Return to Learn: Plan for a Safe Return 2020-2021

Return to Learn: Plan for a Safe Return 2020-2021

FAQ: Counseling for Middle School

Posted: September 25, 2020

School counselors are available to assist students and their families. Refer to the School Counseling Directory for contact information.

New Student Registration Information

What are the steps required to enroll a new student?

Parents are asked to use the Online Pre-Registration (OLR) self-service parent portal which allows parents and guardians to pre-register students online anytime from anywhere. OLR will be used in place of paper registration forms. The school will contact parents and guardians to schedule an in-person appointment to finalize the registration process. More information and to start the registration process.

When should the registration process start?

To help ensure that schools and students are well prepared for the first day of school, parents are encouraged to register their child or children at their zone school as soon as possible. Doing so helps our schools and teachers be equipped and ready to make each student's first day pleasant and productive.

How do I determine what school my student will attend?

To determine which school your child will attend, use the NNPS School Zone Finder. Enter your address, and the zone finder will provide the names of the elementary, middle, and high school assigned to your residence in the city. You may also call (757) 591-4500 to find out which school serves your neighborhood.

Academic Support

If I have a question or concern about my schedule, who do I contact?

Students are encouraged to check school website and email their school counselor if they have questions about their schedule.

Who do I contact for academic support?

The first step is to reach out to your teacher through email or Canvas. Teachers will be available to support you in enhancing your understanding of the learning and/or key concepts. Please keep the lines of communication open with your teachers. Should additional support be necessary, please reach out to your school counselor to assist you in navigating support and resources.

How will I know what classes to take for the next year?

Each year in February or March you will meet with your counselor to discuss course selection for the next year. During that meeting you will discuss progress with your counselor. If you or your parents have any questions prior to your individual meeting, please email your counselor for assistance. Email addresses are available in the staff section of each school’s website.

Can I take high school classes in middle school?

Yes, students are able to take high school courses in middle school. Middle-school students who enroll in and successfully complete high-school credit classes such as world language and higher-level math classes (algebra or geometry) will receive high-school credit that may be counted towards state graduation requirements.

Middle School Counselors

Why middle school counselors? (Adapted ASCA 2012)

Today's young people are living in an exciting time, with an increasingly diverse society, new technologies, and expanding opportunities. To help ensure that they are prepared to become the next generation of parents, workers, leaders, and citizens, every student needs support, guidance, and opportunities during adolescence, a time of rapid growth and change. Early adolescents face unique and diverse challenges, both personally and developmentally, that have an impact on academic achievement.

What are middle school students' developmental needs?

Middle school is an exciting, yet challenging time for students, their parents and teachers. During this passage from childhood to adolescence, middle school students are characterized by a need to explore a variety of interests, connecting their learning in the classroom to its practice application in life and work; high levels of activity coupled with frequent fatigue due to rapid growth; a search for their own unique identity as they begin turning more frequently to peers rather than parents for ideas and affirmation; extreme sensitivity to the comments from others; and heavy reliance on friends to provide comfort, understanding and approval.

The 11-Year-Old Child (6th Grade)

Developmental Need Guidance Implication
Is heading toward adolescence Adults need to show patience and sense of humor
Shows more self-assertion, curiosity Emphasize action rather than insight counseling
Is sociable, physically exuberant, talks a lot Functions well in groups especially same sex groups
Range of emotions, moody or easily frustrated Relate emotions to real-world consequences
Can relate feelings Sharing of personal stories
Competitive, wants to excel, sensitive, want to belong Forming contracts and making joint plans can be successful
"Off color" humor, silliness Explanation of timing and appropriateness

The 12-Year-Old Child (7th Grade)

Developmental Need Guidance Implication
In-between childish and mature behavior Ideal age for group counseling
Is spirited, enthusiastic Co-ed groups may be utilized
Can sit longer, demonstrates self-control Use activities designed to identify potential
Sense of intuition and insight into self-issues Sensitive topics can be addressed more effectively
Less moody; may be good-natured around adults Use of "adult" counseling can be effective
Curious but not ready for long-term planning Skills and techniques assessments
Strong desire to be like peers Promote belonging but not following

The 13-Year-Old Child (8th Grade)

Developmental Need Guidance Implication
More critical of self and others Adults need to be sympathetic and understanding
Often withdraws, seek aloneness Provide invitations to join group and activities
Period of momentous transition and vacillation Focus on feelings about self
Tends to be reflective Emphasize group discussions about class and self
More worries and fears Give guidance in decision-making
Conforms to dress and behavior of peers Co-ed groups should continue
Tends to be shy and unwilling to perform in front of peers Individual counseling and emphasizing that mistakes are not failures

Important Dates/Special Events

Annual College Fair

College and Career exploration is encouraged during middle school years. There will be a virtual college fair this year over a two-month period. Students will need to register. Information posted below:

September 14 – November 6: VACRAO and StriveScan present the Virtual College Exploration Program. Join over 100 institutions for panels and college fairs over the course of eight weeks.

