High School Curriculum that Prepares Students for College

In past articles, we’ve talked about the St. Francis schedule and the faculty; now, we turn to the curriculum itself to share information with you about what we teach and the goals we have for our students in each area. While we are a Progressive School, our curriculum itself is fairly traditional in that we teach all the usual core subjects (including 15 AP courses), plus fine arts and health/fitness. What makes our curriculum Progressive is our teaching methodology (active and engaged learning) and our inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives throughout.  One of the greatest strengths of the St. Francis curriculum is its flexibility — being a small, Progressive school, St. Francis allows students to customize their course of study over their four years. There are courses required in every department because we believe a liberal arts approach to high school curriculum is in an adolescent’s best interest. However, students can also choose to focus on a couple of areas they like best by choosing AP offerings, electives, and/or independent study options in those areas in their junior or senior years. They can also choose to challenge themselves at the highest levels by taking AP exams in their freshman and sophomore years and multiple AP classes and exams in their junior and senior years, as well as do what few high schools students can and take customized (self-designed with faculty members as guides) independent study classes beyond the AP curriculum to really set themselves up for college-level study in a given area. In addition, students can sample courses [...]

2019-08-06T11:40:29-04:00August 5th, 2019|College Preparation|

College Preparation in High School

College Preparation High school is about many things — social-emotional development, growing from a young adolescent into an almost-adult, exploring intellectually and honing skills. All of this, in the end, translates into teenagers’ preparation for college and the rest of their lives. The way we do that at St. Francis is distinct from other schools. We talk about preparation for college and life. Another way of putting it is that we prepare students for all aspects of college, which is more than just academics. Academics, of course, are foremost. Our curriculum is designed to focus on close reading, writing of all kinds (beginning with major research papers in 9th grade), critical thinking, discourse, problem-solving, and analysis. We go both broad and deep, with AP courses and non-AP electives in every department, challenging students at all levels and preparing them for any college classes they may encounter. There is no doubt that our students are ready to handle college academics. Then there’s the aspect of college preparation that has always been a focus at St. Francis, but seems to be ever-increasing in importance as articles abound these days about college students’ inability to handle the non-academic aspects of their lives: working with parents to develop students’ resilience, competence, independence, and self-esteem. We believe that letting students “test drive” some responsibility is the best way to help them handle full independence in four years. Here at the High School, our sign-out system fosters time management and independence, as well as the added benefit of teaching students how to budget for lunch. [...]

2019-07-16T09:12:58-04:00July 10th, 2019|College Preparation|

College Corner: The College Decision Making Process

College Corner appears in the Wyvern Weekly with suggestions and dates to help make the college search and application process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. Seniors are in the process of making a decision as to which college they will attend. The deadline for making the enrollment deposit is Wednesday, May 1st. We will be celebrating the May 1st deadline at SFS by seniors, faculty, and staff wearing a t-shirt or sweatshirt from the college they are attending (or attended in the case of the faculty and staff!). In order to not miss important deadlines, seniors should be checking their email for communications from their colleges, as housing, registration, orientation, and other important information is being sent. It is common courtesy to email the admissions offices at the colleges you are declining to let them know you have made a commitment elsewhere (you don’t need to say which college you are attending, but you can if you want). If any seniors are undecided about which college they plan to attend, here are some suggestions for parents and students when considering the decision:  Compare scholarships and financial aid packages and decide what is most comfortable for you financially as you consider loan amounts. What are the strongest programs academically and do they interest you? Do you have a dedicated academic advisor and career counselor? Consider the surrounding area of the college as you will be living there for four years. Is it important for you to be in or near a city? Do you want to be surrounded by [...]

