- Summer Learning Resources for Elementary Students
- Information about IEP Meetings for Families
- Kindergarten Information
- 5th Grade Transition to Middle School for Families New to the U.S.
- 8th Grade Transition to High Schools for Families New to the U.S.
- 8th Grade Transition to High School Questions & Answers
- Reporting Incidents Related to Culture and Identity - Middle and High School PPT Presentation
- Reporting Incidents Related to Culture and Identity - Elementary Focus PPT Presentation
A virtual meeting was held on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, presented by the Special Services and Equity and Family Partnership Departments. Family participation is important in helping your student succeed.
Link to PowerPoint presentation:
Information about IEP Meetings for Families (Mandarin)
Video Recording of Event:
Link to PowerPoint presentation:
Video Recording of Event:
5th Grade Transition to Middle Schools for families new to U.S. public schools (Zoom event held February 16, 2022)
Link to PowerPoint presentation:
Video Recording of Event:
8th Grade Transition to High Schools for families new to U.S. public schools (Zoom event held on January 19, 2022)
Link to PowerPoint presentation:
Video Recording of Event:
See the next panel to review the Questions and Answers from discussion.
8th Grade Transition Information night for families new to the U.S. Public High School System
January 19, 2022
Chat – Question and Answers
Target Audience: This is for families new to public HIGH SCHOOLS in the US and more specifically about the Issaquah School District. The focus is for Issaquah School District 8th grade students heading to high school. Some information will apply to WA state high schools in general.
The following are questions from families during the presentation. The following responses are from ISD staff including Melanie Bonanno, Assistant Director of School Counseling. Please be sure you listen to the presentation and review the slide deck, so you have a better understanding of the questions from families. This document is just one part of the resources for 8th grade families.
If you still have questions, please contact the Family Partnership Liaison at your child’s school (see last slide on PowerPoint for contact information) or your child’s middle school counselor.
Some of the questions have been reorganized to group them with like questions. Questions that were specific or require more information for a response may not appear on this document.
Question: Do all schools have or use the same Grade Point Scale or table? Are these for Issaquah SD only or everywhere? Is 3.7 an A- everywhere?
Response: All Washington state public transcripts have this GPA scale at the top, and the numeric value for letter grades is the same on all. Private schools and schools outside Washington state may have different grading systems.
Question: How do colleges weigh GPAs from different schools?
Response: Your high school provides a School Profile for colleges to understand the grading system and educational context in which the student is learning. College admissions offices then look at the strength of a student within that context.
Question: Are grade percentages curved at the end of semesters or is it based on the teachers you have?
Response: Check the teacher’s syllabus at the beginning of the year for more information. Teachers determine how to reach a final letter grade in their class and must list the information about that in their syllabus.
Question: Last year, my child requested a specific elective, but they did not get that elective in their schedule this year. Will this happen again?
Response: Schools will build their master schedules based on the courses students request, and they make every effort to honor as many of these choices as possible. However, sometimes, there is insufficient space or scheduling conflicts that mean the first choice is not possible.
Question: What if you do not pass a class?
Response: If a student does not earn a passing grade for a class, they do not earn credit for that class. Students have several options to recover that lost credit. Some classes are offered in summer for credit retrieval (summer school), students may be able to take online classes or community college (discuss options with school counselor).
Question: Are courses in high school offered for college credit?
Response: There are many classes offered in our high schools that can earn them college credit! This includes CTE Dual Credit courses, and College in the High School classes.
Question: How can you see the transcript?
Response: The transcript is not available on Family Access. Students and families can request a transcript online or by contacting the registrar at high school. Families can request official or unofficial transcripts.
Question: My student is taking Geometry (a high school class) now in 8th grade. Can he retake Geometry in the 9th grade?
Response: Yes. The content of the Geometry class is the same, whether a student takes the class in middle school or high school. If a middle school student feels like they would benefit from repeating a high school level course when they enter high school, yes, that is an option. Talk to the school counselor for more information.
Question: Are there any disadvantages to removing grades of high school courses taken during Middle School from the transcript?
Response: Depends. The best strategy is for a student to wait until their 11th grade year to decide whether or not to remove the grades/credit from middle school. They will have a better understanding of how removing the credit/grades might impact them. Both OSPI and Issaquah School District recommend waiting until junior year to decide.
Question: After removing the grade from an 8th grade high school credit class from the transcript, does the student need to retake the class again?
Response: Maybe - the student might repeat the same class or take a different class in the same subject area. The student may need to take an additional class in that subject area to earn the total credits needed for graduation.
