Frequently Asked Questions

1. How will the Freshman Program help my student transition into high school?  U-High is a unique environment.  We have students coming from approximately 15 different schools and a 30 mile radius.  Because of the uniqueness of this situation, the Freshman Program is a cross-curricular program designed to help students transition socially, academically and technologically.  Orientation Week, the first week of attendance for incoming freshmen, is spent introducing students to this new environment.  They will attend sessions dedicated to time management, online behavior, social activities, library, and more.  The cultural, social, and academic areas that are introduced during this week are further developed over the first nine weeks of the semester and, to some extent, over the course of the year.  Teachers meet once a week with the Freshman Student Asssistance Program (FSAP) which consists of Principal, Andrea Markert and team teachers to discuss student transition and progress.  Additionally, the Freshman Team teachers meet weekly with our literacy specialist, Dr. Tami Dean (trdean2@ilstu.edu) to explore various literacy strategies to support classroom instruction and independent student work. It is the goal of the Freshman Program to see every freshman develop according to his/her ability and to succeed here at U-High and beyond.

2. What resources are available for my student if he/she struggles with a course?  In the SAP weekly meetings, student weaknesses, such as organization, time management, study skills, literacy skills, etc, are identified and teachers and specialists develop strategies to help each student overcome those obstacles.  Individual instruction and/or tutoring is often provided through the U-Link Literacy & Learning Center.  Through U-High’s connection to ISU, we have wonderful access to specialists who are able to help teachers and students further develop a plan of action for overcoming academic and social transitions.

3. How much homework will my student have? On average, a freshman student will have between 90 minutes and 2 hours of homework each night, approximately 15-20 minutes per academic subject.  Homework is an important opportunity for students to practice the skills  they are acquiring in each class.  If homework is consuming more time than this the student should immediately talk to his/her teacher.  Teachers can often times provide strategies for completing homework in a more timely and efficient manner.

4. Where can I find the homework posted for my student’s classes?  Most teachers post homework on the blackboard calendar.  Your student needs to log on to Blackboard and find the homework posted for that day.  Students will also be encouraged to write their homework down in their school planner or to utilize the “sticky notes” feature on their netbooks to track daily assignments.

5. How can I check on my student’s academic progress? Go to the U-High homepage and click on the link “Family Access” on the green strip at the top of the page.  Through Skyward’s Family Access you can monitor your child’s grades and missing assignments.  Please make sure your address, e-mail, and phone number information is up to date as this is the tool used to communicate with parents, send out Freshman Program weekly newsletters, and to send out important Skylert information such as school closings.

6. What should I do if I lose my Family Access password? You can call the front office (309)438-3349 and Ms. Linda Witte (lswitte@ilstu.edu) can provide you with your login and access password.

7. What do the terms “formative” and “summative” assessment mean?  As our school community works to  maintain best practices according to current educational research, you may hear some terms that are unfamiliar. Most commonly you may hear the phrases formative and summative assessment.  Here are the definitions of those terms:

  • A formative assessment is any assessment that is used during the learning process when the skill is first being formed. Formative assessments may include class work, homework, and smaller tasks that require the students to practice a newly acquired skill. Teachers use formative assessments to provide students with feedback before they are required to demonstrate their level of mastery of the skills being taught.  Since formative assessments reflect a student’s earliest stages of learning, they are given minimal weight in the overall grade (generally, 0-10%).  Regardless of the weight given to formative assessments, they must be recorded in skyward.
  • A summative assessment, on the other hand, is an assessment in which a student is expected to demonstrate their level of acquisition of a skill. A summative assessment, such as a test, paper, or project, generally comes after the student has had sufficient practice of a standard(s) and is used to report a student’s level of mastery of the unit skills by means of a grade.  Summatives may assess one or more standards addressed in the unit. Formative work is the student’s opportunity to practice before being evaluated by a summative assessment.  Therefore, summative assessments reflect the majority of the student’s grade (generally, 90-100%   

8. Where can my student obtain tech assistance for his/her netbook?  There are some troubleshooting tips available on the Tech Help blog linked here: http://www.uhigh.ilstu.edu/blogs/netbookhelp/.  Students can also obtain help at the Student Help Desk located in room. Help Desk hours will be posted on the webpage during the first week of school. 

9. What should my student do if they are unable to print from home?  Technological issues are inevitable; however, students are expected to handle these situations responsibly. Tech issues do not equal a free pass on an assignment.  If a student is unable to print at home, he/she should e-mail the assignment to his/her teacher.  Teachers will always be flexible within reason.
10. When and how should I contact my student’s teacher? The educational experience of each student is most successful when teachers, parents, and students are all communicating.  If you have concerns about your child’s progress, please do not hesitate to contact the teachers.  The office number for the Freshman Program  and the e-mails of all Freshman Program teachers are available on the “Contact Us” link on this blog.  We look forward to working with you and your student and welcome you to U-High!