Guidance Department
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Guidance Office

Tekesha Russell, MSA, CHES

Guidance Counselor

Voice Mail: x107

Office(s): Main Office

Years at RBS: 16

Awards: BS in Health Sciences, Howard University, MA in Education Administration/Leadership, Trinity University, Association of Christian Schools, International Certification, MD State Department of Education Advanced Professional Certificate, Special Education Endorsement, Secondary Education Endorsement, Health Education Endorsement

Favorite Color: Blue

Favorite Scripture: Romans 5:8

Office Hours: Monday – Friday, 7:45 am – 3:15 pm

School ID/CEEB Code: 210681


The Riverdale Baptist School Guidance Department strives to align its goals with those set forth by the Maryland State Department of Education to promote:

  1. Personal and academic growth
  2. Education and career-making decisions
  3. Socio-emotional development and interpersonal relations.

Enhancing our department’s offerings is the biblical worldview that we should:

  1. Depend upon God, our Creator, to work in every area of our lives for His glory and purpose (Eph. 2:10)
  2. Rely on the Holy Spirit as our Helper to lead and empower us for service (John 14:26)
  3. Utilize the Holy Bible as our Guidebook for daily living and decision-making (Ps. 119:105)
  4. Receive appropriate, equitable counsel from godly, knowledgeable staff (Prov. 19:20-21)

What We Offer

In order to equip each scholar with the tools for success, the Guidance Department serves in the following capacities:

  • Achievement testing and interpretation (ASVAB, PSAT, and SAT)
  • College and career counseling
  • College information network sessions
  • Course scheduling
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Individual conferences
  • MVA Learner’s Permit Applications
  • Parent conferences
  • Record keeping
  • Scholarship and financial preparation information
  • Work Permits

College Planning

Class Timelines

Wondering what to do at each stage of high school to keep your eyes on college/career goals?
The College Board provides a great timeline for each class in preparation for their post-secondary experience.


Freshmen & Sophomores:



Seniors: Important Definitions and Dates to Remember

Early Action vs. Early Decision: 

Early decision plans are binding: A student who is accepted as an ED applicant must attend the college. Early action plans are nonbinding: Students receive an early response to their application but do not have to commit to the college until the normal reply date of May 1.


Senior Portraits:August 10, 2023
Senior Retreat:September 20-23, 2023
SAT School Day:October 11, 2023
FAFSA Deadline:October 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024
Early submission is better for aid availability
College Decision Day:May 1, 2024
Senior Exams:May 14-17, 2024
Graduation Day:June 1, 2024

Applying to Colleges

Common App is a platform that allow you to explore and apply to more than 1,000 colleges at once.  Many of the applications are free; some vary in cost, depending on the institution.


Common Black App allows you to apply to any of 58 historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) for a one-time cost of $20.00.


ASVAB Career Education Program

This highly-researched aptitude test not only estimates a scholar’s capacity for academic and vocational endeavors, it gives them information about each pathway to a career to which they are most compatible.  It includes an interest inventory and access to a catalogue of satisfying careers they can explore based on their scores. Scholars do not have to go into the military after taking this test, but they can use these scores if they choose the armed services as a career path.


College Information Network Workshops

After school sessions are held to walk parents and scholars through the intimidating processes of applying to colleges/universities and financing the college vision. 

Topics include:

  • College Admissions & Applications
  • Financial Aid Seminar
  • Goal Setting
  • Mental Health/Stress Strategies
  • NCAA Eligibility

National SAT Test Dates

SAT Test Date*Registration DeadlineDeadline for Regular Cancellation
Aug 26, 2023Domestic: Jul 28, 2023
International: Aug 11, 2023
Aug 15, 2023
Oct 7, 2023Domestic: Sept 8, 2023
International: Sept 22, 2023
Sept 26, 2023
Nov 4, 2023Domestic: Oct 6, 2023
International: Oct 20, 2023
Oct 24, 2023
Dec 2, 2023Domestic: Nov 3, 2023
International: Nov 17, 2023
Nov 21, 2023
Mar 9, 2024Feb 23, 2024Feb 27, 2024**
May 4, 2024Apr 19, 2024Apr 23, 2024**
June 1, 2024May 17, 2024May 21, 2024**
*Your registration options will be limited if you aren’t taking the SAT for one of its main purposes.
**Subject to change.

