Open Announcements

April 25, 2021

Dear Open High Family,

Did you know there are only 8 weeks left of school? And only 7 weeks for seniors whose last day is June 11? This is so close, and we want everyone to finish the year strong and healthy. All of us--students, educators, and guardians--must keep prioritizing emotional wellness. We know that without this, academics will suffer, and this is true even without the added challenges of the virtual environment. Students should keep doing their best and communicate with teachers about what they need.


This is our busy testing season with both SOL and AP testing right around the corner. See below for updates on these important tests.

School Reopening

If you haven't already heard, there will only be Two School Options for 2021-2022:

  1. Five-day/week in-person learning option
  2. Five-day/week virtual option through Virtual Virginia.
Online classes with Virtual Virginia begin on August 24. Check out the community events RPS will be hosting throughout the Spring and Summer to ensure our communities are prepared, informed, and excited to #ReopenWithLove2.0!

Consider signing up for one of our Open Volunteer Days to help us beautify our building!

Town Meeting will be held on Friday, April 30 right after Family. Check the School-wide Google Classroom for the Zoom link later this week. There will also be a special Senior Class Meeting immediately following this.

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3-7! To say that teachers have risen to the occasion is an understatement. Please don't hesitate to show your love! Students can even share 30 second Shout Out videos which can be emailed to by Thursday, April 29.

The deadline for Course Selection on SchooLinks has been extended again to May 7. See details below. And deadlines also loom for lots of great Student Opportunities which you can read about below.

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


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. More info on End of Course (EOC) SOL Testing is attached in the document below.

In-person testing for Open students will take place at Richmond Community High School. Safety protocols will be followed 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. 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 (Multiple Choice and Essay Writing) 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.
  • June 5 Make-up Testing/Expedited Retakes/EOC 11 Writing Part 2
  • June 12 Make-up Testing/Expedited Retakes

9th grade students currently enrolled in World History I will take a local assessment, administered virtually. This is in lieu of the EOC SOL history test.

NEW! AP Testing Update

All AP Students should

  • Know their College Board username and password. If you click Remember Me you won't have to log on each time. DO NOT FORGET YOUR PASSWORD.
  • Download and install the AP Digital Testing App now. The App has been pushed out to all RPS Chromebooks.
  • Practice sample questions in App or through AP Classroom.
  • Complete exam setup 3 calendar days prior to exam FOR EACH EXAM.
  • Check into exam 30 minutes early. THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL.

Please see the latest AP Newsletter below for more information. AP FLOAT Tutoring is also 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

Course Selection on SchooLinks

The deadline for Course Selection has been extended to May 7. 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.

Class of 2021: A Year to Remember

It was awesome to our seniors last week! You LAST DAY of classes is Friday, June 11!

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 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!

Early College Academy

ECA Graduation is on May 15, 2 pm at the Parham Road Campus, 1 pm for check in. Students MUST register by Saturday, May 1 at 5:00 pm to participate in Commencement: 2 guests per student. The ceremony will be streamed online for those unable to attend.

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

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!

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.

Jobs open with Flying Squirrels Baseball! (High School Students) – The Flying Squirrels are hiring for seasonal roles which offer valuable, real-world experience while also earning money as Virginia's minimum wage is set to increase to $9.50 on May 1st, with some jobs starting higher than that. For more information, including job descriptions and interview times, please visit their website here.

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.