Academic Standard Change
Click below to view a brief, introductory message from Mr. Hale.
To dive into the details, see the FAQ section below (and check back periodically to see answers to new questions). To ask a question that hasn’t been addressed yet, scroll to the bottom of the FAQ section for instructions
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NEW ACADEMIC STANDARD (5-12)
What is the New Academic Standard for End-of-term Grades?
Students will only be allowed two failing grades across the four terms of an academic year. For purposes of credit attainment toward graduation requirements, a failing grade at AHS has been—and will continue to be—defined as any grade lower than a C-.
What Will Happen if a Student Fails to Meet this Standard?
Students failing to meet this standard will not be given priority status for re-enrollment. They will first need to remediate the credit loss, after which they will be invited to reapply to the school. If a student earns a third failing grade before the end of the fourth term, dismissal from the school will occur at the time the third failing grade is earned.
To Which Grade Levels Does this Standard Apply?
Students in grades 5-12 will be held accountable to this standard. Letter grades are first administered in 4th grade. As students may still be acclimating to the routines of letter grades, the 4th grade year will be preserved as a period of preparation before accountability to this standard will be expected.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NEW ACADEMIC STANDARD (9-12)
What is the New Academic Standard for Earning Graduation Credits?
High school students must be on a pathway to graduation. Those students intending to not graduate will not be admitted as new students or reenrolled as continuing students. Existing students may have no more than a 0.5 credit deficiency at the time when re-enrollment signals are communicated (each February). Existing students may not have any credit deficiency as we approach the start of each new school year (our point of measurement will be July 31).
What Will Happen if a Student Fails to Meet this Standard?
An existing student who possesses more than a 0.5 credit deficiency at the time when re-enrollment signals are communicated (each February) will not be given priority status for re-enrollment. They will first need to remediate the credit loss, after which they will be invited to reapply to the school. A continuing student who has not closed all credit deficiency gaps by July 31 will be unenrolled from the school and will not be reconsidered as an applicant for admission until all credit recovery is complete.
Does the School Have Pathways Available for Credit Recovery?
Yes. The Counseling Office maintains a list of third-party providers whose independent-study coursework is acceptable to AHS and could therefore be absorbed onto an AHS transcript. Parents and students might find other avenues for credit recovery, but they should confirm the acceptability of those avenues with the Counseling Office before assuming the school will be willing to accept the credit. All credit recovery must occur with third-party providers or through summer-school coursework offered by AHS (if available); teachers moving on to a new term need to focus on that term and those students and cannot be split between present teaching demands and recovery work with prior students.
Questions General to Both Aspects of this Standard
Is this Standard Addressing a Significant Problem at AHS?
The overwhelming majority of AHS students respond well to the academic rigors of AHS. So, in that sense, this standard is not addressing a significant problem. For the small minority of students who do fall behind in their credit attainment, the problem feels very personal to them and over time can grow—in the absence of clear accountability—into a problem that is significant and even overwhelming for them. The intent of this standard is to better help those few students to make micro adjustments all along the way and avoid macro problems later. We thus expect the long-term net effect of this standard to increase the retention rate of those few students who experience academic struggles.
Does the School Have a Separate Academic Policy for Extra-curricular Participation?
No. In the past, the school has set academic standards as a condition of participation in extra-curricular programs (e.g., drama, choir, orchestra, athletics, etc.). The school does not currently employ such program-specific standards. Given the overarching nature of this new academic standard, we do not have any plans to layer on an additional policy for extra-curricular participation. Athletic leagues will often establish minimum academic standards for their participants. We note the prerogative of leagues to set such standards, and we also note that with respect to the leagues in which AHS competes, our academic standard either matches or exceeds the expectations of the leagues.
What if My Child is One Who Needs Accommodations?
American Heritage has long worked with parents to afford child-specific accommodations in those circumstances where they are needed. We have every intent to continue doing that. The purpose of this standard is not to suddenly reposition the school as an elite institution that only graduates individuals who achieve the highest levels of performance. Rather, the purpose of this standard is to ensure that every student given the gift of an AHS education does their best (whatever that may be). For most students, their best is represented by them putting forth the effort necessary to meet this academic standard. For those few who need accommodations, we will continue to partner with parents on a case-by-case basis to understand what best effort looks like and adjust our accountability expectations accordingly.
What if My Question Was Not Answered Above?
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