Bulldog Bulletin

Smyrna High School's Counseling Newsletter

1st Quarter, September 2017

SHS Counseling Staff

Mr. Raffo: students A-D, raffog@rcschools.net

Mrs. Knox: students E-Lh, knoxh@rcschools.net

Mrs. Dickerson: students Li-Ri, dickersonk@rcschools.net

Mr. Lay: students Rj-Z, lays@rcschools.net

Mrs. Hockenberry: counseling secretary, hockenberryk@rcschools.net

Mrs. Benton: counseling secretary, bentont@rcschools.net

A Note from Principal Powell

Welcome parents and students.

We are off to a great start to the school year. We are excited with the beginning of classes. Remember that you can keep up with your child's progress through INow Parent Portal. We encourage you to monitor their grades and contact their teachers as necessary. Check with your child's counselor if you need help.

The ACT test for all seniors will be given here at school on October 17th. This is a free test to all seniors and it is a great way for the students to improve their scores. Remember, the higher the score equals more money for college. The average score for all schools in the state is a 21.

All of our fall sports and activities are going well. Please come out and support these activities and all of our students. Please encourage your child to get involved in some of the many extra curricula activities that are here at the high school.

Go Bulldogs!

Stay Informed and follow us:

Twitter: @shscounselors88

Counseling website: shs.rcschools.net Click "Counseling" on the main menu and browse the side tabs for updated information.

Meet Your Counselor:

This school year, we welcome two new counselors to the SHS Bulldog family. We thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce all of our counselors.

Mr. Raffo will be working with students whose last names begin with A-D:

My name is Greg Raffo. I have two sons, Lucas and Gabe, and my wife Deana is a professor at MTSU. This is my first year at Smyrna and I am entering my 19th year as a school counselor. I was previously at Barfield Elementary School for four years and continued with Christiana Middle School for 14 more. My degrees come from MTSU where I also played baseball. I played Minor League ball with the Detroit Tigers for 4 years before coming back to MTSU to complete my graduate degree. I love watching movies, tv series, and sports. I am an avid golfer and softball player. I am so pleased to be in a position to help students navigate through their high school years and it's great to be a Smyrna Bulldog.

Mrs. Knox will be working with students whose last names begin with E-Lh:

My name is Kendall Knox, and I am so excited to be at Smyrna High School this year. I have a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (GO VOLS) and a M.Ed. in Professional School Counseling from MTSU. I wanted to be a school counselor because I love working with students and helping them navigate all things high school. In my free time, I love to be doing something outside with my family and my dog.

Mrs. Dickerson will be working with students who last names begin with Li-Ri:

This is my third year at SHS but my 14th year as an educator. Originally from Ohio, I spent my first 7 years teaching English to 9th-12th graders. I learned early in my career that my passion lies within helping students grow as people, so I pursued my M. Ed. from the University of Dayton in Pupil Services and School Counseling. I love speaking with students about transitions and growth as they journey through their high school years. My husband, two daugthers and I have now lived in TN for seven years; I enjoy watching my daughters play various sports, taking family hikes, and playing with our new puppy! I am very proud to be a Smyrna Bulldog!

Mr. Lay will be working with students who last names begin Rj-Z:

This is my 6th year at SHS but is my 18th year as a counselor in Rutherford County. I got my Bachelors degree from MTSU and went on to earn a Masters and Specialist of Education degrees in School Counseling from Tennessee Tech University. While there, I was an assistant baseball coach and when I moved back to Rutherford county as a counselor, I got to help start the baseball team that is now at Christiana Middle School. This year, I will get to coach my daughter in her last year of middle school softball as the head coach at Christiana Middle School. As a counselor, I enjoy working with the students and getting to know them and watch them grow into young adults. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching movies and spending time with my family (usually on a ballfield somewhere). I am very happy to be a Smyrna Bulldog.

Upcoming Events

Class Meetings

Last week, we started our class meetings with seniors. Each senior homeroom class met counselors in the library to review important information specific to seniors. The packet of information shared can be located on the "Class Meetings" tab on the counseling portion of our school website. We also encouraged students to apply for TN Promise during our class meeting.This week, counselors have been meeting 1:1 with seniors to review their transcripts and classes needed for graduation, as well as discuss post-graduation plans.

Starting October 9th, we will move to Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen. Please watch for information from the counseling office to come with your student. We will also update the "Class Meetings" tab as we meet with each grade level.

College of the Week:

Each Friday, we will have college representatives visit during all four lunches. This is a great opportunity for students of all grade levels to learn about colleges. We encourage students to talk to the representatives to find out about admission requirements and application processes.











PSAT: October 11, 2017

What is the PSAT?

The PSAT/NMSQT is the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The PSAT is a great primer for the SAT, and even the ACT, but it’s more than just a trial run. PSAT scores are used to identify National Merit Scholars and award merit scholarships. More than 3.4 million high school students (mostly juniors and sophomores) take this nationwide, multiple-choice test every year.

Why is the PSAT important?

The PSAT won’t count towards your college admissions applications, but it is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship. Some of the highest scoring students may win scholarship money, so while you shouldn’t stress out about the PSAT, you certainly shouldn’t ignore it either. Use the PSAT as practice for the SAT and ACT and an important guidepost on your college admissions journey.

