Open Announcements

February 28, 2021

Dear Open High Family,

It was wonderful spending a few moments with the Class of 2021 on Friday during Class Meeting. We recognize how hard this year has been for all students, but especially for seniors who must forgo so many of the rituals of their senior year. We still intend to celebrate our seniors as best we can. Please read below for updates on graduation, memory books, senior pictures, and more.

If you have not already done so, please take the survey on the proposed year-round calendar for RPS. Currently, we’ve had 1800 families participate with a disproportionate representation from white and more affluent families. We want to ensure that a diversity of voices are heard regarding this very important topic. Additionally, families can call the Family Support Line at 804.780.6195 and an operator can complete it for them over the phone. It is in English and Spanish.

SAT School Day for juniors will take place on April 13. If you are interested, please complete the form here ASAP.

Thanks to our fabulous Open Announcements Team! Each week they keep us informed and inspire us with their enthusiasm--Griffin, Wilber, Sydney, Casey, and others working behind the scenes--you all rock! Families can watch video announcements by visiting our website.

A few students have yet to pick up Second Semester materials. And Chromebooks are still available for every student at Open. I am in the building Monday-Wednesday, 8:30-4:30, so just let me know when to expect a visit. Make sure you pause at the new temperature check to scan your wrist or forehead!

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


Helping our Community

The ice and cold we're experiencing should remind us of those who are most vulnerable. At Open we want our students to help strengthen communities even in small ways. This year our school will participate in a volunteer project to help the homeless in Richmond. 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 when the temperature is below 40. Covid-19 has significantly restricted typical resources. Your compassionate meal/snack bags will help keep individuals healthy and hopeful during the winter months. 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.

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.

Name Verification

Seniors need to verify their name for their diplomas NOW. Your name must be just as it is on your birth certificate. Please complete the following form:

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.

FAFSA & Scholarships

  • 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!

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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.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Edgenuity and Performance Tasks from Spring 2020 due March 15

This is an important announcement for any student who has yet to complete an Edgenuity module or Performance Task from last spring. RPS has extended the deadline for completion to March 15. Please read the letter immediately bellow which explains grading procedures for Incomplete courses.

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.

If you have any questions regarding your Edgenuity modules or Performance Tasks, please let Clary ( or Micah ( know.

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!

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.

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.