SHS Counselor Newsletter happy holidays!


  • SHS Gratitude
  • Student Mental Health Needs & Support Groups
  • Sophomore Meetings
  • Junior Classroom Lessons
  • Junior ACT & Test Prep
  • STRIVE Field Trip
  • FAFSA Completion Event
  • Scholarships
  • College Rep Visits
  • Registration
  • Contact Us


Each year SHS teachers share gratitude to one another with hand written cards. This year we invited students to show gratitude to their teachers and posted the results for all to see! We truly have amazing students and staff. Students also received gratitude from SHS staff!

Raising Awareness for the Mental Health Needs of Our Students

School Counselors Tracy Caruso from SHS, and Joan Hunstiger from EMS recently had the opportunity to speak to local legislators, including Shakopee’s own Representative Tabke, at the South Suburban Locals Legislator Forum. Educators from the South Metro presented on important topics, and Tracy and Joan were able to share observations and data which demonstrate the significant mental health needs of students in Shakopee and the state of Minnesota. Tracy Caruso then had the opportunity to discuss these concerns further with Paul Douglas on WCCO Radio. Topics discussed on the news segment were warning signs, factors, and action steps for concerns for suicide in youth. Follow the link here to listen to the segment. The issues raised at the legislator event and WCCO Radio shed light on the importance of increasing mental health support at all levels: elementary, middle and high school; placing school counselors in elementary schools; and reducing the ratios of students to school counselors in our buildings so that they are more able to provide proactive services and school wide curriculum.


9th Grade Academic Success Group “I Got This!” - Approximately 30 of our ninth grade students who are academically at-risk are getting the opportunity to participate in an 8-week academic success group. In “I Got This” students are taking part in team-building exercises, tracking the group’s average grades, and doing activities focused on important academic topics such as organization, academic resources and time management. Group members meet on Wednesdays with Ms. Caruso for a full class period which varies from week to week.

COMING SOON: 9th Grade Boys Resiliency Group - Starting in January, Ms. Caruso will be meeting with approximately 10-15 ninth grade boys who may benefit from additional social / emotional support. This group will allow students to get to know each other, talk about hot topics such as anxiety, loss, etc. and learn skills to help manage these tough emotions. Group members will also be paired with an adult male mentor and have the opportunity to build this relationship throughout the length of the group.

Academic Support Groups (10th-12th grade) - There are various groups running to support students academically who struggle with prioritization, organization and homework completion.

COMING SOON - Students with Addicted Caregivers Group - If there is enough interest, we will run this group second semester. Please contact one of the school counselors if you or someone you know my be interested.

Sophomore Meetings

This fall, 10th Graders completed a survey to help their academy teachers and counselors get to know them better. Then they came to the Fab Lab in small groups to complete a project that defined who they were while meeting their school counselor!

Here are some of the survey questions and responses:

What do I want my academy teachers to know about me?

  • "I am a hard worker."
  • "I am an observer."
  • "I love to learn and I respect what you are doing and teaching."

What are two or three obstacles that get in the way of reaching my academic & personal goals?

  • "Work after school, being tired."
  • "Honestly I'm not the greatest at time management."
  • "Procrastination, self doubt, and determination."

What motivates me to learn or want to do well in school?

  • "Getting into a good college."
  • "The knowledge that my parents sacrificed a lot to come to America, I need to make them proud."
  • "Fun teachers, interesting topics."
  • "Making my parents proud. That's it, really."
Students working in the FAB Lab completing their projects!


In mid-November, the counseling team had the opportunity to connect with all juniors with their next steps in their academic career. We focused on making junior year count, university options, technical school options and apprenticeships, along with standardized testing information. Students worked on MCIS (Minnesota Career Information System) connecting college degrees with jobs and salaries. It was a fantastic chance for the juniors to see what types of degrees and certifications are needed for their personal goals. They were able to use the information they found and share it with classmates to better understand job requirements for various careers. In addition, they left having a better understanding of university levels (Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Ph.D.) along with vocational school offerings. The counseling team enjoyed the time spent with the juniors focusing on their plans post-high school and look forward to another lesson in the spring taking a deeper dive into those goals.

Upcoming ACT Test for Juniors

February 20th is the school-wide Junior ACT test day.

Shakopee High School is taking care of registering all students and applying for accommodations if needed. Juniors, all you need to do is show up on February 20 with your student ID, ready to do your best! If you would like you can prepare using your MCIS account; in MCIS Test Prep, students will find a diagnostic pre-test, a personalized study plan (based on results from the diagnostic pre-test), electronic flashcards, and 3 full-length practice tests. If students are interested in taking the ACT in addition to this test, they can register at act.org.

Minnesota Career Information System (MCIS) Test Prep

Did you know that students have access to FREE test prep for the ACT, SAT, ASVAB and many more standardized tests!?! 1,317 students have already taken advantage of test prep this year. For those students wanting to join in the studying fun, start by signing into your MCIS account. Hover over “My Portfolio” and on the far right, click on “College Entrance/GED/ASVAB tests” under the “Test Prep” header.

The Shakopee Rotary takes STRIVE students to Normandale Community College, Hennepin Technical College & Bucca's!

STRIVE is a mentoring and scholarship program that hopes to motivate high school seniors and help them discover their own strengths and talents in order to increase personal and academic achievement. Rotary scholarships are awarded to STRIVE students. The STRIVE program is a part of the Shakopee Rotary Club.

Normandale Community College visit included a tour and an informational session.
Hennepin Technical College tour. This included a tour and Q&A.
Hennepin Technical College

Thank you Shakopee Rotary for inspiring our students!!

FAFSA Completion Event

On Thursday, November 15th, the Counseling Department hosted a FAFSA Completion night. FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This free application allows qualifying students to request federal and state financial aid for college through grants, work study, or student loans. Seniors and their parents were invited to complete their FAFSA on-the-spot with the help of Counselors, Financial Aid, and Admission Representatives from various colleges.


Local scholarships are kept on this Scholarship List. We will post more scholarships as they become available.

Students can also access a large list of scholarships on the Minnesota Career Information System called MCIS. On MCIS, you can find scholarships under the Education tab. You can find scholarships that apply to a student more easily by sorting them into categories or by doing the Financial Aid Sort.

December/January Scholarship Highlights & Deadlines:

  • 12/31 – American Legion High School Oratorical Contest: 3-5 minute discourse on an assigned Amendment.
  • 12/31 – Overachiever’s Grant – 1,000 to 2,500 handwritten words about how you or another student gives back to the community of improve others’ lives.
  • 1/1 – MIT THINK Scholars Program - Students submit a proposal for any novel science, technology, or engineering idea.

College Rep Visits

Reminder - check here for the College and Career Center calendar to see when college reps will be in our building. Students are able to sign up to meet with College Admissions Reps with Ms. O'Connell in the Career Center.


2019-2020 School Year

9th grade students have been learning about the 6 different academies in their Freshman Seminar class. Once we return from winter break, they will formulate their top choices for an academy and receive their final placement before the end of the semester.

Counselors will begin registration presentations the first week of February for all grade levels. Students will have until February 22nd to complete their registration.

Registration Information Night: Wednesday, February 20th from 4pm-8pm – Shakopee High School Commons. This is a night for parents and students to learn more, ask questions, and receive overall help.

Contact Us

  • Tracy Caruso - Freshman Academy tcaruso@shakopee.k12.mn.us
  • Beth Cordes - Sci & Tech, Freshman (P-S) bcordes@shakopee.k12.mn.us
  • Nicole Drangstveit - Business & Ent, Freshman (T-Y) ndrangst@shakopee.k12.mn.us
  • Victoria Haas - Health Science, Freshman (Z) vhaas@shakopee.k12.mn.us
  • Erica Lang - Arts & Comm, Freshman (A-D) elang@shakopee.k12.mn.us
  • Kelsey LaRue - Human Services, Freshman (E-K) klarue@shakopee.k12.mn.us
  • Jenny Severson - Eng & Manuf, Freshman (L-O) jseverso@shakopee.k12.mn.us
  • Carrie Webb - Counseling Office Assistant cwebb@shakopee.k12.mn.us
  • Linda O'Connell - Counseling Support loconnel@shakopee.k12.mn.us


Created with images by monicore - "gift bag present" • Pro Church Media - "Thankful" • Wokandapix - "support letters scrabble" • Soorelis - "paper colorful color" • Marleena Garris - "Grad girl" • HeatherPaque - "money donation donate" • Monoar - "pencil wood pencil education"

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