Open Announcements

April 18, 2021

Dear Open High Family,

It's Administrative Professionals Week which means it's time to celebrate our Office Associate, Ryan Eldridge! She serves Open High with love each and every day. Ryan is our receptionist, registrar, office manager, finance officer, procurement specialist, attendance team leader, senior class co-sponsor, webmaster, yearbook sponsor, and mama bear. She has five children of her own, and her parental wisdom is well known to our students. We love her and can't wait for our new students and families to work more closely with her in-person next year. Please read the RPS Proclamation for Administrative Professionals Week here. Thank you Ryan for all you do for Open High!

Parent Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Friday, April 23. There is no school for students on this day. A sign up sheet to meet with individual teachers can be found here.

If you are a parent of a 9th or 11th grader, please complete, the RPS Parent Intent Survey for SOL Testing if you haven't already. The deadline has been extended to Friday, April 23. See details with specific dates below.

The deadline for Course Selection on SchooLinks has been extended to Tuesday, April 20. See details below.

Student & Family Community Conversations Like many of our families, we are eager to open our doors to our students and staff this Fall! In preparation, check out the virtual, in-person, and community events RPS will be hosting throughout the Spring and Summer to ensure our communities are prepared, informed, and excited to #ReopenWithLove2.0! The updated Reopen with Love 2.0 Fall Reopening Plan can be viewed here and will be presented for School Board approval at Monday's meeting at 6:00 pm on FaceBook Live. There will be two options for families: In-Person, 5 Day/Week or Virtual, 5 Days/Week. The virtual option will be provided through Virtual Virginia. These classes begin on August 24. We will regularly update families as our specific reopening plans for Open develop throughout the spring.

Senior Pictures are scheduled for Thursday, April 22, 1-6 pm and Friday, April 23, 3-6 pm. See below for details.

Get your vaccines! Starting today, any Virginian 16 and older can find and schedule an appointment directly at or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA.

Scripts for the Open's first annual Short Film Contest were due for review on Friday. Please send to Vic ASAP at Also, check out the Math Beauty Contest below. Keep reading for other important updates. If you have any questions, never hesitate to contact me at or at 804.229.9961.

As always, be well, stay safe, and keep celebrating Open minds!

Clary Carleton


Course Selection on SchooLinks

The deadline for Course Selection has been extended to Tuesday, April 20. Please remember that course requests are not set in stone. We know there are some glitches with the platform which we don't control. We also know what classes students need. What is essential is that you communicate which electives you want, as well as alternatives. As most of you know your final schedule will depend on which classes are available at which times, and there are built in limitations at a small school. Still, we make every effort to ensure you get what you want. If you have errors that you can't eliminate, look at the bottom of the page with a line saying "Course Plan Notes." On that line, please type in "Finished" or "Complete" and you should be able to submit. If you have questions, please contact Micah at

We encourage all rising seniors to take AP Seminar which you can read more about here. This innovate elective course will provide superb preparation for college regardless of major. Other new courses we are proposing for next year are AP Modern World History (for all 10th graders), AP European, and Sociology. As a reminder, students in Grades 9-11 should have 7 courses, and students in Grade 12 should have 5-6 courses for a full schedule.

All guidance documents for SchooLinks can be found on our school website.

NEW! SOL Testing Updates

Federal and state education departments have not waived state testing as they did last year. Virginia high school students must pass approved tests to earn verified credits for graduation in certain subjects. If you are the parent of a 9th or 11th grade student, complete the RPS Parent Intent Survey for SOL Testing. The deadline has been extended to Friday, April 23.

In-person testing will take place at one of the following testing sites: Richmond Community, MLK, Huguenot, Boushall, or Franklin Military. Safety protocols will be followed at all sites according to CDC guidelines. Students who do not take in-person End of Courses SOL tests this spring will be marked as "absent," "parental refusal," or "did not test." In order to receive verified credits, students will be required to test during a future test administration.

An email will be sent to parents regarding testing dates, times, and locations once the survey is completed. Transportation will be provided for students who request it. Students should bring a charged RPS Chromebook with a power cord. If you still need to pick up a Chromebook, please contact Clary ASAP at

Here are the Saturday dates and tests being administered:

  • May 1 End of Course Writing SOL for all students currently taking AP English Language and all ECA juniors.
  • May 8 End of Course Reading SOL for all students currently taking AP English Language and all ECA juniors.
  • May 15 Biology and Chemistry SOLs for 9th grade students who took during the Fall 2020 semester who have not yet tested.
  • May 22 Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra 2 SOLs for 9th grade students who are currently enrolled or who took last semester and have not yet tested.

