Accelerated Classes for 8th Grade Students taking classes at South High School: Below is information for incoming 8th grade students who would like to take classes at South High School during the school year. Students who take an elective class at South High will not be able to take an elective class at Calle Mayor Middle School. Students should have a 3.5 GPA in academic classes if requesting to take a class at South High. Classes taken at the High School will become a part of their permanent High School Transcripts that they use to apply for college.
To Accelerate my 8th grader or Not, things to consider when electing to send them to South High while still in middle school: Can be applied to a foreign language or a science class.
Where to start and what to understand: When you are having conversations with your child about next year’s elective choices and considering a foreign language class at the high school, be mindful of the commitment needed in a foreign language class and weigh that against your child’s outside of school commitments (sports, music, etc.) and an increased 8th grade curriculum in the core academic classes. It is strongly discouraged to take an elective class at the high school during the 8th grade school year if your child has earned a B in either Math or in English during the 7th grade. The result of not being successful in a 7th grade class and rushing them to take classes at the high school can impact their high school transcripts with a poor mark that potentially adversely impacts their GPA for college admission. The rush to advance middle school students to the high school is not right for some students, we understand the peer and community pressures associated with taking a class at the high school during the 8th grade school year. There are some parents that are under the impression that by taking a class at the high school they are giving their child a more competitive edge when applying for college, this is not really accurate. A student’s real success for college is about having a solid academic foundation which prepares them for taking challenging classes when they are in high school. Torrance Unified has an Open Access policy at the high school which affords all students opportunities to take any class that they would like, to include all AP and honors classes regardless of the student’s grades while in high school.
The High School Transcript: The High School transcript is a permanent report that colleges use to see what grades your child has earned in high school classes. Grades for all classes your child takes at South (including the 8th Grade) will be recorded as permanent grades on his/her High School Transcript. Any grade below an "A" can potentially negatively impact college acceptance status. High School classes can only be repeated for improvement if the semester grade is lower than a C. Repeating classes can improve the High School GPA, but grades of all attempts at classes remain on the student's transcript. This repeating and lower grades will be seen by colleges when your child applies to college.
Language Goals and Academic Foundation: Most colleges require two years of a Foreign Language - three or more is preferred to be competitive in the university applicant pools. Students who plan to take an AP language course and exam in their senior year should probably take a foreign language in 8th grade (unless student's native language ability will allow him/her to test in at a higher level in 9th grade). Students are more likely to complete three or more years of language if first year of language (taken in either 8th or 9th grade) is successful and provides a strong foundation. Success in foreign language electives at South should not require tutoring during 8th grade. An strong academic foundation is required for success in high school and beyond, when students are advanced to quickly there are gaps in the students understanding that could require tutoring or struggles in the future. The idea behind the middle school is to fill in the gaps that students may have and to provide new academic information it is not a race to get through. Do we apply these ideas to the elementary school, asking them to jump to the next grade in certain subjects? We do not do this because most elementary students lack the academic maturity and so do most middle school students. It is also important to understand that if a child is NOT proficient in State Assessments, specifically in ELA and MATH, they should NOT take a class at the high school.
Academic Maturity: High School classes are taught by High School teachers who have High School expectations of academic maturity. Additionally, students taking any classes at South High should be able to do so without negatively impacting their performance of their middle school core courses. 8th Grade core subjects provide the essential foundation skills that are crucial to long-term success in high school. There are numerous opportunities to advance your child and challenge them during their high school years.
Time Commitment and Workload: High School classes will require regular practice and more homework than middle school classes. An average of an hour a night can be expected for each class that is taken at the high school. Extra time spent on a high school class's homework could impact available time for outside commitments.
Once in Attendance at SHS (Very Important to Understand): Students who begin classes at SHS during their 8th Grade school year may NOT be allowed to drop those classes, this is due to scheduling constraints of the master schedule at the middle school. We do our best to accommodate students but there is NO guarantee that there is room in the middle school master schedule as those academic/elective sections are given to the high school based upon their enrollment of our middle school students.
We encourage you to talk to your child about making good academic choices and setting academic goals for them in high school.