High School Choice: An important part of the 8th grade year

8th grade students at the St. George School browsing high school handbooks and brochures

This year’s 8th graders are currently going through the High School Choice process as it is their last year at St. George School. This month we are taking tours and getting presentations about the main schools we have to choose from: Oceanside High School, Camden Hills Regional High School, Watershed High School, Lincoln Academy High School, and Medomak Valley High School. The choice process is an important part of the 8th grade year because the school we choose is the school we will be attending next year. It may be stressful for some of us, but St. George students are fortunate to have this choice of schools. The High School Choice process helps each of us pick the right high school best suited to our way of learning.

The High School Choice process begins in September, starting with High School Choice Night. This is when representatives from each of the main high schools as well as Midcoast School of Technology (MCST) sets up a small table with handouts, brochures, and schedules. The representatives each give a brief presentation about their school and what it offers, including different programs or clubs they have and graduation requirements. After the schools have presented, students and their families are free to walk around to the different tables and ask questions or take handouts that the high school representatives provide. This year, in addition to the regular schools, we also had presentations from North Haven Community School and the Maine Ocean School in Searsport.

The next step in the process is when 8th graders tour each high school in October. This is helpful because students can get a feel for each school and can even see classes or activities they are interested in. So far, our 8th grade class has visited four of the five schools. Each tour has been excellent; many of us have had a great time exploring the schools’ music programs, their theaters, and their visual arts. Others enjoy checking out the hands-on programs, international options, sports programs, and electives.

The third step of the High School Choice process is the potluck for families of students who have gone to St. George in the past. At the potluck supper, students and their families can chat with high schoolers to get an idea of how they like the school they are attending and answer questions we might have about their schools.

After the potluck, students have a chance to shadow a student at the high school that they are considering. For some students, it may be two schools. Eighth graders get to spend about one school day at that high school shadowing a student who has the same interests and a similar schedule as theirs. By shadowing a high school student, St. George students can get a good feel for the school they are considering.

The final step of High School Choice is when you have made up your mind about what high school is the best fit for you. To complete this step by January 31st, you must fill out a form stating what high school you will be attending the following year.

In the spring, the counselors from the high schools help get us registered for courses, and we each attend orientations at our school of choice to help ease the transition and meet other students. No matter where we go to high school, we will always know that we can come back to St. George School for advice and support or to give back to our community.
—Adeline McPhail, Grade 8

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