Question: Is there a list of middle classes that count toward high school credits, i.e., classes that can count toward high school GPA?
Response: Our middle schools offer a limited number of Math, Science and World Language classes that are high school level (examples: Algebra 1, Geometry, Biology, Spanish)
Question: If the students are selecting their own courses, is there a way to make sure they don’t leave out the mandatory courses they must take? Would my student be able to just leave Math out of their schedule? I want to make sure they take what they need.
Response: Students receive information about how to select courses they need to graduate, but it is true that a student could omit a necessary course. In the spring, families get the chance to review their children’s course requests and can notify the school if a mandatory course is missing.
Question: Can we contact counselors in 8th grade for high school classes?
Response: Yes, until the end of 8th grade, contact your child’s middle school counselor if you have questions regarding high school. When your child starts 9th grade, families can start contacting their child’s high school counselor. Please allow ample time for a response. The high school counselors are very busy in August and September.
Question: Does a student have the same counselor throughout his or her 4 years in high school?
Response: Typically, yes. Students are assigned to one counselor throughout high school, based on their last name.
Question: How many high school counselors are there? How will I know the school counselor for my student?
Response: Each high school website includes a Counseling page, and names and student assignments for each counselor is listed there, along with their contact information. Visit the website for more information.
Question: Skyline doesn’t provide AP classes (based on the SD website). What are the options for students if they go to Skyline and want to take AP class?
Response: Students cannot take an AP class at Skyline. The ISD Online Learning program does offer some AP classes, which Skyline students can take.
Question: How long is flex time?
Response: Depends on the high school. Check the bell schedule for each high school for more details. Students and families will learn about the schedule and what Flex/Nest time means when they attend the school information night in March.
Question: How many classes can you take in total?
Response: The school day is a 7-period schedule at all schools next year.
Question: Is there a way to connect to families who attended Skyline high school?
Response: Contact your school PTSA or ask your school’s Family Partnership Liaison for help with connecting with other families.
Question: Will there be bus transportation to go to Skyline if you are in another school’s boundary?
Response: No. Bus transportation is only for students who live within the school’s boundary area. If you apply to and are approved to attend a school outside of your boundary, no school transportation is provided.
Question: Are classes need to be selected in advance in case number of seats is limited?
Response: There will be availability in core classes for all students. Information from course selection provides schools with information as to how many sections of each class to offer and to build the master schedule for the school each year.
Question: Is there an advantage of registering early (priority placement for early birds)?
Response: We collect all course requests in the Spring, and then build a master schedule based on those requests. There's no advantage of submitting early in the Spring, in terms of first choice into a class. But when students request changes in August, after the master schedule is already created, it may not be possible to make that change.
Question: What happens if your career doesn't have a high school course correlated to it? Do you just change your career choice?
Response: ISD schools focus on providing courses for college readiness. Schools have many course options. If a specific course is not available, talk to your counselor or visit the College and Career Center for options.
Question: What happens if you don't make the credit limit?
Response: The student will not graduate. The students have an option to be a 5th year senior, talk to your school counselor.
Question: There are hundreds of professions out there, what is the best tool 8th graders can use to start? My child is very worried about the lack of insight into what is "out there".
Response: 8th graders will be introduced to the Xello website in the next month or so, and they will be able to use that tool throughout high school to explore careers, colleges, etc.
Question: What if you fail your 5th year of high school?
Response: Talk to high school counselor to help your child make plan.
Question: Are the grades in high school based on a curve (like in college) or a scale, e.g., 94~100 = A, etc.
Response: Varies depending on the teacher. Check the teacher’s syllabus for details.
Question: Passing a class is any grade above an F right?
Response: Yes, in ISD, any grade D or higher is passing, and the student will receive credit.
Question: If a student has not yet taken an advanced class in middle school, and they want to try out an Honors or AP/IB class later, is that possible?
Response: Yes, it is! You get to decide what level of rigor is right for you, not restricted by a pre-requisite class. Students get to make this choice each year.
Question: How does taking more than the minimum credits help?
Response: It allows students to explore more options and interests.
Question: Do you apply to college during your 12th year? if so, how can you do that, since your transcript is not ready yet?
Response: Yes, applications sent in during 1st semester of senior year (12th grade). Typically, you apply to a 4-year college in fall of your 12th grade year. You submit your transcript of grades 9th through 11th grade, as well as your senior schedule. Then, you send an updated transcript after first semester of 12th grade and at the end of the year for senior grades.
Question: If you choose a history-related career, would a history-related course count as career and technical education (CTE) credit?
Response: It depends on the course if it is part of the CTE program. See Course catalog for classes listed as CTE.
