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Dear 8th Grade Parents: A Letter From Mrs. Doyle About High School Registration

A Letter From Mrs. Doyle

Dear 8th Grade Parents:

During second semester, Mrs. Nicole White, the new FHS 9th grade School Counselor, and I will be going into the 8th grade World History classes to help students complete 9th grade course selections and their 4 year high school plans. Mrs. White and I will visit World History classes on the following dates: January 21 (Bishop), January 22 (Cushman), and January 24 (Bartl,) and again on January 28 (Bishop), January 29 (Cushman), and January 30 (Bartl). Please understand that high school course selection is presented in a group setting with students, and that individual meetings with parents to discuss this is not possible with an 8th grade class of over 400 students. Parents will have the opportunity to learn about high school course selection during a night Parent Meeting on Tuesday, February 11th at 6:00 pm in the FMS Cafeteria. The deadline for students to return required high school registration paperwork is February 14, 2020. Course selections made by students must be approved by the parents.

The AL Department of Education now mandates that a 4 year high school plan be completed by students in the 8th grade. This plan is not written in stone. It can and will be revised as needed during high school. Students will complete their 4 year high school plans in the online Alabama Career Planning System (ACPS/Kuder). The blue course selection signature sheet for 9th grade is a draft, and is not a schedule. Students will be bringing home this document for your review and signature.

Please check this website second semester because the Academic Guide for 2020/2021 will be uploaded to the Guidance Files when it is available. According to the previous year's Academic Guide, there are 3 diploma options: The Alabama High School Diploma (24 Credits), Baldwin County’s College Prep with Distinction Diploma (28 Credits) and the IB Diploma (28 Credits). 

The standard Alabama High School Diploma is very flexible. It allows for Regular, Honors (Pre-AP) and AP course selection. This diploma option prepares students to be both career and college ready. It does not require a foreign language or Algebra 2 with Trigonometry. However, college bound students need to be aware that most 4 year colleges/universities do require for admission a foreign language, Algebra 2 with Trig, as well as another advanced math like Pre-calculus. They are also interested in seeing challenging AP classes on the transcript. Colleges/universities look at transcripts regarding grades and courses taken, not the name of the diploma. 

Fairhope High School will make recommendations regarding Pre-AP/AP courses based on a student's state test scores, grades, a math placement test, and teacher recommendations. Ultimately, it is your decision, and you must approve a student's diploma option and whether he/she takes Pre-AP/AP courses. Please keep in mind that once a student begins a Pre-AP/AP class next school year, they are committed for the full year.

My concern every year is that FMS students will choose the diploma option based on the name, such as the College Prep with Distinction Diploma, instead of choosing the diploma that best meets their needs and goals. This would be unfortunate and not in the best interest of the student to choose a diploma option based on the name alone.  Again, the standard Alabama High School Diploma does meet the admission requirements of colleges/universities depending upon the courses chosen and of course, the grades received. 

Baldwin County offers the College Prep with Distinction Diploma, a very academically rigorous diploma option. Students must take the most advanced classes offered, Pre-AP/AP. There is a minimum of 5 math classes which may include AP Calculus. It will be difficult for FMS students who did not take Algebra 1 in 8th grade to meet the 5 math minimum requirement of the College Prep with Distinction Diploma. Please direct any concerns about this to FHS. The Academic Guide for 2020/2021 will indicate if there are any changes in the current 3 diploma options.  

Regarding the IB Program, FHS has a meeting for all students and parents interested in knowing more about IB. The IB Informational Meeting is January 23, 2020 at 6:00 pm in the Fairhope High School cafeteria. Students who apply for the IB Program will complete the 4 year high school plan and 9th grade course selection based on this. IB applications will have a due date and must be completed electronically and emailed or mailed to Ms. Litaker, the FHS IB Coordinator. Students accepted into the IB program are notified in writing by FHS. Questions regarding the IB 4- year high school plan and IB 9th grade course selections will need to be directed to Ms. Litaker, the FHS IB Coordinator.

Detailed information about high school registration will be provided at the 8th Grade Parent Meeting on Feburary 11th. Please if possible hold your questions until then. If due to a schedule conflict you can’t make the meeting, the FHS 9th grade Counselor usually posts a PowerPoint on the FHS website with the information provided in the meeting. Again, FHS registration paperwork is due Feburary 14, 2020 to the student's homeroom teacher. After the due date, homeroom teachers will no longer accept the registration paperwork. It will then be up to the parents to drop off the forms to the FHS office. 

High School registration is a very exciting time for our students. Thank you in advance for being involved and playing a critical role in the process.

Best Regards,

Mrs. Kathryn Doyle, LPC

8th Grade School Counselor

Fairhope Middle School