The teaching of character development, good citizenship, and leadership begins with the youngest students at USJ and is stressed at all grade levels.
Lower School students have character education classes as part of their curriculum. The Advisory System in the Middle and Upper Schools offers students academic and personal support and provides opportunities for discussion to promote good character and a greater sense of school community.
Students learn in an environment of trust and responsibility. They do not need a lock on their locker, nor do they worry about leaving a book bag outside of a classroom.
Upper School students formed a student Honor Council to emphasize that student conduct is a matter of honor. Each year, students pledge to follow an honor code, which is predicated on the assumption that all students are honorable young men and women who have the right to be trusted.
Lower School students have character education classes as part of their curriculum.
In the Middle School, the counselor coordinates all standardized testing and the Duke Talent Identification Program. The guidance counselor also meets with students in a small group format to discuss contemporary issues such as successful problem solving, critical thinking, leadership, virtue, adolescent communication skills, study strategies, and substance abuse. She also supports the advisory program and communicates with teachers when the need arises regarding a student‘s academic progress and can offer specific strategies to maximize success. The counselor is always available to meet with individual students as well as parents who have concerns about their child’s adjustment to the unique demands of the pre-adolescent and early adolescent age group.
The support needed to ensure the success of the college-bound student can require a considerable amount of understanding of the issues pertaining to their lives. Small group discussions may be offered to students on topics such as balancing multiple expectations, challenging cultural norms and media influences, appropriate use of technology, healthy relationships, substance abuse and addiction, and what to expect from college life.
The allure of risk-taking behaviors is typical in that age group. The counselor can offer a safe haven for students to reveal behaviors and concerns about themselves and/or their friends in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality. This is a time of transition into the adult world, and the issues that they deal with and the decisions they are making about their current and future lives can be overwhelming. The counselor is committed to supporting students and their families throughout these years. Health and safety of all students is paramount, so the student may be encouraged to share these concerns with his/her family. If there are issues that, in the opinion of the counselor, would be better served by a referral for more extensive intervention, the counselor may contact the student’s family with recommendations while maintaining respect for their privacy.