Counseling in a Data Driven Culture

Counseling students through the college application process is difficult work. This is especially true when working with lower income students who have the weight of the world working against them.  With the rising cost of tuition, stricter admission requirements, and ever-changing financial reporting protocol, it is extremely challenging for a student to navigate this process without help.

Enter the counselor. The hopeless optimist that had an unwavering belief in the potential of each and every student regardless of grade point average, or even more telling, motivation.  This professional has been brought on by a nonprofit organization that boasts a unique model to encourage student achievement, most specifically, college attendance.  (College graduation is a different beast that deserves its own blog entry.)    The goal of this counselor is to get the students into college…by any means necessary…and often the task is met with excitement and fervor.    Throughout the year, however, as she gets to know students more closely, she learns that college is a long shot for some.  Whether it be a homeless student or one who reads at an eighth grade level, her overwhelming confidence and determination morphs into the celebration of small victories… “You made it to the SAT on Saturday!” or “You did not fail a class this semester!”  Managing expectations is a part of the job… but so are data.

Data are essential to the success of many nonprofits. After all, you must show that your program works in order for it to continue to be funded.  This is especially true with our current administration’s drive to cut government funding to programs like TRIO.  Non-profits may have to rely on foundations and private donors for funding.  But what happens when the data tells a story that does not indicate success?  How does the counselor explain that her students have fallen below the mark?  I would argue that she should do just that.

Data can be scary, but it can also highlight areas of need which is critical to the success of programs, especially those designed to improve the lives of others. This information can be used to make adjustments where needed with the goal of delivering a superior product resulting in impressive results.  Additionally, the only way to really see growth is to have firm understanding of where one stands.  Thus, data is critical.

To our counselor friend who is now completely overwhelmed with the tasks of each day, working with students while providing her superiors with data, I say, hang in there! Your work is all for the greater good.  You, my friend, are working to create a more thoughtful, empathetic, perfect society… keep going.

Verbum Dei High School Admissions First Round Down!

We are currently at the mid-point of the Admissions Season and are yet looking for outstanding candidates!

At Verbum Dei High School our Admissions Department and the stakeholders who serve on the Admissions Committee have prudently appraised each application to identify the students and their families we believe will be an ideal fit for “The Verb”. We consider personal circumstances, academic performance and special achievements, including: the rigor of the Middle School curriculum, grades, High School Placement Test, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, leadership and interview results to make our determinations. However, we expect that all prospective students will complete the Corporate Work-study Readiness Program successfully before the fall enrollment. This year one hundred forty-nine Applications were reviewed in the first round, eighty-five Freshmen Students were Accepted, six Transfer Students Accepted, six Freshman Students “Waitlisted” Moved into the Second Round, fifty-two applications were Not Accepted.


We welcome the prospective students to identify the values they possess by expressing their interest in the area of study and the college they hope to attend as they begin to focus on the goal of transitioning from Middle School, into High School and on to a four year College. We enjoy examining the key issues of what it takes to gain Verbum Dei High School acceptance through a multifaceted perspective. Our most successful students are able to demonstrate prudent, well thought-out preparations for an intended transition into High School.  Additionally, openness to growth, new ideas and a willingness to explore subjects beyond their comfort zone is truly beneficial. Our students are typically gaining the exposure to make informed decisions about their intended pursuits for college. Ideal students are also intellectually motivated, loving, work experienced and committed to doing justice.

Personal Attributes

We are looking for prospective students and their families who possess the potential to contribute to our campus community and want to demonstrate an array of interests and passions. Individuals who are leaders and unafraid to speak up in class or take on the challenge to make a difference by leading a cause. We value the students who challenge themselves and make us think outside the box; those that like to get involved in student life and join the organizations on our campus. We value students who can and want to contribute to the campus community.

Our student’s financial needs do not affect an admission decision

The Admissions Deadline is April 12th we exclusively serve the working class community and every family receives financial aid to satisfy the tuition requirement. All of the students enrolled receive tuition assistance; one hundred percent of the students gain valuable work experience in our Corporate Work Study Program. The Cooperate Work Study Model covers a portion of the cost, the parents are responsible for a portion of the tuition fees annually, and the assistance they require is then covered in Scholarship. There is no early action or early decision program in our admission process. We do maintain an admissions waitlist when necessary. Students who apply for fall admission must successfully complete the CWSP Readiness Program during the summer to enroll in the fall semester. This experience has revealed that students starting in the fall transition easily into the Verbum Dei community and continue to perform well academically.


Verbum Dei Builds Bridges

The gospel and our Ignation values calls upon us to be “men and women with and for others.” During a time of historic tension between so many communities within the United States, the Verbum Dei community took a big step in creating bridges between law enforcement and our communities.

After 3 months of careful and intentional planning, police officers from South Los Angeles and Verbum Dei students came together for a “Community RoundTable”. The event brought a total of 10 LAPD police officers, 17 Verbum Dei faculty/staff, as well as 65 Verbum Dei gentlemen. The event opened with an inspiring testimony from Officer Baker, who delivered a message highlighting the importance of a shared identity and shared vision between the police officers and students. Students then broke off into groups where each group had a Verb adult facilitator and two LAPD police officers. The groups tackled some very important questions such as: “What actions can law enforcement take to de-escalate potentially violent situations?”, “What requirements or guidelines should be in place for handling potentially violent situations?”, “What personal experiences have you had with the LAPD or any law enforcement agency that has shaped your opinion?” The conversations can be best described as being honest and respectful.

Throughout the event, smiles and gestures of understanding and comradery could be found permeating the campus. Side by side, our Verbum Dei gentlemen and local police officers expressed the gratitude they shared for one another. The event ended with students sharing some of the lessons they learned from their small group sessions. One junior student remarked, “This event helped me understand the role we all have in bettering our communities and has forced me to look inward and evaluate how I can contribute positively.”

Mother Teresa reminds us that, “if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.” On that day, a bridge was built at Verbum Dei High School and we were all reminded that we belong to each other.