Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Course Advising 2014-15

On January 16, the 9th through 11th grade students received their course request forms and accompanying BCPS Course Registration Guides. During advisory, the students watched a short video that explains the process:
As you can see in the video, students have automatic course requests at the top of the form, and these courses are simply the next sequential courses based upon their current progress in this year's classes, as recommended by this year's teachers. While the teachers' recommendations are supported by the school, they are not set in stone. The conversation can continue through to the end of the school year. If the family still disagrees with a teacher's recommendation, please discuss that disagreement with your school counselor.

We will begin offering every student eight credits next year, and Pikesville's method is to implement that with a four-period A day - B day format. Please supplement the recommended "automatic" course requests with electives so that the total number of credits equals eight. We also ask that each student identify at least four credits of alternates in case of a time conflict, or in case a course does not have enough requests to staff.

Because student requests impact staffing decisions, the school cannot allow students to make changes to their levels or electives once schedules are mailed in the summer. Please put as much thought and care into your requests as the school is.

We also would like students to consider increasing their academic rigor. The greater rigor students pursue in high school, the more college ready they will be in college. However, we ask that you choose wisely, and not request too many AP courses, either. Being recommended for five AP classes does not mean that you should take five AP classes. Please consider athletic, employment, and family obligations, as well as how much time it takes to complete homework and (especially) study for tests, as AP courses have a much greater emphasis on testing than other classes. Please watch the GetAPFit channel to get an idea of what you can expect in each class, and ask your current teachers, the teachers currently assigned to teach your intended AP course(s), and their department chair as many questions as you need this year, because once you are in the classes next year, you'll be in them all year. Please refer to your PSAT score report to see which AP classes have the greatest statistical probability of your passing the AP Exam.

Rising seniors are advised to consider what is the most appropriate plan for their seniors year. Aside from academically rigorous courses that are available in-school, eligible seniors also have the option to either get real-world experience by working in an internship or by taking college classes. When deliberating the best plan for you, please call the colleges to which you are considering applying, and come to our #PHSfit College Fair to ask admissions counselors what they would most highly recommend as part of the application process in order to best demonstrate your college readiness.

Each student already has ten minutes reserved to meet with his or her school counselor for course advising during the first two weeks of February. And again, even though we will be entering course requests at that point, requests can be changed as often as necessary in order for all students to leave school in June confident that they have committed to the best #PHSfit course requests for them.

Last, please refer to the academic resources page on this blog for more insight into the process.

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