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Choosing the Best College Made Easy at Saint Gertrude High School


The Academic Advising and School Counseling Department at SGHS, formerly named the Guidance Department, is under new leadership this year. New members of the SGHS faculty, Mrs. Harris Hoffmann and Ms. Garnett, are carrying out several key changes in this department, expanding and reworking the services offered to students and their families to offer a comprehensive program.

Rebecca Hoffmann serves as the Director of Academic Advising and School Counseling and the school’s College Counselor. Before joining SGHS in August 2017, Mrs. Hoffmann was employed as Associate Director of Admission at Meredith College and previously a Counselor and Admissions Director at Nansemond-Suffolk. As a result, she has years of experience working in independent schools and the added advantage of experiencing both sides of the college admissions process. As the SGHS college counselor, Mrs. Hoffmann fuels a robust program at SGHS, assisting juniors, seniors and their families through the college application process. She utilizes Naviance, a powerhouse college counseling software program, that the School provides as a service to all Saint Gertrude students and their families. Parents and their daughters login to Naviance where they can research specific colleges’ level of selectivity and programs offered, compare their competitiveness for admission, schedule meetings with visiting college representatives, and navigate the college application process in a supportive environment.

Under Mrs. Hoffmann’s supervision, the overall scope and depth of the Academic Advising and School Counseling Department has increased. New this year, each student meets individually with her School Counselor as part of the scheduling process. Together, they discuss a personalized academic course of study, a plan to meet and exceed graduation requirements, opportunities to foster personal and academic growth, and participation in extracurricular activities. Parents are encouraged to attend these scheduling meetings, especially during the junior year as a college plan is formalized.

Ms. Garnett, School Counselor, advises students in grades nine and ten, and supports students in all grade levels in their social/emotional growth. Previously, Ms. Garnett worked in Albemarle County as a High School Counselor; she brings a fresh approach and enthusiasm to the SGHS Academic Advising and School Counseling program. College counseling begins in grade 9 and continues throughout the high school years. Ms. Garnett encourages freshmen and sophomores to work hard, to get involved in school activities, and to earn good grades. In the sophomore year, Ms. Garnett facilitates a career interest survey that assists students in selecting potential fields of study that play to their strengths. Having attended an independent school during her high school years, Ms. Garnett understands the significance of a small school setting on a young woman’s academic and personal development. Earlier this year, Ms. Garnett developed a health and nutrition workshop for ninth grade students as part of the Discover Leadership program. Students made healthy snacks that could easily be replicated at home, supporting the premise that one must first take care of herself, becoming strong in body, mind, and spirit before leading others.

School Counselors, Ms. Garnett and Ms. Hoffmann, support students who struggle academically in any subject throughout the school year by facilitating the Academic Review Program. Academic Review is intentionally designed to provide a circle of support around students as they establish and reinforce good academic habits. New this year, students on Academic Review attend an after school study hall Monday-Thursday with Mrs. Farmer, Head of the Math Department or Ms. Gervasoni, Theology teacher. Students may substitute up to two after school study halls with a signed note from a teacher, indicating they worked with the teacher during office hours. Seeking assistance from a teacher is one academic habit that can be easily fostered in students. In addition, SGHS Learning Specialist, Ms. Anne Jamerson, is available to work with students who learn differently, as determined by educational testing, and students who have been absent for an extended period. Ms. Jamerson plays an essential role in providing a elevated level of services to students and their parents.

The Summer Internship Program is a longstanding component of the Discover Leadership Program at SGHS, pairing students with mentors in a field of interest. Students have the opportunity to develop essential workplace skills and to explore a possible career choice before applying to college. Ms. Garnett and Ms. Wolpert, Student Activities Coordinator, will collaborate to connect rising seniors with mentors in local businesses to facilitate a 20 hour internship over the summer. This is a valuable experience and networking opportunity for all involved.