9th grade students currently enrolled in World History I will take a local assessment, administered virtually. This is in lieu of the required verified credit in History.

UPDATE: We will NOT administer the spring testing of the MAP Growth Assessment for Algebra I, Geometry, and English 9-10 in the spring.

Math Beauty Contest

The study of mathematics asks students to think in new and different ways which is simply good exercise for the brain. But mathematics--as our beloved math teacher Irina will tell anyone--is also beautiful. To glimpse the beauty of math, check out this short video about Cornell professor Steven Strogatz on the secret universe of patterns revealed by mathematics.

This year, Open is excited to be participating in the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics 2021 Math Beauty Contest. Students show their problem solving ability in "beautiful ways" by choosing one of two problems for Algebra I or for Above Algebra I. Entries should be submitted to Irina by May 5 and postmarked for mail entry by May 7 according to the instructions provided. Read the Official Rules here. Each entrant from Open will receive a prize just for trying!

Early College Academy

Reynolds will hold an an In-person Commencement Ceremony on May 15 at 2 pm for ECA seniors. The deadline to register is May 1st, 2021. Students are able to have 2 guests. Students can pick up regalia on May 5th at the Downtown Campus

Maymester for Juniors begins on Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 with two classes added to the SPA 102 schedule - through June 11th.

  • ITE115: MWF 8:30AM - 11:20AM
  • HLT 115 & SPA 102: T/TH 8:30 - 9:50 & 10:00 - 11:20 AM (Alternating sections)
  • ALL classes will remain virtual

AP Testing Update

The AP Digital Testing App from College Board is now available at for students to download and install on their testing computers. RPS Tech Services is developing a plan to support the download of the testing app on division Chromebooks. Stay tuned! All students should use the Digital Practice to work with example questions, try tools and features, and confirm that their technology works as expected.

Please see the AP Newsletter below for information on new AP Float Tutoring provided by RPS teachers. Sign up here. In addition, all AP students have access to College Board's AP Classroom with AP Daily videos and other valuable resources. RPS also partners with the National Math & Science Initiative (NMSI) to provide teacher and student support for AP. Students should register with NMSI (see Course Registration below) to take advantage of Live Online Student Sessions as well as on-demand modules. Consider setting up weekly tutoring sessions with VCU tutors to review material from first semester courses. Even Khan Academy provides free prep for multiple AP courses.


  • All students are expected to take AP exams.
  • Students will take AP tests digitally at home with the exception of *AP Spanish Language.
  • Students enrolled in the fall semester will take their AP exam in Administration 2. The exceptions are AP Calculus and AP Statistics.
  • Students enrolled in the spring semester will take their AP exam in Administration 3.
  • Students with a personal computer can download the app at this time.
  • Portfolio submission (AP CSP and AP Studio Art) deadlines are May 20, 11:59 pm (with earlier student deadlines).

Administration 2

  • AP US History, May 19, 12:00 pm
  • AP Art History, May 19, 4 pm
  • AP US Government (SM1), May 20, 12 pm
  • *AP Spanish Language, May 21, 8:00 am (at Richmond Community HS)
  • AP Human Geography (SM1), May 28, 12 pm

Administration 3

  • AP English Literature, June 1, 12 pm
  • AP US Government (SM2), June 3, 12 pm
  • AP English Language, June 7, 12 pm
  • AP Computer Science, June 7, 4 pm
  • AP Human Geography (SM2), June 8, 12 pm
  • AP Calculus, June 9, 8:00 am
  • AP Statistics, June 10, 12 pm
  • AP Biology, June 11, 12 pm
  • AP Environmental Science, June 11, 4 pm

Class of 2021: A Year to Remember

Senior Pictures: April 22, 1-6 and April 23, 3-6

Don't miss this opportunity! Book your photo session here: There is a $25 session fee which will be applied to the purchase of pictures. Pay online when you schedule your appointment. Students/parents must sign a waiver to wear supplied formal attire. Please wear a white t-shirt if you plan to wear a tux and wear a tank top or garment that allows you to have bare shoulders if you plan to wear a drape. Students will pick up caps, gowns, and announcements at this time. Covid safety procedures will be in effect. Students are still expected to attend all classes and family. For those who will not be taking pictures, there will be a separate sign up for time slots to pick up your cap and gown on these days. You will also be asked to provide a photograph(s) for our Virtual Graduation.

