Open Announcements

February 7, 2021

Dear Open High Family,

To have completed this first virtual semester is a triumph for students, teachers, and parents! Our community has shown perseverance, patience, and grace during a very challenging time, and this should make us proud. Families and staff have been personally touched by the virus, and grief has been ever present this school year. Still, we keep going. What helps is knowing that we're not alone, and help is available. As King T’Challa from Black Panther says, “We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” At Open, we want students to feel like they are part of one single supportive and compassionate tribe.

As we begin new classes, we strongly encourage students to turn on cameras during synchronous instruction. We know if feels risky, but everyone's experience would be enhanced if cameras were on, and faces could be read. We also know that distractions at home can make this request especially difficult, and internet can also be an obstacle. But if a teacher asks for a camera on or a mic unmuted to check for understanding or as part of a specific activity, we ask that students comply. Parents, please help reinforce this at home as much as possible.

We are excited to be one of the pilot high schools offering Real Richmond: A Study of the City of Richmond. Chad will be teaching this class which aims to engage students with a more accurate and thorough account of Richmond history. Don't miss RPS Live! on Wednesday at 7 pm for a discussion about this course. Also check out Hidden In Plain Site--a virtual tour of Richmond telling the story of the Black experience throughout history.

And mark your calendars for next week's RPS Live! on Intergenerational Experiences of Black Richmonders. Several RPS students including our own Cameron Allen will participate in a panel discussion with adults about growing up here – in the past and now. Panelists will also include Douglas Powell/Roscoe Burnems, First Poet Laureate of Richmond and Tamara Copeland, author of Daughters of the Dream which students will read in the Real Richmond course.

Read below for more important information and upcoming dates to add to your calendar. If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact me at or at (804) 229-9961.

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

Clary Carleton


Mark Your Calendars!

Monday, February 8

  • No school for students

Tuesday, February 9

  • First day of 2nd Semester
Wednesday, February 10
  • RPS Live! on REAL Richmond Course, RPS Facebook, 7 pm

Friday, February 12

  • Class Meeting after Family. See Class Classroom for link.
  • Feb 12, NEW DEADLINE for Spring Edgenuity/Performance Tasks (see below)


  • Feb 13, Science SOLs for select students
  • Feb 16, Report Cards distributed
  • Feb. 17, RPS Live! on Intergenerational Experiences of Black Richmonders, 7 pm
  • Feb. 18, Pies & Pints PTSA Fundraiser (see below)
  • Feb. 22, ECA application deadline (see below)

Check out our Instagram account @openhighrva for fun facts celebrating Black History Month. Take advantage of the essay contest below and get your writing entered into the Congressional Record!

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Attendance, Aspen, Spring Semester Schedules

All students are expected to be in class and on time. If you are not in attendance, it is expected that we receive a note from a parent or guardian. Please send absence/tardy/early dismissal notes or any other administrative concern to Ryan at She can also be reached at (804) 780-4661. Parents and students can also request access to the Aspen Student Portal. Here you can access attendance record, student schedules, grades, and additional information.

IMPORTANT! Edgenuity and Performance Tasks from Spring 2020 Due February 12

This is an important announcement for any student who has yet to complete an Edgenuity module or Performance Task from last spring. The deadline for completion is now February 12. If these are not completed by the deadline, grades will be lowered to reflect lack of completion. If you have any questions regarding your Edgenuity modules or Performance Tasks, please let Clary ( or Micah ( know.

Performance Tasks can be found here for Art, Creative Writing, African American Studies, and all CTE courses. Edgenuity can be accessed here. The requirements for Edgenuity modules has also been reduced from 80% to 60% completion! Intensive sessions to complete can be arranged with VCU tutors and/or with Clary.

