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Future freshmen get introduced to high school

Richmond eighth graders and their parents were invited to a high school orientation at Richmond High School on Thursday, Feb. 12.
The orientation was in the RHS Media Center, where counselor Courtney Swafford welcomed the group and began the session, with comments from counselor Laura Owen and others.
The RHS Course Descriptions, Requirements and Career Planning Guide was discussed, covering course pre-requisites, what a block schedule is, grade status, and credit recovery if needed. Students will go from seven classes a day in middle school to eight classes a day in high school.
Athletic eligibility was emphasized. All athletes must pass seven of their eight courses in order to be eligible to play.
Required courses were presented, and the amount of credit they earn upon completion. The RHS requirements were compared to entrance guidelines for Missouri University.
A College Prep Certification can be earned by seniors who take upper level electives, have a 3.0 G.P.A., and scored 21 or higher on the ACT. Colleges, even community colleges, require an ACT score or other entrance exam.
Career Paths, from the course book, has six career breakdowns to help students have some idea of their interests and to set goals that will help them focus through high school and on to higher education. Missouri Connections is a tool for parents and students to help them consider after high school plans. There is an assessment tool on the Web site and other suggestions.
Since 1995, RHS has offered the A+ Program where seniors can earn college credit as they complete high school credits. It requires a letter of intent to participate in the program and for the student to provide 60 hours of unpaid tutoring to other students. Seniors have a block of ‘no credit’ in order to tutor. A minimum 2.5 G.P.A., 95 percent attendance and good citizenship is required.
Dual Credit classes offer students high school and college credit. Students can earn a college transcript upon completion. There are eight of these classes available. They do require a fee, but it is often one-half to one-third of what a college would charge.
Weighted Classes are taught at a higher level and are more rigorous, presented more like the student will experience in college. There is more homework, and credits from these classes can help a student to earn above a 4.0 G.P.A. Every Dual Credit class is also a weighted class, but there are other weighted classes too.
Newly introduced this year is an Advisement Period that students attend for 35 minutes each Wednesday. Each student is assigned to a teacher and a group of 15-20 other students. The advisory group allows students to follow up on courses and career path goals as another way to meet graduation requirements, set goals, make necessary changes and to chart their path for education or training after high school. These Advisory Groups remain the same through all four years of high school.
Freshmen can now enroll in Honors English as a preparation for college. Richmond Middle School will assist in placing upcoming freshmen into this class.
Other new courses include Reading Strategies, a mandatory class for new freshmen. Proceeding at the Independent Mastery Level on the computer, students can expect to improve their reading and comprehension skills. Scholastic Journalism counts as an English credit and is an introduction to working on the school newspaper.
A Competitive Speech is being offered for the first time to this year’s freshmen. It is rigorous and competitive as students learn and develop debate styles then travel to competitions. Regular speech class will continue to be offered as a junior.
Algebra 1 can be taken in the eighth grade for high school credit. At that level it is not considered a graduation credit, but does count in the total number of credits as an elective. RMS helps with placement into this class.
Students were encouraged to take two years of Spanish as most colleges require a foreign language.
National Honor Society issues invitations for students meeting its higher academic standards at the end of the sophomore year.
An awards assembly is held each spring recognizing honor roll students, and those receiving the Academic Letter and President’s Award.
Some wondered why there are so many valedictorians in classes recently. RHS has had a tradition to recognize all students that meet the 4.0 G.P.A. and above, and each student keeps their individual school rank.
Other items discussed were before/after school tutoring, the Breakfast Club for those not turning in homework and Power School, an online program to keep parents updated on their student’s assignments and grades.

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