Academic Advising

  • Riverdale High School’s mission is that “Students learn to use their minds well, engage creatively and act compassionately.”

    Success written on a blackboard The high school counselor helps students with obstacles that they confront while trying to realize that vision. 

    As academic advisor, the counselor helps students to clarify their career, college and other goals. And then the counselor, student and family will plan classes, projects, internships, independent studies, reading, thinking and play that are aligned to those goals. 

    This work is based on the fundamental values of progressive education:

    • Each student’s path, personality and skill-set is unique.
    • Students have a right to community inclusion and recognition.
    • Students thrive when we relate to them with commitment, basic positive regard and careful coaching.


    Riverdale High School is not a therapeutic setting, and we quickly refer students to community professionals when their needs are clearly beyond the scope of a school. But as coaches of academics, athletics and community life, high school staff inevitably work with emotions, habits and beliefs that present themselves as obstacles.  

    As with all of our efforts, we work closely with parents, teachers and service providers to ensure continuity of care and to optimize the use of the school environment to enhance growth.

    Formal academic advising at Riverdale happens in these ways:

    • The Education Plan: The Counselor creates the formal Education Plan at the end of junior year, after each student does planning work in Advisory. The formal Education Plan is shared with parents and the student as a Google Doc.
    • The College Application Process: This is described on the College section of the website.
    • Career information: Careers are discussed in Advisory, and during special assemblies and events.
    • The PSAT: This test includes a short interest inventory that can be helpful.
    • Individual counseling: The counselor proactively identifies students in need of coaching based on their academic performance and other factors.


    The following information will help parents and student understand the standard path through high school: 


    Pease contact the high school counselor or Cheryl Wright with questions.