The Guidance Department provides personal, social, and academic support to students either during individual and/or group counseling sessions. Counselors collaborate with parents and faculty members to insure the success and safety of BHSEC students. The primary focus of counseling is to equip students with coping strategies designed to help them manage personal stressors. Students learn to identify obstacles that interfere with their ability to achieve their goals. The counseling staff also offers conflict mediation services, organizational support, and, when necessary, members of the Guidance Department make referrals to and collaborate with community based organizations and external mental health professionals.
Key support services are listed below:
The Learning Commons promotes college readiness by providing individual tutorial help in all subject areas, with a special focus on the critical areas of writing and math. The Learning Commons provides a common learning space for students to collaborate with each other through small group work and study groups. Students may sign up for tutoring sessions with a professor or a student mentor, or they may use the Commons to work in small peer study groups.
All faculty members at BHSEC offer office hours—dedicated time in which they work individually with students. Students are encouraged to meet with their faculty members. Faculty members also offer organized group study for students who appear to be struggling in their classes.
Peer Tutors are BHSEC students who assist students in subjects across all academic disciplines. Students meet with a peer tutor weekly in the library for one-on-one assistance with homework assignments and test preparation and for help with developing good study habits. The goal of the Peer Tutoring Program is to connect students to a classmate who understands the challenges of early college, and who is able to help students reach specific academic objectives. Peer tutoring is an excellent opportunity to assist others while building communication and leadership skills. All tutors receive training in best tutoring practices and learn tutoring strategies relevant to their disciplines. In addition to peer tutoring, high school students who request extra support or are identified as needing help by their teachers or Guidance Counselors are matched with a mentor in the college program for academic and study skills support.
Prior to entering BHSEC, all incoming 9th graders are invited to attend a week-long introduction to Bard High School Early College. The program is held during the summer and its primary goal is to transition students into a new setting and ease any anxiety they may have about making new friends and engaging in early college work. Students take sample classes, learn study skills, become familiar with the neighborhood, and collaborate in group activities that promote team building.
All BHSEC students meet with a faculty advisor each Wednesday for one period. There is also time built into the weekly schedule for individual meetings between students and advisors. Students are assigned to advisories by grade level. The goal of advisory is to provide a safe space where students can build trusting relationships with each other and with a BHSEC faculty member. The advisor facilitates group discussions and activities that provide character building and academic support for students. The advisor also provides one-on-one and group check-ins with advisees to help students monitor their academic and social development during their BHSEC years. The advisor remains the same for the student’s four years at BHSEC Queens.
Students are encouraged to go to the library after school if they need a space to do quiet work. Learning Commons tutors are available to help students who need academic support. The study hall is helpful for students who have distractions at home. We also recently added the Library Annex, which is a completely silent work space for students.
The librarian teaches workshops to students on digital research skills, scholarly writing, citation, and avoiding plagiarism. Teachers of all grades, and in all subjects, schedule these workshops with the librarian throughout the semester. After a workshop, the librarian often evaluates student writing alongside the teacher. Together, the librarian and teacher identify students in their class who need extra support with research projects.
Additionally, the librarian is available all day to support student work in research and writing – especially during the 9th grade lunch period, when there are a large number of students in need of additional support in writing and in study skills. The librarian helps students become independent learners, including being self-disciplined in structuring their independent time in the library. The librarian also recommends books and designs independent reading plans for students who struggle with reading, including those who are mastering fluency in English as a Second Language.