beanielips: The courses offered are English, Math (several levels), Social Studies, Science, Foreign Language, Career Ed, and some electives. Math doesn't tend to have any projects. If the school has Portfolio or Senior projects, students will be expected to begin working on them (don't put it off!). Most students are also expected to be most self-sufficient and follow directions without teachers having to repeat them.
Each teacher is responsible for assigning grades. Many teachers use weighted grades. This is where each part of a class has more or less value. For example, assignments 45% and tests 55%. Tests are worth more than assignments even if tests only have a total of 100 points and assignments have a total of 700 points.
mumsy2three: Main or core subjects were Math (Algebra 1 or 2 or higher level math like Geometry), English, Earth Science, History (Contemporary America), Gym, and a computer course is also a requirement for graduation. Our high school implemented a one-to-one computing program last year. Each student receives a MacBook laptop to use through the school year. Most of the projects and work are completed via the computer. My dd made an iMovie for History about gun control, and in Algebra, she had a daily warm-up math questions. In English, they completed a huge unit on Romeo and Juliet and had a poetry project. She also had to complete book reviews (reports) throughout the year.
Ewadun: My daughter's taking Chinese, Ceramics, Algebra, Physical Science, English, and History.
beanielips: EVERY teacher and school is different. I require a 3-ring notebook, paper, pencil or blue/black pen, and a calculator (TI-81 or scientific).
mumsy2three: Each class required different supplies, so wait for lists to come home the first day to purchase items like binders. Of course, she needed pens, pencils, book covers, and a highlighter. They have to wear black and gold for gym. They have uniforms available, but most high schoolers just wore black shorts and gold/yellow shirt. I buy as much on sale as possible or go to the dollar store. The highest priced school items were the binder and book covers because we bought the cloth type.
Angiebooboo: Highlighters are a must, a few different colors are needed, folders for each classes, ink pens, pencils, paper, and notebooks for each class. Expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $30 on these.
beanielips: There will be A LOT of homework, typically 60-90 minutes of work per core class a NIGHT, but many teachers give time in class to begin working on it. If your student is struggling with finishing, talk to the teacher. Parents are not expected to help, but it is nice.
mumsy2three: My dd really didn't have much homework. She had a study hall second period and a resource period in the middle of the day where she completed most of it. Math and reading books for English were what she did at home the most. In high school, the majority of teachers expect the students to do their own homework. Getting them to do the homework is where parents can help.
Angiebooboo: Parents are expected to help, but to be honest, most parents cannot help. It's all new stuff.
mumsy2three: I don't think the social scene changes too much from middle/junior high to high school. There are going to be shifts in friends, someone your child has been friends with for years may not be their friend anymore or new people may be added to their circle of friends.
Angiebooboo: They are a lot more social in the areas of girlfriends/boyfriends and talking on the phone.
beanielips: They are becoming young adults and dealing with hormones. Sometimes they feel anger for no real reason. There are also issues of defiance and testing boundaries at home and at school. While some defiance is normal, it has to be kept in check and not tolerated. Testing boundaries is very different than defiance.
Talking in class and gossiping are issues. Texting is a HUGE issue. Phones should be OFF during class. If parents need to contact students "right away," they should use the front office. Personally, I would prefer that students didn't have phones, but I know that is not fair to ask families. Smoking and drinking are not a problem during school too much, but during teens' free time, they are HUGE issues — even for the kids who are "straight A" kids.
mumsy2three: A common issue is texting in the classroom. It's huge. Just about every student has a cell phone and they all use them. I have seen students text without looking at the phone. I think it has replaced passing notes.
Angiebooboo: They argue over everything, they will sleep during class, and they horseplay in class.
beanielips: Depends on the teacher (even in the same school). I give warnings, verbal and written. The next step is detention where they complete an assignment that reflects on why they are there and what they are going to do to avoid it in the future. Administration is brought in only when the student refuses to reason or is getting violent or completely disrespectful. There are suspensions, but it takes a lot to get there (except for alcohol—the first time!). Expulsions are commonplace for drug and firearms (firearms are a problem in rural areas because so many kids have them and forget that they are in the vehicle!)
beanielips: We are in a rural area and the buses are used a lot. Kids have time to read assignments and socialize with friends. My own kids ride the bus to my parents in the afternoon. I loved riding the bus, and so do they!
Angiebooboo: My kids ride the bus to school. They make it to school every day on time. The buses are very crowded and noisy.
Ewadun: My daughter takes public transportation. She has to take a bus and a train, which stops right in front of her school.
beanielips: Whatever sports you can think of: Football, Volleyball, Tennis, Basketball, Wrestling, Softball, Baseball, Track, Soccer. Clubs: Academic clubs, Social Responsibility Clubs, Eco Clubs, Sewing Clubs. If your student has an interest, there is a way to make it into a school-sponsored club. Talk with the student government portion of the school!
mumsy2three: All the sports and Cheerleading. Others: Chess, Technology Student Association, Drama, and SADD.
Angiebooboo: All the sports and a hefty price tag to go with them.
beanielips: We don't expect parents in the classroom (but that is starting to change with budget cuts). Where we need help is with "graduating class": fundraisers, chaperones for dances, and field trips. Parents with kids in sports are asked to provide transportation for games, work fundraisers, and do a slew of other stuff. High schools tend to have Boosters Clubs. Most schools also have school site council, which decides where to spend special money and makes some policy.
mumsy2three: The biggest need for parents volunteers is working concessions at sporting events. Parents can get involved by joining the PTO.
Angiebooboo: Any help is needed: game ticket sales, lunch aids, dance chaperones.
Ewadun: Parents were invited to work in office or the classrooms.
beanielips: Parents of 9th graders are most concerned with the amount of work and time management.
mumsy2three: Getting used to using the computers during every class, except gym. Also, getting used to having some classes with mixed grades.
Angiebooboo: Any 9th grader's biggest challenge, I think, is growing up and taking responsibilities for his or her own actions.
Ewadun: My daughter had a tough time deciding what classes she wanted to take.
Stay tuned for lots more "What to Expect" features in the Daily Buzz. Over the next several weeks, we'll be covering pre-K through the first year of college.
Thanks so much to beanielips, mumsy2three, Angiebooboo, and Ewadun who helped us present this valuable Back to School information for 9th graders. Schools and activities vary depending on the district and where you live, of course.
What was the 9th grade experience like for you and your child?
More "What to Expect" Back to School features: