The premiere of Houston Mustang Mentors--and other helpful advice for incoming freshmen

As the year begins to wind down, parents and students—especially eighth graders—are beginning to look towards the future. Spring registration, this year, will be online and doesn’t require too much explanation. But, COURSE SELECTION for first year high schoolers does require some amount of forethought and finesse.

Meet Sara Schmitt, the Freshmen Guidance Counselor of Houston High School. Schmitt strives to make her incoming students and parents as comfortable as possible as they take their first steps into high school. At the end of March, she embarks on a district wide tour to guide students in the process of course selection. In addition, she’ll offer a similar experience at night for their parents.

Insider fact:  Sara Schmitt is married to Terry Schmitt, GMSD Curriculum Technology Trainer at Dogwood and Riverdale.

“I love working with freshmen,” beams Schmitt, who has been working with ninth graders at Houston High and Bolton High School for six years now. “The transition can be difficult, and it’s important they know that I am here to help.”

In addition to working with them on selecting the right classes, she works with students throughout the year to make sure that those classes are still meeting their needs. The coming school year will also see the genesis of Houston Mustang Mentors, a new student club aimed at effective induction of new students. “We’ll be replacing the Link Crew with a few tweaks,” explains Schmitt, who will be organizing the group in addition to her other guidance duties. This club of proven student leaders will plan and execute a freshmen orientation clinic on the first day of school and host various mixer-type events throughout the year. “The students are still brainstorming what that’s going to look like. But, they’ve thrown out ideas like a night where each HMM mentor will take their mentee to an HHS football game,” she continues. The HMM will be helmed by her and fellow teachers Ami Cochran, Roya Alizadegan and Denise Fisher.Schmitt has a vision for the group to make contact with their assigned freshmen on a weekly basis. 

Our team asked Schmitt what advice she most often gives to parents on the topic of course selection/preparation for high school. Without much deliberation she said, “Help your child maintain balance—picking coursework that’s challenging for them, but doesn’t overwhelm them”.

Don’t miss your chance to attend her Parents' Guide to Course Selection Workshop at the Houston High School on March 31st in the auditorium at 6pm.

Schmitt visits both Riverdale and Houston Middle School on March 29 (during the school day) to meet with the current eighth graders themselves. Course selection cards are due on April 5 (Riverdale) and April 6 (Houston Middle). She will be on campus at each of those schools on those days to help the children enter their selections into PowerSchool for the upcoming school year.

Students and parents are able to preview the available courses in Houston High School’s online Course Catalog.  They are also encouraged to contact Sara Schmitt with any questions.

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