Guidance

GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING

The Melrose High School Guidance and Counseling Department is dedicated to fostering the growth of students as individuals in a safe and caring environment. The Department goal is to thoroughly assist students in the development of academic and personal excellence, in making healthy school and community connections, with in-depth exploration of college and career opportunities, and in preparing students to become respectful and contributing citizens. The expectations addressed by guidance and counseling services include the ability to demonstrate good citizenship, the ability to plan and set goals, the ability to understand diversity, and the ability to exercise tolerance and respect for themselves, others, and their school.

Services
• Academic planning and course selection
• College and career exploration and planning
• Monitoring of academic progress
• Motivating students to develop the skills to plan and implement goals
• Orientation for new students
• Personal, emotional and/or crisis intervention counseling
• Consultation with parents, teachers and students
• College Fairs and parent information sessions

The role of the guidance counselor at Melrose High School is to be a strong advocate for each student. It is the counselor’s responsibility to have high expectation for all students and to challenge them accordingly by guiding them take courses that are appropriate for their goals and interests. The Guidance Department also strongly encourage all students to become involved in co-curricular activities through which they can make important social and community connections and through which they can grow in ways that go beyond the classroom. It is the responsibility of the Guidance Department to help students increase their knowledge about post-high school opportunities, and to help them make the important connection between their high school record and the specific options that will be available to them upon graduation. Counselors are responsible for meeting with each of their students at least once every year, and for getting to know each student as an individual with unique needs and abilities.

The Guidance Department actively works to make the guidance office a welcoming place where students can easily access information and where students can work closely with us as counselors. We work with students to guide them through the process of course selection and individual programming. . A great source of information about the Guidance Department, college planning and related resources, and updates on events can be found online at our website: http://melroseschools.com/category/guidance-services-department/.

Appointments

The guidance office is open from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily. Students are encouraged to make appointments. Parents are encouraged to call, send an email, or schedule an appointment if they want to speak with their child’s counselor in person. The main number for the guidance office is 781-979-2210.

Counselor Assignments

Beginning in the 9th grade, students are assigned to a different counselor in an alphabetical breakdown based on last name. Every effort is made to ensure that this assignment remains the same for grades 10 through 12; at times, however, due to extenuating circumstances, this is not possible. Therefore, specific counselor assignments are not guaranteed for four years.

Contact Information

Mr. John Buxton 781-462-3239 [email protected]
Mr. Joseph Parrillo 781-462-3233 [email protected]
Ms. Francesca LoGrasso 781-462-3237 [email protected]
Ms. Jennifer Shackelford 781-462-3236 [email protected]
Mr. Jeffrey Bolduc 781-462-3234 [email protected]
Ms. Nancy Arrington (Secretary) 781-979-2210 [email protected]
Ms. Susan Olson (School Psych.) 781-979-2210 [email protected]
College Planning and Preparation

Each student is encouraged to plan a course of study that is both challenging and rigorous. Counselors advise students to take a strong academic program of studies. As a general guideline for college preparation in academic courses, we recommend the following:

English – 4 years (mandatory)

Mathematics – 4 years; including the completion of Algebra 2 or the completion of the Integrated Math equivalent.

Social Studies – 3-4 years (United States History II is mandatory)

Science & Technology – 4 years (including at least two lab courses: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science, Anatomy/ Physiology)

Global Language – 3-4 years
Students with strong interest and aptitude in language may consider adding an additional language beginning in sophomore or junior year. All students are encouraged to follow the entire sequence of the same language.

All students should take the initiative to meet with their counselor to discuss their individual interests, aptitude and plan for course sequence. It is never too early for a high school student to begin this process. While Melrose High School is a college preparatory school, we recognize that not every graduate will be college bound. Our goal is that every graduate of MHS will have a post high school plan, which may include trade school, military service, or employment.

Grade Point Average

All courses at Melrose High School are included in the Grade Point Average calculation, including electives. Melrose High School will calculate and maintain both weighted and un-weighted Grade Point Averages for each student. The weighted and un-weighted Grade Point Average scales are listed in the table below. All courses carry a weighting based on their designation of Advanced Placement, Honors, or College Preparatory. Grades from all four years are used to calculate grade point average (GPA). Beginning with the Class of 2016, class rank has been eliminated.
Grades and Weighting

Letter Numerical Advanced College
Grade Equivalent Placement Honors Preparatory
A+ 100-97 5.33 4.83 4.33
A 96-93 5.00 4.50 4.00
A- 92-90 4.67 4.17 3.67
B+ 89-87 4.34 3.84 3.34
B 86-83 4.00 3.50 3.00
B- 82-80 3.67 3.17 2.67
C+ 79-77 3.34 2.84 2.34
C 76-73 3.00 2.50 2.00
C- 72-70 2.67 2.17 1.67
D+ 69-67 2.34 1.84 1.34
D 66-63 2.00 1.50 1.00
D- 62-60 1.67 1.17 .67
F <60
Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) was implemented in response to the Education Reform Law of 1993, which required that MCAS be designed to measure performance based on the learning standards in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. MCAS serves as a basis of accountability for students, schools and districts ([email protected]).

