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Counseling Home

Welcome to ECHS Counseling Department

Our purpose is to provide a comprehensive counseling program that supports the educational needs of our entire student population. Our counseling program strives for academic, social, and emotional excellence by empowering and encouraging students, while simultaneously setting high expectations for every student. In addition, we hold ourselves responsible for providing services to our stakeholders; the faculty, staff, parents and community at large, in order to truly make a positive difference in our students’ lives.

Counselors provide the following services:

  • Advise and assist with academics
  • Selection of high school courses
  • College planning
  • Arrange testing
  • Scholarship and financial aid information
  • Vocational and career guidance
  • Personal counseling
  • Six year plan development

Counseling Staff

Staff Title Phone Number
Mike Abarca Counselor, B-E 209-384-5529
Niccole Salm Counselor, F-K 209-384-5525
Andrea Evans Counselor, L-O 209-384-5526
Eduardo Ruiz Counselor, P-S 209-384-5527
Alejandra Salas Counselor, T-A 209-384-5527
Support Staff    
Staff Title Phone Number
Christopher Tufts Associate Principal, Guidance 209-384-5505
Brenda Tellez-Olmos Student Support Manager  209-384-5533
Antonio Rodriguez Psychologist 209-384-2683
Brandee Ruiz Scholarship Counselor 209-384-5559
  Scholarship Technician 209-384-5559
Arturo Sanchez Career & Guidance Technician 209-384-5524
  Career & Guidance Technician 209-384-5524
  Registrar 209-384-5541


    • In general, students may only change their classes in their course schedule during the first two weeks of school.
    • After the first two weeks of school, schedules may only be changed by special circumstance only.
  • Valedictorian: Any student who achieves a total weighted GPA of 4.24 or higher at the end of their senior year has qualified to be a Valedictorian of his/her graduating class at El Capitan High School. Any Valedictorian who competes and whose speech is of a quality similar to a selected speaker, will also speak at the graduation ceremony. In addition, a medal will be given to this individual.

    Salutatorian: The senior, (who is not a Valedictorian) with the second highest GPA gives the salutatory, or welcoming, speech at commencement.

    White Robe: CSF Life Membership

    Gold Stole: 100% (CSF 6 Semesters)


    Gold Cord: A gold cord is awarded to graduates during the graduation ceremony who have maintained a 3.5 G.P.A. throughout the first seven semesters of high school. This is based on the weighted G.P.A.

    Silver Cord: 250 hours of community service is required for this cord.

    Bronze Cord: Leadership involvement for 3 years.

    Black Cord: LINK involvement for 2 years

    Purple Cord: CTE Pathways

    Students performing voluntary community service may earn recognition for their work by keeping a record of the hours they contribute. Students earn a purple cord by accumulating 250 hours or more of service within the four years of high school. Community service must be approved before it is undertaken and the hours must be documented and verified; forms are available from the guidance technician in the counseling office. If you begin early and add hours each year, it's easy and the rewards are many. There are hundreds of things you can do and projects you can be involved in that qualify as community service hours. See your counselor for ideas.

    Pink Cord: 4 years of involvement required for Band and Colorguard Members


    Blue & Gold Cord: At least 3 years of involvement for Ag Members

    Academic Hoods: AVID students

    White Cap & Gown: A student earns a white cap & gown to be worn during the graduation ceremony by becoming a Life Member of the California Scholarship Federation (CSF). Students must apply for CSF every semester that they qualify. Students must qualify and join for at least 4 out of their last 6 semesters (10th, 11th & 12th grades) including one as a senior. CSF also awards a gold stole for 100% membership, when a student has been eligible and joins for all 8 semesters of high school. Visit or contact the Counseling Department for details.

    Scholarships: There are a large number of scholarships given out to ECHS graduates each year. Monthly, the counseling office publishes an announcement entitled, Senior Newsletter to inform students of available scholarships and deadlines. Please refer to the ECHS Home Page for all scholarship and testing information.


