St. Patrick Catholic School

122 West Street, Portland, MI   (517) 647-7551

School Counselor 

School Counselor Valerie Hynes-McCaul

What a privilege it has already been to work with your children!  Being in a school setting and being able to pray freely, share scripture and God’s love for us has been a refreshing blessing in my life. 

I began my career as a teacher in a Christian school quite a few years ago.  I have since  worked as a special education teacher, educational director, principal, college professor, school counselor and a “stay at home, homeschooling mom’! 

Most recently I was a school counselor for a school near Lansing until God changed the trajectory of my life and brought me to SPS.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and your family.  I look forward to working  together with you to give your child the building blocks to a solid Christian education and a positive launch on the journey of life that the Lord has set before them.

MY SCHEDULE for 2016-2017

I am part time at SPS.  I currently work Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.            

My Education:

  • Bachelor’s in education from Michigan State University
  • Master’s degree in counseling psychology from Michigan State University
  • Certified Trauma Assessment Specialist

What the Counselor can help you with


Students are encouraged to seek personal and academic guidance from any member of the faculty/staff whom they believe will be able to help them.  A part-time school guidance counselor is available to students in grades DK-12 for academic, career, and personal/social development.  The counselor will assist the rest of the staff in areas of behavior management, crisis intervention, and conflict resolution.  Students and parents who wish to access these services need to call the office to arrange an appointment.  The counselor is also responsible for high school scheduling, standardized testing, college and/or career exploration, processing grades, crisis intervention, and overseeing accommodations and modifications for Special Education students.


The school counselor is available to answer questions about procedures for enrollment in colleges. College applications for many of the area colleges are available from the guidance counselor, but students are heavily encouraged to apply online.  Transcripts are sent by the guidance counselor to the college, university, or trade school of the student’s choice.  Transcript requests must be made in person to the guidance counselor.

College Representative Visits to the school: Students must sign up prior to the visit.

College Visits: Students must obtain the “College Campus Visit” form from the guidance office before visiting a college campus.  The form must be signed by the student’s parents and the attendance secretary before the day of the visit.  Students must also obtain a “Pre-arranged Absence from School” form.  College visitation days are considered an excused absence.  Two visits may be scheduled during the junior year and two visits may be scheduled during the senior year.  One of these days may be used for a job shadow experience.  If a student waits until the second semester of their senior year to make a college visit or job shadow, they need to keep in mind the absence will count towards the attendance policy for qualifying for an exam waiver for second semester. 


Most scholarship information comes directly from the college offering it. Academic scholarships are based on an outstanding GPA, high test scores, teacher, Administrator and/or employer recommendations, and involvement in extra-curricular and/or community activities.  Other scholarship information is available in the guidance office

Standardized Testing

8th - 9th Grade:

Fall dates will be announced.
Cost:  No cost.  St. Patrick School pays for students to take the test.

The PLAN® program helps 8th and 9th graders build a solid foundation for future academic and career success and provides information needed to address school districts' high-priority issues. It is a comprehensive guidance resource that helps students measure their current academic development, explore career/training options, and make plans for the remaining years of high school and post-graduation years.

PLAN can help all students—those who are college-bound as well as those who are likely to enter the workforce directly after high school.

PLAN serves as the midpoint measure of academic progress in ACT's College and Career Readiness System.

10th - 11th Grade:

Fall dates will be announced.
Cost:    No cost.  

The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a program cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It's a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT®. It also gives you a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools.
The PSAT/NMSQT measures:

•    Critical reading skills
•    Math problem-solving skills
•    Writing skills

You have developed these skills over many years, both in and out of school. This test doesn't require you to recall specific facts from your classes.

The most common reasons for taking the PSAT/NMSQT are to:

•    Receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study. You can then focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice.
•    See how your performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college.
•    Enter the competition for scholarships from NMSC (grade 11).
•    Help prepare for the SAT. You can become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions you will see on the SAT.
•    Receive information from colleges when you check "yes" to Student Search Service.

11th Grade:

12th Grade:


AP Exams

Dates will be announced.
Cost:   $85

Dr. Frank Bernier will once again present his seminars entitled College Planning 101 at many locations.