MCAS Graduation requirements:

All students must meet state proficiency standard in:

English Language Arts
Mathematics
Biology

All students that score in the “Needs Improvement” range on an MCAS English and Math (scores between 220 and 238) will be required to complete an Educational Proficiency Plan (EPP) in order to satisfy state proficiency requirements.

Scheduling

Appropriate course selection and placement decisions help ensure a successful high school experience and help to avoid disruptions to a student’s schedule during the school year. The teachers making recommendations are familiar with each student’s interests, abilities and work habits, as well as the content and expectations of the high school curriculum. The criteria established to determine placement in core academic subjects are designed to assist in the appropriate placement of students.

Schedule Changes

Schedule changes can only be made for sound educational reasons. All students must carry seven credits. Early planning and awareness of the scheduling guidelines should be helpful. The following factors will not be used as justification for schedule change consideration:
• Student or parent preference for a particular teacher;
• Student or parent preference for a class with specific students in it;
• Student or parent preference for class at a particular time of the day, with the exception of, those receiving permission from the Principal for unusual circumstances

When a level change is requested in a core subject, the sending teacher, the receiving teacher, and the department curriculum coordinator will confer. When students change course levels in the same subject, grades for the work completed will be determined by the sending and receiving teachers. Level changes will be taken into consideration when determining average for the year. All course or level changes during the school year require the following:

• A written student request (form is available in guidance);
• Parental and administration permission with counselor consultation

To minimize educational disruption, it may not be feasible to change a course or level if the student’s total schedule is to be disrupted in the process. Under no circumstances will elective course changes be permitted after the published add/drop period stipulated in the Student/Parent Handbook. The guidance department reserves the right to move a student to a different elective course based on staffing needs, class balancing, and for any other reason determined to be necessary by the Guidance Department.

Override Policy

In those instances where students or parents do not agree with the course level recommendation by the teacher, they may request an override of the teacher recommendation. If the override occurs, the student is allowed to take the desired course with the understanding that the student will remain in that course for the duration of the course. It is also understood the parent (s) / guardian (s) will make sure the student is prepared for the desired or requested course.

There are two steps before an override can move forward. First, a conversation with the recommending teacher is required. Second, a conversation with the appropriate Department Director is required. When both of these steps are completed, your child’s placement will be reviewed by the appropriate Department Director. The Department Director will discuss the request with you and if the decision is made to override the teacher’s recommendation, the Limited Parental Override Form (form on pg. 20) will be completed by the deadline stated on the form and forwarded to the Guidance Department for the change to be made. The override process must be initiated by the parent(s)/guardian.

Add/Drop Policy

A student may withdraw from a course with no penalty and no record of his/her presence in the course if he/she does so within the time periods listed below:

Full-year course first 4 weeks
Semester course first 2 weeks

Students may not enter a full-year course in a different subject after four weeks of the school year have elapsed. Students may not enter a half credit course after two weeks of the school year have elapsed. Students are also responsible for making up ALL work for the new course they are entering. In the case of level changes, the existing grade from the sending class will be carried forward and adjusted for level.
MELROSE HIGH SCHOOL
LIMITED PARENTAL OVERRIDE POLICY
Dear Parent/Guardian:
Appropriate course selection and placement decisions help ensure a successful high school experience and help to avoid disruptions to a student’s schedule during the school year. The teachers making recommendations are familiar with each student’s interest, abilities and work habits, as well as the content and expectations of the high school curriculum. The criteria established to determine placement are designed to assist in the appropriate placement of students. When a student does not meet the prerequisites for taking a desired course, the student is obligated to take the course recommended by the teacher. If you wish to override the recommendation of your son/daughter’s teacher in selecting a course for next year, please complete the form below.
Student’s Name: ______________________________________________________________________
Year of Graduation:_______________________________ Counselor: ___________________________________
Course name and number recommended by the teacher:
______________________________#___________________________________________
Course name and number requested by the parent/guardian:
__________________________________________#___________________________________________
Parent/Guardian information: _____________________________________________________________________
In those instances where parents request an override of the teacher recommendation, and an override is granted, the student is allowed to take the desired course with the understanding that the student will remain in that course for the duration of the course. It is also understood the parent/guardian will make sure that the student is prepared for the desired or requested course.
There are two steps before a change can move forward. First, a conversation with the recommending teacher is required. Second, a conversation with the appropriate Department Director is required. When both of these steps are completed, your child’s placement will be reviewed by the Department Director. The Department Director will discuss the request with you and if the decision is made to override the teacher’s recommendation, this form will be forwarded to the Guidance Department for the change to be made. The deadline for override requests for 2015-2016 is Friday, May 15, 2015.
Teacher’s signature:__________________________________________
Date: ______________________________
(Indicates that the teacher has had a conversation with the parent/guardian)
Dept. Director signature:
Date: _______________________________________________________________________
I agree with override___________ I agree with reservation___________ I disagree with override __________
“My signature indicates that I have met or spoken with the teacher and Department Director and understand the Melrose High School Override Policy as stated above and wish to continue with the override of the departmental recommendation.”
Parent/Guardian’s Signature: ___________________________________Phone#(required)____________________

