Bob Gambarelli

Director of Student Services

JMHS Counseling &
Student Services

Gambarelli's Counseling Newsletter


Madison HS, December 2014 Counseling Newsletter

Recently, Madeline Levine, a relatively well known psychologist, was asked what lessons she hoped parents would impart to their children. Here was her response: “While we all hope our children will do well in school, we hope with even greater fervor that they will do well in life. Our job is to help them know and appreciate themselves deeply; to approach the world with zest; to find work that is exciting and satisfying, friends and spouses that are loving and loyal; and to hold a deep belief that they have something meaningful to contribute to society. This is what it means to teach our children well.”

As we round the bend of the school year, please take a minute to think about your student’s progress in their classes. The next stretch of school after winter break is a very comprehensive one, so spend some time during the break discussing academic or organizational issues with your student.

Here is the Counseling newsletter for December. For more detailed info about student services, visit the Student Services website.

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Wellness Week- the Counseling and Physical Education departments will be presenting our 3rd Wellness Week, which this year is from Dec. 8-12. That week, there will be a host of activities for your students during the school day that promote mental and physical wellness.

In conjunction with Wellness Week, Trisha Stotler of MINDS, Inc. will be giving a talk entitled MANAGING STRESS:  THE BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS TRAINING, on Monday, December 8 at 7:00 pm in the Auditorium.
This presentation will help you learn Mindfulness skills- daily practices that help build one’s awareness and concentration, and help to create a deeper, more comprehensive framework that addresses our needs as a whole person and can help us achieve greater clarity, direction, and balance in all aspects of our lives.  Students are highly encouraged to attend with their parents.


Graduation requirements for Fairfax County public schools are available for viewing here.


The counseling and clinical staff will be screening 10th graders for depression on Jan.8. More complete info will follow in a separate email.
PSAT results will be given out to students in mid-December.  Please remember these are PRACTICE tests and the colleges do not see them.  Also, the grades a student makes, as well as the strength of their curriculum, are far more important to the colleges than test scores.  Colleges accept students with a very wide range of test scores and focus much more on a student’s GPA.


Curriculum Night –February 5- at Madison, from 7 - 9 p.m.  This night will give you a chance to become exposed to all of the academic and elective offerings that Madison will offer next year. Even though the actual course registration for your students doesn’t begin until February, it's not too early to be thinking about and discussing possible options for next year's classes.


Vienna Optimist Club Essay Contest (Grades 9-12) is now available.  The essay topic for this year is: “Optimism Should be a Priority” and the specific essay instructions are available in the Document Library and Scholarship List in Family Connection. 


Senior Class News

Financial Aid ProgramTuesday,  December 2, 2014 at 7:00pm, Madison High School Auditorium. Presentation topics will include:  Applying for Financial Aid, Cost of Education, Need-Based Aid, Merit-Based Aid and Packaging/Awarding along with some additional information, tips and resources for the financial aid process. See you then!

FAFSA is the website for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid

College Access Fairfax (CAF) offers a variety of scholarships that are now available online.  CAF also offers several completing the FAFSA and CSS Profile workshops.  Visit for additional information and to sign up to attend one of their workshops.

APP LAB- Every Wednesday from 2:15-3:00 pm in the College Career Center, one or more of Madison’s counselors will be available to help seniors with any part of their college applications, from help writing their essays to filling out the common application, etc. Outside of the school day, this is a good place to get individualized help with college applications!

Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce Job Shadowing Program  The extended application deadline is December 1.  This is a wonderful opportunity for students to shadow a business expert in our community for a day in January or February 2015.  Application with additional details here.   or in the Document Library of Family Connection.  If you are unable to submit the form automatically, simply complete it, save it, attach it to an email and send it to
Transcript Requests/College Application Deadlines-
The last date to request transcripts for January deadlines is quickly approaching!  Please note the following dates: 

As a reminder, neither the counselors nor our transcript assistant will be in the office from December 22 through January 5.  Therefore, please remember to adhere to the above deadlines to ensure that your transcripts are sent on time. 

