploring options related to enrolling in a trade program, going into the workforce, taking a gap year or enrolling in the military.

College Virtual Visits

Under normal circumstances there is no better way to get a feel for a college than to visit in person.  With continued COVID-19 restrictions on college campuses, visiting still presents as a challenge for students.  While there may be some colleges that are offering campus tours and information sessions, the majority of them have shifted to virtual events such as college fairs as well as their own individual admissions events.  When planning your “visits” it is best to utilize the college’s website as the main source of information.

Upcoming Sophomore BOCES Tech Center Visit

On Wednesday, January 13, all 10th grade students will have the opportunity to learn more about the BOCES programs offered next year in a presentation given by the BOCES staff.  There will be two information sessions offered (one for each high school).  Students will be able to access the virtual meeting link by going to their respective Google Classroom for Class of 2023 Guidance.

The meeting times are as follows:

Walter Panas High School:        1:30pm

The BOCES Tech Center offers unique opportunities for students to explore many career and college preparatory programs, providing many students with practical, employable skills.  To preview what BOCES offers, go to

  • January 8th           ACT registration deadline for 2/6 test
  • January 11th        Junior Parent Conferences (JPC’s) begin
  • January 13th        BOCES Tech presentations (virtual) for 10th graders
  • January 22nd        End of 2nd Quarter (mid-year)
  • February 2nd        2Q report cards available in Home Access Center
  • February 5th         Last day to add a 2nd semester course
  • February 6th         ACT Test date
  • Feb. 8th-Mar. 12th School Counselor course selection meetings with students
  • February 12th      SAT registration deadline for 3/13 test (Subject tests not offered on this date)
  • TBD                      8th grade Orientation for LHS and WPHS
  • TBD                      8th grade Transition day
  • TBD                      Elective Fair       


WALTER PANAS HIGH SCHOOL, 300 Croton Avenue, Cortlandt Manor, NY  10567
PH:  (914) 739-2823 (press 3, Guidance), FAX: (914) 739-3545
ADMINISTRATION:  Joseph Spero, Principal, Donna Bolner, Asst. Principal, Marlene Gracia, Asst. Principal
COUNSELING OFFICE:  Nadia Potter, District Director of Guidance and Counseling
SCHOOL COUNSELORS:  Chelsea Aversano, Dale Chappelle, Laurainne Mosca, Sonia Recuppio, Brandon Thomas
SUPPORT STAFF:  Mary Ellen Brown, Kathy Giordano, Carole Henkin, Kathy Zadra, College and Career Ctr.