FRESHMEN RESOURCE GUIDE. Q: What is an endorsement and how do I choose it?

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1 FRESHMEN RESOURCE GUIDE Q: What is an endorsement and how do I choose it? A: The State of Texas requires all incoming 9 th grade students to choose an endorsement as part of their freshman course selection process. An endorsement is basically an area of interest that will drive your choice of electives throughout the next four years. Your choice of endorsement should be based on the types of courses that interest you as an area of focus. It is a good idea to keep your futures career goals in mind as you select your endorsement. Students may choose from the following five endorsements: STEM, Business and Industry, Public Services, Arts & Humanities, and Multi-Disciplinary. Your counselor will be available to assist you with your choice and guide you in the course selection process. You may change your selection with parent approval, but you may not be able to change your courses until a later date. Q: Am I permitted to change my electives after the beginning of the school year? A: All changes to your course requests should have been made on your course verification sheets that you took home for your parent s signature in April of your 8 th grade year. Most requests for elective changes will therefore not be honored after the start of school in August. Some change requests may be considered on a case by case basis. All final changes must be completed, however, by the 10 th school day. This includes changes from Academic to PreAP. An outline of acceptable reasons to be granted a schedule change is listed on page 26 of the KISD course catalogue. Q: Should I take a PreAP class? What is the difference between PreAP and Academic? A: PreAP classes help prepare students for the AP (Advanced Placement) classes available in the later high school years. Advanced Placement classes offer students the opportunity to earn college credit during their high school years. PreAP classes are taught at a level appropriate to developing the skills and knowledge required for success in the higher level classes. PreAP and AP classes

2 carry the additional advantage of an extra point toward the GPA. For example, if you earn an A (90%-100%) in PreAP or AP classes, 5 points will be awarded instead of the 4 points for Academic level classes. Careful consideration should be given to the level of difficulty of these classes. If you overload yourself with PreAp classes, your overall GPA might be in jeopardy. It is important to choose classes that match your ability and desire to work hard. Keep in mind your level of involvement in Band, athletics and other extracurricular activities, since this may limit the time to devote to your course work. Q: How can I change levels from PreAP to Academic or vice versa? A: You may switch levels during the first 10 days of school. Please be aware that a move from Academic to PreAP should be made as quickly as possible to avoid getting too far behind in instruction. After that time, level changes require a petition process and are subject to review by teacher/counselor and administrator. If you are failing a PreAP class on a report card, you will be removed and placed in Academic. Q: What happens if I fail a test? A: Speak to your teacher immediately about a failed test. Seven Lakes High School has a retest policy that permits you to retake the test for up to a passing grade of 70%. Make the arrangement with your teacher for retest after school. Deadlines apply per test. Retest policies may vary per department. Q: What happens if I continue to struggle in a class? A: At SLHS we have resources to help students who want to succeed. The before/after school tutorial schedule will be posted on the teacher web. You have the option to attend tutorials with a teacher other than the one who teaches your class. Retesting for up 70% is also available. Power reviews are offered at the end of each semester to help prepare for final exams. Please remember that homework completion is not optional. Failure to do your assignments may lower your grade by as much as one whole letter grade. For more pointers on study skills, you can schedule an appointment with your 9 th grade Counselor.

3 Q: How do I earn high school credits? A: Credits are granted each semester after successfully completing the course with a 70% or higher. Each class counts for.5 credits each semester, with a few exceptions: Spanish for Spanish speakers counts for double credit; Study hall is non-credit. Q: When will I get my GPA and Class rank? A: Your official GPA and class rank will be released in the spring semester of your junior year to assist you with the college application process. You can calculate your own GPA by a formula your counselor can provide for you. Classes you took in junior high for high school credit must be factored into the calculation. Q: How are the semester grades calculated? A: Your semester grades are based on the calculation of 28.3% for each Six Weeks grade plus 15% for the Final Exam. Both semesters will be averaged together at the end for an End of Year grade. Q: What happens if I fail a 1 st semester class? A: If you fail the first semester, you need to work diligently to pass the second semester. The second semester grade could average with the failed first semester grade, permitting you to pass for the year. This is called regaining credit. For example: Sem 1 = 67% Sem 2 = 73 averages to a 70% and credit will be granted for the year. Q: What happens if I fail a 2 nd semester class? A: If you fail a 2 nd semester class, you may be asked to attend summer school, depending on availability of the class. You cannot regain credit if you fail 2 nd semester of a year-long course. This is because a student who fails the 2 nd half of a course is not showing marked progress. Please note that summer school is a cost to the parents.

4 Q: How many classes can I make up in summer school? A: Typically, there is only room to make up one class (credit) during summer school. Online summer school classes also exist in KISD (KOLA) for credit restoration, but students must have earned a minimum of 60 % in order to participate in this type of credit restoration class. Your counselor will advise you and send letters to your parents at the end of the school year. Q: How much does summer school cost? A: This year summer school tuition was $200 per semester. If you failed the whole year of a class, the cost to your parents would be $400. Details about summer school will be posted each year on the KISD website during the Spring semester. Q: How do I get credits through CBE? (Credit by Exam) A: Recent changes have been implemented with regard to Credit by exam. At this time, credit by exam is not available for any Course linked to EOC testing for original credit. A student may test in these subjects areas for credit recovery only (if they already took the class but failed it). These subjects include: English 1, English 2, Biology, Algebra and US History. Credit by exam is available in KISD for students who believe they have enough expertise to test out of a qualifying subject material. Typically, this relates to Foreign Language. Please keep the following in mind: Only Academic (4 point credit) can be earned through CBE. Specific dates and deadlines apply All credits must already be on the transcript prior to the first day of school, in order to be considered. For example, a student wishing to test out of Algebra should have already taken the exam in the Spring semester prior to enrolling at SLHS. Summer testing dates may not provide adequate time for grades to be posted on the transcript prior to the beginning of the school year.

5 Q: Where can I find out about Clubs and Organizations at SLHS? A: During the first Six Weeks of school, a list of Clubs and Organizations at SLHS will be available. You should also listen to the announcements about meeting times and plan to attend and get involved. Successful students are involved students. Involvement in your school offers your teachers the opportunity to get to know you better and helps you develop friendships and good leadership skills. Colleges and universities prefer students who have been actively involved in their school and community. Q: What if the club I want doesn t exist? A: As a student you may apply to initiate a new club, as long as you have a staff member who is willing to act as the sponsor, and it is approved by Administration. Applications are available in the Main Campus Counseling Center and deadlines apply. Q: What are colleges and universities looking for in an applicant? A: Prospective colleges will consider the following: GPA; class rank Level of difficulty of your classes 4 x 4 plan (4 English; Math; Social Studies; Science) SAT/ACT scores Awards/honors Extra-curricular activities (Band; Athletics; fine arts; community service) Strength of your college essay Letters of recommendation This is a competitive school, so it will be in your best interest to distinguish yourself and have fun at the same time.

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