Welcome to the School Counseling Department for Huntsville City Schools
The Huntsville City Schools Counseling and Guidance Program is a comprehensive counseling and guidance program that helps prepare students for success in academic, career, and personal/social development. Counseling and guidance is an integral part of each school's total education program. The counseling and guidance program helps students achieve their full potential through four program delivery components: School Guidance Curriculum, Individual Student Planning, Responsive Services and System Support.
The Huntsville City Schools Counseling and Guidance Program follows The ASCA (American School Counselor Association) National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs and the Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance State Model for Alabama Public Schools.
Update for Seniors from the Huntsville City Schools District College Counselors:
We understand that many of our seniors are in the process of applying for college admission and scholarships and deadlines are coming soon. Below is information that may be helpful as we work through the current situation with technology.
We have been in contact with most of the colleges in our state to let them know about our current situation. If you need to contact the college directly, the contact information can be found on the specific college website.
We have set up a Transcript Request Google Form to gather information on transcripts that need to be sent out for our seniors. We will continue to send transcripts regularly. Please use this form to request “new” transcripts. *Please note: If you requested transcripts prior to the Thanksgiving break (prior to 11/24/2020), it is not necessary to request again.
Local Scholarship Opportunities
We are keeping an updated list of local scholarship opportunities on our external scholarships webpage. There are lots of great opportunities now, and we will continue to update the list!
HCS District College Counselors
Grissom, Jemison, & Lee
Columbia, Huntsville, & New Century
ETV Video Resources
- Fun At Home (Tips For Parents)
- Hygiene, You Stink!
- Positive Thoughts
- Together We Are Strong
- Coping with Strong Emotions & Worry
- Unstoppable Me
- WHNT Article on Long Term Mental Health Effects of COVID-19
- Talking to Children About Coronavirus (COVID19)
- Helping Kids Cope While Sheltering in Place
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Covid - TV Talk with Dr. Martin
How to talk with children about such public health emergencies?
- Create an open and supportive environment so children can ask questions
- Answer questions honestly by reassuring but do not make unrealistic promises
- Be prepared to repeat information and explanation several times as this may be a way for a child to ask for reassurance
What is the impact of this illness?
- In the early stages of an infectious disease outbreak such as coronavirus there is frequent uncertainty which often leads to anxiety, feelings of insecurity and possibly anger.
- Emotional distress even among those who have not been directly exposed to the disease
How does this impact dose already having pre-existing mental health conditions?
- Some patients may have increased emotional distress especially if it impacts them, their families of their communities
- Patients with a previous history of trauma, delusions or uncontrolled symptoms are vulnerable and we can help by ensuring they have adequate supplies of medications to avoid interruptions or hospitalizations.
Who are most vulnerable?
- Health care providers especially nurses are disproportionately affected with increased level of stress.
- Military families who have loved ones deployed and single parent families are also vulnerable
What are the psychological stressors of Quarantine?
- Distress is common in the context of fear and uncertainty.
- Other stressors include frustration and boredom, inadequate supplies and fears of infection
- Longer durations especially of 10 days or more can cause frustration and returning to usual work may take days to weeks or even months.
How do you promote psychological wellbeing during Quarantine?What can we do for people who are recovering from COVID-19?
- Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking
- Keep in touch with loved ones. Knowing that your loved ones are safe can reduce stress and improve your own adherence to quarantine. Reduce boredom by facilitating access to Internet and social media with the caveat that too much exposure from unreliable sources can increase stress.
- Recognize that feelings such as loneliness and normal reactions to stressful situation. Discuss strategies to reduce distress including taking preventive measures, being prepared, and engaging in hobbies
- Keep family's schedule relatively consistent, have children participate in online learning opportunities
- Avoid increase use of alcohol or tobacco
- Practice relaxation techniques
- Health care providers need to make sure that their basic needs are met like eating drinking and sleeping to decrease their stress while caring for patients. We should recognize and respect differences in ourselves and our patients.
- As healthcare providers we should remind ourselves that we are fulfilling a noble cause and we should honor our service.
What can we do for people who are recovering from COVID-19?
- There is evidence that stigma and fear around communicable diseases can hamper the response. This can be addressed by talking about “ people who have COVID-19”,
- Do not refer to people as “ suspects or cases”
- Do not attach locations or ethnicity to the wireless for example by calling it “ Chinese or Wuhan virus”
- Implement a “ hero” campaign for caretakers and healthcare workers who may be stigmatized
Can we receive mental health services remotely during this pandemic?
