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Counselor’s Corner


Lincoln Southwest Gifted Counselor’s Corner


The Gifted Program can be very confusing and intimidating to some. Whether you are trying to navigate getting your child identified as gifted, or simply trying to figure out how best to navigate your child through the juggernaut of High School  – it can all seem overwhelming!


One this page you will find information pertaining to:
1-How the Counseling Department can help your gifted child
2-Advice for the Transition to High School, as well as General Advice for Gifted High School students



How Can the Counseling Department Help your Gifted Child?

The Lincoln Southwest Counseling staff is committed to supporting and nurturing the academic, personal-social and career development of all students through our commitment to lifelong learning and collaboration with families, school staff and community.

We provide these supports to our students and families by working with individuals assigned to our teams of counselors by alpha order; by collaborating with other members of our student services department; faculty and administration; and by representing or acting as liaisons to the gifted design team, student assistance process and departments.


We address the needs of our gifted and high achieving population as described in the following ways:

  • Collaborating with our gifted Facilitator to provide informational sessions for our incoming 9th graders at our Family Night.  This event includes information on specifics for determining course selections for our students who are gifted and /or high achievers.  An additional informational session is held in the fall for parents of Freshman that addresses needs and planning for the students who are gifted and participating in differentiated coursework as well as characteristics of gifted / talented students; how to manage social/academic issues and resources available in our building.
  • Tim Ernst, a counselor in our department, informs students and parents of a variety of advanced course work at various colleges that will connect our accelerated students to appropriate college – level courses.  Tim informs parents and students through our Junior and Senior Family meetings; Parent Advisory Committee and offers a small group experience for our gifted/ talented students during the school year to encourage more participation in these excellent opportunities.  He also advises and assists our counselors with our individual students who inquire and/or pursue these courses so that all talented students have equal access and opportunities.
  • We offer specific work sessions in our counseling department that offer our gifted and talented students a small group experience to build their skills in writing essays; interpreting the information in college entrance exams and opportunities to improve through preparation and practice for SAT/ACT; connecting college bound students who are exceptional in their academic performance to provide information for students/families on college regulations and scholarships; and to provide support and information to our students of color who are gifted/ talented through our topics and presenters for Students of Color.
  • Our counseling department has intensified our identification and encouragement of talented students of color through our PLC efforts and department goals.  Individual counselors are collectively identifying and guiding their designated alpha-ordered students of color to select rigorous coursework, monitor their progress and success in courses and encouraging post-secondary planning.  Our department is intentionally working with talented students of color to pursue post-secondary plans and secure college admission requirements.
  • Senior interviews are used by our counseling staff to create post-secondary plans, instruct and direct scholarship searches/applications and financial planning specific to their needs and characteristics as gifted and talented students.
  • The department publications include regular articles and information specific to our gifted population.  The monthly newsletter features information about gifted students; opportunities and events which promote involvement in further study/experiences in math, science and arts; encourage participation in enrichment opportunities on campus’, through internships and summer enrichment programs/opportunities.

The counseling department/members have all participated in the training and coursework required of LPS faculty for tenure in understanding and meeting the needs of gifted students. In addition, Colleen Finkhouse has completed additional coursework and district courses to enhance counseling skills for gifted/talented students. Eric Feeken is the liaison for the gifted committee.



Advice for High School

Transitioning From Middle School to High School – Students will be earning credits toward high school graduation beginning on the 1st day of 9th grade. Credits and work completion matter. Assignments needs to be handed in on time ( don’t expect late paper passes to be issued by teachers) and carefully completed.

General Advice for High School Gifted Children – Even if academics came easily in middle school, high school is a different experience. Block scheduling will present even more challenges as the amount of academic content that will be covered in the course of a school day will be considerably more than students may be used to. Serious consideration needs to be given to whether students should enroll in all differentiated classes or in classes in the subject areas where the student has demonstrated high levels of ability and successful achievement.

Regular study times and locations need to be established. Students need to work distraction-free. Study, read and review notes even if no homework has been assigned. The freshman year of high school should be a time of learning and adjusting to a new pace of learning and working with faculty.

Advice For College/University Applications and Contact Information – The LSW Counseling Center has a tremendous amount of helpful information regarding the “what next?” question that inevitably arises when faced with graduation!


Go to the LSW Counseling Center’s College Planning page for more information!