High School Placement – December 11th

HIGH SCHOOL PLACEMENT UPDATE #15 – December 11, 2020

Please let me know if you have any questions: estoller@sdfrenchschool.org

Dear Class of 2021 Parents,

Two important updates, with the usual resources to follow:

1 – A quick clarification about transcripts:

What is a transcript?
A transcript is an official document, sent from one school to another, which captures and summarizes all report card grades onto one simple document. In our case, from SDFAS to American schools, the French grades are also “translated” into the American-style A, B, C, D grades so they will be easily understood and recognized by the high schools to which our students apply and eventually attend.

As our acting registrar (keeper of official academic records) Stéphanie Humbert, in the front office, prepares the transcripts and sends them to other schools. Students and parents are given copies of transcripts. Usually “official” transcripts are sent directly from school to school – especially from high schools to colleges, as you will see down the road in a few years.

If you are applying to any private high school/s…
You will need to provide each school with an official transcript.

Each school you apply to will have a form on their website, or you may use ours. (See attached.)
Please drop off Transcript Request Forms to Stéphanie in the front office or send them to her at admin@sdfrenchschool.org  Stéphanie will not be able to release records to a school without this form.

If you are planning to attend a public high school…
You will not need a transcript until you know for sure which school you are going to and you have a scheduled enrollment appointment with a guidance counselor at that school, which will be in late February / early March at the earliest. A reminder that choice application decisions can take longer, even until August. Once you know for sure and have your appointment, ask Stéphanie for a copy of the transcript and bring with you to the appointment (if in person) or provide it digitally, along with other required documents – birth certificate, immunization record, proof of address, etc. + see below.

For both private and public schools…
We will provide a “Math Letter” and an 8th-grade language level document, which will help the high school guidance counselor place your student in the appropriate 9th-grade classes. If Honors English is available at your school and your student is interested, they should discuss it with Ms. Mitchell.

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.

2 – Update on Cathedral Catholic’s placement test New date: February 20, 2021.

CCHS says: “Placement assessment will be used for placement purposes only. For admission consideration, we will continue to reference previous courses and grades from 7th & 8th grade, as well as teacher and principal recommendations. Consideration for scholarships will not be based on this assessment.” Read the full update here: Cathedral Catholic Placement Test

Here is a collection of High School Resources and Reminders:

Thank you!
Most of you and your 8th graders are well on your way with high school applications and have identified possible pathways. If you are stuck, anxious, and/or need assistance, please let me know. We can email, set up a phone or zoom meeting, I can proofread and brainstorm about essays, help students prepare for interviews, etc.

One suggestion:
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 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 where to apply, and where to attend if you have multiple offers of admission, please consider attending a school’s virtual college info night 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.

Mission Bay High School Virtual Tours
Tracy Borg, the International Baccalaureate Coordinator’s Future Tour Dates:
January 14, February 11, March 11, April 8, May TBD. Attendees please turn on camera while in the waiting room and provide a full name on the zoom. For more info: tborg@sandi.net 

La Jolla High School Q & A Session
Thanks to the many of you who attended the LJHS Q & A Session.
Here’s a link to the recording in case you missed it:

Passcode: FZ%s@7aV

Here is a link to the Academic Handbook to see more details about courses at LJHS.


In case you missed High School Info: Part 1 – Nuts & Bolts
Thank you to the many of you who attended our webinar. If you missed it, you can find the recording here: Recording HS Info Part 1 Nuts & Bolts

Passcode: nv4L&.jj

(The passcode must be exact. Please cut/paste. The last two letters are small j’s)

In case you missed High School Info: Part 2 – Alumni Panel

Thank you to the many who attended last week’s event.

Here is the link to watch the recording if you missed it:

2020 Alumni Panel Recording

Access Passcode: q9T0F.jw

If you are applying to private schools
Please request recommendations as soon as possible, if you have not already done so.
If the school you are applying to requires samples of work (writing and math) please be aware that your teachers will receive one link for the recommendation and a different one to upload the work after report cards come out.

If you would like help with interview preparation, please let me know when your interviews are scheduled so I can book a zoom session with you to provide support on interviews and essays.

