M.A. Counseling Newsletter

February 2018

In This Issue

  • Upcoming Events
  • Senior Retreat
  • April ACT Prep Class - New Dates
  • FREE Practice ACT Exam
  • Class Registration Information
  • "What's Going On With College Costs?" - A Discussion with Dan Currell
  • Junior Counseling Meetings
  • "Girls Who Code" Summer Program
  • Yoga Tuesdays
  • Wellness Corner

Upcoming Events

Saturday, February 10
  • ACT Exam - Mendota Campus
Saturday, May 5
  • SAT Exam - Mendota Campus

Tuesday, April 10

  • Mock Application Night for Junior Parents

Senior Retreat

On February 28, 2018 the Senior Class will be traveling to Covenant Pines in McGregor, MN for an overnight retreat. We will be leaving Minnehaha Mendota at 9:00am on Wednesday and returning at 2:30pm the next day.

While at Covenant Pines we will be experiencing "Abundant Life", the theme for our retreat. This will include games, nature, music and collective worship. This retreat will be a fun and meaningful way for all of us to celebrate our senior class.

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April ACT Test Prep Class - New Dates

The April ACT Test Prep Class at Mendota has changed dates. The updated dates are: 4/3, 4/4, 4/5, 4/9, 4/10 & 4/12.

Cost is $450 per student, paid directly to Erin.

For more information about the course contact Erin at erin_elisa_ward@hotmail.com.

To register please email Diane Rahm, Registrar, at rahmdiane@minnehahaacademy.net, or have your student see her directly.

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FREE Practice ACT Exam

One of the best things a student can do to prepare for a real ACT is to take a full-length proctored practice test. Taking a practice test gives students helpful experience in a realistic testing environment, surrounded by peers facing the same sense of pressure and, at times, anxiety or unease. While doing practice tests at home is helpful for a student to gain familiarity with the concepts tested and the pacing necessary for success, that exercise is not as instructive as completing a 3 to 4-hour test in a simulated testing environment.

On Saturday, March 10th, together with Breakaway Test Prep, Minnehaha Academy is offering a practice ACT from 8:00am - 11:05am. The practice test will be available free of charge. Students will be asked to arrive at 7:40am, and testing will begin at 8:00am sharp. Results will be delivered via email within 24 hours.

Taking this practice test is half the battle. It is important that students understand the mistakes that were made on the test, why they were made, and, of course, how to avoid them the next time. Breakaway can help! On March 13th, three days after the practice test, Breakaway is offering an optional comprehensive review session to zero in on areas of opportunity. This group review will be led by expert instructors, and it will be available from 6:00pm - 8:00pm for a modest fee of $25.00 per student. Not only will the review session cover the important concepts from the practice test, but it will also introduce critical test-taking techniques, time management strategies, and an overall approach to the ACT to help you maximize your score.

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Class Registration Information

Upper School Class Registration forms and AP/Honors class applications for the 2018-19 school year are now available. Below are the links to the registration forms:

10th Grade Form Link

11th Grade Form Link

12th Grade Form Link

The link needs to be opened from within the student's Minnehaha Academy email account so we will have record of who has completed the form. Parents and students should sit down with the Upper School Four Year course plan and list of courses in order to make informed decisions about the classes for which they are registering.

The applications for AP/Honors classes can be found outside of the counselors' offices at the Upper School or online at http://www.minnehahaacademy.net/students/

Descriptions of classes and prerequisites can be found online at http://www.minnehahaacademy.net/schools/upper-school/courselistings/

If you have questions about the process or about what classes you should take, feel free to reach out to Dr. DiNardo or to the counselors, Mrs Overton (last names A-K) or Mrs. Paton (last names L-Z). Please complete the registration process and any AP/Honors applications by Thursday, February 15 so we can begin to make plans for next year in February. Note that completing the registration forms does not enroll you in school for next year. That is a separate process that occurs online through My BackPack and information will be sent home soon from the Student Accounts office.

What's Going On With College Costs?

What: A discussion with Dan Currell, Minnehaha parent

When: Monday, March 12, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Where: Union 32 Craft House, 2864 Highway 55, Eagan, MN 55121 (less than 3 miles from the Mendota Campus) Gathering will be in the private pub room. Beer, wine and soda for sale along with food from their indoor food truck.

