At the very top of the schedule each ninth grader receives at freshman orientation is the name of his/her guidance counselor, a member of a team of trained and experienced psychologists, social workers, educators, and school guidance counselors, who works with your child from Day One through high school graduation. The counselor works with teachers, parents and administrators to provide academic guidance and, as appropriate, emotional support to individual students and to monitor and respond to concerns which affect the school community. The counselor monitors the academic progress and psychosocial maturation of each of his/her students, meets with each of them on a regular basis throughout the year, and initiates various forms of intervention with individual students at the request of parents, teachers, administrators and/or the students themselves. The door of every adult at Frisch is always open to students and, needless to say, this is particularly true for guidance counselors.
The Grade Nine Va’ad Program
A little hand-holding goes a long way as freshmen begin to acclimate themselves to high school. The entire freshman class is divided into small groups—grouped by gender—which meet with an administrator or teacher every other week. This gives each ninth grader the address of another adult whose job it is to make sure that his/her needs are met. At the Va’ad meetings the students have an opportunity to report to us about issues of concern, to suggest changes or initiatives, and to talk in a more intimate setting about ideas which we think students should be discussing as they begin high school. Much time is spent helping students manage the stress that comes with navigating through high school and preparing them to achieve their individualized potential throughout their four years at Frisch. The Va’ad facilitators also make sure that the freshmen are reminded about club, publication and team meetings and tryouts.
The Torah Guidance Program gives students the opportunity to be paired informally with a Torah Studies teacher in a private, individual setting, enabling them to address religious and social questions and concerns. Each year, hundreds of students voluntarily sign up to be part of this program, more often than not identifying the specific rabbi or teacher with whom he/she would like to meet. This informal, relaxed environment creates a closer bond between student and teacher which facilitates open and frank discussions. The relationships between Frisch students and their teachers often last for years beyond graduation.
Our college guidance program has two major goals. First, of course, we do everything we possibly can to help each of our seniors identify and gain acceptance to the college or colleges which meet his/her academic, lifestyle and religious needs. Almost as important as “getting them in”, however, is ensuring that our students feel good about themselves as they work through the process while receiving support and encouragement from their college guidance counselor.
Department of Counseling and Guidance
The Department of Counseling and Guidance works with the school’s health educator to formulate the health curriculum and to plan special health-related programs for students, teachers and parents. Guidance counselors also run lunch-time drop-in centers to discuss a variety of issues such as handling stress, the healthy use of cyberspace, relationships, dealing with crises in the family, and preparing for summer jobs.
Throughout a student’s four years at Frisch, Rabbi Joshua Wald, our Mashgi’ach Ruchani, works to ensure that all students are getting the support they need to be fully engaged in every realm of school life — academically, religiously, emotionally and socially, as well as making sure they become involved in our school’s co-curricular opportunities. The Mashgi’ach Ruchani is in constant communication with our guidance counselors, mentors, teachers, and parents so that we can ensure that no student will ever fall between the cracks.