Commencement 2021

  • Virtual Graduation: Friday, June 18, 7:00 pm. Students will be asked to provide a senior portrait as well as additional photos for the Class of 2021 roll call. The virtual program will be broadcast live and include music, speeches, and the ability for families to interact with graduates through social media.
  • In-Person Diploma Pick Up: Tuesday, June 22, 10:00 am-12:30 pm, Oregon Hill Overlook. This will be a "drive by" event, and students can have one car per graduate. Students will wear their caps/gowns and proceed from their car to a central location for pickup and photograph. While we know this is far from ideal, we expect a festive atmosphere, and we encourage graduates to decorate their cars like floats in a parade.

Scholarships & FAFSA
  • PECS (Personalized Exploration for College Success) at VCU is providing a flexible, free, and virtual essay feedback portal. Students can submit their college or scholarship essays to our form and receive personalized feedback from trained PECS mentors within a week of submission. All feedback is completely remote, and students can access the flexible portal at whatever time is convenient for their schedules.
  • If you haven't already completed, make time TODAY to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Even if you're not sure about next year, completing this will give you more options! The application is available online at Here is a link from CollegeBoard on how to complete the FAFSA: Ms. Dixon ( from GRASP and Ms. Kennedy ( from the Future Center are also available to assist your families with this process.

More scholarships can be found at Micah's Counselor Connection Classroom. Don't hesitate to reach out to Micah ( with any questions about planning your next steps, regardless of the direction!

Open-Honors Connect Tutoring

Tutoring with VCU Honors College students through Open-Honors Connect is a fantastic opportunity for our students to get homework help or to review material for spring exams (SOL, AP, SAT). Good students seek help from others! Please complete this form at the end of each week, so we can give our tutors a heads-up on who to expect. Remember to introduce yourself, and let the tutor know what you're working on. The tutors are eager to help! Here are the links:

Student Opportunities

There are so many wonderful opportunities for our students to develop and explore their interests, even in a virtual environment. We encourage all students to actively pursue experiences outside of school. Your school counselor, principal, and teachers are happy to assist you with applications! If you are looking for an opportunity, contact us and maybe we can find a match.

Congressman McEachin invites all high school students (grades 9-12), living in Virginia's fourth congressional district, to submit an original work of art for the 2021 Congressional Art Competition. Students should submit a high-resolution photo of their artwork and a completed Student Release and Information form via email to with the subject line "Art Competition" no later than 4:30PM Monday, April 26, 2021. Please see below for full competition rules and regulations and to download a release and information form.

the Virginia Dept. of Forestry and the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts are partnering to offer teens a new experience: the Virginia Academy of Natural Resources. This hybrid learning opportunity will take place July 12 – 16, 2021. Activities will include virtual presentations from 9:00 AM to 12:15 PM daily, self-guided field explorations in the afternoons, small group work on a project, and a mock Envirothon. Current 9th-12th graders may apply at Once notified of acceptance, campers will receive a schedule and materials for completing their daily field studies. The only cost for this week of fun and learning is $25 to cover materials. Applications will be accepted through April 30. Questions? Please contact Ellen Powell at

Rising 10th -12th grade students in Virginia who had neither parent graduate from a four-year college are invited to apply to become a Pathways Scholar through the Pathways for Future Engineers program in the Virginia Tech College of Engineering. The Pathways Scholar program is an all-expenses covered program in the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity that supports first-generation students and their families on the pathway from high school to an engineering degree. Applications can be completed online at this link. Deadline to apply is May 1, 2021.

Do you ever think about pursuing a policy-related degree in college? Consider the Summer Academy for Policy Leadership and Public Service Online (SAO) form June 27-July 10, 2021. This is an immersive 2-week introduction to public policy decision-making and the elements that affect policy. Scholarships are available. The application deadline is May 1.

The James River Leadership Expeditions (JRLE) is a year-long leadership program for all high school students who are interested in advocating for the future of the James River. This is a fantastic program that many of our students have participated in. Deadline for applications is May 3.

OHS Art Expo & Auction 2021

Please save the date for the annual (virtual) Open High Art Expo 2021 May 31, 2021 - June 5, 2021 sponsored by our Parent Teacher Student Association. Each year Open High School depends on the Art Auction to help fund the art department. This year our goal is to raise $5,000 to purchase art supplies for next year's art classes. The Art Expo & Auction 2021 is seeking art, sponsors, and donations:

  1. Art: All Students! We would love to receive your donation of any piece of art you make - painting, ceramic, jewelry, macrame, etc. (It is not necessary to be in Brigette's art class now or ever :)
  2. Sponsors: Will your business or family sponsor the Art Expo or match donations?
  3. Auction Items: Share your talents and gifts - perhaps some families would like to put together a basket for auction - wine, food, garden supplies, services, etc. Creativity welcome!

Please contact Pam Embrey or Brigette Newberry if you have questions.