Classroom Introduction Hello Graduating Class of 2012! I’m Mrs. Hodge, your 8th grade counselor. I am here for you when you have a personal problem or school problem. You must have your teacher’s permission to come to my office. If you come during class change, the teacher whose class you’re going to needs to give you permission to come. Sometimes I may be busy and may not be in my office, so I will ask you to write your name on the little board on my door and I’ll call you in later. 8th Grade Year Success: Responsibility, Work Hard, Do Your Best Everyday! It is very important to be organized. Attendance is crucial to your success. Buncombe County School Board allows you to miss 14 days. I personally think that’s too many. You need to be here everyday. There’s a difference in being sick and feeling sick! For every day you miss, that’s 7 hours of instruction you’ve missed. If you miss those allowed 14 days, you miss 98 hours of instruction!!!! 8th Grade is a Gateway year, which means you must score at least a Level III in Reading and Math in order to be promoted. Missing days means you are missing vital instruction that will help you pass those tests. Remember if you miss more than 14 days, you will NOT get to participate in the 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony the last day of school! Keep in mind that out of school suspensions count in those 14 days. If you have to go to summer school for attendance, academics or EOG you will not be allowed to participate in the Promotion Ceremony. Refer to pages 5 & 7 in your Planner. If you have to go to summer school in order to pass, your schedule is removed from the high school computer and you will have to register again once summer school is completed. If you are absent, be sure and bring a note from your parent (unless you are on required doctor’s note) and give to your homeroom teacher. You have three days after your absence to get the note in. This is very important! Unexcused absences can get your parents and you in trouble for truancy. One of my responsibilities is to send letters to parents notifying them of unexcused absences for 3, 6 and 10 days. At 10 days, I request a conference with you and you parents and then start proceedings to take you and your parents to court to uphold the state law. This year we will work together in the computer lab to set up a CFNC and Bridges account for each 8th grader. We’ll also do an Interest Inventory to help you match yourself to possible careers. We will also work on the Bridges website. All of this will help you get ready for Owen High School. Another of my responsibilities is to set parent conferences at the teacher’s or parent’s request. I ask the 8th graders to be in that conference because if you’re having problems, you need to have input in the solution. At the end of each 9 weeks, I schedule the Promotion Initiative Committee to meet on any 8th grade student making an F or a low D in any subject. The Committee is composed of your teachers, the principals and myself. We discuss strategies for each student to bring up the grade(s). Sometimes students have to give up their PE or Encore time and stay in ISS during this time to get their work done. A word of advice: Always Do Your Best! I talked to a high school sophomore at the beginning of school this year and asked him for his advice on what to tell you about high school. He said that it’s so important to do your homework. If you keep up with your homework, you will be on the right track! Starting in February or March, I will be in your classrooms to help you plan for high school for next year. There will be parent meetings and a curriculum fair at the high school in the spring, information on Early College and other opportunities open to you at the high school. You are being prepared right now to fulfill one of your graduation requirements. Your teachers are scheduled to teach you the computer skills in the computer lab so you will be ready to take the Computer Skills Test soon. Passing this test is a high school graduation requirement. Once you pass it, you don’t have to take it again and can check off that requirement! So pay attention in the lab to the skills your teachers are teaching you! I will be helping give the computer test, so you’ll see a lot of me during that time! High School Information: Take the S.A.T. early and several times to get your best score for college applications. It is possible to graduate from high school in 3 years. You can earn 8 credits during the year and 2 outside of school in a nontraditional way– but those 2 credits must be approved by the principal prior to taking the class. You are strongly encouraged to complete at least 1 unit of math credit in your final year of high school. Buncombe County has a mid-year graduation now. There are more options for students to graduate! Starting this year, students who pass mathematics (Algebra I )or foreign language courses during grade 6 – 8 that are described in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study for grades 9 – 12 must achieve level III or IV on an EOC. The courses will count toward graduation requirements, but the students’ GPA will be computed with courses taken during the high school years. Starting in October I will be giving every teacher who teaches 8th graders a “Buzz Word” weekly. These words will help you become familiar with high school information. Your teachers will introduce the word and go over the definition. Most of your teachers post the words in the classroom. The purpose in me giving the teachers these words weekly is so you will be familiar with the words when I’m in your classes talking about careers and high school information. I would like you to begin now thinking about your goals and possible careers. We will explore those ideas later in the year. Work hard and enjoy the 8th grade year!