Guidance department prepares students for college

Award-winning guidance department navigates maintaining personalized support with a large student population


Photo by Allen Zhang

HHS’ student to counselor ratio is above average nationally but lower in California.

Students are well aware of the pressures in Silicon Valley surrounding college acceptances. According to the district website, HHS has a 93 percent college-going rate. This puts Homestead well above the state average of 84 percent, according to EdSource.

With a 598:1 student-to-counselor ratio, according to FUHSD, the HHS guidance department has the challenge of navigating a large student body while maintaining the quality of their support.

“In order for everybody to have enough individual time with a counselor, we’d probably have to have 30 counselors per school, [which] the district [cannot afford],” Polly Bove, FUHSD superintendent said. “[To supplement this], there are auxiliary services we can provide that will augment to help with college readiness.” 

One such program the guidance department has created to curb this issue is the guidance tutorial program, which, principal Greg Giglio said, was developed to target students who were in danger of not graduating. During Monday tutorial, select students receive help from teacher and student tutors in the cafeteria. 

“I think this program will be very effective in reaching out to students,” senior Sophia Chen, a student tutor, said. “We also are going to be working with one or two specific students, so we’ll be able to build a strong relationship throughout the year with them.” 

In addition, the guidance department has been developing guidance preparations for college readiness to better help parents and students make more informed decisions.

“High school is confusing for a lot of folks and we have a lot of parents who never went to high school in this country … [it makes it hard to] know what is going on,” Giglio said.

With such a large student caseload, the guidance department may not always be available for individual counseling sessions, but the passion the department has for students is evident.

“You want people who have an interest in, [or] desire and passion to want to help kids. You know, someone comes in saying, ‘I want to be a counselor, because it’s going to make me feel better’ … that’s probably not a great fit. That’s something we looked for when we were interviewing,” Giglio said.