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Counseling Newsletter

Counseling Newsletter September 2019

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For detailed information on services, updates, and important student & parent resources, visit  Guidance Website 



This is the first of your counseling newsletters for the 2019-20 school year. This newsletter will be sent electronically to all parents with an e-mail account on file, and also posted on each school’s guidance web page, along with the 2019-20 Counseling Calendar. Please pay close attention to both the calendar and newsletters to keep current on important events, deadlines and processes.


Counselors will be visiting the 11th and 10th grade classes to provide students with registration and testing information regarding the PSAT, as well as an overview of this year’s testing changes.

Please be aware the PSAT will be administered at Lakeland and Walter Panas High Schools on Saturday, October 19, 2019. Students wishing to take the test can register by submitting a check for $37, payable to the Lakeland Central School District by October 4th. Eleventh and tenth grade students who register for the test should arrive for the test at 7:30 a.m. and remember to bring No. 2 pencils, a calculator, extra batteries and a school ID.

Why should students take the PSAT?

The PSAT/NMSQT is a practice test for the SAT, and juniors who take the test may qualify to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation programs.  The PSAT will better reflect topics that students will see on both the SAT and the ACT.  Students will receive their score results by December.

Who should take the PSAT?

Typically students take the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall of their junior year of high school, in preparation for spring SAT and/or ACT testing.  Sophomores who wish to gain experience with college admissions testing are also encouraged to register.  Any sophomore who chooses to sit for the exam should be sure to keep scores in proper perspective, understanding that this is an exam designed for students in their third year of high school.

 SENIOR College Application Season is here!

In the fall, counselors will be speaking with all seniors to continue the formal college and post-high school planning program that began in junior year.  The fall Senior College Night will be held on Thursday, September 26th at 7pm at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School. This is an essential program for both students and parents.  Completing applications takes a good deal of dedicated time and energy, so plan ahead; one of our past graduates may have written it best in a message posted to seniors, reading, “Start early! Don’t wait until the last minute or you will be overwhelmed and more stressed than you actually have to be!

Pay strict attention to deadlines and requirements, and understand that counselors and teachers require a minimum of ten school days to process your letters of recommendation and transcripts.  Remember that you have an abundance of resources available to you, from your counselor, to Naviance, to the district’s Guidance & Counseling web page, to college guidebooks; use your resources wisely!

The Dignity Act Reminder

Please remember that The Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) was expanded to offer students protections from harassment or discrimination via electronic mediums.  Information can be found on your school’s website, under the school services tab.

Counselors Meet With Freshmen

Counselors will be meeting with freshmen during the month of October to discuss the high school transition, the role of the high school counselor and support services available.  This is an opportune time for counselors to meet their new students, gather information, and discuss goal setting and getting involved.

Schedule Change Policy

Please note on your counseling calendar this year’s deadlines for schedule changes. These deadlines affect student transcripts, so please pay close attention. Key components of this policy involve clear deadlines, beyond which students cannot drop a course or change a course level.

College Admissions Representatives Scheduling Fall Visits

A list of college representative visits scheduled for the fall is available on the district’s Naviance Student webpage (scroll to the bottom).  Since this list is continually being updated, students should pay attention to morning announcements. Students or parents who wish to access Naviance but do not yet have a code, can do so by signing in as a guest.  The link to Naviance is located on the district Guidance & Counseling web page (, click Departments, Guidance, College & Career Links, Naviance Student, LHS or WPHS Naviance Student Link to the log-in screen.)  Students must notify teachers in advance if they must miss class in order to meet with an admissions representative.   Underclassmen are also welcome to meet with admissions representatives.  Space may be limited, and seniors will be given priority.

Attention Students With Disabilities

Remember that if you receive testing accommodations on school based exams and wish to receive the same on your standardized tests (PSAT, SAT/Subject Tests/ACT/AP exams), you must be approved for those accommodations through the College Board and ACT.  There is an application that needs to be completed by the student, parent and counselor at least two months in advance of testing.  Completing this application does not guarantee that you will receive accommodations, but allows the College Board or ACT to review whether you are eligible. The College Board application only needs to be completed once during your high school career and the ACT application needs to be filled out for each test.  Please see your counselor if you wish to apply.


Keeping on top of your work

It is the responsibility of each student to complete homework assignments – even when he or she is absent from school.  With a little planning and follow through, students can avoid falling behind.  Bear in mind, as our graduating seniors remind us, one of the single most important keys to academic success is regular student/teacher communication. 

In addition, here are a few pointers for staying on top of homework:

  • Get in the habit of writing down the entire week’s assignments if your teacher posts them in advance.  That way, you’ll already know the homework if you’re absent.
  • Check out the district website at  A growing number of teachers are putting homework assignments, research links, etc. On their web pages.  Home access center should be regularly monitored for grades and assignments.
  • Find a reliable friend in each class that you can call for homework information when you’re sick.  (offer to do the same for him or her, too!)
  • The first day back to school from an absence – even if it was only one day – plan to stay after school (period 9) to talk to each of your teachers about getting notes and/or missed assignments and to arrange a schedule with the teacher for turning in missed work.  Then resolve to follow through!

Students, who are going to be absent for 3 or more days, should call the Attendance Office to ask for their back homework.  Allow 24 hours for it to be ready to be picked up.

Senior Transcripts Available

Senior high school transcripts are now available for seniors and their parents/guardians to review through Home Access Center (HAC). Any college the student applies to will receive this transcript. Transcripts can be accessed under the "Grades" icon in HAC, within the "Transcript" tab. If there are any errors, please notify your counselor as soon as possible, and no later than September 27th..

IMPORTANT DATES                           
  • September 6th: Registration deadline for Oct 5th SAT
  • September 14th:  ACT Test
  • September 16th:  Last day to add a full year and first semester course.
  • September 19th LHS & WPHS Back to School Night, 6:45pm.
  • September 20th Registration deadline for Oct 26th ACT
  • September 26th Senior College Information Night,7pm @ LCBMS
  • September 27th:  Senior transcript corrections due.
  • October 1st: FAFSA available for Fall 2020
  • October 3rd: Registration deadline for Nov 2nd SAT
  • October 4th: PSAT registration due ($37)
  • October 5th: SAT and Subject Tests
  • October 11th: 1Q Interim Reports available in Home Access
  • October 15th: Transcript request for Early Action/Early Decision applications with Nov 1st deadlines due to counselor.
  • October 24th: Northern Westchester College Conference, 6:30pm, Yorktown High School.
  • October 26th: ACT Test.
  • October 31st: Last day to drop a full year and first semester course.
  • October 31st: Transcript request for Early Action/Early Decision applications with Nov 15th deadlines due to the counselor.

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, Andrea Keefe, Kathy Zadra, College and Career Ctr.