How should I choose my electives? Which electives look good for colleges?
When you choose your electives, keep in mind that you must fulfill the following requirements to graduate: 5 credits of visual and performing arts (music, art, and designated English electives), 5 credits of Practical Arts (Business, Industrial Technology, Computer Science and designated English electives), and 2.5 credits of financial/economic/business/entrepreneurial literacy. Most full year courses are 5 credits and semester courses are 2.5 credits. Filing requirements is not too difficult, but check in with your guidance counselor to make sure you are on track. Don’t worry too much about which classes look good for colleges—remember that electives are a great opportunity to try new things and explore new fields of study. It is important to break up your schedule with interesting courses, so choose electives that you are genuinely interested in.
Is it possible to take two languages?
Yes, some students choose to take two languages. These students usually have their core classes along with their extra language and another elective or a free period. According to François Thibaut of the Language Workshop for Children, students studying one or more foreign language are better at handling school work and are more open to diversity than their monolingual peers.
How can I avoid having to catch up at the end of the marking period?
Make sure you check PowerSchool a few times a week to see how you are doing in all of your classes. If you have an assignment that is marked as “missing” on PowerSchool, get it in as soon as you can and talk to your teacher if you don’t have the assignment. If you are staying on top of your assignments during the marking period, the last week or two shouldn’t be too stressful. If you do get to the end and have lots of missing work, talk to your teacher about how you are going to get it all in. Communication is so important in your relationship with your teachers, so make sure you check in with them before you fall behind.
I’m falling behind in a class, what should I do?
Talk to your teacher as soon as you can. When you first think you might be slipping, you probably still have time to get back on track pretty easily. The longer you wait the worse your situation will get. Your teacher will help you manage your assignments and make sure you are getting all the help you need. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your teacher, talk to your guidance counselor first and get their advice. There are tons of resources (e.g. the Ideas Center on the second floor for tutoring and extra help), that can help you get back on track. If it really ends up not working out, talk to you guidance counselor and drop it.
What should I do if my class is going slowly and I have free time?
If you can’t talk to your friends … draw your teacher! Bring your synthesizer! Make sculptures out of your lunch! There are sometimes opportunities to do homework for other classes if your teacher gives you free time, though, so always come prepared.
What do I do at break? Where do I go? Do I have to stay in certain areas?
Break is really a free-for-all. You have to stay on campus until you are a senior, but you can go anywhere on PHS property. You can go talk to teachers if you need to sort grades out or have questions about homework; you can go to the library to do work and use the computers; you can go outside in the courtyards, by the flagpole, and behind the gym; and you can sit around in the hallways like most students. Break is when many club meetings are held, so look out for posters around school and on Facebook that advertise when and where meetings will be (stay tuned for when the Tower will have its interest meeting in room 164!).