At the heart of the O’Dowd experience is the relationship that O’Dowd students develop with their counselors and the outcomes that this relationship supports. O’Dowd’s skilled, experienced and caring counselors develop individualized relationships with students, meeting them where they are and empowering them to become their best selves. Each student is assigned a counselor who partners with them and their family throughout their four years at O’Dowd. Within this personally tailored relationship, counselors apply an integrated approach, addressing academic, college and career, and personal needs. This holistic approach ensures that students find their place in high school and beyond as they are supported in developing their talents, identifying and responding to challenges, building resiliency and developing competencies.

Grounded in consistent monitoring of student academic progress, academic counseling includes:

  • Supporting course selection for graduation and college admissions
  • Facilitating academic issue resolution
  • Referral to Academic Support services on campus, educational therapists, tutors and outside testing agencies
  • Monitoring academic jeopardy issues and facilitating resolution

Counseling Staff

Personal counseling includes:

  • Individual or group counseling
  • Parent conferences and referral resources
  • Information for students on topics related to mental health
  • Crisis intervention counseling
  • Drug and alcohol education, information and counseling for students and parents
  • Adolescent development education
  • Referral to in-house MFT for individual therapy

Current student or parent?

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Counseling Forms, Presentations, and Downloads

You can find all forms, presentations, and downloads here »

Counseling for College and Beyond

O’Dowd Counseling offers individualized, comprehensive support for the future. Throughout your four years at O’Dowd, you will be prompted to discover who you are and who you want to become. You will be guided by caring counselors to explore new interests and opportunities and identify your path to college and beyond.

College Topics and Programming By Year:

FRESHMEN - Discover and Explore

  • Take the “Learning Styles Inventory” Assessment
  • Begin the narrative journey of your high school experience that you will create and update throughout your time at O’Dowd

SOPHOMORES - Explore and Engage

  • Attend O’Dowd’s College Fair, including “College Research Basics” presentation and visits with 100+ College Admissions Representatives
  • Take the PSAT
  • Learn about college and career preparation at evening event “Getting Ready for College: College and Career Exploration Process, Role of Courses and Activities, Student Case Studies and Pathways”
  • Revisit and update your resume and goals
  • Learn time management strategies for stress reduction

JUNIORS - Engage, Research, and Plan

  • Attend O’Dowd’s College Fair with 100+ College Admissions Representatives
  • Take the PSAT
  • Learn how to use Naviance as a tool for researching and managing colleges of interest, integrating students, parents, and counselors into the planning process.
  • Attend “College Admissions Process” presentation by counselors
    SAT/ACT/SAT Subject Tests Planning
  • Learn about the Financial Aid process for college
  • Get informed about alternative pathways including community college, vocational training, gap years, and more
  • Make the most of your Counselor College Planning Meeting, receiving counselor guidance including:
    • Academic Record Assessment (Requirements, GPA, etc.)
    • Testing Plan
    • Preliminary College List
    • Decision Plan Advising
  • Engage at O’Dowd’s Career Day, an opportunity to learn from and interact with speakers representing a wide range of career paths
  • Create your resume

SENIORS - Plan, Apply, Choose and Celebrate

  • Attend special presentation for seniors and families at O’Dowd’s College Fair with 100+ College Admissions Representatives
  • Attend the “Senior & Families College Application Night and Social”
  • Continue to explore alternative pathways as needed
  • Set up your college applications with support from Counseling
  • Use your Counselor College Planning Meeting to address:
    • Final College List
    • Letters of Recommendation
    • College Essay Advising
    • Financial Aid Advising
    • NCAA Registration
  • Attend Financial Aid Workshop
  • Complete your college applications and use O’Dowd’s Essay Writing Workshops for successful college essay writing
  • Attend evening presentation on “College Choice Discernment Advising”
  • Engage at O’Dowd’s Career Day, an opportunity to learn from and interact with speakers representing a wide range of career paths
  • College Readiness and Healthy Transitions including identifying campus resources, safety, and budgeting.

