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New Salem - May 16, 2007

Counselor’s Corner

Dr. Gaylynn Becker
National Certified School Counselor
National Certified Career Counselor
New Salem High School

Choices Planner and TestGEAR

What are Choices Planner and TestGEAR? Well, many students at New Salem High School received first hand experience in the past few weeks. Working in cooperation with Mrs. Robin Doll’s 7th grade Social Studies Classes and Mrs. Tammi Gilstad’s Junior English Classes, I took these students into the high school and elementary school’s computer labs and got them involved. Thanks to both Mrs. Doll and Mrs. Gilstad for their cooperation in these activities.

The first thing students did was go to “North Dakota Guidance Central” at Once students were there, then students selected “Choices Planner” and created a portfolio. Some students didn’t need to create a portfolio as they had previously created a portfolio in Choices Planner. Then students were to complete the Interest Profiler. The Interest Profiler consists of 180 questions about what students like and don’t like to do. The program then created a list of occupations that match up with things the students indicated they like to do.

These occupations create awareness for students to then explore these occupations: education requirements, future employment outlook, current salaries, videos of these occupations, colleges that provide the training, and more. Among other things, this program also provides 2 additional components called “Work Values Sorter” and “Basic Skills Survey” which also provide separate lists of occupations that match up to what students have selected. The results are 3 lists of occupations matched up to student’s interests, work values, and basic skills. Occupations that appear on 2 or 3 of these lists are definitely occupations the students should consider exploring further.

Below are some pictures taken by senior Kelly Hoger. Thanks Kelly for your time and effort in this.

(To view pictures, please see the May 16, 2007 New Salem Journal)

These pictures demonstrate interest and involvement of our students in their career development process. Of course as with most things, we tend to get out of life and activities what we put into them. I hope these students get a lot out of Guidance Central that will positively influence their career development.

I’ve always had excellent cooperation with New Salem High School staff in visiting their classrooms. With the continued cooperation of New Salem High School staff, I plan to do more work next year with students in Guidance Central.

New Salem Public School has also purchased access to 2 additional programs for students at New Salem High School. These are “Do What You Are” and “Learning Styles Inventory.” Your son or daughter can also work on these programs by accessing Guidance Central at They then sign on with their portfolio Name and password. If they forget this information, I can provide it to them.

Choices Planner and TestGEAR (an ACT test prep program) are the 2 programs on the Guidance Central Website that students at New Salem High School have provided for them through the Student Loans Division of the Bank of North Dakota. These 2 programs assist students in the career development process and help improve students’ academic achievement.

The Bank of North Dakota also provides these 2 programs for every high school in North Dakota. If your high school student isn’t aware of this, please have them ask their high school counselor for their site ID and password so they can create their own portfolio and work at their own pace in improving their own academic achievement and progress in their own career development process too!

If you have any questions on counseling or career development topics, please contact me at New Salem High School at 843-7610, at Mandan Public Schools at 663-7551, or at my residence at 222-3222.

Have an excellent academic day!