Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Yep, they've got class(es)...

The past week or so has left me feeling nostalgic (okay, not quite entirely, but...almost) for those simple byegone days of...Elementary School. You know what I'm talking about: when one academic year came to a close with little or no fanfare, and you enjoyed your time off in the Summer, and things just picked right back up again in September automatically. There were no "Graduation Requirements" to review...or "Course Selections" to research...or any other such confusing and exasperating...nonsense.

But the (much anticipated and welcomed) arrival of Spring brought (the far less popular) Registration Time along with it. Even with some misgivings as to how complicated it might be for us relative newbies, the process began smoothly. In fact Riley's Middle School procedure was completely painless, and required approximately 10 minutes of our precious time. Most of his standard classes are pre-designated anyway, and he has a limited number of options for his open slots. He merely had to number them in order of his favorites, and hope he gets his top 4 choices. Easy peasy.

Then...there was that whole High School shebang for future-Sophomore Derek. He brought home an innocuous pink paper (to give you cheerful, relaxed vibes, I'm sure...didn't work...) with a couple of lines already pre-filled. Seemed like an auspicious start--the English and Social Studies trajectories apparently follow some sort of pattern up to 10th grade. Just check the appropriate box for Regular or Honors, and you're done. Whew! But from there it gets a whole lot...murkier. For example, we didn't really have a clue what to put down for Math or Science. After wracking our collective brains for a moment or two, I sagely advised him to "Ask your teachers." (Yeah, yeah, admittedly "making it up as I went along"...but in fact this turned out to be what the counselors wanted you to do anyway. Yay, Mom! I mean, "Sure, I totally knew that!")

Once he got those recommendations, his Core Curriculum was set. Now it was time to focus on filling out the rest of his day with electives. But wait--you can't just pick stuff out of the online catalog...willy nilly! There are rules! You must accumulate a certain number of several different types of classes, to fulfill the requirements for obtaining a North Carolina diploma. Oh-kaaaay. So you need Art of some kind. And something called...CTE. What the hairy HECK is a CTE? Oh, Career and Technical Education--this encompasses things like health sciences, business and marketing skills, what used to be called Home Ec but is now referred to as Family and Consumer Sciences, and a whole lotta...computer...stuff.

Ay yi yi. Where does one even begin to decide what to commit to, with the overwhelming load of information available? Oh, right...with one's friends, of course. (Parent Duh!) Derek assured me that he'd quiz his Bus Stop Boys on what they'd tried, what they'd liked, what they were thinking about signing up for next year...etc. And believe it or not, he came home with a surprising wealth of...actually helpful details. So we jotted down a few choices--in pencil--for him to discuss during his brief face-to-face meeting with his counselor, at which time they would finalize the whole thing and enter it into the computer database (That's right: marking it down on your dreaded Permanent Record! Aaaargh! Choose wisely, young Jedi! Sorry...I was just caught up in the stress of it all for a moment there...I'm better now...)

After all this rigmarole...and the day before Derek was due to turn in the sheet...the Parent Information Meeting was finally held. (I know, right? Suuuuper timing! Just kidding--in all fairness, it was canceled and rescheduled several times by the Two Week Winter Event we experienced in February.) But if my brain wasn't already full enough before this little get-together...this put me right over the top. We heard about changes to the grading scale, (Yaaaaayyyy!) and the "weighting scale", (Whatever...I confess I didn't really understand this part so well....). Also they explained Virtual School classes, and the Dual Enrollment Program...and a long list of other topics that thankfully fall under the heading of "Important Stuff...I Can Figure Out at a Later Date".

Wow. All I can say is "I'm certainly glad I didn't blow off this meeting!" When I came home and relayed all of the pertinent facts to Derek, we finished his worksheet as fully as we could. I attached multiple sticky notes to it with the questions I wanted him to address with his counselor (the most burning of these being "Is it reaaalllly okay to take a Study Period again as a 10th Grader? Or is that discouraged as, you know, "Being an unmotivated Slacker, rather than a suitably Dedicated Student"?). Then I sent him off with a wave and a hearty "Good luck, honey!" And I suppose it went well, because he came home reporting that it was all over with, his selections were accepted...and she assured him there's no problem whatsoever with using another Study Period to round out your schedule.

Well, that's a relief. Now we can just relax, without worrying about this for a whole 'nother year. And on the further Bright Side, by the time Riley gets to High School, we'll probably be able to do this with our eyes closed...um, with one hand tied behind our backs? How about: without having to go to the Parent Meeting! I'll settle for that...

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