Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Report Cards and Mid-Year Transcripts

I feel relatively confident that most students know how to access infinite campus to check your grades, but parents may not be looking at progress as consistently.  In part this may be because they are allowing you to take responsibility for your own learning and watching as you develop independence while still in high school and part of it is that your parents are busy and infinite campus can be “out of sight, out of mind”. 

Parents, with the first semester now over, I strongly encourage you to log in to Infinite Campus and see your son or daughter’s first semester grades.  We do not mail report cards home, so this is the only way to be able to access the report cards.

If parents do not know their username and password, please go to www.worthington.k12.oh.us and click on the login button in the top right corner.  The next screen will ask for the login information and it provides an option to enter your e-mail address if you do not know your username and password.  Please note that your email address must match the one the district has in your student’s profile.  Once you submit your e-mail address, computer services will soon e-mail you with your username and password.

The online report-cards allow parents and students to assess the progress on an ongoing basis.  As we begin the second semester this is a great opportunity for parents to ask themselves questions related to your kids grades.  Are your son/ daughter's grades what you had expected?  Are you pleased?  Does your son or daughter need more structure or support to help them develop new skills for studying or preparing for classes? If your student is struggling to be successful one of my top suggestions is to talk to your student and to the teachers!  Teachers have a good perspective on where kids stand in their class.  They can help clarify on concepts that students are missing, areas for improvement, and they can provide concrete suggestions for how your son/ daughter can make changes to find success in their classes.

I will be reviewing all of your grades for the semester and completing credit checks for all of my students so that I can be sure you are staying on track.  It is still beneficial for you and your parents to keep track of your progress as well.

Additionally, for current seniors, now that you are half way through the year, many colleges will want to get mid-year reports of your transcript.  For all of the colleges on Common App, I will upload your updated transcript automatically this week.  If you applied through a different means other than the Common App website and your colleges want mid-year reports then you will need to come into the counseling center to see Mrs. McDaniel to request for your updated transcript being sent to the specific colleges.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Military Options

Are you interested in learning more about the military and the different careers and opportunities that they can provide for the future?  There are a couple of great opportunities coming up for our students to participate in - both which will be hosted at TWHS. 

A Military Information Night will be held tomorrow night, Wednesday, January 16th, at 6:30pm in the TWHS library all students and parents are invited to meet with the military recruiters.  The recruiters from all of the different branches who work with our schools will be there to present information about their opportunities and then to meet with you 1:1 after the presentation.

Additionally, on the morning of January 26th, students are able to take the ASVAB - a career placement test through the military.  Please understand that taking this test does NOT commit you to joining the military or making the military as your career - it is simply to give you options that could be available to you for the future.  In fact, many students will elect to take the ASVAB to help get additional career insight without planning to go into the military.  If you are interested in taking the ASVAB, please stop to see me and I will get you signed up.  This is, again, a free opportunity.

Monday, January 14, 2019

ACT/ SAT Test Preparation

Preparing for the ACT and SAT can feel daunting at times.  As you are probably aware, juniors will take the ACT for free once in February and, if you are planning to go to a 4-year college in the future, you should plan on taking the ACT/ SAT at least one or two more times between now and September.  In order to best help prepare for the tests, students often ask me how they should study for the ACT and SAT tests. 

The organizations that facilitate the ACT and SAT frequently explain that the best preparation for the tests is to challenge yourself by taking on a rigorous curriculum during high school.  So, the reality is that every day, with every class you take, you are preparing for these exams.  However, that doesn’t mean that additional preparation wouldn’t be helpful.

I know that all juniors had the free opportunity to participate in Dr. Sanpath's test prep boot camp experience prior to taking the PSAT.  Dr. Sampath of PrepAccelerator will be offering another group training – this time over 2 days for interested students.  The session will be held at TWHS on February 3rd and February 10th.  The cost for this training is $125.  Checks can be made payable to Worthington Schools and turned into Mrs. Focht in the Counseling Center by January 30th if you are interested in registering.

Many students have realized that group test prep doesn't always work for them and they need more individual support and assistance to prepare for the tests.  There are many different tutors available in the Central Ohio area who are committed to helping students prepare for the tests.  We have featured their information on the Counselor Website and it is attached.  Please know that these links include both individual and group test prep providers.

There are also free options - including reviewing your Pre-ACT results, looking at sample questions online and on the ACT/ SAT websites and Khan Academy.

Many students will elect to take the test once and see how they do on it before signing up for test prep and that is certainly an acceptable option as well, but no matter what, I hope you will make every effort to show what you know on the ACT and SAT when you take them.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Long Weekends

Next weekend is Martin Luther King, Jr. day making it a long-weekend and in February you will have a long weekend for President's day.  These are two great opportunities for students and parents to make visits to college campuses. 

In fact, many colleges will host special visit days for students on these long weekends knowing that prospective students won't have to miss classes in order to visit their schools. 

