Despite efforts to bridge the racial achievement gap, far too many school children continue to fare poorly in our nation's public schools. Oftentimes urban and low income students are negatively labeled as low-achieving, disadvantaged, and struggling. Because of this, such students frequently receive inferior or deficient information from school officials. This study examines the role of high school counselors as distributors of information and the role they play in influencing students' ninth grade success. This three-year case study reports how the structure and culture of schools shapes educational reform, and the importance of "high-stakes" information as a critical strategy in developing students' college-going identities.