1 Freshmen Year Know What to Expect in High School (Excerpt adopted from Getting the Most out of High School ) People experience greater success when they know what to expect. In high school, you can expect to find the following: New teachers and classmates For many students, going to high school means going to a different, and often larger, school. For all students, high school means new teachers and new classes. More extracurricular activities Most high schools have a variety of activities, clubs, and athletic programs for their students. Students who are involved in school activities generally do better academically, they enjoy school more, make new friends and build leadership skills. Find out what activities are available at your high school and become involved in two or three - but don t take on more than you can handle. Quality is much more important than quantity. More independence and more responsibility High school students are expected to be mature and responsible enough to handle the additional freedoms they re given. Courses that earn credits towards graduation All of the courses you take in high school earn credits. Students who fail classes may not have enough credits to advance to the next grade. These students may also find that they re not able to graduate on time Greater emphasis on academic achievement
2 In high school, the courses are more difficult and the grades are more important. High school grades help determine the kinds of jobs students can get and the colleges they ll be able to get into. More social events There are lots of social activities (games, dances, etc.) in high school. Some students feel that there s also more social pressure. Greater need for time management and organization High school students have more activities, more homework, and more responsibilities than they ve ever had before. Terms You Should Know Academic Record It s important that you understand your school s academic requirements, and that you know what information is included in your academic record. Academic Requirements In order to graduate, you must fulfill your high school s academic requirements. Take a minute now to see if you can answer the following questions about your school s requirements. 1. Year-long academic courses are worth 1 credit. 2. Elective courses are worth.5 credits. (i.e. Film and Literature, Computer Applications) 3. In order to be promoted to the next grade level you need 5.5 to be a sophomore, 11.5 to be a junior and 16.5 to be a senior. You need a minimum of 22 credits to graduate. 4. If you don t have enough credits to advance to the next grade level you will be retained in your current grade but will have the opportunity to earn back the credit(s). 5. Graduation Requirements: All Students MUST Pass: English (4.5 credits) History/Social Studies (4 credits) Mathematics (3 credits) Science (3 credits) Foreign Language (1 credit) Wellness (1 credit) Unified Arts (1 credit) 6. You must pass MCAS (ELA, Math, Science/Technology) with a score of 220 or higher to graduate.
3 Grade Explanation Our yearlong courses carry the following values in determining the final average for the year: Quarter 1= 20% Quarter 2= 20% Mid-Year Exam= 10% Quarter 3= 20% Quarter 4= 20% Final Exam=10% Our courses have the following values: Grading Chart A A A B B B C C C D D D F U Unsatisfactory I Incomplete S Satisfactory M Medically Ex. P Passing W Withdrawn Weighted Grade Point Average (GPA) Accumulation of academic courses over the 4 years in high school (grades 9-12). Weighted based on the academic level college preparation, honors and AP. Rank in class is reported using a core of college preparatory courses and the following weighting system: Advanced Placement Honors College Preparatory I A A A B B B C C C D D D Class Rank Is based on your GPA and how many students in your graduating class. *GPA and Class Rank are not officially calculated until after your first semester of junior year.*
4 How to Be Successful Attend all classes-be sure to check the syllabi for the attendance policy Be prepared-bring pens, pencils, text-books and notebooks when you go to class Highlight all due dates for class assignments Sit up front in class - you will hear and see everything and be less distracted Participate in all class discussions Ask questions when you don t understand something Take Good Notes Write legibly Include details: use your own words to summarize key points Be creative: colored pens and pencils will stimulate your interest and help you remember the information Be organized it will be easier to understand notes when preparing for a test Review and edit notes. Do this as soon as possible so they are fresh in your mind. If you have any questions, ask your professor If you must miss class, be sure to get notes/assignments from one of your classmates Studying Find a quiet place to study that is free from distractions Identify the time of day that you are more focused and ready to learn Set aside time every day to study and make this time consistent Plan to study at least two hours for each hour of class Make your study time a priority- Do not miss this time for anything short of a real emergency Break up your study time into 20 minute periods - This will help you retain more information Final Thoughts Get help! As soon as you start feeling confused or don t understand a subject, ask for help. You can see your teacher, check with another student or National Honor Society Tutor. Don t wait until it s too late. Join study groups. The opportunity to discuss information, clarify any questions, and quiz each other is a great resource. Don t give up. If you get off track, remember you can start again tomorrow. Don t throw any class material away. You may need the information for another class in the future.
5 Naviance Naviance is a college and career readiness tool that DHS students will utilize all 4 years in high school. During freshmen year, students will complete the Learning Styles inventory, shown how to use Course Planner to complete the DHS Graduation Plan which is a 4 year plan to keep track of courses needed to meet graduation requirements. Lastly, students will be taught how to build their resume. Students are expected to update their DHS Graduation Plan and resume every year. Understanding the DHS Attendance Policy Credit for coursework is based on attendance as well as academic achievement. It is the policy of Dracut High School that students are required to be in attendance for 91% of their class time in order to earn credit for the course. This means no more than 16 days absent for a full year course and no more than 8 days for a half year course. If you miss 5 days in any one quarter credit will be withheld. Students must be on time and present for the entire school day to be eligible to participate in any co-curricular or interscholastic activity. This includes athletic events, practices, rehearsals, performances, dances, proms, semi-formals. Participation in weekend activities or during school holidays requires that the student be in school the day preceding the event(s) with the same stipulations as stated. Students suspended from school (in school or out of school) may not participate in or attend any school related function, whether or not the site is Dracut High School or off campus. All absences count toward the 16 for the year. Students exceeding this policy will receive a failing grade for the quarter Students absent more than 8 times for semester courses or 16 times for yearlong courses will not receive credit for the course even if they have a passing grade Depending upon an appeal students may earn credit back through summer or night school or an alternative agreed to by the principal Incomplete work due to absences must be made up within 10 school days. Course work not completed will be 0 (zero). Any work missing at the end of a quarter must be made up within 10 school days or the work will be graded zero (0). In the fourth quarter school work must be made up prior to the beginning of summer school. Work not completed by this time will be graded zero (0)