- Now through April 16th most insurances will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services ,
- The rules around HIPAA and video conferencing software has been relaxed and
- The requirement to have a doctor-patient relationship before electronically prescribing a controlled substance has been suspended for the duration of emergency declaration.
Character education is an important part of developing the whole student. Teachers and other school personnel, parents, and members of the community come together to support positive character development. Our monthly character words serve as a foundation for schools to promote strong character and citizenship among our students.
Character Words for 2020-21
ETV Video Resources
Disaster Distress Helpline Offers Immediate Crisis Counseling
Call 1-800-985-5990 or text "TalkWithUs" to 66746.
The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week national hotline dedicated to providing disaster crisis counseling. The toll-free Helpline is confidential and multilingual, and available for those who are experiencing psychological distress as a result of natural or man-made disasters, incidents of mass violence, or any other tragedy affecting America's communities.
Common warning signs that someone may be thinking about suicide include:
- Changes in mood
- Giving away prized possessions
- Putting final affairs in order
- Changes in physical appearance
- Prior suicide attempts
- Alcohol or drug use
- High-risk behaviors
- Making statements with themes of hopelessness, helplessness, and fear of becoming a burden
- Making verbal suicide threats, such as “I want to die” or “I’m going to kill myself”
- Any other significant changes
Crisis Services HELPline:
HELPline is a 24/7 free hotline that offers a trained worker and caring crisis cousnelor who can provide a listening earwhen tiems are rough. If you consider it a crisis, so do we.
Crisis Services TEXTline:
|Stressed out? Our trained counselors are here to support you through whatever you're going through. Our texline is secure and confidential, so go ahead: vent it out! We are open everyday 4 PM - 11:30 PM|
211 Resources Hotline:
|211 is a 24/7 resource line where you can speak to a specialist for free. We can help you find resources in your area. Things such as basic human needs physical/mental health, employment support, utility/rent assistance, etc.|
SPEAK North Alabama app
SPEAK North Alabama is a suicide prevention and Education app designed to help users easily access and recognize the signs of suicide in friends and family and get them the help they need, fast. It's not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment, but rather a "first line of defense" that offers people some solid information and useful tools that they can use to help someone they love make thorugh a difficult time.
Type SPEAK North Alabama in the app store or click this link: SPEAK Program APP
|Free Local Support Groups at Crisis Services of North Alabama:|
Crisis Services of North Alabama offers a variety of free support groups: Domestic violence, Sexual assault, survivors of suicide loss (bereavement), domestic violence survivors who are LGBTQ
Call the HELPline at 256-716-1000 for information, when we meet, and how to join!
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
|Trained helpers at the Naitonal Suicide Prevention Lifeline are online right now 24/7. All conversations are confidential and free.|
National Crisis Textline:
|Crisis Text Line is free 24/7 support for those in crisis, connecting people in crisis to trained Crisis Counselors. Our first priority is helping people move from a hot moment to a cool calm, guiding you to create a plan to stay safe and healthy. YOU=our priority.|
National Crisis Chat
|Lifelines Crisis Chat is a free 24/7 emotional support and crisis intervention service for people who are depressed, despairing or thinking about suicide.|
TrevorText is a confidential and secure resource that provides live help for LGBTQ youth with a trained specialist, over text messages.
Available 7 Days A Week, (Noon - 1 am ET/ 9am-10pm PT)
|Our trained counselors are here 24/7 to support you. If you are a young person in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgement -free place to talk, call.|
We also have a website!
Trans Lifeline is a national trans-led organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to the critical need of our community. Need to talk? Call! Our peer support hotline is run by and for trans people.
We're availbalbe 7am-1am PST/ 9am-3am CST/ 10am-4am EST.
Volunteers may be available during off hours.
Parents and Students,
If you participate in the Federal Free/Reduced Lunch program, PLEASE see your school counselor. You may be eligible for fee waivers to help pay for ACT, SAT, NCAA and college application fees.
ALL scholarships will be posted in Naviance and updated throughout the year. If you need login information, please see your school counselor. Check out the 2015-2016 Huntsville City Schools College and Career Guide listed under "Downloads."
