Totino-Grace

School Counseling

School Counseling Department

The School Counseling Department lives out the mission of Totino-Grace High School by offering a comprehensive school counseling program to support our students and their needs.  Whether a student needs support academically, emotionally, socially or in planning their future, we join them on the journey.  We combine our efforts with teachers, parents, and administrators to best serve each student's individual needs.

Students are divided alphabetically into three sections. Each counselor is responsible for working with the students in their alphabetical section. 

College & Career Planning

Our college and career planning program seeks to help students identify career interests, and then apply to colleges that are good matches with regard to their aspirations, achievements, learning style and needs. Our Director of College & Career Planning oversees our overall college planning and standardized test programs, but all counselors work with students in the post high school planning process. We invite you to explore the College & Career Planning webpages on our site for information and resources regarding post high planning and standardized testing information. 

Totino-Grace's Four-Year Counseling Program

Freshman Year

Our counseling program begins in ninth grade with an introduction to preparing for life during and beyond high school.  Each student will meet with his/her counselor to discuss goals, a four year plan and the transition to high school.  Throughout the year, the counseling department leads groups of students through the Passages curriculum. This curriculum, delivered during study hall, addresses topics unique to freshman year. Topics covered include study skills, high school success, goal setting, stress management, communication skills, and an introduction to career and college planning through completion of an interest inventory. 

Information is crucial to this process--not only with students but with parents, as well.  During the fall parent/teacher conference, 9th grade parents are invited to a meeting to learn about TG School Counseling programs, including our students' four-year post high school planning program.  

Our web site is also a great place to find additional internet resources, department information and upcoming events.  Please do not hesitate to contact your son/daughter’s counselor with any questions or concerns.  We look forward to traveling with each student as they navigate through high school into their future.

Sophomore Year

In November of sophomore year students will have the opportunity to take the PreACT test to help prepare them for the ACT exam taken in junior year.  The PreACT is also a great way for students to begin thinking about college entrance tests and gain experience taking a standardized test. The test includes all four sections included on the ACT exam: English, Math, Reading and Science. Once TG has the results of the PreACT, counselors will meet with students to help interpret scores and brainstorm ways to improve their scores for the ACT exam taken in junior year.  

Sophomores will also continue exploring career options through the use of a personality assessment on Family Connection.  This is the school year when students will delve more deeply into Family Connection, taking time to investigate a variety of college options.  Counselors will present college planning information to sophomores in the spring in preparation for students to engage with college admissions representatives at the Totino-Grace College Fair in April.  

Important Events: 

  • PreACT exam offered to sophomores (this test is optional but encouraged)
  • Totino-Grace College Fair
  • Sophomore & Sophomore Parent Meeting (immediately preceding the College Fair)

Junior Year

During junior year we offer many opportunities and events for our students all geared toward finding the right path after high school for each student.  We begin with a classroom presentation when counselors share information about the PSAT test (pre-SAT), planning for standardized college admission tests (ACT and/or SAT), finding a good fit for college, individual college research and preparing for the National College Fair.  

As the year progresses counselors continue to emphasize investigation and preparation for post-high school plans.  Juniors and their parents are invited to a post-high planning program designed specifically for them.  The emphasis of this day is on providing many options and helping the students determine what they are looking for and what is the best individual fit.  From there we meet individually with all junior students to discuss their specific post-high school plans. In order to assist students even further in the college exploration process, we offer our own college fair in  April.  

Important Events:

  • Free Practice PSAT test administered to those registered to take the exam
  • National College Fair at the Minneapolis Convention Center
  • PSAT Test administered to those registered to take the exam
  • Free Practice ACT test administered to any interested juniors
  • Post-High Planning Kick Off Day (for Juniors AND parents)
  • Individual College Planning Meetings with Juniors and their Parents
  • Totino-Grace College Fair
  • ACT Testing:  Juniors are encouraged to consider taking the ACT Exam 

Senior Year

Senior year is focused on student applications and finalizing plans.  Students may work with their counselor in selecting schools to which they will apply, getting letters of recommendation, completing applications for schools and scholarships, and sending official transcripts.  Our counselors are available to assist students and parents in any stage of this process.  Throughout the year we ask students to let our office know of schools to which they've been accepted and scholarships they've been offered.

Important Events:

  • College Application Boot Camp
  • Senior Parent Meeting (6:30 p.m. in TG Theater) - college application update and financial aid presentation
  • National College Fair at the Minneapolis Convention Center
  • Seniors may want to take the ACT in fall of senior year.  Students who wish to meet a DATE college application deadline may still take the ACT test on DATE.  This is the only fall test date that can guarantee scores will be ready to meet early college application deadlines.  If students choose to take the ACT on DATE, they should be aware that test scores may not be ready in time to meet a DATE college application deadline.

