CHS adjusts to the new counseling system


The fall semester has brought many complaints and questions about Calabasas High School’s new counseling system. Unannounced schedule changes, overcrowded classes and difficulty getting appointments with counselors have left many students angry and confused. 

Without being notified by their counselors, students have experienced frequent schedule changes and are blaming the limited counseling staff of this year. Within the first two weeks of school, Students found themselves scrambling to fix these changes and get into the correct classes.

“I didn’t know [my schedule had been changed] until I checked my grades that morning and saw double classes for everything,” said senior Alex Abromavitch after her schedule was abruptly switched the second week of school. “I was able to get it changed overnight, despite the counselors telling us how difficult it was to change schedules.” 

This year, CHS has decreased its academic counseling staff from four to only two academic counselors. Ms. Cato and Ms. Gillespie, counselors from previous years, are now on-campus counselors for two LVUSD elementary schools, leaving Calabasas with two academic counselors for around 1,800 students. Along with academic counselors, the counseling staff now includes two dedicated college and career advisers and two wellness counselors. 

“Things have been made much more linear among each of the different counselors,” said academic counselor David Rivas. “Ms. Ritchey and myself as the academic counselors are people that you would go to for schedule changes, four-year plans, or if you have questions about what class you should be taking.” 

While this system is relatively similar to CHS counseling of the past, college-related needs, such as letters of recommendation and help with applications, are now solely in the care of Mrs. Lutsky and Mrs. Yumkas, the college counselors. 

Lisa Lucore and Alison Tarczynski joined the administration as resident wellness counselors for the 2021-2022 year. 

“We’re here for anything from ‘I’m stressed in my class’ to ‘I need to talk about what’s going on at home’ to anxiety to stress management,” said. Tarczynski. “We’re going to have a wellness center that hopefully opens soon. We’ll be open at lunch, [and] we might lead some groups on those topics.” 

Although there are two wellness counselors to offer support to students, the academic counselors may help students with emotional well-being as well. 

“[Ms. Ritchey and I] can also help with ways to be successful in your classes, so we still will delve a little bit into that social and emotional bit,” said Rivas “Our [jobs are] very intertwined so it’s really hard to do one without the other.” 

Students can make an appointment with any counselor by scanning the QR code outside the Counseling Center. Students may also visit the official counseling website to set up a meeting. The wellness counselors are available for drop-ins if a student needs to speak with someone more urgently, and are working on starting a peer counseling program.

“I’m very excited to be here and be on campus for this year,” said Tarczynski. “I’m really looking forward to meeting all the kids and hopefully running some groups.”