How do I register for the PSAT?

Between September 12th and September 20th, students must pay the $17.00 registration fee at the Bulldog Bank. Students will receive a PSAT student guide when they pay their fee. After registration closes, we will do pre-administration bubbling with students in the library.

If you have questions regarding the PSAT or its administration, please contact Mr. Raffo.

Senior ACT retake: October 17, 2017

The State of Tennessee is paying for seniors to retake the ACT on October 17. All Smyrna High School Seniors are registered for the test. The test will be given during the school day. Any senior who improves his/her composite score by one or more points on the retake, will be awarded a school-related career day or an additional college day to be taken sometime this school year.

Please help ensure your student gets plenty of sleep the night before the test and comes to school prepared to test. There are many resources available for ACT practice: shmoop and actstudent.org are two resources we utilize at school.

Tennessee Promise (11/1/2017--Deadline)

Tennessee Promise is both a scholarship and mentoring program focused on increasing the number of students that attend college in our state. It provides students a last-dollar scholarship, meaning the scholarship will cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees not covered by the Pell grant, the HOPE scholarship, or the Tennessee Student Assistance Award. Students may use the scholarship at any of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, or other eligible institution offering an associate degree program.

While removing the financial burden is key, a critical component of Tennessee Promise is the individual guidance each participant will receive from a mentor who will assist the student as he or she navigates the college admission process. This is accomplished primarily via mandatory meetings that students must attend in order to remain eligible for the program. In addition, Tennessee Promise participants must complete and submit eight (8) hours of community service per term enrolled, as well as maintain satisfactory academic progress (2.0 GPA) at their respective institution.

Important Dates:

1st meeting: Students only SHS auditorium 10/12/17 1:30.

Application Deadline: 11/1/2017

FAFSA Completion: 1/16/2018 Deadline:

March 13, 2018: Mandatory meeting for students. SHS Cafeteria 5:30 (Parents are invited)

July 1, 2018: 8 hours of community service must be completed

For more information, and to apply: http://tnpromise.gov/students.shtml

The Tennessee Governor's Schools

The Tennessee Governor's Schools provide eleven challenging and high-intensity programs for rising 11th and 12th grade students. Students interested in participating in a Governor's Schools program should obtain the application(s) from the SHS Counseling website. Applications for the 2018 Tennessee Governor’s Schools can be found on the Opportunities tab of the SHS website in late September. Applications will be turned in to your school counselor by the deadline specified on each application. Attending Governor's school is one way that students can earn a diploma with distinction.

Stay Informed


Make sure that you are checking INOW Home Portal and keeping up with your student’s grades. If you have any questions about the grades, you can email your student’s teachers. If you have not received your login information, please visit the counseling webpage and click the ''Appointments and Sign-ups" tab located on the right side of the page. On the Appointments and Sign-Ups page, you will see a link for Inow Access Request.

Weekly Conferences

Parent/teacher conferences are offered every Wednesday at 3:45. Parents can request to meet your child's teachers. Conferences must be scheduled by the Tuesday morning prior to your planned Wednesday meeting.

Conferences are scheduled through Ms. Benton.

bentont@rcschools.net or

615-904-3865 ext. 23705

School Counseling Appointments

When students would like to visit with their school counselor, we ask that they use the "appointment request" link on our counseling website. This allows us to review the student's request and meet with them at a time that is not disruptive to their academics. Students in crisis are sent to us when needed without an appointment required.

We also ask that parents use this same link when requesting an appointment. We have an open door policy when it comes to meeting with parents; however, having a scheduled appointment allows us to be fully prepared for the meeting and also allows us to make sure we are not involved in other meetings or counseling groups when the parent arrives. Please review the appointment links: http://shs.rcschools.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=562976&type=d&pREC_ID=1133047

Schmoop and Vocabulary.com

Schmoop and Vocabulary.com are both online resources we are utilizing this year to work towards increasing ACT scores for our students. Higher ACT scores means a higher acceptance rate to college and access to more scholarship money for our students. All students have SHS have a schmoop account and a vocabulary.com account. Students can practice from home in addition to the work we do at school.


Want to know about scholarships? Follow these easy steps below:

1. Visit http://shs.rcschools.net

2. Click Counseling on the main menu

3. On the right hand side, click the Scholarship and Financial Aid tab

We have linked our scholarship database directly to this page. Please check back often; the database is updated regularly.

We have also found a scholarship database that is updated monthly. It is an outside source that we are not associated with, but we wanted to make sure we share resources with our students: https://jlvcollegecounseling.com/scholarships/monthly-scholarships/


We post enrichment opportunities for all grade levels under the Announcements and Opportunities tab of our website. This includes job opportunities, community service, college fair information and any other enrichment opportunity that we receive notification of.

College Readiness Testing

If you are planning to take either the ACT or the SAT you must register online at www.actstudent.org (ACT) and www.collegeboard.com (SAT). You will need the following SHS High School Code to register: 432130

Make sure you visit our new ACT resources page under the "Student" tab prior to the upcoming ACT test dates and re-take date.