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Freshmen Center


Learn about the Freshmen Experience ~ A Plan for Freshmen Student Success

Frequently Asked Questions of Freshmen Students and Parents

The 8th to 9th Grade Transition - Parent Information Resources

October Parent Orientation PowerPoint Presentation

January Parent Orientation PowerPoint Presentation - Class of 2012 Graduation Requirements

How and when are classes chosen for 9th grade?

Eighth grade students are registered for the fall of the 9th grade year in the spring of the 8th grade year. The grades that students make during the 8th grade school year and their current math levels, determine many high school courses and special programs.

Academic teachers will select the appropriate courses for English, math, science, social studies, and foreign language. The chorus, band, and orchestra teachers will sign up classes accordingly.

Students who score low in reading and/or math on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) in October may be registered for a remedial reading and/or math course.

Electives are selected by parents and students, unless a teacher recommendation is needed.

Are 8th grade students automatically placed into 9th grade band?

No. Students who participate in band are auditioned in the spring of their 8th grade year at their respective middle schools in order to appropriately place them into the correct band for 9th grade.

Are 8th grade students who are in orchestra automatically placed into 9th grade orchestra?

Yes. Students who are in 8th grade orchestra are placed into Beginning Orchestra. This is done in order to train students to become a cohesive ensemble and to learn the orchestral style of the Orchestra director. It is assumed the students are not beginners but rather beginning their high school orchestra experience.

Grade Point Average

What if a student takes courses in middle school that apply toward high school?

If a Cobb County Middle School student takes and passes a course that can be applied toward high school, both the grade(s) and credit(s) earned will be placed on their high school transcript in the Fall of their 9th grade year.

How is a students GPA calculated? To calculate GPA, each course grade is assigned a weight.

    A = 4
    B = 3
    C = 2
    D = 1
    F = 0

These are added up and the sum is divided by the number of courses taken.

How are weighted grades calculated into the GPA?

Weighted grades are added into the SUM of the other grades with the exception that, for example, a "B" = 3.5, etc.

Gifted Courses

Are all gifted classes considered electives?


Please provide additional information on the gifted program in the 9 th grade. What is the advantage or disadvantage of a gifted class vs. an honors class?

The advantages and/or disadvantages of gifted courses vs. honors courses are difficult to compare since gifted courses receive elective credit only.
Most students entering high school at the 9 th grade level who are already in Target in middle school take 9 th grade gifted courses

Do you offer a gifted program for my son, both in English, math, and science?

We do offer honors level courses in each area. A student does not have to be staffed into the gifted program in order to take these courses.  We offer Honors level courses in Euclidean Geometry, Algebra II, Analysis, Statistics, and Calculus. Students can participate on the Math Team, in the Georgia Mathematics League Contests and the American High School Math Exam.

Honors Courses

What percentage of students take 3 or 4 honors classes?

12% - 15% of our 9 th graders take at least one honors level course.

How is placement into honors classes determined?

Placement is determined by the student's 8 th grade grades and teacher recommendation.

What type of student will be the most successful in honor's level courses in 9 th grade?

A student MUST meet most, if not all, of the following criteria, before considering an honors level course in 9 th grade:

Excellent organizational skills

    • Dedicated, conscientious, self-motivated
    • Upper level reading and comprehension skills
    • Studies independently at home
    • Completes all assignments and projects on time
    • Has upper level math skills
    • Regular attendance pattern
    • 8 th grade grades in all subjects consist of mostly A's
    • Ability to identify stressors and handle them in a mature fashion
    • Ability to multi-task
    • Must like to read if takes honors English

Even though students may have all the qualifications listed, it would be in their best interest, not to take more than 2 - 3 honor's level courses because of the emotional and physical adjustment of high school their first year. Students also need the time to participate in extracurricullar activities in high school.

Both academics and extracurricular activities need to be balanced in order for a student not to become discouraged in either area.

We have found that in the first semester students who become overwhelmed shut down completely and begin failing courses.

Note to teachers: If a student registers for more than two honors level courses, we will require a parent signature on an form we will provide at the time the student registers.

Advanced Placement (AP) Courses

What are AP classes?

AP classes are Advanced Placement classes. If the student passes the College Board test for the course, many colleges grant college credit for the course taken in high school. Theses are college level courses and are very rigorous.

During 9 th grade advisement in Spring semester of your child's 9 th grade year, you and your child will be able to discuss future high school courses with the gifted teacher in order to make a plan appropriate for your student. This plan may or may not include gifted courses, depending on your child's future plans.

How does McEachern's opportunities compare to the Magnet Programs that offer Math, Science & or Technology courses?

Our math program offers honor level courses in Euclidean Geometry, Algebra II, Analysis, Statistics, and Calculus. Students can participate on the Math Team, in the Georgia Mathematics League Contests and the American High School Math Exam.

In the area of technology, we have many programs not available in other high schools in Cobb County with updated equipment and software due to our trust fund support.

Our science program offers Honors Physical Science, Honors Biology, Honors Chemistry, Honors Physics and Honors Anatomy, A. P. Biology and Chemistry.

For more information on a particular magnet school, please click here .

Mathematics Course Information

The State of Georgia is proposing new rules for graduation requirements starting with the class of 2012. Please refer to the January Parent Orientation

My daughter is a straight "A" student. She wants to study medical science. She has not taken Algebra I yet, what courses should she concentrate on in high school?

If she is a strong math student, she should do the Algebra I through Advanced Algebra/Trig, preferably Honors. However, it is up to the teacher's discretion as to whether or not she should take the Honors level. Typically a strong math student would have taken Algebra I in middle school and then proceed through Analysis or Calculus by the end of their senior year.

Another suggestion is to take upper end sciences such as Chemistry, Anatomy/Physiology and possibly physics. But, again, a student needs strong math skills in order to be successful in these upper end science courses.

Are the students able to complete Alg. I, Part I and II all in the one year?


General Information

How does McEachern High School prepare my child for the PSAT, SAT, ACT tests?

McEachern offers a preparation session for seniors before each SAT and/or ACT test. If room allows some juniors are allowed to participate in these sessions.

There is no preparation for the PSAT. The PSAT is a preparation for the SAT and is offered free to all MHS freshman and sophomore students. Along with the PSAT test scores, a student receives a test booklet so he/she can look up the answers to the questions he/she missed.

Please keep in mind that this test DOES NOT qualify a student for the Merit Scholarship.

Students may log on to the College Board web site for sample questions for studying at .
When a student registers to take either the SAT or ACT, there is a study guide that comes with each test.
At McEachern, students are encouraged to take advantage of the Career Center preparation guides and software to prepare for the SAT and/or ACT.

What percentage of McEachern graduates go to college?

    60% attend a 4-year college or university

    10% attend a vocational or 2-year college

Does a unit last 1 semester or 2? Is a unit spread out over 2 Semesters?

At the end of both 1st and 2nd semester each course taken earns a student half a unit. On our present schedule, a student takes 8 courses each semester. and earns 4 units if every course is passed. At the end of each year, if all courses were passed, the student would have earned a total of 8 units.

How do teachers communicate with parents concerning homework since there is no homework hotline at McEachern?

E-mail addresses and voice mail addresses are made available to all parents. Parents are encouraged to use these means of communication with all teachers weekly, daily, or periodically, whichever is appropriate for their student.

Orientations for parents and students

We have a spring orientation for all 8 th grade parents and students before 8 th grade registration.
We invite all of our parents to an orientation in August before school begins. Parents are split up into small groups and meet with teachers to go over all policies.

We have a student orientation before school begins for students to get their schedules and tour the campus We have an Open House in September for parents to visit with their student's teachers.


McEachern High School • 2400 New Macland Road • Powder Springs, GA 30127  ( 770-222-3710
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