Since our start in 2001, student success has always been the center of Primavera’s mission and focus. As we’ve grown into the largest high school in Arizona, we’ve constantly re-evaluated and improved to ensure we provide the quality education our students deserve.
Our Guidance Department has a stellar program structured around student needs. We do not simply assign our students to counselors according to last names; instead, we provide each student with certified Guidance counselors, and experienced support staff that includes paraprofessionals and College and Career Specialists to ensure each student achieves his or her academic goals.
“Primavera’s Guidance Department consists of Counselors, College and Career Specialists and Guidance paraprofessionals working together to support students and staff. Their role is to help all students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development and career development, ensuring today’s students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow.” – Elaine Taylor, Director of Guidance and Student Services
Learn more about our guidance structure below.
Primavera’s Student-Centered Guidance Team
A highly trained team of paraprofessionals serve as the front line for the guidance department. They answer the general reception line for the guidance department (480.405.2714). If you have general inquiries or you are not sure who you need to speak with in the guidance department, they can answer your questions or find the appropriate staff member to assist you Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. They are also responsible for assigning courses for all new and continuing students in collaboration with the Guidance Counselors.
College & Career Specialists
After high school, we want to empower our students so that graduation is not a cliff to fall from, but a launchpad for future success. That’s why we not only provide the state-mandated Education Action Career Plan (ECAP), we assign College and Career Specialists to all students 12th grade and above. These specialists are experienced Guidance Paraprofessionals who know the ins and outs of applying for college and receiving financial aid. For those seniors who have a set plan in mind, College and Career Specialists will give them tips and tricks to help them achieve their goals. For those seniors who are not quite sure yet, a Paraprofessional from the College and Career Specialists team will work with them individually to identify strengths and passions, and recommend a pathway to take after graduation.
A dedicated, certified Guidance Counselor is assigned to students requiring more individualized attention–including those who are performing poorly academically, those who have extra family responsibilities or outside obligations, and students who require a 504 or IEP plan. Guidance Counselors are not limited to these types of students; they are available to any students in need. Guidance Counselors are responsible for verifying senior plans for graduation and make the final determination on awarding credits toward graduation.
What if I Want Help With College Before 12th Grade?
If you are a motivated student who knows what you want after graduating and would like help, you don’t have to wait! All of our Guidance Counselors are highly qualified to assist students with any questions or needs they have regarding plans after high school. We also provide many resources throughout the year for 9–12th grade students, including a Digital College Fair held every October with exclusive video interviews from trade schools and colleges available to watch any time. View them here.
How Do I Contact My Counselors?
Teacher, Paraprofessional and Counselor contact info is all found within the student’s PSP home page (the main log in for courses). You can learn more about our personalized support in this blog post.
National School Counselors’ Week: A Few of Primavera’s Guidance Counselors
February 6–10 is National School Counseling Week, and we’d like to take a moment to appreciate our dedicated Paraprofessionals and Guidance Counselors. Meet two of our devoted staff members below!
Cortney Hochderffer, Guidance Counselor
Mrs. Hochderffer is a Guidance Counselor here at Primavera who loves crafting, attending concerts and rooting for her favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys. As someone who faced obstacles and became the first to receive a Master’s degree in her family, Cortney relates to many of Primavera’s alternative students on a personal level.
“After graduation, I let life get in the way and I didn’t think that my goals were still achievable…my focus changed many times, but I always felt the need to show myself and others that I could do it,” said Cortney.
“I was the first in my family to get a Master’s degree, and through that journey I wanted to be able to help other students realize that life circumstances and doubt shouldn’t stop them from being able to reach their goals, and that it was not as difficult as we sometimes think it will be.”
Lolita Simpson, Guidance Paraprofessional Lead
Ms. Simpson is a dedicated Paraprofessional who has been with Primavera for nearly ten years. She enjoys music, reading and playing with her three-legged dog, Bugatti. Above all, Ms. Simpson’s passion is helping students succeed.
“Because Primavera students range from 6–12th grade and above, we have the opportunity to help them with their education with options and flexibility to their schedules,” said Ms. Simpson.
“There have been many instances in my years with Primavera where I know I’ve made an impact but one in particular was an overage student who finally graduated. It was hard work to keep her motivated, but being stern with her finally worked and she graduated a few years back. It was an amazing feeling to see her walk across the stage and watch her family see her accomplishments!”
A Few Thank-You Notes From Students to Our Guidance Counselors:
“Every couple of weeks[my son], or I, is contacted by a counselor from Primavera to check our progress. The counselors and teachers have been knowledgeable, helpful and are truly interested in the progress and success of my child! I am so impressed. I would highly recommend this program!” – Heather Burgeson, Primavera parent, professional school counselor.
“Elaine treated me as if I were her own daughter, and she ensured that the process of getting my NCAA approval was as seamless as possible. I am extremely grateful to Elaine Taylor for the countless hours of work she did to help me receive NCAA approval!” Meghan Lyall, Primavera graduate. Read her story here.
“Without the help of my family, teachers, other Primavera Staff, and especially Ryan Peterson (Guidance Counselor) I wouldn’t have walked for graduation. Primavera is a school that promotes success more than any other institution.”- Ravyn Schmidt, Primavera graduate. Read her story here.
- Do you have a school counselor you’d like to thank? Share with us in the comments below!