Plan ahead now and arrange to set up a time to see the campuses that interest you most.  Perhaps it will be the first time you have been to a campus that sounds appealing to you or maybe it will be a chance to go back and explore a college for which you have recently been accepted.  There are so many aspects to learn about a college when you are on the actual campus that you cannot fully know by reading about a school online or learning from the experiences of others. 

I hope you make the most of the long weekends ahead of us and, of course, let me remind you that I'd like a picture of you somewhere on campus for the "Oh the Places You'll Go" board.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Earning Credit

This week a large part of my time was trying to explain to students about how you earn credits in high school.  It is a valuable reminder for everyone.

High school is different than elementary and middle school.  In middle school, you take classes and each year you move on to the next grade and take all the classes for that grade.  In high school, you must earn credits for specified classes and the way you earn credit is by passing each semester of the class. 

So, for example, all students must earn 4 credits of English to graduate.  When you pass both semesters of English 1 during your freshman year, you move on to English 2 during your sophomore year.  If, unfortunately, you failed one of the semesters of English 1 then you are going to have to make that particular semester up before you can progress on to English 2.  Students who failed a semester will be able to make up the course either by repeating the class in summer school, repeating the class through credit recovery or repeating the class by retaking it during your sophomore year.  The bottom line is that you must REPEAT the class in some format.

Some classes (like English) have pre-requisites that students must meet in order to move on to the next level.  Other classes, like Science and Social Studies, do not have pre-requisites to move on to the next level so we will potentially allow you to move from Physical Science to Biology or from World History to US History without first repeating the freshman year class.  Don’t misunderstand though, you will still have to repeat the class at some point, but if you are not making it up during summer school, then you will likely be taking a freshman year class during your junior year.

In order to earn sophomore status, students must have earned at least 5 credits.  To become a junior you will need 10 credits.  To be classified as a senior, you must have earned at least 15 credits.

If you have any questions about where you stand with the credits you have earned or what still remains, please don’t hesitate to stop by and see me.

Friday, January 11, 2019

February ACT Registration Reminder

The February ACT tests always tends to generate a lot of questions.

Juniors - you will be taking the ACT, free of charge during the school day on February 20th.  You do not have to register for that test - we will do it for you.  This is the ONLY test that you get for free and for which we will register you.  All of the other times that you repeat or attempt the ACT you will register for yourself on ACT's website.

Sophomores - if you are planning to participate in College Credit Plus as a junior then, as you heard last night, you should consider signing up to take an ACT early - as in February or April to try to see if you can get the qualifying college readiness benchmarks.  TODAY is the registration deadline for the February 9th ACT.  So, if you are hoping to take that test, please, be sure to go and register right away so that you don't miss your opportunity.

To answer some of the common questions...
- No, sophomores are not eligible to take the February 20th ACT with the juniors.
- No, sophomores who do not plan on participating in College Credit Plus do not need to take the ACT this early.
- Yes, the junior test does count for a "normal" ACT and the scores will be valid for the colleges.
- Yes, if you are taking the test next month you should begin familiarizing yourself with the test questions and what to expect... but do NOT stress about it!

Also, since both boys & girls basketball takes on TWHS tonight, I have to say GO WOLVES!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Suicide Prevention Lines

There are times when we can feel overwhelmed, lonely, stressed, sad and hopeless.  All of these emotions are normal to experience, but when they happen to come all at the same time it can be very challenging and leave people feeling lost and desperate.

Perhaps you or someone you know have had times with that type of darkness and possibly even experienced suicidal thoughts.  It is important to know that there is ALWAYS help available!  Reaching out for support is a critical step in helping to give yourself the hope that you will not always feel the way you might be feeling right now.

If you are having suicidal thoughts while at school, I hope you will come to tell me or share that information with another adult that you trust.  If you are away from school, I hope that you will reach out to your parents or some other adult who your trust.  But I know that sometimes the people closest to us can miss the level of pain we are experiencing and so I'd like to remind you that you can always call a suicide hotline and there will be someone on the other end ready and willing to talk to you who can help brainstorm next steps.  As you can see in the graphic, the national suicide hotline is 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255.

Additionally, over the last few years, in recognition of how much our society has grown to depend on text messaging as a means of communication, there is also a crisis text line where you can reach out for help and support.  To contact the crisis text line you would send a message to 741741.  You can send them any message to get the conversation started.  And I know that it can be hard to even know where to start so remember, you can always reach out even with just one word such as "4hope" (which helps connect you to someone in Ohio) or even "help or hello" and before you know it you will be communicating via text with someone else who understands what you are experiencing and is ready and able to help you.

The most important reminder I would like to leave you with is that YOU MATTER!  You are not alone - there is always someone who would like to have the opportunity to talk with you and to help you.  If you are having thoughts of suicide, PLEASE, reach out for help today!