Open Announcements

March 7, 2021

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Dear Open High Family,

This week marks one year since school has been closed. It's sometimes hard to believe how much change we have all experienced in one year's time. The challenges have been real, but we should come out of this pandemic stronger and better prepared for the unexpected. Our school will remain closed until next school year, but when will the next school year begin? If you have not already done so, please take the survey on the proposed year-round calendar for RPS. We want to ensure that a diversity of voices are heard regarding this very important topic. Additionally, there will be a series of virtual Calendar Conversations which we encourage families to participate in. Please register here.

The above image is a recent work by junior Kristian Crosby and featured in the Virginia Art Education Association's Virtual Art Show in celebration of Youth Art Month. Watch the full presentation here. Congratulations Kristian!

Virtual school is still school. Students need to be in each class, on time, each day. Technology should rarely be an issue, and no students should be doing classwork by phone. We have Chromebooks available for ALL students. Wednesday afternoons are a great time to pick yours up if you haven't already, and deliveries can be arranged. If wifi connectivity is an issue, please let your teachers and Ryan know. 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 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.

A few updates:

  • Interims will be available on Apsen, Wednesday, March 10th.
  • Students shared presentations on local, Black-owned businesses at Friday's Town Meeting. Read more about them below.
  • SAT School Day for juniors will take place on April 13. If you are interested, please complete the form here ASAP. Please also complete this form if you wish to participate in Method SAT Test Prep.
  • Check out all the Student Opportunities below. The deadline for Partnership for the Future is Monday, March 8!
  • Open presents our first annual Film Contest! Students may work in teams or independently to represent their Family. Films should be between 3 and 20 minutes in length. Scripts are due for review on April 12. Screening will be at our annual Art Expo! Family points and cash prizes for each category! Cadence Theater is also sponsoring an Inaugural Documentary + Mockumentary Film Competition and Festival. Show off your talents to the wider world!

Continue reading for other 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


Celebrate Black History and Local Black Entrepreneurs Every Month

On Friday in Town Meeting, students gave presentations on local Black-owned businesses. We encourage all members of our community to support these inspiring entrepreneurs. You can also get the Blocal App, developed by Richmond's Markeisha Harris-Minor, and locate Black-owned businesses all across the country.

Helping our Community

Thanks to the many members of our community that made bags for the houseless in Richmond. There is still time to drop off bags at Open on Wednesday, March 10 from 1:00-4:30 p.m. We are asking each student to provide 10 snack bags for Homeward--a group that provides access to a Safety Net Shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness. Covid-19 has significantly restricted typical resources. Gallon ziplock bags can include simple items like pop-tarts, granola bar, fruit cup, cheese/PB crackers, juice box/water, nuts, and personal note of encouragement.

OHS Art Expo & Auction 2021

Please save the date for the annual (virtual) Open High Art Expo 2021 May 31, 2021 - June 5, 2021. 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 all of the art classes in school year 2021-22. The Art Expo & Auction 2021 is seeking art, sponsors & 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.

Support for AP Courses and Exam Preparation

The 4x4 schedule makes preparation for spring AP exams challenging, but there are many supports in place for students to continue their learning throughout the spring.

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.

Class of 2021--A Year to Remember


Tentative dates for graduation are as follows:

  • Virtual Graduation: Friday, 6/18, at 7:00 p.m.
  • In-Person Graduation: Tuesday, 6/22 at 10:00 a.m. Oregon Hill Overlook

Senior Memory Book
Ryan will be composing a Memory Book, and each senior will have their own page. Please be creative and make it yours! Include pictures and a short Bio--enough to say who you are, where and what you will be doing after you graduate. You can add what you have loved about Open. Also, send any pictures you may have from your years at Open HS. Send a baby picture as well and even consider designing your own page! All content must be approved by Clary. PICTURES ARE DUE BY MARCH 15 via email or in shared Google Drive on Class of 2021 Classroom. Need help or have questions? Contact Ryan at 780-4661.

Senior Pictures

We WILL be offering senior pictures after all! Thanks so much for your patience as we work out the details of how to best ensure safety during this event. We'll offer at least two days with evening and weekend hours. More info to come.

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.

College Application Timeline: February and March

  • Confirm applications – Most colleges will send you a confirmation that your application has been received and is being processed. If you haven't gotten receipt confirmation for any of your applications, do so as soon as possible.
  • Financial aid – You submitted your FAFSA in December, and by now you should be receiving a Student Aid Report, or SAR. Review this carefully and verify that everything is accurate. Discrepancies on this form may result in the loss of thousands of dollars in financial aid.
  • Late applications – Some schools have late deadlines or rolling admissions policies, meaning there is no set deadline and applications may be submitted anytime in the winter or spring. As with everything else, it is still wise to apply as early as you can. You never know how competitive open seats will be.
  • Acceptance letters – Acceptance, rejection and wait list letters may start arriving as early as February or March. In most cases, you will have until the end of April to make a decision. If you haven't received any letters yet, don't worry. It is common for letters to go out in April.

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!

Art Opportunity for RPS Students – Art 180 is now accepting applications for their Edward Dean Robinson Artist Residency for RPS rising juniors and seniors. This is a fantastic opportunity to work with nationally recognized professional artists, develop new skills, and build a portfolio. Applications will remain open through April 1. If you're interested, please email Maurice Jackson at with questions.

The Mayor's Youth Academy provides development opportunities to youth throughout the city of Richmond which include: job readiness training, leadership development, exposure to entrepreneurship, mentoring, and post-secondary career exploration.

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.

Apply to Partnership for the Future (PFF) and gain invaluable access to college prep courses, personal development workshops, one-on-one counseling, and college savings-plan incentives. PFF arranges college visits and PAID workplace internships that place students on a clear path from high school to college to the workplace. The applications window has just opened and closes on March 8. Don't miss out on this FANTASTIC opportunity! Please reach out to Micah or Clary if you need any assistance or have questions.

AI Camp ( is offering 10 scholarships for their Introduction to AI lecture series. This lecture series is the same series that offered at Stanford University last summer and will introduce AI and careers in tech to you. No coding experience is needed. The opportunity is first-come, first serve, and the deadline for registration is at the end of this month. You can register it here: AI Camp is founded by Stanford Ph.Ds and advised by a Stanford Professor and CTOs in Silicon Valley.

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.