School Counseling

The mission of the School Counseling Department is to help middle school students explore their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents as these traits relate to their academics, personal growth and development.

Counselors will help parents focus on ways to further the educational, personal and social growth of their children in order to foster independence and individual responsibility.

Community resources will be identified and utilized to enhance and complement a comprehensive school counseling program and to encourage students to recognize their uniqueness as a member of a diverse society.

School Counselors

Jane Ellen Peregrin Director of School Counseling 7-12

Vicki Thibault School Counseling Secretary

Alexandra Bond

Titles: (H-P)
Phone Numbers:
School: 860-651-3341

Christopher Hall

Titles: (A-G)
Phone Numbers:
School: 860-651-3341

Sarah Maher

Titles: Coordinator, (Q-Z)
Phone Numbers:
School: 860-651-3341

Vicki Thibault

Titles: Secretary
Phone Numbers:
School: 860-651-3341

School Counseling Services

Developmental Guidance Curriculum

The school counselors at Henry James provide a Developmental Guidance Curriculum to 7th and 8th grade students. They plan and implement these lessons in homerooms, small groups, team groups, and during regular class time.


School counselors create developmental guidance lessons with the needs of all students in mind and work with students to create academic and personal goals, and to identify each student’s skills and learning styles. These topics are integrated into the curriculum and reinforced by teachers.

Possible Topics of Developmental Guidance

  • Successful transitions
  • Goal-setting and course selection
  • Career exploration
  • Test-taking and study skills
  • Problem-solving and decision-making
  • Appreciation of diversity
  • Bullying and teasing

Personal Learning Plans

Every student in grades 6, 7, and 8 develops a Personal Learning Plan with the assistance of school counselors. Middle school students answer survey questions through the online program called Naviance Family Connection. The questions prompt students to identify strengths and weaknesses, to develop short- and long-term personal and academic goals, and steps to reach those goals.

The program will be utilized by counselors, administrators, families, and students throughout their middle and high school careers.

Individual Student Planning

All seventh and eighth graders have one of three school counselors for their two years at Henry James. Students meet with their counselor for a variety of reasons, including course selection and planning, goal-setting, academic concerns, and schedule changes. School counselors aim to support students to help them make appropriate choices in the academic, personal/social, and career domains.

Responsive Services

Middle school students often have concerns about their transition, family, and friends. Students are encouraged to speak to their counselor one-on-one, as they are trained to give assistance on these issues. School counselors respond to the social emotional needs of all students as needed through several types of services.

Through responsive services, school counselors partner with Henry James students to establish connections, meet their challenges, and develop their character. Counselors also work collaboratively in consultation with outside support persons to provide as safe and productive a school environment as possible.

Individual and Small Group Counseling

Individual Counseling

Counselors are available to meet with students that require confidential, one-on-one support to address any academic, personal or social area of concern.

Small Group Counseling

School counselors offer groups as needed during the year that address a variety of topics, including stress management, anger management, coping with divorce, etc. Students may refer themselves or be referred by a parent/guardian or faculty member.

Crisis Management

School counselors employ their training as needed to assist other support team members to address any urgent situations that arise, in order to ensure student safety.

System Support

System support includes the activities and programs implemented by the Guidance Department to support the growth of Henry James’s students, community outreach, and collaboration with faculty and other professionals.

Consultation and Collaboration

The middle school teaming model employed at Henry James allows school counselors to readily partner with administrators, support staff, and teachers to support students.

Hands-up – Counselors meet with each team weekly to discuss all students’ challenges and successes. Team members identify student concerns (academic, personal/social, and behavioral) and develop appropriate interventions.

Conferences – School counselors consult daily with parents and teachers. Conferences may be scheduled by contacting either the student’s team leader or counselor. Individual and/or group meetings may be arranged by calling the student's teacher or team leader.


Transitional activities for students new to Simsbury

As part of the registration process, students new to Simsbury are invited to return in late August. This allows the students to review their schedule, try their locker and meet with other new students.

Individual meetings are scheduled by counselors with new students, to share experiences and feelings about their new school.

