High School Guidance Program

Overview 

The high school application process in downtown Chicago can be complex. As a result, the high school guidance process should be a key component in assisting each student reach his/her optimum educational development. After years of working closely with Chicago area high schools, FXW has developed a multi-faceted high school matriculation process that helps make the high school transition seamless for both students and parents.  

In keeping with our mission, finding the best fitting high school is a partnership forged between the FXW and each eighth grade student and family. The process begins at the end of the seventh grade with a parent orientation and continues throughout eighth grade. Led by our dedicated High School Guidance Team, each child is surrounded by an abundance of support – skill building to regularly scheduled planning sessions. 

We believe that helping students and parents prepare for the next steps beyond FXW is an important aspect of our educational process. Our High School Guidance Team (HSGT) works closely with our seventh and eighth graders to identify schools that are the “best fit” for each student — allowing them to be both challenged and successful in high school. We assist students and their families by discussing the range of options, taking into account specific programs and curricula, school cultures, geographic locations, specialized programs, the choice of public, private, Catholic or independent school. 

An Individualized Approach 

The individual approach we take to high school guidance helps ensure that FXW graduates go on to be successful at their next school. Through individual counseling sessions with both families and students, the HSGT gains thorough knowledge of each student both in and outside of school. 

Our advising process allows students to expand their self-knowledge and gain greater awareness of their skills, interests, what they value, and what new areas they may want to explore in high school. The opportunity for students to take a “personal inventory” at this critical point in their development, just before entering high school, is one of the most important parts of the process. In addition, we believe that the close collaboration between the FXW faculty and the HSGT is critical to this individualized process.  The HSGT communicates regularly with the receiving schools about the depth and breadth our academic and co-curricular programs.  

Parent/Student Meetings 

Grade level parent meetings geared toward the high school process begin in sixth grade. These sessions explain the different strategies useful strategies to prepare for applying to high school. For example, parents of  seventh graders learn about the concept of “shadowing” schools of interest so that they can set up Shadow Days for their children. Grade level student meetings with the High School Counselor begin in the spring of 7th grade. Further conversations with the 8th grade class take place in the fall, when students begin to identify personal needs and specific interests that they wish to see met by the high schools they will eventually attend. 

Our Program Offers 

  • Individual consultations with families 
  • Ongoing one-on-one meetings and group seminars with students 
  • Disciplined process that allows for the majority of time to be focused on the student 
  • On-site test preparation 
  • Identification of schools aligned with a student’s interests and strengths
  • Assistance with financial aid application process 

FXW’s High School Guidance advising process has lasting benefits. Greater self-awareness enables students to take full advantage of opportunities throughout high school and college. The application process, familiarity with interviewing, and test taking helps students approach the college application process and even job applications with greater confidence and skill. Returning students often share with us how the high school guidnace process at FXW helped them gain life skills that were beneficial even in finding their first jobs out of college.  

Meet the Team 

Last school year, we changed the format of our high school guidance program and developed a High School Guidance Team, which is comprised of an experienced group of counselors.  

  • Brigid Cashman: High School Guidance Counselor, Religion Teacher
  • April Greer: High School Guidance Counselor,  Resource Teacher
  • Kendall Mallette: High School Guidance Counselor, Director of Mission Integration,  Admissions Associate

 The Team is also supported by HNC Principal, Katie Gallagher and Head of School, Michael Kennedy.