JHS Counselor Connection

November Edition

Keeping You Informed

Thinking about the future can be exciting – and a little intimidating. From knowing what coursework best fits your goals, to lining up a college visit, the JHS Counseling Office staff is a wonderful resource for students and parents. We've created the JHS Counselor Connection to help highlight and inform you of special events, opportunities, and important deadlines each month.

In this Issue:

  • SDQ at JHS
  • Naviance Tip Time: Virtual College Visits at JHS
  • Parent Techer Conference Registration
  • Mental Health Minute
  • Did You Know - JHS Library Mental Health Resources Available
  • Filing the FAFSA Virtual Help Appointments
  • Career & Technical Education Opportunities
  • Student No Mark-Pass/Fail Grading Update

  • Resource Guide: Frequently Asked Questions and Helpful Links at the click of a button

Strengths & Difficulties Questionnaire - Consent Forms Due Friday, November 6th

JHS will be offering the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire again this fall. The screening consists of 24 questions that help to determine your student’s strengths as well as any struggles they may be experiencing.

We believe it is good practice to screen students every year, as we know things can change quickly in the lives of our young people. With social media influences along with academic and general life pressures, it is a good way to check in with your student.

Below are the links to the consent form as well as other information regarding SDQ.

SDQ Facts and Questions

SDQ Informational Letter

If you have questions, you can contact Melanie Steffen at melanie.steffen@johnston.k12.ia.us

Naviance Tip Time: Virtual College Visits - How do I Attend?

What is Naviance and why do JHS Students & Staff talk about it so much?

Each month, our office will highlight and feature a new aspect of Naviance with the hopes of educating our students and parents on the many benefits of this powerful resource.

THIS MONTH - our JHS Counselor & Naviance Expert, Erica Woods-Schmitz will explain virtual college visits at JHS.

Click below to watch her 2-minute helpful video!

Naviance Minute: Virtual Visit Sign-up: Oct 13, 2020 7:08 AM

Upcoming Virtual College Visits

Every month, we have admissions representatives from colleges in Iowa and around the nation visit JHS. Students can register to meet with these college representatives through their Naviance account. All meetings will now take place via zoom. If you have registered for the visit, you will receive the zoom link 15 minutes BEFORE the scheduled zoom time.

See our entire college visit calendar by clicking here.

Iowa Wesleyan University

Mon November 2, 2020 2:00 PM

Iowa Central Community College

Tue November 3, 2020 12:20 PM

Unity College

Fri November 6, 2020 2:00 PM

United States Marines

Tue November 10, 2020 11:00 AM

Winona State University

Tue November 17, 2020 11:00 AM

University of Northern Iowa

Tue November 17, 202012:20 PM

Viterbo University

Mon November 23, 2020 2:00 PM

JHS Parent-Teacher Conferences

In this new COVID era, we are trying to facilitate the most meaningful way to conduct Parent-Teacher Conferences. For the health and safety of our parents and staff, we are going to conduct virtual meetings through Zoom.

Conferences will be November 12th from 1:30 p.m.– 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

We will be using PTC Fast to make signups as convenient as possible. The link you need to make an appointment with your student’s teacher(s) is below:

· Before you begin the process you will want to have all the teacher’s names that you wish to conference with.

· With the link below you will register your name and contact information.

· Within 15 minutes you will receive an email from PTC Fast. This will give you access for setting one or more conference times, for one or more students.

· When the process is complete you will receive a confirmation email with the date and time of your conferences. You can change your date or time with the entry code contained in the email. Please KEEP THIS EMAIL JHS Staff DO NOT have access to this email.

· You will receive an email reminder from PTC Fast.


Conferences are not required, but are available for families who need a designated time to talk with a teacher. If a time slot is not available, please email the teacher to coordinate a different date. Please respect each conference is 10 minutes, if you need additional time with a teacher they will schedule additional time. If you are a split family, we ask that you coordinate a single conference appointment.

Before your conference time you will receive a ZOOM link from each teacher(s) you are conferencing with. When you sign into your conference please use your Students Name to register in Zoom. This will help teachers identify you when your conference time starts. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we work through this new process.


Mental Health Minute

COVID Recovery Iowa offers free virtual counseling and assistance for all Iowans.

The State of Iowa has received federal funding from FEMA to offer free virtual counseling and assistance to those affected, in any way, by COVID-19. COVID Recovery Iowa provides counseling, virtual activities, referrals and help finding resources to any Iowan seeking assistance or a listening ear.

Counseling sessions with virtual counselors are available by video, chat, or phone.

COUNSELORS AVAILABLE 24/7 - please call 1-844-775-9276 to talk to a counselor or click HERE to learn more.

Did You Know: JHS Library has a dedicated Mental Health Resource Section?

How to access the library collections:

  1. Find the JHS Library Catalog icon on the iPad home screen
  2. On the left side, click on Resource Lists
  3. Click on the Public Lists tabs on the right
  4. Click on the Mental Health list to see books we have on that topic

https://wakelet.com/@MrsTMakes and https://wakelet.com/@JohnstonSafeathome - fun activities, you can follow it like social media.

Heartland AEA also has a wonderful resource site. Click here or on the picture on the left to access this option. Students can log in with their UN/PW.

Contact Ms. Ruth Thoreson at rthoreson@johnston.k12.ia.us with questions.

Need Help Filing the FAFSA? Book Your Virtual Appointment with an ICAN Advisor

ICAN understands that for many the FAFSA is a daunting task. In our Virtual FAFSA Completion Appointments, we strive to make the process as painless and stress-free as possible, while fulling explaining each detail of the form, the results and answering any questions you have about financial aid and the college planning process in general.

Book your virtual appointment using the below link:


Be sure to have these documents ready for your appointment.

Career & Technical Education: Connect with Industry Experts throughout Iowa

Check out these live seminars on the following topics:

  • Healthcare Worker Demonstration/Panel
  • Agricultural Career Day (Virtual Panel)

  • Careers in the Skilled Trades
  • Cupcake Wars, Iowa Edition
  • Iowa High School Tech Summit

  • Helping Others: Counseling & Mental Health

  • Emerging Technologies

For more information and to register for one of the above events, click here.

Student No Mark-Pass/Fail Grading Update

In the spring semester of 2020, our school district (per The Department of Education) provided students the opportunity to choose a Pass/No Mark as an alternative to a letter grade.

The Department of Education indicated that students who chose to have a NM would have the ability to make up work from the spring in order to move to a P or a letter grade during the fall semester of 2020.

The process outlined below meets the requirements of the Department of Education, and allows JHS the ability to track students who request to move from a NM to a P or letter grade.

The Process

  • Make-up work must be completed and turned in no later than Jan. 12, 2021
  • Student contacts their current JHS counselor
  • Student completes the assignments needed for passing mark
  • Make-up work meets the required proficiencies
  • Work could be completed during class (if applicable) or before/after school
  • Final grade is reported to the JHS Counseling office and the student transcript will be updated accordingly

Please note that students who were marked as QA (Quit Attending) for a DMACC Concurrent (Dual) Enrollment course in the spring semester are not eligible for this process. The student would need to re-enroll in the DMACC course and complete competencies not attained.

Questions should be directed to the JHS Counseling Office at 278.0779 or mindy.johannsen@jdragonmail.us

Johnston High School Counseling Office

Speaking with one of our counselors is easy and just a click away. Tap on the counselor's name to schedule a time today!

Quick Resource Guide - Click Below!

Frequently Asked Questions and Helpful Links available at the click of a button!
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October Counselor Connection

In case you missed it...