Counselor's Corner

  • As a team, Ida B. Wells counselors have more than 80 years (combined) of helping teens and their parents navigate the high school experience. Check back here periodically for information, advice, and helpful tips.

    Counselors Available for Drop-In Visits

    Counselors are available for drop-in (as in, you don't need an appointment) visits before school (8:15-8:30), at lunch (11:39-12:14), and after school (3:30-3:45). IBW counselors do not want you to miss class time to ask your question, though, so please do not pop by during class time.


    Schedule Changes for 2021-22

    The deadline for schedule changes was Wednesday, September 22nd. First semester schedules are now locked. Please email your counselor with any concerns regarding second semester classes.


What's New

  • A Parent’s Guide to High School: How To Survive Your Child's High School Experience

    We all remember our high school experience with varying degrees of joy and misery. High school is harder—both socially and academically—than any previous school experience. And we’re not just talking about the students. As parents, you are trying to support their need for independence with the increased rigor of classes. You know that these years really matter when it comes to choices later on. Yet, you want them to still be kids and to have fun.

    It’s a tough balance when they insist on making their own decisions about their future, but still want you to make their lunch and drive them to school when they get up late. This is a tough age.

    Here are a few tips for YOU on surviving their years at Ida B. Wells High School.


    Tired of the monosyllabic grunts? Tired of the ubiquitous “fine” when you ask them anything about their day? Ask leading questions. Instead of asking “how was your day?” try asking what they are studying in science right now, or what book they are reading in English.

    Communicate indirectly. Sometimes, to be heard, you need to write a letter so your kids can digest your thoughts on their own time when they are less defensive and more open to what you have to say.

    Use IBW staff as a resource. Working with your teachers, counselors, and administrators is key in the ever-complex world of secondary education. We certainly can’t do our job without your support at home. Equally, communicate with us when you have concerns or questions.


    Assume they do have homework. Instead of asking “do you have any homework?” ask “what is your homework this weekend?” Better yet, ask to see their homework. If they continuously say they don’t have any or they did it at school, you might suspect that there’s something wrong with that picture. Email teachers and consult Synergy to check in about this.


    It’s really not their fault they are disorganized. Certainly, there are degrees, but remember their brain is not fully wired yet, so the ability to plan ahead is not fully developed. You can help them by creating a plan for remembering things. Do they use a planner? Can you place a large notice board at home, so you can all keep track? Do their teachers use the web to post calendars or assignments?

    Bite-sized pieces are easier to swallow. Help them break their assignments to projects into more manageable pieces to avoid that feeling of being overwhelmed. Again, these management skills are not yet fully baked in the adolescent brain, so have patience.

    Mind-Body Balance

      Sadly, too much for their school day is spent sitting and listening. The brain and body need time to absorb and process all the information they receive. Encourage exercise every day.
    • It’s an old but a good one: Their brain needs food to function—don’t forget a breakfast that includes protein and complex carbohydrates.
    • Consider helping them to limit their screen time, particularly before bed. Students who turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before bed have better sleep and are more rested than those who don’t.

    Final Thoughts

    Parents are still the most important, influential people in a teen’s life. Despite how it may seem, their friends are not their biggest influence. Nor is mass media. It’s you! Your opinions still carry the most weight. When asked who makes the biggest difference in their lives, teens overwhelmingly name YOU as their most significant source of support, inspiration and learning.