• Questions about Academics
     
     1. How can I best be involved in my child’s school experience?
      Helpful parental involvement is one of the major factors that enhances student achievement. It helps to create a supportive learning environment, it fosters
    good communication, and it builds a sense of confidence and responsibility in the student. There are many ways in which you can support your child to become a successful student. Consider the following suggestions:
     
    Assume your child will have some homework every night and will probably need to spend from two to four hours per night studying.
       b Make sure your child has a designated study space.
       c Help your child to establish study hours and stick to them. Limit access to the   television, telephone, email and internet games and chat rooms.
       d Talk with your child about his or her courses. It is OK to quiz your child before exams and discuss his or her work, but it is not OK to do your child’s homework and papers.
       e If your child has a concern about a course, suggest that he or she talk with the teacher. High school students need to learn to advocate for themselves. Thus, the best approach when your child expresses a concern is first, to listen and support your child by encouraging him or her to approach the teacher with the concern.
      f If a concern persists, or a problem has developed, or if you have a question about your child’s progress, you are always welcome to call the school. The counselors, teachers and administrators are available to confer with you to answer questions.
       g Attend the parent information meetings :
    Freshman Parents Information Night in September
    Back-to-School Night in October
       h Join the parent organizations: PTSA, Friends of Lexington Music, Art and Drama Students, Inc. (FOLMADS), Lexington Athletic Association or individual sports booster clubs (formed at the discretion of the coach), Backers of Lexington Debate (BOLD) for both Lincoln-Douglas and Policy Debate. There are parent representatives on the LHS School Council, and its meetings are open to the public. (See the last page of this handbook for more detailed information about parent organizations.)
     2 How does the schedule work at the High School?
      Lexington High School has eight scheduled periods (A-H) which each meet four times per week equaling 32 blocks. The blocks are referred to by the letters A-H and numbered 1-4. Thus the 32 meetings are labeled A1, A2, A3,. . . H2, H3, H4. Following this schedule, most courses meet four times per week. The notable exception is science which meets five or six times per week. Freshmen and sophomores are not eligible for open campus and will be assigned study halls when they do not have a class. Juniors and seniors are eligible for open campus and may earn the privilege by meeting requirements in the areas of grade point average and community service hours. Parental permission is required as well. Upperclass students who do not qualify for open campus will be assigned study halls.
    3 How will I know who my child’s counselor is?
       What kind of contact will my child have with his or her counselor?
       The Guidance Department consists of ten counselors, two social workers, and one director. The student’s counselor assignment is listed on the schedule. Members of the Department serve as advocates for students. It is a priority for counselors to meet individually with students and build strong relationships. Further, counselors will meet with their students in small groups in either the fall or spring depending on the grade level. Freshmen and seniors will participate in these counselor seminars in the fall. Sophomores and juniors will participate in the seminars in the spring. The seminar curriculum is designed to address the needs of each grade level in a timely way.
      Counselors and outreach workers also conduct workshops and small groups for students on a variety of issues. In addition, they conduct parent information meetings at different times throughout the year. These events will be announced in the LHS Newsletter and on the website <lhs.lexingtonma.org/Dept/Guidance/>.
      We encourage you to call your child’s counselor to introduce yourself; he/she is available to assist with any questions or concerns.
    4 How can my child get extra help if she/he needs it?
      There is a variety of assistance available to students in need of help with their academic work. Teachers are available during the school day as well as after school to assist their students. If students make effective use of their non-class periods, they can get their academic needs met during the school day. If students do not have free blocks during the day, it is the students’ responsibility to have their questions answered and to make up work after school.
      During their high school years students must become independent and learn to advocate for themselves. This does not come easily to most students and thus, they need the encouragement of parents and teachers alike to take responsibility for themselves. Although teachers and counselors remind students regularly of the support opportunities available to them, it is difficult for some students, particularly freshmen, to seek out the help for themselves. Parents, as well as teachers, need to emphasize that students must ask for help when they need it.
    5 How will I know how well my child is doing? 
      Progress Reports are issued to all students in the middle of the first marking period and on an as-needed basis for the other three marking periods. The first quarter progress reports in all classes will be brought home by students for parental signatures during the first two weeks of October.
      Report Cards are issued to all students at the end of each marking period.
      Report cards are usually issued within two weeks of the end of the term and delivered to students in homeroom. End-of-the-year report cards are mailed home.
      Informal updates can be obtained anytime by calling the teacher directly.
    6 How do mid-year and final exams work? 
      LHS does not have mid-year examinations in a formal sense, although some teachers give them. Lexington High School does require final exams in most subjects. Usually these exams determine a significant part of the course grade (but not more than 20%).
      Taking exams which cover an entire year of material is a new experience for freshmen and they need support in approaching exam time. It is important for students to keep returned tests, quizzes and papers, as well as their notebooks. These materials provide the best source for study and review. Teachers will prepare their students in class for the exams. Parents can also help by encouraging their children to take adequate time to review the material for each exam.
      On exam days no classes meet. Students will typically take two exams on each exam day. One of the biggest surprises for parents associated with the final exam schedule is the fact that the school day ends for students when their last exam of the day is over. The first exam block runs from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. The second exam runs from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Transportation is provided to and from school on exam days with buses leaving school at 1:15 p.m.
    7 Does the fact that students are placed in different levels mean there is
        tracking at LHS? 
      No. Although LHS offers courses at AP and Honors level, Level 1 and Level 2, students are not tracked at this school. That is, in a given year a student may be taking courses at two or three different levels. The student’s academic performance determines the appropriate level of study, and this can vary from subject to subject. Course placements are reviewed each year, thus assuring that any student’s academic program is consistent with his/her current aptitude and interests.
    8 How are placement decisions made at LHS? 
      Course placement recommendations are made each spring by teachers based on a student’s performance in the current year’s work in each subject area. Honors courses and Advanced Placement courses are offered for students who demonstrate high achievement and display strong motivation. Success in these courses requires well-developed scholarship and study skills. The goal in selecting courses should be to challenge students sufficiently without overwhelming them.
    9 Can students drop or add courses after the school year has begun? 
      Although it is technically possible to change courses after the school year has begun, it is important to note that any change may create a major disruption in the student’s schedule due to other conflicts that arise when one change is made. All changes are subject to strict rules relative to the dropping and adding of courses. The drop/add policy is in the Student/Parent Handbook.
    10 When and how do underclass students sign up for courses for the  
          following year? 
      In February or March, all students receive a course selection sheet and a copy of the Program of Studies for the following year. After consultation with their counselors regarding overall program and with their subject area teachers regarding specific course recommendations, students fill out the course selection sheet which must be signed by teachers and then reviewed and signed by parents. (It is each student’s responsibility to see his/her counselor and teachers and hand in the course selection sheets by the deadline.)
      In April all students and parents receive a course verification sheet. Students should see their guidance counselors to correct any omissions or errors on the sheets. Changes in levels must have Department Head/Coordinator approval.
    11 What special projects are required of freshmen? 
      All freshmen are expected to complete the summer readings (See http://lhs.lexingtonma.org/Library/index.html). During the school year, they are assigned an independent Science project, and a Social Studies/English research project. These special projects will be assigned and explained by the teachers during the school year. The student’s teacher will oversee the planning and completion of the project. Each of these projects count heavily toward the student’s grade during the quarter in which it is due.
    12 How is the Honor Roll determined at LHS? 
      Students who have earned a B- or better in all subjects at the end of each quarter are named to the Honor Roll. The Honor Roll for each house is usually displayed on the bulletin board outside the Dean’s office.