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HONORS LEVEL CLASSES

Placement Criteria for 9th Grade Honors Level
ENGLISH

Must meet at least 5 of the following:
• Average grade of an A for Trimester 1 and Trimester 2 in Grade 8 English Proficient
• An average grade of a B+ in Grade 8 English Advanced
• Satisfactory completion of the beginning of the year assessment
• Advanced score on the 7th grade MCAS ELA
• Teacher Recommendation (effort, homework completion, participation, study habits)
• Advanced score on spring placement essay and teacher recommendation
MATH

Must meet at least 4 of the following:
• Average grade of a B+ in Grade 8 Honors Algebra 1 or an average grade of A in grade 8 Algebra 1
• 85% or better on mid-year
• An 80% or better on the placement test
• Advanced score on Math MCAS
• Teacher/ Department recommendation (effort, homework completion, participation, study habits)
SCIENCE

Must meet 3 of the following:
• Grade of 90 or better for trimesters 1 and 2 in Grade 8 Science
• A score indicating proficiency on the midyear exam
• A qualifying score on a science open response
• Teacher recommendation (effort, homework completion, participation, study habits)
SOCIAL STUDIES

Must meet at least 2 of the following:
• Average grade of an A for trimesters 1 and 2 in Grade 8 Course
• A score indicating proficiency on the midyear exam
• Teacher recommendation (effort, homework completion, participation, study habits)
GLOBAL LANGUAGE

Must meet at least 3 of the following:
• Average grade of an A- or better for Trimesters 1 and 2 in Grade 8 course
• Grade of an A- or better on the mid-year assessment
• Average of 3.5 on Open Response/Core Assignments in current course
• Teacher recommendation (effort, homework completion, participation, and study habits)
• Note: Honors level modern language classes will be conducted primarily in the target language, and students are expected to communicate primarily in the target language.
HONORS LEVEL CLASSES
Placement Criteria for 10th, 11th and 12th Grade Honors Level
ENGLISH

• Average grade of an A for CP level English
• Average grade of a B in Honors level English
• Average grade of an A- on Beginning of the Year and Mid-Year Assessments
• Average grade of 3.5 on Open Responses / Core Assignments in current course
• Advanced performance on the 8th or 10th grade MCAS
• Teacher recommendation (effort, homework completion, participation, and study habits)
MATH

Must meet at least 3 of the following:
• Average grade of a B-or better in Honors level course or an A or better in a CP level course
• Average grade of a B- or better on Mid-Year exam in an Honors level course or an A- or better in a CP level course
• Average grade of 80% on Open Responses/Core Assignments in current course
• Teacher/Department recommendation (effort, homework completion, participation, and study habits)
• Other requirements as outlined for individual courses
*Note: Students may be required to complete additional coursework over the summer- that covers standards beyond College and Career Readiness that were covered in the honors level course.
*Other requirements as outlined for individual courses

Note: Students may be required to complete additional coursework over the summer that covers standards beyond College and Career Readiness that are covered in the honors level course.

SCIENCE

• Average grade of an A- or higher for terms 1 and 2 in a college prep level course or
• 85% or higher on the mid-year assessment
• Average grade of a B- or higher for terms 1 and 2 in an honors level course
• A qualifying score on a mathematics skills assessment for Chemistry and Physics
• Teacher recommendation (effort, homework completion, participation, and study habits)
*Other requirements as outlined for individual courses

SOCIAL STUDIES

Must meet at least 2 of the following:
• Average of a B- or better in Honors level or an A- or better in CP level course for terms 1 and 2 in current courses
• A score indicating proficiency on the Mid-year exam
• Teacher recommendation (effort, homework completion, participation, and study habits)
*See the AP United States History course description for prerequisite criteria.
GLOBAL LANGUAGE

• Average grade of an A- for terms 1 and 2 in a CP level course, and a B in an Honors level course
• Average grade of an A- on the mid-year assessment in a CP level course, and a B in an Honors level course
• Average grade of 3.5 on Open Responses /Core Assignments in current course
• Teacher recommendation (effort, homework completion, participation, and study habits)

Note: Honors level modern language classes will be conducted primarily in the target language, and students are expected to communicate primarily in the target language.