School Counseling Department Staff

Ms. Julie Jackson, Department Chair and Director of College Planning

763-571-9116 ext. 224
julie.jackson@totinograce.org

Personal, social and academic counseling and post high planning with students in grades 9-12 whose last names J-Q.
 
Ms. Jackson is beginning her ninth year as a school counselor at Totino-Grace and serves as department chairperson. Prior to coming to T-G, Ms. Jackson was a school counselor at Hill-Murray and Eagan High Schools. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota and her master’s degree in School Counseling at St. Cloud State University. She has two children: Rowan and Emmett. Ms. Jackson enjoys running, reading, yoga and spending time at the cabin.

Mr. Joe Morcomb, Counselor

763-571-9116 ext. 223
joseph.morcomb@totinograce.org     

Personal, social and academic counseling and post high planning with students in grades 9-12 whose last names are A-I.

Mr. Morcomb is excited to start his fifth year at Totino-Grace.  He has served as a junior high and elementary level counselor and finds joy in serving students of all ages.  Professionally, Mr. Morcomb serves on the state board for the Minnesota School Counselor's Association.  He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth and University of Wisconsin-Superior.  He has degrees in teaching Social Studies and School Counseling.  Beyond supporting students, he loves fishing, travel, video and theater production, and most importantly his wife, Jennifer.

Ms. Jessica Osfar, Counselor

763-571-9116 ext. 245
jessica.osfar@totinograce.org

Personal, social and academic counseling with students in grades 9-12 whose last names are R-Z.

Ms. Osfar is in her second year at Totino-Grace.  Previously, she worked as a high school counselor in western Wisconsin for twelve years.  Ms.Osfar earned a Bachelor's degree in Human Development from the Univeristy of Wisconsin-Green Bay and a Master's degree in Educational Psychology with a dual certification in school and community counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  During her free time, Ms. Osfar enjoys spending time with family and friends, walking around the lakes, landscaping and planting flowers, reading, movies and traveling.

Mrs. Jeanine Perovich, Registrar and School Counseling Administrative Assistant

763-586-6302 (School Counseling Office direct number)
jeanine.perovich@totinograce.org

 

Partnership with Lee Carlson Center for Mental Health and Well-Being

We are in our second year of partnering with Lee Carlson Center for Mental Health and Well-Being, a local organization that specializes in providing mental health support to teens.  This partnership gives our students access to a mental health professional who provides therapy and related support to students and their families.

Providing accessible, private, and confidential therapy support at Totino-Grace means that students and families will have the convenient option of receiving support in conjunction with the school day, as well as before or after school.  Lee Carlson Center for Mental Health and Well-Being can also support therapy needs during the evening, in home or at their Fridley-based clinic conveniently located just five minutes from school.

In addition to providing access to a therapist in school, Lee Carlson Center will consult with school leadership and provide training to teachers and staff in-order to help Totino-Grace continue to support the ongoing mental wellness of our students.  

Therapy services are reimbursable under your family’s health insurance plan coverage.  Lee Carlson Center will work with you to explain what you can expect as you utilize your health benefits.  Private and confidential therapy services are available now and can be accessed through Lee Carlson Center’s central intake phone number at 763-780-3036 or by contacting your child’s School Counselor at Totino-Grace. As always, our school’s aim is to help teens achieve their goals and reach their highest potential. Our partnership with Lee Carlson Center is part of our mission to provide dynamic opportunities that inspire all students to reach their academic, faith, and personal goals.  

The Lee Carlson Center is an independently operated non-profit organization in our community. TG families who seek counseling services are welcomed and encouraged to find a center and provider that is a good fit for their child's needs. Our desire to bring a licensed therapist on-site is to remove barriers to those seeking treatment while enriching our TG community with the wisdom and training of professional mental health support. For more information about Lee Carlson Center for Mental Health and Well-Being please visit the agency’s website at www.leecarlsoncenter.org or call our Counseling Office.

For questions and concerns about this offering, please contact Cheri Broadhead, Principal, or Julie Jackson, School Counseling Department Chair. 

Meet Our School Site-Based Therapist, Alyssa Larson, MA

Alyssa Larson is a lead therapist for Lee Carlson Center and has been with the organization for three years. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology from Gustavus Adolphus College and her master’s degree in counseling and psychological services from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. 

Alyssa believes in the uniqueness of each individual and is passionate about working with teenagers and their families. Pulling from their strengths and values, she enjoys helping individuals realize their full potential. Alyssa has worked at Columbia Heights High School for three years as well as partnered with other schools in Anoka County. Alyssa has experience supporting teenagers through anxiety, depression, grief and loss, trauma, adjustment difficulties, and post-traumatic stress disorder. She also has experience working with adults with Serious and Persistent Mental Illness and is trained in DBT (dialectical behavior therapy for individuals with difficulty regulating emotions and forming positive relationships). 

In her leisure, Alyssa enjoys spending time with friends and family, hiking, cooking, and skiing.