High School Around The Corner

High School Around The Corner

With the second semester starting, eighth-graders are getting ready to start high school. In February, eighth-graders will have meetings with their Westwood counselors to help them decide what classes they will take. There are also information meetings coming up.

On Feb. 5th, there is an eighth-grade information meeting that you can attend at Westwood. It can help you understand how to select your classes and a little more about what Westwood is like. Eighth-grade choice sheets are also due during your history period on Feb. 7th.

Decisions, Decisions.

There are a lot of choices to make as you start high school. Here are some of the most challenging decisions, according to Canyon Vista, eight graders, and descriptions to help you better understand them.

AP vs. IB vs. On level 

AP stands for advanced placement. IB stands for International Baccalaureate. In ninth and tenth grade, you can’t do IB, but you can do pre-IB classes. IB is something you can do in your junior and senior year to receive an IB diploma. An IB diploma looks good on college resumes, but it also seems good to have taken AP classes. You don’t have to take either, but it can be helpful. I recommend taking AP in your best subjects. In IB, you have to take all core classes IB. It is beneficial to take pre-AP and pre IB classes, but it is not required.

Which Gym Class  

You must get at least one physical education (PE) credit in high school. For some, this decision is easy because they want to take a specific sport. Sports like football, soccer, softball, basketball, and volleyball are double blocked, meaning it takes up two electives. You can also do marching band, and any sort of dance and get both a PE credit and a fine arts credit, but it will only take up one block. ROTC is another option that will get you a PE credit. Track and cross country are before and after school in certain parts of the year. There is also PE equivalent to our sports and fitness class here; it is where you do a lot of sports and activities. There is also functional fitness, which is a lot of working out. Additionally, there is off-campus PE, but you must apply by May 1, 2020.


At Westwood, you get four electives. If you take a language, then you only have three. There are different academies to choose from. If you take all the classes for a subject, you can get an endorsement for that academy. For instance, if you do all four years of journalism, you can get an endorsement for the Business and Industry academy. You must get at least one fine arts credit, but as I mentioned earlier, things like dance and the marching band can count for both PE and fine arts. With electives, there are so many choices. You can think about your interests or what you may want to go to college for, and this may help you decide. You can always change your mind later on. As for languages, after picking which one you want to take, you can choose from on level, advanced, or pre IB in ninth grade, if you are in the second level of your language this year.

Some of the classes you take now can help with your high school classes. For instance, you could have taken 1a, 1b, and 2 in a language now, so you don’t have to take a language in high school. You could also be in high school 1 in some electives, so now you can be ahead in high school.  “I’m planning on contributing most of the classes I’m taking now into high school,” said Abby Winkleman (8).

New School, New Environment

You may have gone on the Westwood field trip before winter break. The school may have seemed big and easy to get lost in. But after the first week or two, you’ll figure out where everything is.  But some people are scared about how different Westwood will be from Canyon Vista. According to the survey we sent out, on a scale of 1 to 10 to see how ready students are for high school, 26.3% of responses put an eight, meaning that they feel pretty prepared.

“I mostly know what I want to take and what I want my schedule to be for the four years of high school,” an anonymous source said.

Some people are excited about high school and the social aspect of it. “I look forward to meeting new people,” Lakshmi Bodapati (8) said. There will be Grisham and Canyon Vista students at Westwood, plus people new to the area.

One of the main differences is how you will have orange and white days so that you won’t have all your classes in one day. There are also flex blocks, which are like advisory periods. You have a lot more choices than in middle school. School starts at 9:05 at Westwood, as well. These are just a few changes to know about, but you will be able to adjust to these changes quickly.


Whether you’re scared or ready for high school, it’s just around the corner. You can’t avoid that, but you can get prepared for it. Don’t forget there is an information meeting at Westwood, and choice sheets are due Feb. 5. Don’t miss your session with your counselor. Soon you will be a warrior, and we must start preparing now.