South Pasadena Middle School

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Guidance » Guidance


Mrs. Diana Olivarez
626) 441-5830 ext. 3906
Mrs. Marcile Montoya
(was Ms. Vadell-Strickland)
(626) 441-5830 ext. 3911
Ms. Sandra Jarrous
(626) 441-5830 ext. 3907

As we are settling into the new school year, below I have a few of the most FAQ inquiries -- that may help address your needs. We will return your email/voicemail as soon as we can.  We appreciate your patience as we make sure students are off to a great start!


Students at the beginning of the school year are encouraged to ask questions, to their counselors via the "Pink" Counselor Request Form located in the main office. We will attempt to reach out to each request form as soon as we are able to process them.  



I didn’t get the elective I requested, what do I do?

Students are given a request form at the end of 5th grade year, a google form in 6th & 7th grade or upon registration to fill out to give us an idea of what classes students are interested in. Unfortunately, we may not be able to honor each request but we do the best we can. When it comes to specific semester/yearlong electives, they may be in high demand those electives are randomly selected from the computer based on the initial request. 


What is the "wheel"?

The wheel is computer generated and in 6th grade will include a rotation of 4 classes (not to be repeated for more than 1 quarter/semester). If a student does not get the wheel elective they wanted in the 1st quarter, they might get it in one of the other quarters/semesters. Students do not have the option on which quarter an elective is given. In 7th grade, the "wheel" is only Spanish and Drama -- since there are several semester long courses for students. In 8th grade, the wheel does not exist, there are only semester or yearlong courses available.


I did not get the stem class even though I checked the option for ‘stem certificate’ , what do I do?

Please have your child fill out a counselor request form for schedule changes within the first few days of school (found in the office) and explain this on the form and your counselor will call the student in, to confirm stem is scheduled within their year. Note: stem is on the wheel and offered quarter long in 6th grade.


Can teacher(s) requests be made?

Due to balancing classes and being fair to all students and teachers, teacher requests are not accepted.


I want an honors class, what do I do?

All honors classes are looked at carefully based on set criteria and students must meet the criteria in order to qualify for an honors class. Every student is given a chance to reach the criteria at the end of each year. Due to reevaluating the students at the end of each year (except 8th graders in the spring), students may also be dropped out of an honors class if they do not meet the current criteria. Honors classes are not guaranteed year-to-year.

**For Math**Please refer to the board approved criteria for Math Placement Protocol on the SPMS website:


I would like to receive Math Placement Data?

You may email me your request for Math Placement Data or come into the main office to request your information. Please note that Teacher Recommendation Scores are confidential and cannot be released.


How can I set up a parent meeting?

The beginning of the year is extremely busy. Email is the best way to reach us as we are with students and may not be able to answer a call. If you would like to meet, please email to make an appointment, which will begin after the first few weeks of school. We can also make Phone Call Appointments.


I left you a voicemail, but I haven't heard back?

We are glad that you sent us an email, we only check voicemail at the end of the day--with students in and out of the office. With email we are able to communicate more directly. We apologize for the inconvenience.


If you are having difficulties in school, with your friends or family, speak with your school counselor.  The counselors help by offering you a safe and confidential environment in which to talk to someone, and can help you:

  • Work out personal issues.
  • Get used to the middle school.
  • Set and achieve goals.
  • If you or someone you know are being bullied.
  • Understand yourself better so you make good choices.
  • Find ways to improve your grades and attitude.
  • Mediate conflict.
  • Think about your future (school and career).

School Specialists

Ms. Amanda Tarca
(626) 441-5830 
Ms. Dawn Mays
(626) 441-5830
Mr. Abraham Fuerte
Speech Therapist
Mrs. Karen Grace
Occupational Therapist
Ms. Natasha Prime
TYB Counselor



What is an Upstander?

An Upstander is someone who stands up for what is right, even if they are standing alone. Upstanders believe in helping others and being inclusive and welcoming to everyone.


What does an Upstander do?

Upstanders have two main jobs on campus.

  1. They help solve conflicts between peers, they are the peer mediation group on campus.
  2. They work to improve the overall culture on campus.


How do you get help from an Upstander?

Students who have a conflict with a peer are encouraged to self-refer to a peer mediation. All they need to do is fill out an Upstanders Peer Mediation Request form in the office.

College Career Day For All Grades - April 15, 2016

Middle School Behavior 2015 Powerpoint

Please click on the link below in order to view the Middle School Behavior Powerpoint that was presented at 5th Grade Orientation Night on March 12, 2015 by Program Specialist, Nancy Goldstein.

ASCA National Model

American School Counseling Association National Model - Professional School Counseling Standards for K-12:

The Need for Middle School Counselors

Outside counseling referrals

Here is a list of outside therapists, counseling agencies and hotlines:

Counselor-recommended Books

Dear Parents/Guardians of SPMS Students,

Below is a link to a list of books we recommend. We have found they are helpful in working with middle school students.

Teaching our students the "ABC's"