It's never too early to start thinking about your career! Do you want to be an engineer, a fire fighter, or an English teacher? There's something for everyone! We encourage you to start thinking now about the things you enjoy doing and the things you're passionate about. Use the links below to guide you as you explore different options for the future.
- Alabama Career Planning System (Kuder) - Find education and career exploration activities as well as college financial aid information. List of Alabama's Hot 40 Demand Occupations. Log in to the Kuder program (ask your Guidance Counselor for login information). Find careers that fit with your interests, skills, and values through interactive inventories and quizzes.
- CareerOneStop - A great place to compare occupations, salaries, and job outlook. Take advantage of the Tools and Resources such as the Skills Profiler, Ability Profiler, Interest Profiler, Work Importance Locator, and Employability Checkup.
- College Board Resources - Search college majors and career profiles. Search and compare colleges. Search your major to find colleges that offer it.
- Salary Comparison - Search careers by category and zip code to find job descriptions and base salaries based on location.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook - Search hundreds of jobs to learn about training and education needed, earnings, expected job prospects, job tasks, and working conditions.
Higher education in whatever form - community college, university, technical school - is the opportunity of a lifetime. Being academically prepared will help students make the most of that opportunity.
As Huntsville City Schools works to prepare students for higher education, we're also taking proactive steps to increase our students' knowledge about various careers, especially those in our community! We feel students and parents need the information, skills and tools to make informed decisions regarding post-secondary educational options and careers.
Our goal is to bring college and career awareness to the forefront with a variety of activities and resources for students and parents.
Visiting colleges is a very important part of the process of finding the right college for each student. Students/parents may always contact the college to set up a tour on campus. Another great option is to attend a College Preview Day. These days are often held on the weekend and are designed for high school seniors and their families to attend and learn more about the college. The events often include a campus tour as well as informational sessions on topics like housing, financial aid, academics, and more! Check out the website at the college for more information or to find out if they will be hosting an Open House or Preview Day this fall or spring. **12th grade students are allowed two excused absences from school to visit colleges. See your School Counselor for details and a College Day approval form.
Huntsville City Schools is pleased to provide information from a variety of sources regarding scholarships.
For a list of local scholarship opportunities, please log in to Naviance at succeed.naviance.com. The information included in this list is provided to our School Counselors throughout the year from a variety of sources. Scholarships listed here are for graduating 12th grade students unless otherwise noted. We will update Naviance regularly, so please check back often!!
Naviance Family Connection is a tool that is freely provided to Huntsville City School students in grades 9-12, which serves as a comprehensive K-12 college and career readiness solution that helps districts and schools align student strengths and interests to post-secondary goals. With your Naviance Family Connection account, there are so many things you can do to prepare for your post-secondary plans! You can take career assessments, research careers, and colleges, search for local & national scholarships, request transcripts, prepare for the ACT using Naviance Test Prep, create resumes, set goals for your future, and much more! It is a useful tool for nearly everything college and career related. If you have questions regarding Naviance Family Connection, please see your counselor.
- To access Family Connection, you must complete the following steps:
- Visit the College & Career Readiness Technology Solution | Naviance website.
- Select “Students and Families.”
- Enter your zip code.
- Select your high school.
- Enter your username and password.
- Your username and password:
- Username: firstname.lastname (ex. chris.smith)
- Password: six-digit date of birth (ex. 062998)
Huntsville City Schools will host the 2020 Curriculum Showcase for parents and students on Saturday, February 1 from 10:00 – 1:00 at the Huntsville High School Freshman Academy. The information provided will help middle and high school students and their families make informed decisions regarding course selections for the 2020-2021 school year.
There will be a variety of sessions to choose from including information on Advanced Placement (AP) and honors classes, dual enrollment, magnet programs, career technical education, International Baccalaureate program, and the college application and selection process. We will also have representatives from each high school and middle school leading sessions on athletics, as well as clubs and activities. Each session is 25 minutes long so you will be able to attend multiple sessions. We are also offering a longer, 90-minute workshop titled College is for Me. The workshop will be conducted by the College Board organization. College Board is the organization that administers the SAT, PSAT and AP programs. The workshop will be offered at two time slots, 10:00-11:30 and 11:30-1:00. If you choose to attend the workshop you will still have time to attend some of the other sessions as well.