National ACT Test Dates

Test DateRegular Registration Deadline
Late Fee Applies After This Date
Late Registration
Photo Upload and
Standby Deadline
September 9, 2023August 4August 18September 1
October 28, 2023September 22October 6October 20
December 9, 2023November 3November 17December 1
February 10, 2024January 5January 19February 2
April 13, 2024March 8March 22April 5
June 8, 2024May 3May 17May 31
July 13, 2024*June 7June 21July 5


Although many colleges and universities are opting to be “test-optional” post-pandemic, having an eye-catching score could give you the edge you need to get accepted into the college or university of your choice, as well as strengthen you in academic concepts encounter now and in your early college-level classes.


SAT Prep:

ACT Prep:


Test Anxiety

It is just a fact of life:  We all have to take tests of some sort.  Here are a few strategies to help you feel more confident and less stressed during assessments:

Personal and Academic Growth

Responsible Decision Making

Step 1:Identify the problem.
What is causing stress or confusion?
  • What exactly is the problem?
  • Why should this problem be solved?
  • Is it important?
  • Who does this problem affect?
  • Is there a deadline on how much time I have to solve this problem?

Step 2:Gather relevant information.
Get all the facts, ask responsible people, and think of your future.
  • What does God want?
  • What do I want?
  • What do I need?
  • What are my values?

Step 3:Brainstorm solutions.
Be creative and think of what God says in His Word about it.
  • What could I do?

Step 4:Identify possible consequences.
Whether you choose or not, there will be an outcome to the problem.
  • What could happen?

Step 5:Make a choice.
After wise counsel and thinking it through, select the best option from your list.
  • Which is the best out of all these possibilities?

Step 6:Take Action.
  • Do what is godly and respectable.

Step 7:Evaluate the outcome.
Remember the outcome to help you make a decision about future, similar problems.
  • Did it work?
  • What did not work? Why?
  • Would you do this again? Why or why not?

Good Study/Work Habits for Life

  1. Make a schedule.
    Utilize your cell phone for alerts or any large calendar you will look at frequently.
  2.  Stay organized.
    Consistently use your binder or materials as the syllabus outlines for each class.  Make sure you have your device charged, paper, and pens/pencils handy.
  3. Write down homework or check LMS for each class daily.
    Check even when you think there is no homework.  You may have missed the last announcement packing up for the bell.
    Start working on projects the day you get them!  Do not procrastinate.
  4. Have a quiet place to work and study.
    Being focused is important.  It may not be perfectly quiet, but do your best to minimize distractions.  Let your friends and family know when you are working and that you will contact them when you are done.
  5. Do a weekly backpack dump.
    Toss trash, organize papers into the right binders/notebooks, and put everything else in its proper place.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
    If your teacher cannot answer immediately, or if you are embarrassed to ask, email is another great option.  Do not stop until you get the answer you need.
  7. Work on your note-taking skills.
    Remember, you do not have to write down every word the teacher is saying.  You have to actively listen to what is being said and write down the important concepts or comments.  Also, compare notes with friends.  They may have something you missed.
  8. Form a study group.
    Connect with like minded people who want to do well and study/practice together.  Exchange numbers, but be respectful of their boundaries.  You must also do your part; no one likes a slacker who takes from the group but never contributes.
  9. How do you learn?
    Are you a visual learner?  Use colorful highlighters or markers to underline and draw your notes in ways you will best remember.
    Are you an auditory learner?  Read your notes out loud, study with friends who can quiz you, and record lectures when you can.  Come up with a tune or rap that will jog your memory.
    Are you a kinesthetic learner?  If it is hard for you to sit still, get up and/or use your body to study:  clap it out or work it out with your hands. Use actual objects to help you learn.
    Know this:  Most people are a combination of them all, but usually one type is more obvious than the others.
  10. Eat right and get some sleep.
    The brain needs the right fuel and time to process all the information you put into it each day.  Teens need an average of 8-10 hours a day.  You are still growing, so take care of your body.
  11. Feed your mind the right things.
    It is hard to work when dealing with negativity and drama—whether in real life or on social media.  What you put into your mind plays out in your behavior and habits. You are important to God and the people who care about you.   Protect your spirit.

Also, evaluate the people you hang around by asking these simple questions:

  • Do they respect God? This is the beginning of wisdom and success (Prov. 1:7; 9:10).
  • Are they going in the right direction with you by doing their work?
  • Are they lifting you up, or dragging you down (I Cor. 15:33)?
  • Are they honest? If they lie for you, they will lie to you.