2019-09-17T13:30:53-04:00April 12th, 2019|College Preparation|

College Corner January 2019

By Leslie O’Connor, College Counselor College Corner appears in the Wyvern Weekly with suggestions and dates to help make the college search and application process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. Attention, 9th and 10th Grade Parents: St. Francis is offering a great opportunity for our 9th and 10th graders. The Pre-ACT will be given on Sunday, February 10th on the Downtown Campus from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Every 9th and 10th grader is signed up to take advantage of this practice test. Parents of seniors, juniors, and sophomores, read on for specific college-related information! Seniors: I am happy to report the seniors have been receiving college acceptance letters and scholarships. Please keep all college decision letters and scholarship information so that I can total the amount of scholarship money earned by the Class of 2019! Seniors should also continue checking emails and open college mail, as these communications contain important information about housing, orientation programs, fees, and academic advising appointments. If students have been deferred or waitlisted at a first-choice college, please have them speak with me for guidance about next steps. Juniors: I have met with all juniors individually to review PSAT scores and discuss standardized testing. Every junior should plan on taking at least two college admission tests this year, the ACT and/or the SAT. Dates have been emailed and given out as a paper copy to all juniors. On Wednesday, January 23rd, I met with the junior class as a group to discuss some key college planning information. My presentation focused on the importance of [...]

2019-09-17T13:11:26-04:00January 25th, 2019|College Preparation|

College Corner: Upcoming Dates and Leadership in the College Process

By Leslie O’Connor, College Counselor College Corner appears in the Wyvern Weekly with suggestions and dates to help make the college search and application process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. We have a number of college events coming up next week! Note: All college visits not otherwise noted take place in the College Resource Room on the Downtown Campus. Wednesday, November 14th Columbia College Chicago - 1:00 - 1:30 p.m. Leadership in the College Process The emphasis on leadership in the college process can be another stressor for students as they try and figure out the many ways they can add traditional leadership positions to their resume. But as I stated before in "College Corner" about resume-building, not every student can be the School Committee president or captain of the varsity team. Educator and writer Brennan Barnard illustrates through quotes from college admissions deans and directors the many ways in which leadership can be defined in the college application process. Lessons on Leadership By Brennan Barnard, Contributor to HuffPost While it may be easy to define a leader in principle, college applicants want to know how colleges view leadership. Who are these “leaders” that admission committees want to admit, and what qualities are they searching for? “Someone who stops to ask the question: “What is the RIGHT thing to do in this circumstance?’” - Andy Strickler, Dean of Admission & Financial Aid, Connecticut College “Leadership is a deep engagement in an area of interest - not necessarily an officer in an organization. Rather than the president of the [...]

2019-09-17T13:33:15-04:00November 9th, 2018|College Preparation|

College Corner: Upcoming Dates and Thoughts on Building a Resume

By Leslie O’Connor, College Counselor College Corner appears in the Wyvern Weekly with suggestions and dates to help make the college search and application process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. We have a number of college events coming up next week! Note: All college visits not otherwise noted take place in the College Resource Room on the Downtown Campus. Monday, October 29th University of Kentucky - 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. Ohio Wesleyan University - 10:25 - 10:40 a.m. The University of Alabama in Huntsville Prospective Student Reception at 7:00 p.m. at the Louisville Marriott East at 1903 Embassy Square Boulevard. Click here to RSVP. Wednesday, October 31st Oxbridge Summer Programs - 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. Friday, November 2nd SAT registration deadline for Saturday, December 1st test ACT registration deadline for Saturday, December 8th test Saturday, November 3rd SAT Preview Day at Miami University (Oxford, OH) at 9:00 a.m. Click here for more information. Tuesday, November 6th Career Exploration Workshop for High School Students from 2:00 - 6:00 p.m. at Jewish Family and Career Services at 2821 Klempner Way. The cost to attend is $225. Click here to register online. For additional information contact Erin Heakin at 502-322-1934 or eheakin@jfcslouisville.org. Thoughts On Building a Resume One of the most frequently asked questions I hear as a college counselor is, “Am I doing the right activities?” I know the idea of building a resume for college can cause stress among students and parents. There is no “magic list” of activities colleges expect to see and, more importantly, students should not decide what activities [...]