SOL Testing for Select Students

At this time, SOL testing is only for 9th graders in their first high school math or science class (taken first semester), and 12th graders in need of a verified credit. If you do not plan to take the in-person SOL in January or February, it will be deferred until the spring when 9th graders will also take Algebra I, II, or Geometry. Juniors (or those enrolled in AP English Language) will take the English SOL in the spring as well. If you plan to take an SOL, you must have an RPS issued Chromebook. Students can still fill out the attached interest survey for February testing, but transportation is no longer available.

Testing for Open students in Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Science will all take place at Richmond Community High School on Saturday, February 13 at 8:30 a.m.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided. A picture ID is needed to be admitted to testing. If you have any questions about testing, please contact Clary at

Early College Academy, SY 2021-2022

Applications are now available for the Early College Academy (ECA) (see document below). If you are interested in ECA for your junior and senior years, please plan to attend one of the virtual information sessions. Reach out to Micah at if you have any questions.

Things to Consider:

  • Students must complete the application and include the required essay. Students may type their essay or upload an essay to the form. Students should not put their name on their essay. They should use their student identification number. The naming convention for essays is as follows: ECA Essay-0000555

  • The essay prompt is: Success in college-level work requires certain habits of mind: persisting, thinking flexibly, finding humor, thinking about thinking, striving for accuracy, applying past knowledge to new situations, taking responsible risks. Reflecting back on your school years, in an essay, describe how you have already developed up to three of these habits, and identify at least one habit you will need to develop further as a student in the Early College Academy. Please limit your response to between 250 - 500 words.

  • The application window will be open from January 22- February 22 at 11:59 p.m.

  • Students will provide email addresses for their recommenders. Recommenders will receive a separate electronic form to complete for the student. Students have the option of providing an alternate recommender. The alternate recommendation will only be used if their recommender 1 or recommender 2 does not respond to the request. Recommenders are listed as teachers, but can be other educators/school team members who have insight into the student's ability to succeed in a dual enrollment program.

  • The deadline for completing recommendations is March 3, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

  • ECA decisions will be shared with school counselors and letters will be postmarked on March 12.

VCU Tutoring Resumes

VCU Tutoring is back! Remember to introduce yourself, and let the tutor know what you're working on. The tutors are eager to help Open students, so please take advantage of this great opportunity! See flyer below. Here are the links:

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Important Information for Seniors and Senior Parents

  • Senior Dues for the Class of 2021 are due by April 16, 2021. The total due is $68.00 and this will pay for your cap/gown/tassel and announcements. Senior dues can be paid online by using this website: which can also be found on our website homepage. If you have any questions or concerns please email Ryan, Caroline, or Clary or call the school at 804-780-4661.
  • Check out the scholarships available from the Community Foundation.
  • The Visa Black Scholars and Jobs Program, in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), is a new program designed for college-bound Black and African American students in the United States. Eligible high school seniors applying or intending to enroll as a full-time undergraduate in any four-year accredited college or university in the U.S. can receive a needs-based scholarship grant of up to $20,000/year. Scholars who continue to meet the criteria, remain in good standing and maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA will be eligible for annual renewals. Upon graduation, all scholarship recipients who have met their commitments will be guaranteed a full-time job with Visa. The establishment of this program is aligned with Visa’s commitment to cultivate an inclusive and diverse workplace that supports the development and advancement of all. See application below. Click here for application.

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!

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!

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.

Current high school students, parents, guardians, and education professionals are invited to register for the 2021 Summer Pre-College Virtual Program Fairs, taking place beginning in January 2021. Attendees will have the opportunity to connect with representatives from leading US colleges and universities to learn more about Summer 2021 academic programs for high school students. Feb. 3 and Feb. 20. Registration is FREE to all attendees for this:

The Global Health Leaders Conference at Johns Hopkins University invites students in grades 9-12 to learn about issues in global health, public health, and medicine directly from world leaders in these fields, forge friendships and connections with like-minded exceptional students, and share their own work and ideas on global health-related topics by presenting in our student speaker series. Virtual conference no more than $39, but may be waived upon acceptance if a barrier to participation. Visit to apply by Feb 28, 2021.

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