What 8th graders need to know before entering high school

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By Darrell Jones

Guidance Counselor,

Oak Hill High School

What eighth grade students need to know before they enter high school:

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A. Eighth grade students need to know that high school is a fresh start for them; that change in poor study habits can take place, and will probably improve their academic performance in high school.

B. Incoming freshmen need to know the difference between being promoted through the lower grades, and the need to earn enough credits through the proper courses in order to graduate from high school. At Oak Hill High School, we are on a semester system, so we show our eighth grade students that a passing grade of at least 70 in a semester course earns them ½ credit in that course. We also explain to them that if they fail a semester of a required course, they need to reschedule the class or make up the ½ credit through an alternative way.

C. Eighth grade students are shown the importance of paying attention to the teachers’ grading methods by putting an example on the board (40% tests; 30% projects; 20% quizzes and 10% homework), and then explaining how a zero on a project would fail you in the class even if you averaged an 80 on the other components. Thus the importance of meeting deadlines and completing all work.

D. We explain the difference between their present school day, and the typical Oak Hill High School block schedule in which classes are held every other day. We discuss the length of the periods (80 minutes), and encourage them to do the homework on the day it is assigned.

E. We also explain our advisory program, and let them know that the advisor will be with them for all four years.

F. Last but not least, we let them know that there will be a freshman orientation day at the beginning of the school year. Only freshmen will attend that day, and they will have a chance to meet our staff, run through their schedules and eat lunch together.

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