NHS School Counseling Department Philosophy/Mission Statement

The Needham High Counseling Department is committed to advocating for all students and to being an integral part of the NHS community.  Counselors assist, guide, and direct students and families with academic planning, social/emotional issues, post-secondary planning, and many other areas relevant in a student's high school experience.  Counselors help students develop a strong sense of self, a respect for others, and offer guidance in making good decisions and helping students achieve their aspirations.

NHS Counseling Core Values

News to know

Last edited 2/15/24

In appreciation for our Counseling Department during National School Counselor Appreciation Week, February 5th-9th.


Due to the delay in the FAFSA form, please check with the colleges you are considering to see if they have moved their deadlines to accommodate this delay.

Upcoming parent evenings:

College Process for Students with Disabilities Presentation hosted by the Counseling Department and the Special Education Department 

March 7th at 9 am, Cafeteria Expansion at Needham High School. The target audience is parents of students in 11th grade but it is open to all parents. 

Coffee and scones will be provided! 

Patricia Mullen                               Dana Plunkett

Special Education Director              Director of Counseling 

PTC Evening: Navigating Social Media with your student

Presented by Dana Plunkett, Director of Counseling, 7-12 & Dr Tai Kaztenstein, Newton-Wellesley Resiliency Project

March 7th, 6:30-7:30 via this zoom link 

**Please note, this presentation will not be recorded**

The College Athlete - How to navigate the college recruitment process

Wednesday, March 20th, 6:30-8:00pm

Zoom link to be posted prior to the event

Join Kim Penney, founder of  One-on-One College Consulting, as well as college coaches from DI & DII colleges athletic programs  in a decision aimed at demystifying the college recruitment process. 

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) invites students, parents, and counselors to explore the college search process at the NACAC National College Fair in Boston held on Thursday, May 2, 2024 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. and Friday, May 3, 2024 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. The fair will be held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

Highlights of this year's fair include Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) focused areas, workshops covering topics such as college essays and financial aid, and access to the College Advising and Financial Aid Center.

Summer 2024 Programs:

Design Discovery Virtual is a 3-week program entirely online, geared to an international audience, held June 10–28, 2024. It explores design’s address of a series of complex contemporary issues within the built environment and is cross-disciplinary in its approach. This summer we will offer our virtual program in two optional schedules in order to better align with varied global time zones.

Design Discovery Youth is a 3-week program, offered this summer in a hybrid format, from June 10–28, 2024. This program is free to local Boston/Cambridge area residents, sophomores to seniors in high school who are admitted (space is limited). Crafted as an introduction to design within the built environment, this program invites students interested in learning about the material, processes and scales that design involves. This program focuses on supporting the translation of participants’ varied and valuable observations of the world into the visual and spatial language of design.

Harvard GSD website 

 Regis College Summer Scholars Precollege Program, a precollege program designed specifically for rising juniors and seniors to get in-depth feel for the college experience and earn six college credits – while living on a college campus for three weeks. Throughout their stay, students will engage in a Student Success Workshop, which includes a variety of college prep and important life skills.  Social programming will include excursions in and around Boston.  The program will take place from July 7 – July 26.


All students will take ENG 105 – Reading, Thinking and Writing, and will be able to choose their second course from the following list:

·    Introduction to Psychology

·    Introduction to Sports Management

·    Introduction to Criminal Justice

·    Health Care Professions in the U.S.

Summer Scholars Virtual Information Session Registration – Feb 27, 7pm

Summer Scholars Virtual Information Session Registration – March 21, 7pm


Summer Scholars Website

Summer Scholars Application


Plugged In Band Program's spring session starts the week of February 25th and is open to any youth, teen, 20-something or adult.  Plugged In is a unique, inclusive nonprofit music program where musicians of all levels and needs are welcome.  Bands are grouped by age, skill level and musical interest.

Spring Session Dates
February 25, 2024 - June 13, 2024

Programs Offered
Rock Band Class
Media Scoring Class
Private Lessons

Youth, Teens, 20-Somethings & Adults

Plugged In Website

Plugged In Spring Session Facebook Post
Plugged In Spring Session Instagram Post

Personal Pathways Career and Training Fair 3_12_24.pdf
College Fair S2024-2.pdf
2024 Youth Leadership Forum (YLF).pdf
Needham Photovoice 2024 updated flyer.pdf
FLIPS 2024 Conference Flyer .pdf
GSS-S 2024 Flyer.pdf
2024 Leadership Academy Experience Guide.pdf
Coffee Talk 2023-2024.pdf

For students

RRK and RRT Flyer Fall 2023 Final.pdf

Family Presentations 2023-2024

GAP Year Night

Wednesday, January 10th, 7:00pm

Zoom presentation hosted by Wellesley High School.

Jane and Jason Sarouhan are the J2 behind J2Guides, a professional gap year consulting service that puts empowerment, expertise and affordability at the center of the gap year planning process. Jane and Jason have been leaders in experiential and gap year education for nearly 30 years. They are nationally accredited Gap Year Association Consultants and keynote speakers at the USA Gap Year Fairs. In this gap year presentation Jane and Jason will share their stories and expertise as they define and demystify the gap year, share effective gap year planning strategies, and answer your questions.

Postsecondary Planning Junior Parent Night via Zoom 

Thursday, January 18th, 6:30-8:00PM

Zoom link will be provided prior to the event.

We hope all junior parents/guardians will be able to attend the Junior Parent Night.  To officially kick off the postsecondary planning process, we will share information we presented to the students and welcome college admissions representatives from Brandeis University, Providence College and Bridgewater State University for advice/insight about the process, including a question and answer period.  

Grade 8 Transition Night for Parents

Wednesday, February 7th, 6:30pm-8:00pm

NHS Auditorium

Post-Secondary planning for students with Learning Differences

Thursday, March 7th, 8:30AM-9:30AM

NHS Cafeteria Extension 

The College Athlete - How to navigate the college recruitment process

Wednesday, March 20th, 6:30-8:00pm

Zoom link to be posted prior to the event

Join Kim Penney, founder of  One-on-One College Consulting, as well as college coaches from DI & DII colleges athletic programs  in a decision aimed at demystifying the college recruitment process. 

Financial Aid Webinar

Thursday, March 21st, 6:30-8:00

Zoom link to be posted prior to the event.

What You Need to Know about Financial Aid

This webinar is designed to introduce how college financial aid works and what you should be doing to prepare for the aid application process. You will learn about various types of financial aid, what application materials colleges need, and how your financial need is determined. This year, we are grateful to have experienced admissions and financial aid professionals Donna Kendall, Associate Vice President of Enrollment & Dean of Undergraduate Admission & Lauren Sullivan, Director of Financial Assistance from Bentley University who will share what you need to know about financial aid. We welcome all juniors and their families to participate. As we prepare for this upcoming event, the presenters would love to hear any questions you have about the financial aid process. Please feel free to send your questions to I'Esha Thomas at i'esha_thomas@needham.k12.ma.us by Thursday, February 8th

PTC Evening Conversation with the Dana Plunkett, Director of Counseling, 7-12

Thursday, November 16th, 6:30-7:30pm: Counseling Resources at NHS

Thursday, January 11th, 6:30-7:30pm: Course Selection Process

Thursday, March 7th, 6:30-7:30pm: Social Media - how parents can support their child's appropriate use. 

(zoom link provided by PTC in advance of the evening)