ECHO 38 – High School Placement Update

— June 18, 2021 —

I’m here if you have questions!

7th Grade Advisory Visits

To present high school information, start to build a rapport with the students, give opportunities for students to practice presenting/introducing themselves, and to answer questions, I’ve been visiting the 7th-grade advisories every few weeks since spring break. I’ll visit one more time before the end of the year. Hopefully, your students have asked you about how high school was for you, a conversation-starter suggestion I gave them.

I’m also following up with students individually after they have completed my high school placement get-to-know-you survey. Besides giving them an opportunity to think about the things that are important to them now, and things they might want to be involved in during high school, this gives them an opportunity to practice writing in a semi-professional tone with an adult, cultivating self-advocacy and self-expression — skills that are so important in high school.

Next Steps

If you are applying to private schools: We don’t know for sure yet, but it is possible that private schools will be asking for Independent School Entrance Exams (ISEE) test scores for next year’s applicants. (The admission directors have told me they are considering it but haven’t decided.) The ISEE was waived last year due to the pandemic. To that end, I am attaching some ISEE resources — please click here to read this updated document.

Make sure you know your assigned public high school, based on your address. We talked about this in advisory, and it looks like all the students do know this!

  • Explore / Research / Visit schools in the fall
  • Dialogue at home
  • Vision + Goals + Reality = FIT
  • Prepare at all times, Keep all doors open

Please find attached a useful document from the ISEE: Guidelines for the Use of Scores in the Admission Process.

How Does Erin/SDFAS Support Students and Parents Around High School Placement Now and Next Year?

  1. Individual meetings, phone calls, zooms, emails with Erin to make sure you understand all your options and the processes
  2. Group meetings like the one we had in April + Alumni Panel in late September.
  3. Student meetings with Erin during advisory:
    provide information, build relationships, practice mindful communication, think about identity and how/what you want to convey to others in different settings, transition to high school…
  4. Interview Coaching Sessions
  5. Application Essay Questions – brainstorming, coaching, proofreading
  6. Writing student recommendations with care and depth
  7. Ensuring application support documents from SDFAS arrive on time
  8. Maintain/cultivate trusting relationships with admission directors 
  9. Ensuring that high schools understand our curriculum + programs
  10. Providing high schools with transcripts and course information forms to ensure proper placement in 9th-grade classes.

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to schedule a zoom meeting or phone call before the end of the school year.

High School French

For information related to SDFAS High School French classes please click here.

La Jolla High School

If LJHS is your assigned school, here is the link to enroll: If you are interested in joining a sports team at LJHS, please go to for information. There are try-outs for teams, and there are athletic clearance requirements to take care of before you can join a team.


If MBHS is your assigned school, you can fill out this enrollment form to get the process started:
We recently learned that there is a chance that IB French at Mission Bay will not continue to be offered after this year. Tom, Marion, and I met with the IB Coordinator, and Mark is meeting with the MBHS principal to see if there is anything that we can do at SDFAS to support the continuation of French at MBHS, but as of today, we do not have a firm answer. Many of our alumni end up taking IB Spanish at MBHS and taking advanced French with Mme Addo, instead of IB French, but still, this is disappointing news.

MBHS Offers The International Baccalaureate Program (I.B.)

The I.B. is offered at San Diego High School, Mission Bay High School in San Diego, and further north at La Costa Canyon, Vista, and San Guajome. It is a very robust academic, college preparatory curriculum for free at these public schools. Many colleges give credit for IB classes/passing IB exams. Doing the IB looks good on college applications in the U.S., Canada, and abroad because it is a known, rigorous curriculum. It is not for everybody – it is very challenging, writing-intensive, and has cumulative exams at the end of 12th(and sometimes 11th)Grade. The program is complex – please let me know if you wish to talk about it in detail. Learn more about the IB here: IB General IB College Admissions Enrolling at your assigned public school   Please go to the school’s website for instructions – or see above for MBHS or LJHS. SDUSD requires the following documents for enrollment. (Usually just #2 – #6 for private schools.) 1) Proof of Residency – One of the following:

  •   Current utility bill (SDG & E, water, cable)
  •   A rental agreement or rent payment receipts
  •   Mortgage documents / Property tax payment receipts
  •   Military housing orders

2) Immunization Records (Shot records) 3) Birth Certificate or Passport 4) Copy of most recent report card  – you can access these on FACTS. 5) Copy of Transcript – Stephanie has mailed this to your home. 6) 8th-Grade Course Information Form (SDFAS prepared one for each family; they help the high school guidance counselor place our students in appropriate 9th-grade classes. Stephanie has mailed this to your home.

Enrolling at Any school

Stéphanie mailed a copy of your transcript and a copy of your 8th-Grade Course Information Form to your homes before the break. These are important documents – please keep an eye out for them in the mail, and please keep them safe! Together, along with report cards, these will help your assigned high school guidance counselor place your students in appropriate 9th-grade classes. Some schools will offer you a meeting in person and some will do this process online this year. Students are usually assigned by alphabetical order or by grade. We sent these documents earlier than usual so that if you will, or if you might attend your assigned/neighborhood public school, you can complete the school’s online enrollment form just as soon as it is available, and then choose your classes with your assigned counselor once your forms have been validated.

For Both Private and Public Schools…

In June, Stéphanie will prepare a final transcript, with final report card grades included, to be sent to your high school. This is one of the reasons we ask that you please keep us informed of your high school results and decisions as soon as you know.

Please Consider…

Whether you are anticipating results, deciding amongst possible options, or just anticipating life in 9th grade, the waiting period can be stressful in its own way, so please be mindful of your own and your 8th graders’ possible ups and downs during this period between now and the end of the year, and perhaps consider focusing on the adventures to come: new freedoms, friendships, opportunities, and responsibilities, and, above all, reassurance that it is possible to get a good education at any of the high schools in the area. Please be encouraged to enjoy the last months of being with 8th-grade teachers and classmates at SDFAS! No matter what your high school pathway might be, I would like to encourage you to take intentional time over the next several months to create opportunities for your 8th graders to take baby steps toward becoming more independent. It’s important for them to feel CAPABLE of managing some aspects of their life and making some of their own decisions, but they need to PRACTICE these skills and have your confidence in their ability to do so as a foundation. In high school there will new freedoms and responsibilities, the need for more self-advocacy, weighing options, making good decisions and mistakes, prioritizing, balancing homework/fun/health/friends/family, etc. I encourage you to practice letting go in tiny ways now, allowing your 8th graders to have a voice and take responsibility, for example, setting your own alarm and getting up, learning how to do laundry, budgeting, groceries, basic cooking, and cleaning…perhaps consider having a family meeting to discuss these shifts? Fair and reasonable boundaries and logical consequences are still important, too, but perhaps reached by discussion, collaboration, negotiation. We as parents need to stay involved and engaged, as we also, sometimes heartbreakingly, loosen the reins.


As you finalize your choice for high school, please consider attending the school’s virtual college info night and/or other events via zoom. (Check their website!) This will give you a bird’s eye view of some of the students, staff members (and probably alumni), and tone of the conversation around student and parent support, in addition to giving you a sneak peek into the college application process and campus life. Explore the website to look for videos of events, too, to help you get a better feel for the place and its people.

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