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Popularity is Overrated – New Video

You do not have to be popular to be happy. Middle and High school students are so concerned by what others think. This obsession with being popular can lead to anxiety disorders and other mental health issues. This is a great anti bullying video you can share with your students. We judge others by clothes, appearance, economics, and so much more. We do this to be popular and in with the in group. Keith Deltano has a great way of using comedy to get his message across.

Here is a link to the video:

Mental Health Resources to Support Students Navigating Life’s Challenges

All students have their own personal struggles. Some might do well in school but are often
bullied by their peers. Others might struggle academically, due to a learning disability, an
unstable home life, or other factors. Some are dealing with mental health conditions that
require extra support.

Regardless of their different challenges, all students need mental health support to some
degree. The pressures of being a high school student today are immense, and many kids are
pushing themselves to the limit in order to keep up in school.

As a counselor, you can help support students as they navigate life’s challenges, whether that’s coping with the loss of a parent or simply trying to get into their first-choice college.
Maintaining good mental health and well-being is difficult for many young people, and it’s
important to provide them with the resources they need to feel supported.

Understanding the Mental Health Needs of High School Students

Mental health overall has been worsening among young people. In 2021, 29% of adolescents
had poor mental health, and 22% considered committing suicide. Students reported a range of mental health problems, but the most common issues were anxiety, depression, and stress.

Certain groups of students are also more likely to experience poor mental health, due to
external factors. Students in the LGBTIQA+ community, for example, often experience these
types of mental health problems due to a lack of familial support, bullying, and other social
problems. Students in racial and ethnic minorities are also more likely to experience poor
mental health, due to the behavior of their peers.

It’s important for teachers and school counselors to understand the signs of mental distress in students. Social withdrawal, changes in behavior, and declining academic performance are just some of the indications that a student might be struggling with their mental health.

The Role of High School Counselors in Mental Health

As a counselor, you do your best to support student mental health and to talk through challenges with the students who reach out to you. However, there aren’t enough hours in the day and some students might also need additional support that is beyond your knowledge and expertise.

With that in mind, one of your most important roles is to assess what the student might need and help them to connect with those resources. Sometimes, that might mean working with school administrators, teachers, parents, and even resources outside of the school.

Staying up-to-date in terms of your knowledge and current best practices for counseling is
critical. This will help you refer your students to the resources that will be most helpful for them and their individual needs.

Accessible Mental Health Resources

In addition to in-house counseling and other school-based resources, you can connect students with accessible mental health resources available in the community. Making sure that students have numbers for crisis helplines is an important step, but you should also make contact with local resources, such as community mental health centers.

Identify support groups, local nonprofits, and online mental health platforms that students can use as additional sources of support. Depending on their situation, different formats or types of support can be helpful, so be sure to provide different options.

You might also need to provide these kinds of resources to students’ families when it’s appropriate. Parents often don’t know what to do when their child is struggling with mental health problems, and you can help by pointing them in the right direction!

Self-Help Strategies for High School Students

Another way to help students with their mental health is to provide them with options for
healthy coping. Teaching students stress management techniques such as grounding and
breathing exercises, mindfulness, and meditation, can help them cope with life’s challenges and maintain their mental health even during tough times.

You can also help them develop skills to cope with academic pressures. Help them learn time management techniques, study skills, and more. These strategies can help students reduce stress and maintain their academic performance when they are dealing with life’s challenges. Also, remind them to seek help when they need it!

Promoting Mental Health Awareness in Your High School

Students don’t always know that they need help and support for their mental health. They
might also feel uncertain or scared about bringing their problems to the counseling office. One way to help with these problems is to promote mental health awareness in your school.

Awareness campaigns, workshops, and seminars on mental health can accomplish two goals. First, they help to normalize seeking help and build an understanding that many people experience these kinds of issues. They also give students basic mental health knowledge that can help them in their own well-being journey.

A Counselor’s Role: Communication and Building Trust

Above all, students need to feel safe when they walk into their counselor’s office. They need to know that you respect them and their privacy. Providing open and non-judgmental communication helps to build trust and allows counselors to better support students in building and maintaining their mental health and well-being.

Being a counselor isn’t always easy. However, when you’re able to provide resources that allow students to thrive, you are truly making a positive difference in the world.

Navigating the Discussion on Antisemitism with High School Students: Educate, Engage, and Empower

Addressing complex and sensitive topics like antisemitism in high school environments is crucial to fostering understanding, empathy, and combating prejudice. With the situation in Israel/Gaza this topic is at the forefront of conversation around the country. As educators and mentors, engaging in discussions about such topics is an opportunity to encourage critical thinking and promote a culture of inclusivity and respect. This blog post aims to outline effective strategies and approaches for discussing antisemitism with high school students, emphasizing the importance of education, open dialogue, and empowerment.