Orientation of 6th graders

In the spring the counselors and administration host an orientation program and tours of our school for 6th graders. Visits are scheduled to meet with each 6th grade class at their elementary school to introduce themselves to students who will be assigned to them in grade 7. All incoming grade 7 students are encouraged to attend the Summer Orientation Program in August. Schedules will be distributed and students have the opportunity to meet with friends, tour the building again and try their lockers.

Leadership Academy

The school counselors at HJMS have offered the Leadership Academy each spring to grade 7 students for the past several years. This program has grown in numbers and popularity since its origin. The curriculum consists of topics such as communication, tolerance, conflict resolution and ethical leadership and offers a variety of leadership opportunities in 8th grade for those students who complete the 7th grade program. The Academy meets bi-monthly after school, from 2:20-3:30 PM, for approximately 10-15 sessions during the winter/spring semester. Additional activities and instruction are also given during homeroom sessions.

Lunch ‘n Learn

Spring activity collaborated with the Simsbury Chamber of Commerce to expose students to a variety of career possibilities. Students eat lunch with community mentors and learn about their careers.

Student Links

Parent Links

Counselor's Corner A quarterly update from the School Counseling Department (October 2018)

Please note: The following presentations are updated annually in January.

HJMS Counselors Present Course Selection Process (Powerpoint presentation)



New Student Registration


If you have a 7th or 8th grade child and will be moving into Simsbury in the near future please follow these steps to assure a smooth registration experience.

PHASE 1 - Registration at Simsbury Public Schools Board of Education (no appointment necessary)

You must complete registration paperwork at the Simsbury Board of Education Office (860-651-3361) before your scheduled course selection appointment at the Henry James Memorial School Guidance Office.

Registration requires proof of residency and a copy of your child's birth certificate. Please contact the Board of Education for more details.

PHASE 2 - Course Selection at the Henry James Memorial School Guidance Office (by appointment only)

During your course selection appointment, you and your child will meet with a school counselor. The emphasis of this phase of the registration process will be to complete course selection and answer any questions you may have about the middle school. You will also have a tour of the school and introduction to curriculum and other school activities. Students are required to stay for testing after the registration appointment.

Please call the school at 651-3341 to schedule your appointment. Remember, you must complete your registration paperwork (Phase1) BEFORE your visit to Henry James.


Students will be tested on their reading, math and writing skills to aide us in placement at an appropriate level. Testing takes approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours.


During the summer, students are invited to meet other new students at a special new student orientation held in August.

During the school year, as soon as testing is completed, students are introduced to a student host who will accompany them to lunch. They will spend some time as a visitor in their host's classes until their own schedule is ready. This transition time usually takes 1-1 1/2 days and helps the new student to become acquainted with their new school.

Private or Technical School Applications

While it is our sincere hope that our 8th grade students will choose to continue their education at Simsbury High School, we understand that this is a personal family choice. If your child is considering application to a vocational school, private school or other school outside of the Simsbury Public School System we would like you to take a moment to familiarize yourself with the following guidelines to make your application process as smooth as possible.

  • Application forms for schools outside the Simsbury Public School System should be obtained directly from the school to which you are applying. Up-to-date information can be found on their individual websites and many offer open houses for interested students and their parents.
  • Have your child stop into the guidance office to pick up a transcript-processing packet which includes a Records Release form and Activities Profile. We must have your signed Simsbury School System Records Release in order to mail transcripts.
  • A handling fee of $3.00 per application (i.e., 3 schools = $9.00) will cover the cost of our oversized transcript envelope and postage. No other envelopes or postage are needed for this part of your application. (There is no fee for application to CT vocational or magnet schools.)
  • Requests for teacher recommendations should be arranged by your child, directly with each individual teacher. Please give your teachers as much advance notice as possible. For this part of your application, a stamped envelope addressed to the school being applied to, for each teacher's use, would be appreciated. Teachers will mail recommendations directly to the schools to which you are applying.

If you have any questions, please contact your child's School Counselor at (860) 651-3341.