December Family News Letter

Dear students and families of Central Academy,

First semester is coming to a close in about six weeks.  In school terms, we have eight A-days and eight B-days remaining (out of 43 days each). Attached is the FY2018 DMPS school calendar.  District Calendar  Some important dates to note:

December 12: 6 PM Informational meeting on Denmark Exchange (read below)

December 19: SPEAK Winter Celebration at Academy After Hours

December 20-21: Last day for charitable giving programs!

December 22: No classes, offices open.

January 3: Classes resume

January 5: Last day to turn in major projects

January 12: Last day of first semester

January 15: No classes in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

January 16: Second semester begins

January 22: No classes– staff in professional development

January 26: Last day for 8th grade students to change credit options


Every year we have an exchange with our sister school in Hjorring, Denmark.  We visit them and stay with host families in the fall and they visit us and stay with host families in the spring.  It is one of the least expensive international trips available since the host families provide housing and meals for a large portion of the trip.  We are looking for some 10th and 11th grade students who would be interested in hosting a Danish student during their stay April 7 – 11.  Hosting is part of the experience if you’d like to participate in the trip next fall. There will be informational meetings for interested students on Monday, December 11, at lunch and for parents and students on Tuesday, December 12 at 6PM in room 2016.


SPEAK, the student organization to promote mental health and remove the stigma from mental illness, is hosting a winter celebration during Academy After Hours on Tuesday, December 19, from 2:30 – 4:30.  The free event is organized and run by student leaders in SPEAK and will feature games and gratitude. Students are not required to stay the entire time if a parent wants to pick them up early. A bus back to middle or high schools will be available at 4:30 as usual.  SPEAK leaders have been selling out of hot chocolate to raise money for this and other events.  Thanks to everyone who have supported SPEAK’s efforts!


The Central Academy office staff is sponsoring a box for the US Marine’s Toys for Tots drive.  We will be accepting new, unwrapped toys through December 20. If you have a donation, just bring it by the Academy office. Learn more about the program at

The Central Academy staff, led by Mr. Schoneberg, has also organized a personal product drive to stock the pantry at our neighbor school, Scavo.  Soap, toothbrushes, laundry detergent, deodorant, toothpaste, lotion, toilet paper, feminine products, and other bathroom and laundry supplies are needed.  Anyone can bring donations to room 2023 before break.


In SRG courses, there are two types of scores: scores on individual pieces of evidence of learning (i.e.: assignments) and topic scores.  Topic scores are composite scores that reflect all the evidence of learning in that topic.  The topic scores can be revised, updated, and re-entered until the close of the semester when teachers submit final grades.  The teachers do NOT average the scores for individual assignments that are evidence of learning so that students are not penalized by an earlier low score when the student was still learning the material. Instead the teachers use the body of evidence (aka the scores on individual assignments) to determine the student’s level of skill in each topic area by the end of the semester.

The last day to turn in major projects (those that require a lot of grading time, such as Projects, Papers, etc.) is Friday, January 5. The week of January 8 is reserved for in-class final exams, student presentations, submission of additional evidence of learning, and preparation for second semester learning. The last day of the semester is Friday, January 12. Grades are due from teachers on January 15. All topic scores for all classes will be finalized between January 8 and 15 depending on the teacher’s work flow.

All classes will meet during the last week of the semester. In previous years, high school students were dismissed after lunch on the last two days of the semester. Since final exams are now just one more opportunity to demonstrate learning, and teachers can post topic scores earlier, we are able to remain in our regularly scheduled classes through the end of the semester.

Second semester begins on Tuesday, January 16.


Eighth grade students at Central Academy are taking high school level courses.  Because they are 8th graders, they have the option of earning high school level credit.  We automatically award high school credits for courses in which students earn A, B, or C grades.  We do not assign credit for grades of D or F.

If an 8th grade student does not want credit for a course in which they earned an A, B, or C, the parent has 2 weeks after the end of the semester to notify us in writing Email if you do NOT want credit for an A, B, or C grade.  The two week window gives the time needed to see the semester grade and get advice before making a decision.

Why wouldn’t someone want credit?  Sometimes students who earn B or C grades do not want those grades included on their high school transcript and GPA (grade point average).  But there is an important consideration, especially for mathematics students.  If a student earns a C in Algebra I, for example, and elects NOT to get the credit, they will still need 3 years of mathematics to graduate from high school.  So, they will have to take Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus at a minimum to graduate.  Other students who have Algebra I credit, may stop after Algebra II, if they choose.  If you have questions about eighth grade credit options, please contact our scheduling assistant,, 515-242-8543 or our counselor,, 515-242-7770.


Happy New Year to all our students and families and most especially to the Class of 2018!

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