Understanding Antisemitism

Before engaging in conversations about antisemitism, it’s essential to establish a foundational understanding of what it is and its historical roots. Antisemitism refers to prejudice, discrimination, or hostility directed against Jewish people. It has a long and troubling history, often manifested in stereotypes, hate speech, violence, and systemic discrimination. Exploring the history of antisemitism, including significant events such as the Holocaust, helps students comprehend the severity and impact of such bigotry.

Creating a Safe and Open Environment

Establishing a safe space where students feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and asking questions is crucial. Emphasize the importance of respectful dialogue and the value of diverse perspectives. Encourage active listening and understanding differing viewpoints while maintaining a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech or discriminatory comments.

Utilizing Educational Resources

Introduce a variety of educational resources to provide context and insight into the topic. This might include documentaries, literature, survivor testimonies, and historical accounts. By incorporating diverse materials, students can grasp the multifaceted nature of antisemitism and its impact on individuals and societies.

Encouraging Critical Thinking

Engage students in critical thinking exercises that challenge stereotypes and encourage them to analyze media portrayals and cultural representations of Jewish individuals. This can involve examining news articles, films, or social media content to understand how biases and prejudices can be perpetuated.

Promoting Empathy and Perspective-Taking

Encourage students to develop empathy by considering the experiences and perspectives of those affected by antisemitism. This might involve role-playing scenarios, where students take on different roles and attempt to understand the emotions and challenges faced by individuals targeted by prejudice.

Empowerment Through Action

Beyond understanding and empathy, empower students to take action against antisemitism. This could involve organizing awareness campaigns, participating in community events, or collaborating with organizations dedicated to combating hate and promoting tolerance.

Continuing the Conversation

Antisemitism is an ongoing societal issue, and it’s important to foster a continuous dialogue. Encourage students to continue discussing these topics outside the classroom, at home, in their communities, and on social media. This fosters a culture of ongoing education and awareness.


Discussing antisemitism with high school students is an opportunity to mold future generations into compassionate, informed, and empowered individuals. By fostering open dialogue, providing education, encouraging critical thinking, promoting empathy, and empowering action, we can instill values of tolerance and understanding, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive and harmonious society.

Engaging high school students in discussions about antisemitism is a powerful step towards a future free from prejudice and discrimination. Through education and open dialogue, we can empower the leaders of tomorrow to build a world where differences are embraced and celebrated.

8 Best Questions to Ask in an Interview

Most of your students will be going on interviews at some point in the next few years so it is important that they begin preparing. Here are 8 questions they should ask the interviewer provided by Resume Genius:

1. How has your company adapted to recent industry changes or trends?
If a company merely acknowledges industry shifts without taking actionable steps, it might indicate a lack of innovation or foresight. Job seekers should look for companies that not only recognize but also proactively adapt to industry changes. By doing so, candidates can also highlight their own keen awareness of industry dynamics and their adaptability.

2. What two or three qualities define a top performer at your company?
Understanding what a company values in its top performers can provide insights into its culture and expectations. If a company’s definition of a top performer is vague or misaligned with a candidate’s values, it might not be the best fit. Job seekers should seek companies where their strengths and values align with those of top performers.

3. How does your company foster professional development and career growth?
A company’s commitment to employee growth is a strong indicator of its overall culture. If professional development is limited to certain roles or levels, it might suggest a lack of equal growth opportunities. According to LinkedIn’s 2023 Workforce Learning report, employees prioritize “progress toward career goals” as their top motivation to learn. By demonstrating a long-term career vision during interviews, job seekers can position themselves as ambitious and prioritize companies that offer clear and inclusive growth paths. 

4. Can you share more about the specific team that I’d be working with if hired?
Understanding team dynamics is crucial for a smooth transition into a new role. Job seekers should look for companies that are open about team structures and dynamics and be able to highlight their skills that could bridge a gap or provide additional support.

5. What do you think is the most challenging aspect of this job?
Addressing potential challenges head-on demonstrates a job seeker’s problem-solving mindset. It also provides an opportunity to demonstrate one’s proactive approach and readiness to tackle challenges head-on. Also, recognizing potential challenges upfront can set realistic expectations and prepare candidates for success. Candidates should seek companies that are candid about the challenges and offer support to overcome them.

6. Can you describe the company’s culture and core values?
A company’s culture and values are foundational to job satisfaction. If a company struggles to articulate its culture or if its stated values seem misaligned with observable behaviors, it might be a red flag. Job seekers should prioritize companies where the culture and values resonate with their own.

7. What do you personally enjoy about working here?
Personal insights provide a genuine perspective on the company’s work environment, so job applicants should look for companies where employees speak passionately and authentically about their experiences. This question not only provides a clearer picture of the workplace but also serves as a powerful rapport builder between the candidate and the interviewer.

8. Could you share a piece of career advice based on our conversation today?
This question showcases a candidate’s commitment to continuous learning, personal growth, and value for diverse viewpoints. This approach can also emphasize the candidate’s eagerness to learn from experienced professionals and apply insights to their career journey. 

