High School Guidance Services and Programming Policies

Guidance Counseling
Guidance caseloads are assigned alphabetically.  Students remain with the same guidance counselor throughout their four years of high school.  Guidance counselors are accessible to students and parents or guardians by phone, email, or appointment.  In addition, RKA employs a guidance counselor who services our special needs children, as well as a full-time college advisor.

The guidance conselors and the college advisor at RKA provide a comprehensive range of services, including programming, college/career planning, academic intervention services, counseling, classroom presentations, correspondence with families, and referrals to outside agencies when necessary.  They frequently host parent/student nights that address issues regarding college applications, college fairs, financial aid, and testing.  Guidance counselors also act as a liaison between students, parents, and the faculty.

Course Programming
The Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy follows these policies in programming its students:
*  In grades 9 - 11 all students will be programmed for a seven or eight period day plus lunch.  Lunch may not be dropped from a student's program except to fulfill a graduation requirement in the senior year and only if written parental permission is on file at school.

*  Seniors may be permitted to take six periods per day plus lunch provided they have fulfilled all graduation requirements.

*  All students are programmed so that they have an opportunity to fulfill the credit requirements necessary to earn the Advanced regents Diploma.  Students may not be exempted from taking these course requirements.

*  Prior to each semester, students are asked to complete a program request form on whcih they may express course selection.

*  Students are required to repeat failed courses in PM school or summer school.  In some cases, if there is sufficient space in the program, students may be permitted to repeat a failed course and take the next sequential course simultaneously.  In the case of multiple failures, it may not be possible to schedule students to make up all courses simultaneously.  In such cases, RKA will attempt to strike a balance between programming students to make up courses and taking the remaining courses required for graduation.  Students in this situation will be strongly encouraged to attend summer school.

High School Honors Guidelines
Honors classes have been established at the high school level to provide students with increased rigor and opportunities for independent work.  Programming at the high school allows for students to be placed into honors courses based on a student's performance in an individual subject.  Therefore, a child may be placed into an honors section of social studies, but not English (example.)  Science and mathematics courses are not coded as honors or non-honors at the high school level because students follow through the sequence at individual paces.

When students enter the 9th grade they are placed into honors classes based on the following criteria:

*  A score of 85 or greater in an 8th grade honors section of the course or a score of 90 or greater in a non-honors section of the course.

*  For ELA and Social Studies:  NYS ELA Exam score of 650 MIUs or more on the 8th grade exam.  (An MIU, or mid-instructional unit, is the scaled score that the state uses to determine performance levels.  650 or greater indicates levels 3 and 4.)

*  Recommendations from previous teachers. 

*  For Science or Mathematics, students will be placed in the appropriate course based on successful completion of regents exams in Science and math during middle school.

After grade 9, students are placed into honors courses based on the following criteria:

*  A score of 85+ in an honors section of a corresponding course or a score of 90+ in a non-honors section.

*  A score of 80+ on a corresponding Regents exam or diagnostic exam.

*  Recommendations from a previous teacher.

The following are our guidelines for remaining in honors classes after the initial acceptances:

*  Attendance of 93% or higher.

*  Academic performance of 85% or higher.

*  Exemplary behavior (i.e. demonstrated ability to focus on tasks, no repetitious or prolonged behavior prolonged behavior problems, no more than one principal's suspension, no superintendent's suspensions.)

In grades 11 and 12, Advanced Placement courses replace Honors offerings in Senior English, and Biology.

Advanced Placement Guidelines
Advanced Placement (AP) classes have been established at the high school level to provide students with increased rigor and opportunities for independent work.  We make every effort to ensure that admissions to the AP classes are equitable and fair.

Students will have an opportunity to learn about AP courses from the students enrolled in the courses and the teachers who teach the courses.  AP courses are extremely challenging.  They are college level courses offered to high school students.  Every student enrolled in an AP course is expected to prepare for and take the AP test in may.  The score on that exam is used by colleges to determine the awarding of college credit for the work previously completed.

Students in AP courses must also attend a summer intensive program prior to the start of the next school year as a way to prepare for the course.

Students may elect to take one or more Advanced Placement course as per the following guidelines:

*  Students who have passed the pre-requisite course(s) with an un-weighted mark of 85% or better are automatically eligible to register for the AP course in that subject area.

*  Students who have passed the pre-requesite courses(s) with an un-weighted mark between 80% and 84%, passed the Regents exam for that subject, must obtain the recommendation of their teacher from prior semester's pre-requesite course.

*  Students who wish to take and Advanced Placement course, despite not having fulfilled one of the above two requirements may nevertheless do so -- on a space-available basis -- provided that they, along with their parent or guardian, attend a conference at school and jointly sign a written waiver, granting permission for the student to be scheduled for a course that may possibly be too advanced or rigorous.

*  Students who have applied to take an AP course will be informed of acceptance before the end of the prior school year.  If, due to scheduling conflicts, RKA is unable to accomodate a student's request to take an AP course, he or she will be informed as soon as possible and presented with alternative programming options.

*  Students who register for an AP course must expect to attend an AP Summer Academy (one week), and complete a summer project or assignment prior to the beginning of the school year.  Students who fail to submit this project or assignment may be dropped from the course in September.

*  Registering for an AP course represents a year-long committment.  Students may not drop an AP course once the course begins.

*  Students who elect to enroll in Advanced Placement courses must sit for the requisite AP Examination as a condition of enrollment.  Students who are enrolled in an AP course, but who fail to sit for the required AP Examination will not receive AP designation for the course on their high school transcript.

*  The school will not remove a student from an AP course without first consulting the student and his/her parent or guardian.

The Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy prohibits students from "advancing" (i.e. taking courses more quickly so as to complete graduation requirements in less than four years).  Our program is intended to prepare students for success at competitive colleges and universities.  Early graduation deprives students of the opportunity to develop the academic skills and the maturity necessary to excel in colleges.

Students will ordinarily be scheduled for one physical education course each semester.  Participation in varsity, junior varsity, or intramural sports does not fulfill the physical education credits required for graduation.  Every attempt will be made to schedule students who have failed a prior semester of physical education for a make-up course.  Students will not be scheduled for more than two physical education courses each semester, and may have to come to school during zero period to make up physical education credits.

Program Changes
The Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy has implemented the following policies regarding program changes:

*  Students or parents who desire a program change must complete a Program Change Request Form and submit it to the guidance counselor.  Requests will not be accepted after the first ten days of the new semester.

*  Students who wish to add a course will be permitted to do so, provided that space exists ini the requested course, and their is a corresponding slot in their programs.

*  RKA is a small school with only a few faculty members in each department.  It is likely that students will take at least one course, and very likely multiple courses, with a teacher.  Thus, requests to change a teacher will generally be denied.

*  Except as noted above, requests for a change in program will be permitted only for the following reasons:
    - To correct a programming error
    - To resolve a course conflict
    - To change a course as a result of summer school grades

*  Occasionally, the school must make program changes to equalize class registers.

High School Transcripts
A transcript is an official and permanent record of a student's academic performance during high school.  Entries on this official document reflect actual courses taken, grades earned, credit awarded, and codes denoting special explanations (IEP).  Current and former students may request a copy of their high school transcript by submitting a request through the College Advisor's office.  Requests must be submitted in writing.

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