Purity: Three Questions to Ask & Answers to Know

Honoring your body and mind is one way to keep life from becoming complicated and more stressful than it has to be.  Yes, the pressure is great, and suggestions to make light of God’s commandments to turn away from inappropriate images or wait until marriage for sexual intimacy comes from every angle—from friends, music, social media—you name it.  Let’s just be honest, no one said it is easy to resist the flesh—but it is possible, by the grace of God.  You may not realize it, but your “No” to sin is just as important as your “Yes” to God for a truly successful and prosperous future.  Here are three frequently asked questions and answers to help you in your purity journey.

Q1:  It seems like “everybody’s doing it” and having fun—it can’t possibly be that bad.  What good is purity in the long run?

A1:  First know thisIt is the enemy’s lie that everyone is engaging in inappropriate behavior.

There are many scholars within and without your school who have chosen to take a stand for Christ instead of risks they will one day regret.  The Bible makes very clear that you were created uniquely and for His divine purpose.

I Peter 2:9:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (NKJV)

Hear me clearly:  Your future is too important to throw away for temporary feelings.  You only get one shot at this life.  Keep it simple by refocusing on your goals, prioritizing your health, and talking to God and a trusted adult or real friend who will keep you accountable when you feel the pull to give in to sin.  It’s just not worth it.  Now, notice I did not say “God or…an adult or friend”. I said “God and…”, because He is ultimately the One who will give you the strength to overcome.  And trust me, you will be glad you did.

Q2:  I have already made many wrong choices with my body and mind.  Does God still want and love me?

A2:  God never stopped (nor will He ever stop) loving you!

Romans 5:8:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

You are God’s treasure created in His image.  He made a way for us to get back in right standing with Him by confessing our sin to Him in prayer.  When we cover our sin, we will not prosper—it only gets worse.  But it we confess and forsake (turn away from) it, we will have mercy (Prov. 28:13).

I John 2:1

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

The beauty of being in a relationship with Jesus Christ is we have Someone who not only will forgive us, but He will also represent us before God the Father and help us overcome temptation and defeat.   That is how much He loves us!

Q3:  It is hard, but I am really trying to live as God wants me to live.  What can I do to daily live in purity?


It is important to know it is only possible to be pure through Jesus Christ.  You must first put your full trust in Him as your Savior by believing in and acknowledging His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 10:9-10).  There are also practical ways we can have daily victory over the flesh, the world, and the devil:

  1. Guard your heart (Prov. 4:23). Be mindful of what you consume on media—it always shows you the “fun”, but rarely shows you the consequences of poor choices (like the mental impact of sin or sexually transmitted infections).  It is loaded with suggestions to engage in impure activities.  Reducing and eliminating exposure to inappropriate content will help you maintain your purity.
  2. Treasure your soul (Matt. 16:26). Your soul is the seat of your will, intellect, and emotions—the place you make decisions.  You only get one soul and it is eternal.

When you are tempted, take a step back and ask:

    1. Is this worth my health and reputation?
    2. Does this put my future in danger?
    3. Is this safe?
    4. Would God be pleased?
    5. Would my parents approve?

Taking a few minutes to engage in responsible decision making could save your life!

  1. Nourish your mind (Phil. 4:8). If you let it, stress and peer pressure can overwhelm you.  Adopt healthy ways to cope with stress.  Examples of stress relieving practices are prayer, exercise, journaling, meditating on God’s Word, creating, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, reading, and hanging out with friends and family who will encourage you to live a healthy, happy, and holy life.
  2. Dedicating your body to God (I Cor. 6:15-20). When you choose to be a follower of Jesus Christ, your life and body should be dedicated to doing His Work and glorifying Him.  Because He gave His body to us by dying on the cross and rising again, we are to keep ourselves pure for Him by following His example.  Keeping the body pure is having boundaries about what and how you are handled.  Refuse to use substances that harm the body and mind and reject inappropriate touching and premarital sexual activity.
    This sends a message that you are to be respected because you first respect yourself.

Purity is important to God, so it should be important to you.  The condition of your heart, soul, mind, and body put you in a position to receive His peace and the absolute best of life.  This is what He says to you:

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Mental Health Promotion Resources

High school (and adult life in general) can be challenging times academically, emotionally, socially, physically, and spiritually—and each dynamic affects the others.  Feel free to explore and print resources to support you in each of these ways.


E-Cigarettes and Vaping


Underage Alcohol Drinking

Anxiety and Stress



Healthy Dating

RAINN Hotline: 800-656-4673

Helping Someone with Emotional Pain


Human/Sex Trafficking

Sexual Health Snapshot of Teens:  Prince George’s County, Maryland

Stress Management

Suicide Prevention:  MD Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-422-0009


Contact Guidance