2019-09-17T13:33:33-04:00October 26th, 2018|College Preparation|

College Corner: Upcoming Dates and 12th Grade College Planning Guide

By Leslie O’Connor, College Counselor College Corner appears in the Wyvern Weekly with suggestions and dates to help make the college search and application process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. We have a number of college events coming up next week! Note: All college visits not otherwise noted take place in the College Resource Room on the Downtown Campus. Monday, October 15th University of Louisville - 10:20 - 10:50 a.m. Washington and Lee University Admissions Presentation at 6:30 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn (Mall St. Matthews) at 400 Sherburn Lane. Tuesday, October 16th Miami University (Oxford, OH) - 11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Hanover College - 12:15 - 12:45 p.m. Saturday, October 20th Indiana University Southeast Open House from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Click here for more information and to register. Miami University (Oxford, OH) Preview Day at 9:00 a.m. Click here for more information and, for questions, call 513-529-4632. Brescia University Open House at 11:00 a.m. (CT). Click here to RSVP. 12th Grade College Planning Guide for October and November Visit colleges! Fall is a great time to see college campuses because classes are in session and you are better able to talk to students and professors. Make a reservation for a campus tour and presentation well ahead of when you plan to visit, this is a busy time of year for admissions offices. You can usually sign up online. You may want to see if the college offers an interview, a class visit, or an opportunity to speak with someone in the department of your major. If [...]

2019-09-17T13:52:47-04:00October 12th, 2018|College Preparation|

College Corner: Upcoming Dates and FAFSA Information

By Leslie O’Connor, College Counselor College Corner appears in the Wyvern Weekly with suggestions and dates to help make the college search and application process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. We have a number of college events coming up next week! Note: All college visits not otherwise noted take place in the College Resource Room on the Downtown Campus. Monday, October 8th Meeting with seniors about Common Application and Naviance - 10:25 - 10:40 a.m. Wednesday, October 10th PSAT for 10th and 11th graders Thursday, October 11th University of Kentucky - 1:30 - 2:00 p.m. Admissions Presentation from 7:00 - 9:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel (36 E 4th Street, Cincinnati, OH 45207). Hear from admissions officers from Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, Wellesley University, and the University of Virginia. For more information and to register, click here. Saturday, October 13th University of Louisville Cardinal Preview Day from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. For more information and to register, click here. The Importance of Filling Out the FAFSA (Application for Federal Student Aid) The application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) was available online on October 1st. Although it may seem like a complicated process, it’s well worth the time and effort for students/parents of seniors to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible and send it to the colleges to which you are applying. According to FASTWEB, here are five reasons why it’s important: Federal Student Aid programs are the largest source of student aid in the United States. The only way to be considered [...]

2019-09-17T13:53:17-04:00October 5th, 2018|College Preparation|

College Corner August 2018

By Leslie O’Connor, College Counselor As the new College Counselor at St. Francis, I am excited to begin my first year here and start assisting students in all aspects of the college process. For the August edition of “College Corner” I have included a list of college-related upcoming events, and provided some resources for college planning that I highly recommend. I am happy to answer questions from students and parents of any grade level, so please don’t hesitate to contact me at LOConnor@StFrancisSchool.org or 502-736-1012. Read on to see what’s happening in the coming months.  August August 11th - 26th Late registration for September 8th ACT August 22nd Meeting with seniors about college (during school) August 25th SAT August 29th Exploring Educational Excellence (Brown University, Columbia University, Rice University, Cornell University, and University of Chicago) at 7:00 p.m. at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. If you are interested in attending, click here to register. September September 5th Earlham College Visit  (9:00 a.m.) New York University Visit (11:30 a.m.) Meeting with juniors to introduce Naviance database and YouScience aptitude testing (12:15 p.m.- 1:10 p.m.) September 6th Berry College Visit (9:00 a.m.) DePaul University Visit (10:00 a.m.) September 7th Registration deadline for October 6th SAT September 8th ACT Test National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Fair at Bellarmine University (SuRF Center) from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Register online at www.nacac.net.org (Events/Register for National College Fairs). September 11th College of Wooster Visit (9:00 a.m.) September 12th Savannah College of Art and Design (12:45 p.m.) September 13th Financial Aid Night at Walden School for senior parents/students from [...]

2019-09-17T14:02:33-04:00August 17th, 2018|College Preparation|