Question: Are the graduation requirements communicated somewhere?
Response: Yes, in the course catalog and in Family Access Graduation Requirements Tab
Question: What kind of assistance do high schools provide if a student wants to supplement what they learn in a class?
Response: Issaquah School District offers a wide variety of learning opportunities. Check the Course Catalog.
Question: If I am currently doing a music and Spanish elective in 8th grade, will I have to choose between the two for high school?
Response: The high school has a 7-period day, so there is room for core classes and electives. It depends on what other electives you want to take each year.
Question: What are the elective courses for high school
Response: See each high school Course Catalog
Question: Do you have past stats by ISD high-school on the avg. no. of AP classes taken, avg. GPA and avg. SAT scores—by colleges entered? I understand that these are not the only criteria for entering a college.
Response: Average information and colleges chosen are available. Stats by college entered are not available.
Question: For each high school, is there a list/breakdown of colleges/universities each graduating class went?
Response: Yes, contact the College and Career Center for more information.
Question: If you have already taken Algebra 1 and Geometry in middle school, what math courses would you take in high school after Algebra 2 and Precalculus/Calculus?
Response: Many options available at each school. See the Course Catalog. Student could take Statistics, AP Calc AB, AP Calc BC, or AP Computer Science, or IB Math at Skyline.
Question: How do social studies and humanities courses work, I heard that they could be taken as block courses together?
Response: Some Social Studies and English Language Arts (ELA) are blocked at some schools. It would be for two periods. So, you still earn 1.0 English and 1.0 Social Studies that year. The teachers partner in teaching the class.
Question: Are there any mandatory courses?
Response: There are classes offered to meet each graduation requirement. Many courses are available within each requirement field for students to earn credit – English requires 4 credits, but many courses offered to earn those credits. Check the course catalog.
Question: Let us say you attend an ISD middle school, and you had high school courses like Geometry and Spanish, but then you move to Bellevue, do we need to request the transcript and then send it to the high school in the Bellevue school district?
Response: ISD can provide a HS transcript to bring to Bellevue, so they can add those HS-level classes to the Bellevue transcript.
Question: Can the student retake the same class such as Geometry or Biology?
Response: Yes. If the class was taken in 8th grade and retaken in HS, the student has the option for the grade not to appear on the transcript.
Question: What are elective credits?
Response: Any course can count toward elective credits. All credits earned after you meet the minimum credits you MUST take to graduate are classes you ELECT to take. See the school’s course catalog for a complete list of courses.
Question: Does Skyline have rock or jazz band?
Response: Skyline has a variety of music classes, see course catalog for more details.
Question: Does the College Board need to disclose PSAT score to colleges?
Response: PSAT is not used for or disclosed for college applications, it's very low stakes to try it out. The 11th grade PSAT score is used for the National Merit Scholarship program.
Question: How do you request a high school transcript?
Response: See school website and PowerPoint
Question: What World Languages are offered at the high schools?
Response: It depends on the high school. See each school’s course catalog for classes offered. ISD options may include Spanish, French, Japanese, Mandarin, or American Sign Language.
Question: Can students review the outline of the world language proficiency test?
Response: Testing is administered at the high school through a third-party provider. Contact the high school to find out how to learn more about a specific language test.
Question: What is the minimum requirement to pass the world language proficiency test?
Response: Check the OSPI website regarding World Language competency testing.
Question: Can they also take any language for world language test?
Response: Review the World Language site on the ISD website. It will list the languages available for testing. Must demonstrate Reading, Writing, Listening AND Speaking.
Question: If they take the language test and don't do well on the test, will it show up on the transcript?
Response: World Language Competency scores will not appear on transcript.
Question: If the student gets 4 credits for world language, does that mean they don’t need to enroll in other world language courses (2 credits) to graduate?
Summer school and Online classes
Question: What summer school classes are offered (each year) toward earning high school credits?
Response: May vary each year. See district website and look for eNews with information about summer school.
Question: How do you take online classes and summer classes?
Response: Directions on the district website “Online classes” and you also need to talk to the school counselor.
Question: How much credit does a child earn for a summer school class?
Response: In summer, a student can earn a semester of math, but not a full year.
Career and Technical Education
Question: What is CTE Dual Credit?
Response: CTE Dual Credit allows the student to earn both a high school credit and a community college credit based on the grade achieved. See College and Career Center webpage on the school website. CTE = Career Technical Education. CTE Dual Credit = a CTE course that is aligned to college curriculum, and for which you can earn college credit. Not ALL CTE courses are dual credit. Each course guide will have a link to CTE Dual Credit, so you can see which classes can earn college credit.
