'Opening Doors, Hearts, and Minds'
Greetings from the Secondary School Counseling office! I am Pascale Thomas and I am thrilled to join the counseling team here at ACST. I am entering my 15th year as a Professional School Counselor and have worked with all age groups. This will be my 9th year as a secondary school counselor and 7th as a college counselor. I am also the child of a retired diplomat and had the wonderful opportunity to live the majority of my life as an expatriate. As a child I lived in Côte D'Ivoire, South Africa, Morocco, the Philippines and the USA. As a working adult, along with my husband, Kevin Thomas, I’ve lived in Thailand, the UAE, and Bangladesh. We are excited to now call Tunisia home for the next three years. I am also fluent in French so please do not hesitate to communicate with me in French if that is your prefered language.
As your secondary school counselor my goal is to provide academic, social & emotional, and college and career counseling to our students and families in grades 6-12. I work collaboratively with students, parents, teachers and administrators to help ensure that all students have a successful journey through their secondary years and as they transition to life beyond ACST.
Throughout the year, I am available to meet with students and parents to discuss and help with academic issues. I meet with students, parents and teachers to discuss the various issues that are pertinent to their individual academic concerns. While yearly schedules are tailored to meet the academic requirements of the school, the diverse abilities, talents, and interests of each student are considered and schedules are designed to meet individual needs.
During the ninth grade, students are introduced to the expectations and demands of the high school, including transcripts, graduation requirements and the IB Program. In each of the grade level registration meetings, I will address the issues of course selection and program planning throughout the high school years.
As a certified school counselor, I have extensive training and experience in helping students who are struggling with social/emotional issues. I work in confidence with students in identifying strategies to deal with a variety of issues affecting their personal lives and interactions with fellow students. Please encourage your son or daughter to see me if they need someone to talk to in a supportive, trusting setting. Social Emotional Learning will also be a focus of our advisory program this year and I will assist in planning and implementing the advisory lessons. We will have a focus on wellness and mindfulness.
Confidentiality is a personal and ethical practice that I follow wholeheartedly. When I meet with students, teachers and parents, our conversations are meant to be private unless we determine that consultation with other members of the team is required. There are certain times where the law of my professional practice insists that I break confidentiality and seek assistance from other professionals. They are: if a student discloses thoughts of self harm, thoughts of harming others, or if they are being harmed by a caregiver. Should one of these situations occur, my role as one of the Child Protection Liaisons would be to consult with my administrators and we would then follow the guidelines documented in the Child Protection Handbook.
As part of our career awareness program, I anticipate working with our parent and local community in developing a career day. Students in grades 6-12 will have the opportunity to explore various career fields and learn about the steps required to enter such fields. Through our advisory program we will also have a focus on personality type inventories and career interest surveys. I look forward to working with our parent community on this new initiative.
Although several of our counseling programs throughout high school lead toward college planning and placement, grade 11 is the formal start to the college search and application process.
In January of grade 11 year, I will present an introduction to the process for the students and their parents. At this meeting, the process is explained in general and then parents are asked to set an appointment (the Junior Conference) with me during the month of February. During the Junior Conference, the counselor, student and parent go over the college search process including Junior and Senior year timelines, college selection criteria, the application, the college essay, and financial aid and scholarships.
While I am available at any time to answer questions regarding the college process – for any grade level student – the junior year is the critical time to begin the process because vital academic information is available (first semester junior year grades, PSAT scores, past academic performance, preferred extra-curricular activities, etc.).
Throughout the year, students have opportunities to meet with college representatives from around the world who visit ACST individually or as part of large group tours. These visits will be advertised in advance and students (and parents) are encouraged to attend these information sessions.
ACST is a testing site for the following: PSAT, and SAT. In October, the PSAT is administered to eleventh and tenth grade students during the school day. In addition, information regarding registration for the TOEFL or IELTS exam is available. I can also assist in any other testing registrations needed for university applications such as those needed to apply to medical programs in the UK. The College Counseling Center (C105) has a fully resourced library of preparatory books for the various tests that are offered. Students are welcome to check out these materials for home study.
Transition programs are specifically designed for three groups of people: those students entering grade 6 from elementary school; new students in all grades; students leaving ACST prior to their senior year; and graduating seniors. For each of these groups, I offer general counseling services as well as a special program dealing with the specific type of transition. At the beginning of each school year, and prior to the first day of classes, students and parents are invited to join the ACST staff in a Meet and Greet day. The senior transition program takes place over sessions during second semester concluding with an alumni panel. For students in grades six through eleven leaving ACST, a luncheon or individual sessions are held to discuss transition issues and provide closure activities.
How to reach me
My office is always available to all members of our community! Please do stop by and introduce yourself. My main counseling office is C104 and the College Counseling Center will be in C105. I can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to set an appointment with me you can do so via email or by calling the secondary office.
I look forward to meeting all of you!
Secondary School Counselor and College Counselor