Where the money goes, who really pays, and how to get your kids through college without destroying your retirement

The cost problem in higher ed is only really understood by a small number of people within colleges and universities. Parents, students, and even many professors don't understand how college finances work, why costs have risen so much, what role scholarships play, and how families can safely navigate a financially dangerous system. In spite of all the confusion on this topic, college and university finances are very transparent - the Federal government requires nearly all schools to report their financial statistics, and the industry press reports in detail on where all the money comes from and where it goes. This session will use that data to break apart the problem of college cost with a focus on how it impacts families of all income levels, from high net worth families to single-parent households who are worried about how to pay for college.

Key discussion points:

  • Does college really cost that much more than it did when we went to school?
  • What are we really going to pay?
  • Are we going to be ruined by this?
  • How negotiable is tuition?
  • How do we negotiate most effectively with schools?
  • What's the story on need-based scholarships?
  • Are all schools the same?
  • How do we avoid having our child end up in major debt?

Junior Counseling Meetings

Mrs. Overton (A-K) and Mrs. Paton (L-Z) visited juniors in their history classes this past week to begin the initial conversation around the college application process. Students were given a manila folder with lots of great resources including a campus visit guide, ACT vs. SAT comparison chart, junior/senior checklist, and college counseling resume assessment form. Be sure to ask your student to share them with you! The aforementioned handouts will also be sent out via email and on our website, so keep an eye out!

Juniors are also required to sign up for an individual counseling meeting to begin brainstorming future plans. Please have them check their Minnehaha email where they will find a link to the Google Form to sign up. They will receive a Google Calendar email as a confirmation. Parents are welcome to attend, though this is not required. The college counseling resume assessment is required to be filled out by the student and brought to the individual meeting. Again, this will be sent out via email in case students need an additional copy.

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"Girls Who Code" Summer Program

As part of the Girls Who Code courses, there is a new program worth noting for girls interested in the STEM field.

Their new program, Girls Who Code Campus, offers courses that are hosted around the Twin Cities at Visitation in Mendota Heights, Minnetonka Public Schools, and St. Kate's. See below for details.

Each course is two weeks long, designed to fit into busy summer schedules, and covers challenging, cutting-edge technology like iPhone App Development and Wearable Tech.

Campus courses are great for:

  • Girls that are exploring their interest in STEM and are looking for more challenging courses.

  • Girls that are considering studying STEM later in high school or in college and want to get a leg up.

  • Girls that are applying for STEM-related scholarships and want to demonstrate their interest.

  • Girls that are worried about being the "only girl" in other computer science classes.

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Yoga Tuesdays

Yoga will be offered Tuesday mornings during Enrichment Hour (7:55-8:40 AM) from Feb 6th - March 13th. The class will take place in Jennifer Tillman's classroom, 1023. Mats will be provided. Wear comfy clothes. All levels welcome. No yoga experience necessary.

Yoga Instructor Bio and Class Description:

Jill Burton is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with the Yoga Alliance. She completed her 200 hour training certification through YogaFaith in Ontario, Canada, whose mission is to guide others into a sacred space with The Lord through Christian yoga. In addition to her YogaFaith training, she also has training certifications in both Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga through The Yoga Center of Minneapolis.

Classes integrate general Hatha yoga style, with postures focusing on alignment, building strength and promoting flexibility. We will also incorporate Vinyasa (which means 'flowing with breath') flow style, utilizing full-body sequenced yoga postures promoting balance, strength and agility in both seated and standing poses.

Breathing techniques will also be incorporated to create awareness of energy, focus and/or enhance relaxation. Each class incorporates music, Biblical scripture, and ends with aroma therapy in a relaxed restorative pose, conducive for silent prayer. You will feel energized and renewed!

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Wellness Corner

2 Chronicles 9:7

How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it's fame and money, you're not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you're mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

M.A. Counseling Team and Services


Mike DiNardo, Vice Principal/Director of Counseling


Kristin Overton, College & Guidance Counselor (Last Names A-K) overtonkristin@minnehahaacademy.net

Christine Paton, College & Guidance Counselor (Last Names L-Z) patonchristine@minnehahaacademy.net

Wanda Monroe, Non-Public Counselor


Diane Rahm, Counseling Office Assistant, Registrar



Academic Advising

  • Guiding toward an appropriately challenging course load
  • Additional support to teachers, parents, and students

Social-Emotional Counseling

  • Safe, welcoming and confidential
  • Addressing issues around anxiety, depression, and general well-being
  • Peer and family relationship challenges

College and Career Readiness

  • College fit
  • Career/personality inventories
  • Counselors visiting various colleges and universities throughout the U.S. to provide firsthand information