Question: What are some CTE courses?
Response: Check Course Catalog for your child’s high school.
Question: What is a Running Start?
Response: Running Start is intended to provide students in grades 11 and 12 a program option consisting of attendance at certain institutions of higher education and the simultaneous earning of high school and college/university credit. Check the ISD website and talk to your school counselor.
Question: What does Running Start do? What is the advantage of doing Running start? When should we consider Running start vs High School 11th and grade
Response: Running Start is a program that allows 11th and 12th graders to take college level classes, tuition free, at a local 2-year college.
Students need to work with the high school counselor to get forms signed for Running Start registration.
Families and students should attend the Running Start information night usually held in February for more information. Look for information from the high school or on the college website.
Running Start classes are held at the college campus, not at the high school (many ISD students attend Bellevue College, other common schools are CWU Sammamish, Renton Tech, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, and Green River Community College). Students must provide their own transportation.
If a student did full-time Running Start in both 11th & 12th grade, they could earn a 2-year college Associate’s degree at the same time they graduate high school. Students can earn both high school and college credit by taking Running Start classes.
Most students don't typically pursue an AA degree, but they earn quite a lot of college credit for free that they can transfer to a 4-year college.
Toward the end of 10th grade, attending an information session at the high school and the 2-year college will give you more insight if Running Start would be a good fit for your student. Some students are ready to leave the HS setting and learn on a college campus with students of a wide age range. For others, that setting might not feel comfortable, or they may miss the connectedness they feel in the HS setting with peers of the same age.
Question: Is running start more catered to medical career courses?
Response: No - there is a wide variety of courses at the colleges, so Running Start could be great for many career/college interests!
Question: What is the deadline for course selection?
Response: That answer will be provided by the HS counselors at the student high school information events at each school. Each High School will have a different deadline for submitting course requests, but all of them are due in mid-March.
Question: Are incoming 9th graders permitted to contact HS counselors?
Response: Not until they start attending the high school. Middle school counselors can best address your questions.
Question: Will these requirements be communicated to the 8th graders this year (or do we need to copy/print)?
Response: High school counselors will be doing presentations at all the middle schools starting in March. They will provide students information at school and will also offer families an information night for course selection, elective opportunities, and graduation requirements for their school. Students will complete their course selection in Student Access. Each school will share the deadline for completing the course selection to the students during the information sessions.
New High School
Question: Information about the new high school?
Response: It will be at least 1 more year for the new high school to open. The boundaries for the future high school have not yet been set. No decisions have been made about if it will offer AP or IB classes.
Question: If we are likely to be re-zoned to the new high school will that influence what choices we should make?
Response: All students graduation requirements will be the same across all the high schools including the new high school.
Moving to another high school or district
Question: What happens if we select courses for next year, but we finally move before September? We will then attend a new high school but didn't select any course there. Will we have the choice of course or not?
Response: When you enroll in a new high school, they will help you select courses for their building.
Question: If a child won't necessarily be in the school district next year, do they still need to go through the selection process?
Response: Yes, they should go through the process. The next school would be able to use the information.
Question: If the child has moved from a different school district, will Algebra of 7th grade of previous school district show up on the transcript?
Response: Talk to school counselor. If a student took Algebra in 7th grade in a different district, you would need to request a HS transcript from the previous district and submit it to your IHS high school registrar. Then it can be added to your ISD transcript.
Question: What if there is a switch to another school district from Middle school to High school, what would be the process for transition?
Response: Start by enrolling your child in the other school district. The school and/or district will walk you through the process. Schools communicate with each other within or from other districts to transfer paperwork for students to make the switch as seamless as possible. Each school’s registrar communicates with the other school’s registrar or school office to get all the necessary paperwork and academic history of the transferring student.
Question: Are AP courses available in 9th Grade based on 8th Grade scores/GPA?
Response: Any student can take AP courses offered. Most AP courses start in 10th grade and above. Students can self-select into an AP class (or IB class). Students should consider their grades, other assessments, and interests.
Question: Can you also explain “Honors”? Is it the same as AP?
Response: Honors classes that are more rigorous. The transcript will code the class as an honors class so that colleges can see it and weigh it accordingly. Most Honors courses are offered in 9th and 10th grade. Honors is not for college credit. Honors classes is not a national curriculum. It is based on ISD standards and curriculum but more rigorous.
Question: Is Honors a prerequisite for AP or IB classes?
Response: No, there are no prerequisites for AP or IB classes, students can choose to take AP or IB classes if they think it is the right challenge for them.
