A New Role: Freshman Guidance Counselors


Sakib Asraf

All freshmen’s guidance counselors are now either Mr. Roldan or Mr. Hikes (pictured).

Juliana Vandermark, Around School Editor

Starting this year, there will be a significant alteration in the guidance counselor team for the freshmen, both in name and in function. All freshmen this year have been assigned one of two freshman guidance counselors. For Learning Communities C and R,  Jordan Roldan will be the freshmen advisor, and he is a second-year guidance counselor at CRLS. For students in Learning Communities L and S, Daniel Hikes ’05—avid member of the city and school community through Breakthrough and other resources—will be their counselor.

Mr. Roldan and Mr. Hikes are working together to make the transition into high school as seamless and supportive as possible. This transition will start as early as eighth grade. They are planning to meet and work with the counselors at each upper school throughout the year so that once it’s time for eighth graders to move to CRLS, they will already have established a relationship with their guidance counselors.

“This is a model shift,” Mr. Roldan explained, recognizing that it will take time before there’s any conclusive data on how the new setup is going. “It’s gonna be a routine that we’re in classrooms,” he said, noting that this routine won’t fall into place immediately. However, it is a necessary shift. He explained that, unintentionally, guidance counselors ended up focusing on upperclassmen, and that freshmen can get lost in the shuffle since they are the farthest from the college and career processes.

During the year, Mr. Roldan and Mr. Hikes will visit ELA seminars and English/History classes 1-3 times a month, with the guidance curriculum they cultivated over the summer together.

These meetings will cover high school-specific unfamiliarities—GPAs, Chromebook usage, in-school resources—as well as tips and tools to make the most out of the four years students have at CRLS. Both guidance counselors stressed the importance of impressing helpful habits on students now so that students will be successful throughout high school and in their transition to their next guidance counselors.

Mr. Hikes explained the long-term tools they hope to instill in their students: “I think some of the biggest pieces that I hope freshmen this year moving forward will walk away with are self-advocacy, in a healthy, productive way, and knowing what that looks like. I think another big piece is—and this is actually part of self-advocacy—but asking for help.” Mr. Hikes continued, “We’re really gonna push that idea of asking teachers for help. The staff at CRLS are amazing, and they have so many different opportunities to provide additional support, … and those resources being available for students is incredible,” Mr. Hikes said, adding that the resources are only helpful if students know how to ask for and use them, which is where he and Mr. Roldan come in.

The two counselors are working side by side in all of this. Mr. Roldan explained, “We’re a ‘we’ instead of ‘me.’” The curriculum they will go through with freshmen classes was a compilation of both of their efforts, and even if a student’s counselor isn’t the one visiting their class that month, “We treat every ninth grader as if they’re one of ours,” Mr. Roldan said.

Mr. Roldan explained his enthusiasm for his new role at CRLS, saying, “From last year, I wanted to be more involved with the school. I wanted to find a way to do more guidance work, but also to do more with being involved with the community, and I thought that for me to see more kids in classrooms and for me to be more active in the school day was probably my best experience in terms of as a guidance counselor here.”

In addition to their new support systems in class, Mr. Roldan and Mr. Hikes will continue to support scheduling conflicts as always. Freshman Emmet Cohen of LC-S  said, “At the beginning of the year, [Mr. Hikes], was really helpful in sorting out everything related to my schedule. He’s super nice, and I am lucky to have him as my guidance counselor!”

These freshmen meetings started Wednesday, October 10th during PSATs and will continue throughout the year.


This piece also appears in our October 2018 print edition.