Social Media and Cyberbullying: A Guide

The modern world for youth is very different than the environments most of us grew up in. Nowadays, social media is the number one avenue for children to be bullied and cyberbullying is one of many negative effects that we are seeing on kids from social media apps. Cutter Law has compiled a guide that takes a deeper dive into the connection between social media and cyberbullying. This guide includes more information about its prevalence, who is most affected, and how we can prevent it. Check it out here:

Do you know the 5 different types of Test-Optional policies?

Test-Optional for All Students: All applicants have the choice of submitting standardized test scores. No one is required to submit scores, but they can if they wish.

Test-Optional for Some Students: Some specific academic programs or applicants (like homeschooled students or international students) may still be required to submit test scores.

Test-Flexible: SAT or ACT scores can be submitted with this policy, but these schools typically accept other test scores as well, such as Advanced Placement (AP) exam results or International Baccalaureate (IB) scores. 

Test-Blind: Colleges do not consider standardized test scores whatsoever during the application process. Even if a student submits their scores, the college will not review or use them in their evaluation. 

Test-Optional with Scores Required for Scholarships: Some colleges might adopt a test-optional policy for general admission but still require standardized test scores if a student wants to be considered for merit-based scholarships. In this case, test scores are used solely for scholarship purposes, not for admission decisions.

This comes from a guide/blog post that Going Merry recently published which also includes a list of schools that are test-optional as well as more information about why schools are now offering test-optional as a policy. Check it out here:

Do Your Students and Their Parents Understand the Different Types of Federal Loans?

If not, we found a recently published guide that can help them. U.S. News & World Report just published a blog that outlines the four different types of federal funding with an overview of each.

Four types of federal student loans are available:

  • Direct subsidized loans
  • Direct unsubsidized loans
  • Direct PLUS loans
  • Direct consolidation loans

Here is a link to their post giving an overview of each type:

We recommend researching grants and scholarships but realistically those will not cover the entire cost of college so some funding is necessary. Federal loans are typically preferrable to private student loans as they typically will have lower interest rates. This guide can help your students decide which source may be right for them.

Pathways to College Success for Students with Learning Differences – Free Webinar

Join Estrela team members Alyson Campbell & Amber Gilsdorf as they highlight programs that are committed to post-secondary success for students with learning differences. Many students require different levels of support to be successful in college. This webinar will focus on what to look for when seeking support for your student. Joining them will be Travis Brown from Bowling Green State University’s FLY program and Leann DiAndreth-Elkins representing Muskingum University’s PLUS program. Both schools offer programs specializing in additional academic support services for students with learning differences.

Parents, students, school counselors, IECs and educators are encouraged to attend. There will be a Q & A at the end. The webinar will be live on October 26th and then archived and available to registrants free to watch any time after that date. Here is the link:

One for Two Education Foundation Scholarship

The 1 for 2 Education Foundation is seeking highly motivated applicants of accredited U.S. four-year
colleges and universities.

For the 2023 academic year, the Foundation selected a diverse group of four scholars who attended both
public and private high schools from four states. Grants of up to $20,000 per academic year were made
to attend both public and private colleges and universities across the U.S.

For the 2024 academic year, the Foundation intends to award at least two merit-based scholarships. The
size of the individual grants is determined on the basis of tuition remaining after considering all other
forms of tuition assistance obtained by the scholar.

Requirements to Apply:
• An up-to-date official transcript from the current school
• Indicate a commitment to the Foundation’s Pledge
• All required application questions must be answered and fields completed
• Applicant must be living in the United States but is not required to be a U.S. citizen or permanent
• The college or university must be in the United States
• GPA must be at least 3.7 unweighted, 4.0 weighted

Application Deadline: February 1, 2024

The Foundation considers the applicant’s high school academic record, leadership and community
service activities, and letters of recommendation. Applicants are also assessed on the alignment of their
values with the Foundation’s values as it relates to their intention to fulfill their Pledge to the Foundation.
While receiving a scholarship from the Foundation, scholars are required to attend the Foundation’s
annual gathering. During this event, scholars will have a chance to meet other scholars, graduates, and
directors. They will also participate in personal development and learning sessions aimed at preparing
them for academic, career, and life goals. The 2024 Gathering is planned for August 1-5, 2024, in
Michigan. All reasonable costs to attend the Gathering are covered by the Foundation.
Applicants are required to make the following pledge:
In consideration of the 1 for 2 Education Foundation (“the Foundation”) making this scholarship grant I
pledge to support the mission of the Foundation by:
a) participating in the annual Foundation Gathering while receiving my scholarship,
b) supporting my fellow Foundation Scholars’ academic and career goals during my lifetime, and
c) paying for a comparable scholarship grant for two persons, who are not related to me by blood,
adoption, or marriage, during my lifetime.

Application link: Apply Now – 1 For 2 Education Foundation –

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