Learning Disabilities and ADHD Services

Intellectual and cognitive diversity enriches our campus community. We welcome students from a broad spectrum of learning profiles and provide resources that allow students to contribute fully to our school. The LD/ADHD services at O’Dowd are designed to support students with documented learning disabilities and/or attention deficit through a team-based approach coordinated by a full-time specialized counselor. Contact Juliet Arechiga for more information.

View documentation LD/ADHD accommodations, requirements, and FAQs »

Contact Juliet Arechiga for more information.

Academic Support


O’Dowd addresses student academic performance challenges during their time as Dragons through a layered system of resources and support that is carefully designed and personalized. We believe that students succeed when they are supported by a collaborative program that includes structured communication between the home and school and a concerted case management approach involving all stakeholders, including teachers, coaches, academic support staff and counselors. For more information on Academic Support programs, please explore the drop down menu below or contact Catherine Harris, Director of Academic Support.

Academic Support Center

Drop-in tutoring is available in the Academic Support Center for all subjects and is staffed by peer and adult tutors. The Academic Support Center is open before school, during your flex periods and after school. See the Adult Tutor Schedule here, and the Peer Tutor Schedule here.

Virtual tutoring is also available. Scheduling for in-person or virtual tutoring can be done through the PeerKonnect program. (Register using your school email address.)  See Schoology for additional details.

SMART Sessions

SMART Sessions provide O’Dowd students help with identifying and resolving roadblocks to academic success. These sessions are subject specific, teacher-led study groups that meet before or after school and require the student to commit to a fixed schedule for the entire semester. Contact Catherine Harris for more information.

Catch-Up Support

The CUSP program is designed to provide academic support for students who have missed, or will miss, a significant amount of school due to a planned or unplanned absence. The program is designed to provide either pro-active or reactive support depending on the circumstances of the absence. Contact Malik McCord for more information.

Support for Student-Athletes

While in season, student-athletes receive grade monitoring, communication home, and personal check-ins as needed. This helps students adhere to demanding practice schedules while meeting the academic rigor of our college preparatory curriculum. Contact Malik McCord for more information.

Peer Tutoring

Peer Tutoring connects students struggling with homework, projects, studying for tests, and understanding class concepts, with students who have been identified by teachers as knowledgeable, personable, supportive, and enthusiastic about learning. Our Peer Tutors have at least a A or better in their subject areas and were nominated by their teachers. Tutors attend bimonthly trainings to more effectively tutor their peers. Students can schedule tutoring appointments via their PeerKonnect accounts, or drop in to the Academic Support Center without an appointment. See Peer Tutor Schedule here.
Click here for instructions on how to register and setup your first appointment.

Dragon Success

Dragon Success is O’Dowd’s academic coaching program for predominantly 9th and 10th graders. Students work closely with an academic coach who provides help transitioning into high school. Students work on goal setting, organizational skills, planning and time management, effective communication, and self-advocacy. Contact Malik McCord for more information.

Academic Coaching

Academic coaching is a program available to 10th and 12th graders by referral. Candidates come from the bi-weekly list of students at risk of academic probation. Students have access to an academic coach to strengthen organization, time management, self-advocacy, and study skills. Contact Malik McCord for more information.

Concussion Management

Students under a doctor’s care for head injuries will follow the protocol for “return to learn.” The protocol parallels the “return to play” for student-athletes and is governed by the recommendations from the student’s medical doctor. Contact Malik McCord for more information.

Upcoming Events

Academic Support hosts family workshops and presentations throughout the school year. Please check the school calendar or the Partners in Parenting page for upcoming events.


See Adult Tutor Schedule here.
See Peer Tutor Schedule here.

Academic Support Staff
Catherine Harris, [email protected], 510-577-9100 ext 334
Damian Barnes, [email protected], 510-577-9100 ext 131
Malik McCord, [email protected], 510-577-9100 ext 114

See the Directory for Staff profiles »

Peer Tutoring