This page was created to serve as a resource for 8th graders who are about to enter Los Altos High School , please click here for a slide show of the 8th graders info night.
There are several good sources of information about LAHS that can help incoming freshmen and their families prepare for the year ahead:
LAHS website. On the left hand side of the home page, you'll find links to Academic Departments, Athletics, Performing Arts, Calendar, etc. (Try using the Site Map if navigating the site seems daunting.)
E-mail lists: E-lists are the primary way to keep informed about high school news, parent organizations, classes, performing arts, athletic teams, clubs, and volunteer activities for parents. To subscribe, go to http://lahs.elists.mvla.net/
Course Selection Guide: All freshmen must take PE, Survey of Composition and Literature, World Studies. 9th grade Sports are for elective credit only. Freshmen may choose one of the following math classes: Math Mastery, Algebra 1 Enhanced (double block), Algebra 9, Geometry 9, Geometry Honors, Algebra ll, Algebra II Honors. They may choose one of the following science classes: Earth Science, Biology, and Biology Honors.
Student Handbook: This handbook is distributed to all students during freshman orientation/book pickup before school starts. It is not currently available on the website.
Eagle Flights Newsletter: Link to the latest issue of this student newspaper.
Daily Bulletins: Daily Announcements are read over the loudspeaker. The Daily Bulletin is a text version of the announcements.
Student Information System (SIS): SIS is similar to PowerSchool; teachers post grades and assignments.
Naviance Family Connection: Naviance is a web-based college & career planning service brought to you by the College and Career Center.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail is the best way to contact high school teachers and staff. Most of the staff check their e-mail regularly, and respond within a day. All district e-mail addresses follow this format.
LAHS has an "open campus" which means that students are free to come and go anytime they are not assigned to be in class. Students must still be signed in/out by a parent for doctor appointments, etc. The caveat is that the attendance policy is very strict for absences and for tardies. A student going off campus for lunch, for example, needs to be careful to return to the next period without being tardy. Freshmen and sophomores are strongly encouraged to stay on campus during lunch. There is a cafeteria and a lunch cart, but many students bring lunch from home.
There is a zero period that begins at 7:20am on a normal day. Marching Band is zero period, but most other freshmen do not have a zero period. The last period is 7th period, ending at 3:30pm on a normal day. Freshmen take either 6 or 7 courses, so it could be that your student will not have a 7th period and will get out at 2:35pm. Wednesdays are late start (except for zero period). Block scheduling means that on Wednesdays students have only their odd periods and Thursday their even periods. This allows for a longer class session on those days; ideal for science labs, etc. Please note that LAHS does *not* have the whole Thanksgiving week off; just Thursday and Friday. The December break is longer, however, than LASD. (see bell schedule)
Students who are on LAHS athletic teams as freshmen are exempt from PE during those seasons. If students indicate on their registration that they will try out for 2 teams, they will probably be given 7th period PE so it can be dropped from their schedule easily. Dance team does not count as a team sport. LAHS requires 2 years of PE for graduation. There are many sports available at LAHS. Example:
The high school offers free services at its on-site tutorial center. Many dedicated volunteer tutors (student and adult) assist students throughout the day and after school. Make sure your student is aware of this resource and uses it as needed. In addition, each student is assigned a guidance counselor (the same one for all 4 years) who can help him/her with course selection, progress towards graduation, summer opportunities and more. All students meet with their counselor at least one time per year and parents are encouraged to attend. Additional meetings may be set up if needed.
Students and parents are encouraged to take advantage of the many services offered by the Center. Our computers allow students to explore college and career choices through Family Connection and other programs and they can contact college websites through internet access. SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and ACT test applications are available as well as UC and CSU admission applications. Financial Aid and scholarship information is available as well. Students and parents may check out school information videotapes, college guides, career resource books and test preparation materials.
Fall brings visits by college representatives from around the country to the College and Career Resource Center to speak with interested students and parents. The dates of these visits are posted in the Center in advance and on Family Connection. The Center is also a source of occupational information for students and sponsors workshops for seniors who are undecided about their plans after high school.
There are as many opportunities for participation in community building and parent involvement as there are parents of students at Los Altos High School. Please consider joining and participating in the activities of the PTSA. Remember it is your student who will benefit from your participation and support of the school.
Your membership in the PTSA is very important to LAHS not just for its monetary value but for the profound support membership gives your students and teachers. Tentative budget can be viewed here. Student Directories are included with PTSA membership. Basic membership is $15, Family Membership is $30, and Silver Eagle is $75. LAHS PTSA Volunteer Sign-up and Membership forms are located in the LAHS office. If you have any questions, concerns and/or comments, please contact the President.
Los Altos High School PTSA meetings will usually be held on the first Tuesday of the month in the Library at 6:45pm. Look for updates and additional information in the Eagle Flights newsletter that is mailed out to parents once a month. It contains general information about LAHS, upcoming school events and activities. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come and GET INVOLVED! Los Altos High School PTSA meetings will be held every other month starting on Tuesday, September 4 in the Library at 6:45PM (September 4, November 6, January 9 (because of vacation), March 4, and May 6).
There are many ways for parents to volunteer and become involved at Los Altos High School. From volunteering in the College/Career Center or in the front office, to helping out at different school events/activities like the Back to School Breakfast for Teachers/Staff or, Writer's Conference Week. We have something for everyone. The PTSA organizes our parent volunteers.
few years ago students could not enroll in AP/Honors courses without a certain GPA in pre-requisite courses. They have done away with this policy and any student willing to take on the workload of these courses may register. Students requesting Honors or AP classes will need to sign a contract that they understand the amount of homework involved (up to 2 hours of homework nightly).
You will hear reference to "A to G" frequently at high schools. This refers to the UC requirements for admission listed as "A-G" courses. The UC Admissions site has the full listing. Summary of "A-G":
a) History/Social Science - 2 years required
b) English - 4 years required
c) Mathematics - 3 years required, 4 years recommended
d) Laboratory Science - 2 years required, 3 years recommended
e) Language other than English - 2 years required, 3 years recommended
f) Visual and performing Arts (VPA) - 1 year required
g) College-Preparatory Electives - 1 year required
Sports and music take on more intensity at the high school level. Try-outs, camps, practices and other mandatory activities for participation can span weekends, later into school nights and also school scheduled holiday periods. Plan your family time and vacations accordingly and balance with the academic load. Be informed about the commitments of each program before committing. LAHS has 50+ clubs and students are encouraged to join one or more. They typically meet once per month at lunchtime and are a great way to get involved. LAHS holds a "club day" in mid-September for students to learn about all the clubs.
Marching Band: Parents often have questions about marching band, so this is a quick overview. Freshmen begin practicing with the marching band the week before school starts. Practices are every day from about 1-9pm with a mini-performance and a fun barbeque on the Saturday before school starts. Students go away to band camp from Friday (mid-day) to Sunday a week after school starts. In the fall, they practice every school day beginning at 6:55am and after school on Tuesdays & Thursdays until 6pm. It is possible that freshmen do not play the drums in the marching band, but you should double-check with LAHS. Marching band apparently ends in late November.