  • Prospective AP Students and Parents:

    Congratulations on your decision to enter our most rigorous level of coursework! Statistics gathered by the College Board on AP classes show that a secondary school curriculum of high intensity and quality, such as that found in AP courses, has the strongest correlation to bachelor's degree completion, while class rank/GPA hold comparatively weak relationships to bachelor's degree completion. The impact of the secondary school curriculum is far more pronounced for African-American and Latino students than any other pre-college indicator of academic resources. Further studies additionally found that 85 percent of those who took AP courses continued their education after high school. Research has also shown that students who participate in AP classes in high school receive average course grades better than 3.00 in college and more often than not earned course grade averages higher than students who took the introductory courses at the university. (AP College Board Website)

    In order to ensure that all students and parents fully understand the AP course the student has selected, we would like to have all parents and students read the brief information provided here about the expectations for each AP course at El Capitan High School.

    - AP Questionnaire (Coming Soon)
    - AP Contract (Coming Soon)
    - AP Classes Offered (Coming Soon)


  • ACT
    This is the official ACT website. You can find test dates, practice questions, information about the test and how to register for the test.

    This is the official SAT site. You can find test dates, practice questions, information about the test and how to register for the test.

    SAT and ACT prep's online test preparation courses are totally free! By creating an account you can access a customized course that includes user-friendly tutorials, practice sessions that dynamically adapt to each student's ability level, a vocabulary builder and more.


  • Student Athletes have distinctive requirements that must be met in order to compete at the collegiate level. Please view our resources below to become more familiar with those requirements.





    • Boys & Girls Clubs of Merced County *After-school programs, sports, youth development* - (209) 722-9922




    • All Emergencies - 911
    • National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline - 1-866-331-9474
    • Youth Crisis Helpline - 1-800-786-2929
    • Suicide Prevention Hotline - 1-800-273-8255
    • Teen Runaway Hotline - 1-800-621-4000
    • Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network (RAINN) - 1-800-656-4673
    • CDC National STD & AIDS Hotline - 1-800-232-4636
    • California Poison Action Line - 1-800-222-1222


    • Merced County Mental Health Department - (209) 381-6800
    • Recovery Assistance for Teens (RAFT) - (209) 381-6860
    • Healing Hearts Anger Management Services - (209) 349-1530
    • Valley Crisis Center (Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services) - (209) 725-7900


    • Foster Youth Services Program - (209) 381-4519


    • EMPOWER Program - (209) 381-5926
    • Merced County Regional Occupational Program (ROP) - (209) 381-6607
    • Central Valley Opportunity Center (CVOC) - (209) 357-0062
    • Employment Resource Center (WorkNet - One Stop) - (209) 724-2100


    • Adult Protective Services (APS) - (209) 385-3105
    • Child Protective Services (CPS) - (209) 385-3104
    • National Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-7233
    • Valley Crisis Center - (209) 725-7900


    • Approachable Foster Family Agency - (209) 723-2093
    • Labor of Love - 1-888-358-2229
    • Lifetime Adoption - 1-800-923-6784
    • Rainbow Valley Foster Care - (209) 722-0202


    • Assistive Technology Network - 1-800-390-2699
    • Center of Vision Enhancement (COVE) - (209) 722-8118
    • Central Valley Regional Center - (209) 723-4245
    • Deaf & Hard of Hearing Video Phone Interpreter Services - (209) 230-9910
    • DRAIL Independent Living Center - (209) 521-7260


    • Al-Anon (for adults) / Alateen (for teens) - (209) 524-3907
    • Alcohol and Drug Services - (209) 381-6880
    • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) - (209) 385-0309
    • Central Valley Addiction Center - (209) 722-8791
    • Youth Recovery Assistance for Teens (RAFT) - (209) 381-6860


    • Catholic Charity - (209) 383-2494
    • Harvest Time Warehouse - (209) 723-2395
    • Love Inc. - (209) 383-1265
    • Meals on Wheels - (209) 385-7550
    • Merced County Food Bank - (209) 726-3663
    • Women, Infants and Children (WIC) - (209) 383-4859