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Paynesville Press - February 04, 2004

Next week's registration for students to be similar

By Michael Jacobson

Next week's registration for next year's high school students should be similar, despite upcoming curriculum and graduation requirement changes.

Registration will be held on Thursday, Feb. 12, from 3 to 9 p.m. and on Friday, Feb. 13, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (School will be dismissed at 2:10 p.m. on Thursday, and students will not have to attend school on Friday.)

Due to changes in state standards, the school district is revising its curriculum in the high school. Graduation requirements have also been raised, but these changes will only affect this year's eighth grade class and beyond. The current ninth graders, tenth graders, and 11th graders will continue to follow the existing requirements, including meeting 13 embedded standards and earning 86 course credits.

Most of these students (with the exception of the ninth graders who have not taken the careers course yet) should have already completed a four-year plan for their high school career. Unless their goals have changed - say, deciding as juniors that they want to go to college - or unless they have failed classes and have to figure how to reschedule some requirements, most students should find registration fairly easy, said high school principal John Janotta.

Still the current system, which has each student meet with his parents and a teacher/advisor, is designed to facilitate communication between all three parties, said Janotta. As such, it is important for parents, and students, to attend registration.

Parents should have made an appointment for registration at the parent/teacher conferences in the fall. Teachers are calling this week to check on that appointment time.

If a parent has not made an appointment, they can call the high school at 320-243-3761.

Because registration is so important, especially with the increasing requirements these days, all parents will be expected to meet with their student and their advisor. Parents who cannot come next week on the two scheduled days should contact their student's advisor and find another time to meet, said Janotta. This year's eighth grade class will be the first to graduate from PAHS under the new state standards. They will not have to complete the repealed Profile of Learning, but the state is still in the process of agreeing on replacement standards.

These students will have to take three years of high school math and three years of high school science, as well as meet new standards, all of which have not been decided by the Minnesota Legislature.

They will also be the first class that will have to earn 90 course credits to graduate.

While eighth graders will face a number of changes, their initial registration should be quite similar to previous years because their schedule is fairly set. Ninth graders typically take English I, American History 9, Intro to Physical Science (IPS), phy. ed./wellness/ careers, one elective, and either another elective or a study hall.

The biggest decisions facing eighth graders is which math track to take - either algebra, geometry, and advanced algebra and trigonometry for college-bound students or the tech math sequence for vocational students - and which electives to take.

This year, due to scheduling reasons, the high school may not offer a session of summer IPS, meaning these students may have to take this science class during the regular school year. (Summer IPS may not be offered because the district needs to make sure their science teachers have a full load during the regular school year - which they may not, due to smaller class sizes in the middle school - before they offer an extra course during the summer.)

Students who take IPS in the summer normally have an extra elective during ninth grade, but they may be limited to only two this time.

Eighth graders will register next week as part of the parent/teacher conferences at the middle school, to be held on Thursday evening and Friday morning and afternoon. Report cards will be mailed to high school students so they can focus on registration these days.

At the elementary school, a teacher in-service will be held on Thursday afternoon and all day Friday. The elementary school will hold parent-teacher conferences later in the year.

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