This year, there is a larger number than usual of students applying to private schools, so admissions will be more competitive. Please consider having a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, including a public high school.

Most San Diego area private high schools will not require the ISEE exams as part of the application process this year. This includes Bishop’s, Parker, Pacific Ridge, and La Jolla Country Day, so far. Grauer continues to NOT require the ISEE.

–The Catholic high schools traditionally require the HSPT, a different test. Ask the school to be sure.

–Some private schools may ask for the CSS Character Snapshot. https://www.ssat.org/pages/character-skills-snapshot
Each school is taking its own approach, and we know that things can change rapidly, pending Covid-19 data and directives from the county and state, so please be proactive with the schools you are interested in. Most application windows will open on October 1.
Please keep me informed of your plans, and consider having a Plan A, B, and C, to cover all the bases.

Requesting Recommendations – as soon as possible, please!
If you are applying to any private schools you will need to request recommendations in addition to completing the student/family portion of your application. Usually, high schools ask for a Math, English, and Administrator recommendation. Whenever possible, we advise that the students ask their teachers/administrators for this directly, by email, on zoom, or in person, depending on the student. Here are the email addresses to type into the online application system – most schools use Ravenna. Once you type in the email address in Ravenna and click the button, the teachers will receive the link to complete the recommendation.

English: cmitchell@sdfrenchschool.org

Math: scohen@sdfrenchschool.org

Admin: estoller@sdfrenchschool.org
Please note:

Suneeta Cohen and Nicolas Giot will collaborate on Math Recommendations.
Cara Mitchell and Marion Addo will collaborate on English recommendations.

Erin Stoller, Marion Addo, Mark Rosenblum, and advisors will collaborate on Admin recommendations.

Please be mindful of deadlines and the time it takes for teachers to write complete, thorough, and thoughtful recommendations by requesting all recommendations by December 5 at the very latest, so that we can submit them in a timely manner, ideally prior to our break in December.
Please see the note below about Cathedral, whose dates are a bit later.


A particularity about applying to Cathedral: You will not be able to send the actual recommendation requests to teachers until December 14, when the links for Transcript & Recommendation requests will be posted by Cathedral in their Ravenna portal. However, please DO let the teachers know ahead of time that you will be applying to Cathedral, and then please set a reminder in your calendar to go back and send the link on December 14. (Teachers are aware of this difference for Cathedral.)

Cathedral is not asking for applicants to take the HSPT this year. However, they will ask applicants to take a placement test, date TBC in 2021. Because in normal years they DO ask applicants to take the HSPT, we anticipate that their placement test will probably be based on the HSPT, if you would like to use the attached resources to prepare.

Cathedral’s Interview sign-ups will be enabled in January 2021.

The weekly newsletter that Cathedral sends out to prospective families every Friday will have the most up to date information about family interview sign-ups, requesting recommendation letters and transcripts. The information on their website will also give updated information regarding the assessment test for 9th-grade applicants. The testing date will be updated in the Ravenna portal once it has been confirmed. (Do not be concerned by the “not complete”  and “additional steps” notifications about the HSPT that you receive via Ravenna. For additional information contact cbui@cathedralcatholic.org

Discover Grauer Days:
It will be in-person and online (hybrid). The number of in-person participants at these events is limited to 12 and once that limit is reached for that specific date, registration will only be open for an online experience. January 7; January 13; January 22; January 28; February 10; February 25. For more info: oliviakleinrath@grauerschool.com

Factors to Consider when Choosing and/or Applying to High School:

Academic Fit and Style; Public/Private/Religious; Location/Commute; Cost; Community; Diversity in all its forms; Athletics; Arts; Co-Curricular opportunities; Class Size; Size of School; Availability of individual support; College admission results; Mission and Philosophy; Programs – AP, IB, etc; Classes available…and the intangible – how might you feel on campus? Can you imagine “living” here for the next four years? Even more difficult this year to know, as visits may not be possible.

Know that completing the SDFAS Middle School program will prepare you for any high school program you end up choosing.    Know that you are making a 4-year commitment and the way things look right now is not the way they will look a year from now…

International Baccalaureate

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 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