Application Information-
Once you have submitted your applications, you may continue to receive emails stating that your file is NOT COMPLETE. This will happen until they have not only received the transcript packet and counselor/ teacher recommendations, but have processed them in their office and placed them into your file, at which time they will change your status. Just because you get an email saying that your
transcript is not there, does not mean that it is not there. It is an automated system, so please DO NOT PANIC.
 “Common Application”: FCPS counselors do not use online recommendations or any other forms online. When you complete the Common Application, it will tell you to print forms to bring to your counselors. YOU DO NOT NEED TO PRINT THESE FORMS!  We have our own forms that are known and acceptable to colleges.
Transcripts mailed?  At any time, you may check to see if a transcript has been mailed by checking Family Connection, in the Colleges tab and then click on Colleges I’m Applying To.  If you are still unsure if your transcript has been mailed, please contact your counselor.  Remember, there is always some processing lag time, so don't assume your transcript has been lost if the college says they don't have it.

Let the College Acceptances Begin!  Students are beginning to hear from colleges and universities.  Be sure to share this information with your counselor and Mrs. Geary in the Counseling Office when you hear the good news.

Graduation, which seems like it is right around the corner, will be held on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 4:30 p.m. at the Robinson High School Field House.  You will receive detailed graduation information in the spring.

Senior dues are $135.00*.  Payment must be made by Wednesday, January 28, 2015. Dues paid after this date will be charged a $15 late fee. Please make checks payable to JMHS Class of 2015 and make sure the student’s name and t-shirt size are written on the check. Please turn in checks to the Main Office or directly to Miss Ronan in the library. For more info: Senior Dues Flyer
* If you qualify for the FCPS Free or Reduced Lunch Program, please see your school counselor.
You should have received information about graduation announcements.  Please visit the Senior Class Products page for more information.  
If you have questions, please contact the Senior Class Captains.
Dawn Dickerson at or 703-319-2560
Krissy Ronan at or 703-319-2353

Junior Class News
College Planning for Juniors- From January 7th - 17th, all of the juniors will be going into the College Career Center for an introductory session on college planning. This is traditionally when our students start researching colleges in earnest. Later in the winter, you and your student will be invited by your student’s counselor for an individual meeting concerning their college search.
Junior College Planning Night- Wednesday, January 15, 7:00 p.m. in the Madison High School Auditorium.  College Admission Representatives will present on a variety of topics and answer questions you may have in regards to the college process.
S.A.T. registration- we recommend that our Juniors take the SAT test once during this school year. The test dates are March 14 (here at Madison), as well as May and June (not at Madison). Students need to register online at

Freshman Class News

Freshman Student Learning Plan:  Strengths, Course Plan and Goals
The Freshman students recently completed a Strengths Explorer inventory which identified their top three strengths.  Students were then asked to think about how these strengths could be used in their future.  Next, students worked on completing a draft Course Plan for the courses they plan to take while at Madison HS and learned more about what courses Madison has to offer. Finally, students were asked to set an academic and responsibility to the community goal, all of which are pieces to the FCPS Student Learning Plan.  Parents are able to view this information in Family Connection, which is accessible through FCPS 24-7/Blackboard.  The Counselors and Career Center Specialist, Lynn Otto, enjoyed working with your students!
Here are some important dates for your calendar:

December 22 - January 2- Winter break
January 19 - Holiday for Martin Luther King Day
January 29 - Second quarter ends
January 30, Feb. 2- teacher workdays, no school for students
Feb. 5- Curriculum Night- 7:00 pm

Several Articles of Interest:

Colleges are using Facebook to screen applicants. See what this means for your student

6 reasons to take high school seriously is an excellent article about important “soft skills” that all high school students should have.


Lastly, as the holiday season approaches, take some time out to have fun with your family! Happy Holidays!




Cynthia Coogan

A-Car 9th – 11th

A-Cham 12th


Samantha Morick

Cas-Es 9th-11th

Chan-Fr 12th


Alex Gorman

Et-Hen 9th-11th

Fs-Ji 12th


Nada Madrid

Heo-Lam 9th-11th

Jk-May 12th


Tonya Lathom

Lan-Moo 9th-11th



Erin Kennedy

Mop-Rin 9th-11th

Maz-Pri 12th


Matt Murray

Rio-Swa 9th-11th

Prj-Sto 12th


Tim Buckley

Swb-Z 9th-11th

Stp-Z 12th






Stay well!






Gambo signature





Bob Gambarelli
Director of Student Services