Question: What is AP?
Response: AP = Advanced Placement. AP is a national program, offering college level curriculum in the high school. Teachers of AP classes use the specific AP curriculum from the national program to ensure rigor for the class and to align it to the AP exam a student can take at the end of the course. The coursework is college level, and challenges students to develop a deeper academic approach.
Question: What is IB?
Response: IB = International Baccalaureate. IB is an international program, offering college level curriculum in high school. This is a different program from AP, but of similar rigor. Families and students interested in learning more about IB should attend the Skyline information night and review the Skyline IB website for more information.
Question: Do students have to take AP or IB to go to college?
Response: No! Issaquah SD core courses are all college preparatory and will help students prepare for college after high school. Students do not have to take AP or IB classes to be college ready. Students have many choices. The goal is to give them choices that allow them to take courses that are best for them. We want students to be healthy, well-rounded, and challenged in the right way for their own interests.
Question: Do AP or IB courses need to be selected after 10th grade or 9th grade?
Response: Students can take an IB math class, based on their math level, in 10th grade. There may be some AP classes available in 9th grade. Check the school’s course catalog and talk to the school counselor.
Question: What's the intensity of Honors compared to IB?
Response: IB is more intense than honors.
Question: Any insight on how IB vs. AP is perceived during college admission process?
Response: AP and IB are perceived as similar to each other for American colleges. Students applying to international schools may see some benefit from IB specifically.
Question: AP and IB are at Skyline, right?
Response: AP programs are at Issaquah and Liberty High Schools. Skyline High School has the IB program.
Question: What year does AP or IB start? Is it 9th grade?
Response: IB does not start in 9th grade. Most AP classes start 10th grade and above. For math, when you start AP may depend on the student’s math level.
Question: Does Skyline offer Honors classes?
Response: Yes. All three high schools have honors classes. See Course Catalog for more information.
Question: If a student will have IB classes in high school, but they are currently taking an AP preparation course, should they take the AP test outside of school? Will colleges be able to see it?
Response: Yes, students may take the AP exam at an outside location or at IHS or LHS. The student may want to take the AP test. They choose if they want to send those AP test scores along to colleges in the future.
Question: Child doing IB can just do AP tests without taking AP classes?
Response: Yes, the AP test can be taken even if you did not take the class. Students will need to dedicate time and energy to self-study for the AP exam.
Question: What if you want to take AP courses but your high school doesn't have that as an option?
Response: You can request to transfer to a school that offers an AP program. Some AP courses may be available via the ISD Online Learning program.
Question: For courses in AP and IB, are history courses divided into specific fields (Modern History, Ancient History, etc) or is there simply one General History course?
Response: Check the course catalog for details. Options may vary based on school and possibly certain years.
Question: Does Gibson Ek have a bus schedule like the other high schools?
Response: Yes. Stops are not as close to student neighborhoods, so we call them shuttle stops. They’re usually within a mile of student residences.
Question: Could I get recorded info session I missed for Gibson Ek last Wednesday?
Response: Yes. It is on the Gibson Ek website. Contact Gibson Ek if you have any questions. www.kin
Sports, Volunteering and Clubs
Question: How can volunteering help?
Response: Volunteering shows colleges and employers more about a student’s character, and their interest in community and service. Colleges/universities like to see students have outside interests and show community service.
Question: How many clubs can you take?
Response: There is no limit. Depends on schedule and student’s time commitment.
Question: Do you have to be proficient in extracurricular activities, like winning awards and competitions?
Response: No, many clubs and activities are designed to provide opportunities for students to socialize and interact with peers, meet other students with similar interests and provide experiences in new areas. Some clubs are competitive, but the requirement for competition depends on the school and type of club.
Question: How do we apply for the sports team?
Response: Use Final Form to register and turn in required documents. Visit the high school website. Also, make sure the student is looking and listening for school announcements regarding the sport. The HS website will have sport schedules posted.
Question: Where can we read about clubs and sports?
Response: Visit the school’s website (Student Life tab on each school website)
**All students need to have completed a physical after a specific date to be eligible to join a HS athletics team. Students also need an ASB card and pay a sports fee to participate in sports and clubs. Use Final Form to complete forms and upload documents.
Cultural Bridges Magazine
The Cultural Bridges for Education Program is a family engagement strategy that serves as a bridge of communication between the Issaquah School District and parents who were not born in America. Cultural Bridges helps families overcome language and cultural barriers and empowers them to become a part of our community while helping their kids be successful in school. Cultural Bridges is sponsored by the Issaquah Schools Foundation.