    • Week 1: Sept. 14-18, Transfer-specific panel presentations and virtual college fairs
    • Week 2: Sept. 21-25, Freshman admission panel presentations
    • Weeks 3-6: Sept. 28 - Oct. 23, Freshman virtual college fairs
    • Week 7: Oct. 26-30, Freshman admission panel presentations
    • Week 8: Nov. 2-6,Transfer-specific panel presentations and virtual college fairs

All events are free and open to all students. Sign up for as many sessions as you would like that fit your schedule. Website for students to register:

Brief Monthly Outline

Students are encouraged to keep grades up and refocus study habits. Finish the year strong and reach out for additional support.


  • 10/9 Half day/Academic conference night TBD
  • Will the PSAT be offered on October 14?
    PSAT is offered to students taking Algebra 1 or higher math in middle school. College Board is currently reviewing winter dates due to COVID-19. Additional information will be forthcoming.


  • 11/2 End of Marking Period 1
  • 11/11 MP1 report cards issued
  • 11/25-27 Thanksgiving Break


  • 12/21-31 Winter Break


  • 1/4 School reopens
  • 11/18 MLK holiday
  • 1/27 MP2/1st semester ends


  • 2/1 2nd semester begins
  • 2/15 President's Day


  • 3/5 Half day of school


  • 4/5-9 Spring Break


  • 5/31 Memoral Day holiday


  • 6/18 Last day for students

Mental Health

Given the impact of school closures and the pandemic have had on the well-being of students, what resources are available this year to support their mental health?

Social emotional and mental health resources will be available to support students this fall. Clinical and counseling staff will provide mental health support and resources including group counseling and consultation for students and families as needed.

NNPS has Licensed Mental Health Therapists who offer school based mental health therapy. Please contact your school counselor to complete a referral for services.

Who should I contact if I need to speak with someone and am feeling sad or depressed?

Please reach out to your school counselor (email addresses are on the school website) or student support specialist at your school. Send him/her an email, and he/she will respond as soon as they can. Please put urgent in the subject line of your email.

You can also text "HOME" to 741741 for free counseling 24/7 in the United States.

If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself, please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Social/Emotional Support is ongoing and a priority for all school counselors. Noted below are ways this is utilized:

    • Collaboration with school psychologists and social workers
    • Family updates with resource recommendations
    • Sharing resource support with teachers
    • Small group meetings on anxiety, stress, management
    • Wellness check in with parents/providing resource
    • Checking on students through parent contact
    • Zoom meetings with teachers and parents
    • Sharing resources with teachers on emotional support
    • Follow up contacts based on parent and teacher recommendations
    • Check in with students via google classroom and zoom
    • Phone calls and follow up emails to families
    • Small groups in zoom and google classroom
    • Teaming in class sessions with teachers
    • Counselor corner newsletter
    • Providing students & families with tips & resources on wellness
    • Following up with students who teachers and administrators have addressed concerns
    • Check-in’s with social/emotional concerns 
    • Student Support Team Meetings  (Child Studies, 504’s)
    • Collaboration with student support specialists, school psychologists and social workers

Career Exploration

How can I explore career options?

Students can access the Career Interest Profiler on Naviance. Completing the profiler can help you find out what your interests are and how they relate to the world of work. It can also help you decide what kinds of careers you might want to explore. School Counselors will work with all students and navigate them through Naviance Assessment.

12 Career Pathways in NNPS:

    • Government and Public Administration
    • Hospitality and Tourism
    • Architecture and Construction
    • Education and Training
    • Business, Management and Administration
    • Manufacturing and Engineering
    • Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security
    • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
    • Arts, AV Tech and Communications
    • Health Science
    • Information Technology, Gaming and Modeling & Simulation
    • Human Services

Development Goals

Academic Development Goal

Students will acquire the academic preparation essential to choose from a variety of educational, training, and employment options upon completion of secondary school. Various ways that counselors can address this include but are not limited to:

    • Class scheduling/academic planning
    • Guidance lessions
    • College inquiries/tours
    • Academic Intervention
    • Naviance: College & Career Assessment

Career Development Goal

Students will investigate the world of work in order to make informed career decisions. Various ways that counselors can address this include but are not limited to:

    • College & Career Fairs
    • Career Speaker
    • Career Chasers
    • Naviance: College & Career Assessment

Personal/Social Development Goal

Students will acquire an understanding of, and respect for, self and others, and the skills to be responsible citizens. Various ways that counselors can address this include but are not limited to:

    • Individual Counseling
    • Small Group Counseling
    • Mediation
    • Peer Mediation
    • Guidance lessons
    • Lunch Bunch


Naviance: College and Career Assessment:

Free College Planning:

Military Family Resources: