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St. Mary’s Counseling Department is dedicated to serving the individual needs of each student in a safe environment. We offer guidance and counseling in four main areas; personal, social-emotional, academic, and college decision-making. All St. Mary’s students have equitable access to the comprehensive and developmental school counseling program, regardless of ethnicity, culture, race, gender, age, or degree of disability. We believe all students have dignity and worth and the ability to achieve. All students’ individual differences will be considered when developing and implementing the comprehensive and developmental school counseling program to better meet the needs of all students.

School Counseling

School counselors empower students to succeed not only on an academic level but also to succeed in their future careers and personal life. One of the primary roles of a school counselor is to foster the healthy development of every student in each of these three domains regardless of race, gender, age, and degree of disability. This occurs through evidence-based intervention methods implemented in classroom guidance activities, small group counseling, and individual counseling to teach essential skills. The school counselor is a wonderful resource for students seeking assistance and a person to talk to confidentially. In addition, a strong collaborative and consultative relationship is built between the school counselor, faculty members, and parents to work together to encourage students to become independent and successful.

Students are able to visit the school counselor during their lunch hour or after school until 4:00 pm. In some instances, students will see the counselor during class time; this is usually reserved for emergency cases needing immediate intervention.

Standardized Testing

Iowa Tests of Basic Skills are administered to students from 1st through 8th grade. This national examination serves as a standard to assist Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Atlanta in assessing the delivery and mastery of the curriculum. Student performance on the Iowa Assessments is utilized by schools to inform annual goals, to guide professional development efforts, and as an indicator in the pursuit of continuous improvement.

The Cognitive Abilities Test is administered to students in grades two, five, and seven. The CogAT is intended to estimate students’ learned reasoning and problem-solving abilities through a battery of verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal test items.

The NCEA Information for Growth: Assessment of Children/Youth Religious Education (NCEA IFG: ACRE) is annually administered to all Archdiocesan students, both Catholic and non-Catholic, in grades 5 and 8. The ACRE is produced by the National Catholic Educational Association and serves as an integrated approach to assessment offering both faith knowledge (cognitive domain) as well as beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and practices (affective domain) sections. Results of the ACRE are used by Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Atlanta to guide the implementation and development of religious instruction and formation.

St. Mary’s Academy administers the PSAT|NMSQT to all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in October. The NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is the PSAT that students take in their sophomore or junior year to enter the National Merit Scholarship competition.

 The PSAT allows you to:

  • Assess your critical reading, mathematical reasoning, and writing skills.
  • Get specific suggestions on how to improve your academic skills.
  • Prepare for the SAT with a free personalized study plan.
  • Enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation competitions for recognition and scholarships.
  • Request free information from colleges and universities.
  • Use My College QuickStart to access free resources and information about college and career planning.

PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 resources

Following the guidance of the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA), archdiocesan Catholic schools do not post standardized test scores. Standardized test scores, as used by archdiocesan schools, are administered for the purpose of analyzing individual student growth and informing instructional decisions and are not intended to be a measure of overall school quality. Archdiocese of Atlanta achievement testing information may be found on the Office of Catholic Schools website.

marisa dobson

Marisa Dobson


sarah athearn

Sarah Athearn


College Counseling

St. Mary’s college counselor works to create an individual path for each student. This process includes evaluating the student’s high school history, evaluating the student’s options, and submitting applications.

Students will begin their college process in November of their junior year with an introduction to Naviance, a college application software used to research colleges and create resumes.  Student meetings with the college counselor begin in December of the junior year. Parent meetings follow in January after winter break. 

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