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8th to 9th Grade Transition

Transitioning from middle school to high school is a very exciting time for our Round Rock ISD students! But this is also a time filled with lots of questions from both students and families alike. In order to support our students and their families during this time of change, Round Rock ISD is providing the following resources and opportunities:

  • In-school advisory lessons designed to help 8th graders better understand their choices
  • Informational sessions to help students explore High School Academies and electives
  • Videos that highlight A Day in the Life of a high school student
  • 8th to 9th Grade Family Transition Information Nights
  • Family seminars that explore how to earn college credit in high school*
  • Family seminars on navigating college admissions, assessments, and processes*

A full list of our available Future Readiness Family Seminars is available on Round Rock ISD’s Community Education website.

Transition Handbook

Each year, the Round Rock ISD counseling department releases a Middle to High School Transition Handbook.  This handbook can be found at Course Catalogs and Transition Guides

Transition Timeline

Eighth grade and ninth grade – Timeline and checklist

Spring of Eighth Grade Year


  • Attend high school orientation
  • Attend parent meetings on the middle school and high school campuses
  • For students looking to transfer to a different high school, complete transfer requests online through the Round Rock ISD website


  • Complete ninth grade course selection sheet with the help of your middle school counselor
  • Select endorsement
  • Register for high school courses and complete draft of Personal Graduation Plan (See appendix I)
  • Applications for Off-Campus PE must be sent to the district athletic department prior to the due date


  • Check HS websites for required summer readings for Pre-AP classes
  • Check due dates for required athletic physicals
  • Register for any needed freshman academic summer boot camps
  • Review summer dates for extracurricular activities (i.e. football, volleyball, and marching band)

Summer Prior to Freshman Year

June / July/ August

  • Attend academic boot camps
  • Attend extracurricular camps (tryouts are required for all athletic teams)
  • Attend Freshman Orientation

Freshman Year


  • Check schedule for all course requirements so that you will graduate on your desired graduation plan
  • Review school and teacher websites. Sign up for online communications (ex: Remind 101)
  • Attend campus Open House
  • Attend the Round Rock ISD College Fair. Pre-register to print out a personal bar
    code for college reps to scan for your contact information
  • Check Home Access for current grades and attendance; contact teachers if concerned with grades.


  • Attend Freshman conference (date may adjust depending on high school campus)


  • Prepare to take mid-term exams


  • Do grade checks; check into opportunities to fix grades if you did not pass first semester course.


  • Prepare to take English I EOC test


  • Prepare to take Algebra 1 and Biology EOC exams
  • Submit Course Selection for Sophomore year
  • Review EOC test scores; determine if Summer School is needed
  • Prepare for Final Exams


  • Attend Summer School (if needed)
  • Retake EOC tests (if needed)

What are the primary concerns that students have when transitioning to high school?

Academic FAQs

Will I need to take notes in high school? How do I take good notes?
Many high school classes do require students to take notes. There are many online resources to help you improve your note taking skills. Some teachers are provide outlines to assist students in taking thorough notes.
How do I stay organized for an A/B schedule?
Some students choose to keep a separate backpack or binder for each day (A & B). There is usually not enough time to visit a locker between classes so most students keep what they need in their backpack. Most classes don’t issue textbooks so you shouldn’t have to carry them from class to class. It is also helpful to do the homework on the same day that it was assigned rather than waiting until the night before it is due. Talking to older students can give you some ideas for what has worked well for other students.
How can I learn how to study?
There are many online resources for studying tips and strategies!
How to I manage time in high school?
Time management is a common concern among many high school students. Staying organized, planning ahead, and keeping an accurate calendar can all assist in time management. There are many online resources to help you stay organized and manage your time effectively including Bullet Journaling (see link).
Will I have any spare time for normal life activities?
Every students’ schedule is different. Most students find that they have some free time to enjoy “normal” life. Participation in one or more extra-curricular activities will affect how much free time you have.
Is there more homework in high school? How much homework can I expect?
Please refer to the syllabus for specific classes to determine homework requirements and expectations. Some students report that there is more homework in their high school classes. The demands of each class depend on the class expectations and will be be higher for advanced classes (TAG, Pre-AP, AP, Pre-IB, IB, Dual Credit, or On Ramps). Students may also find that they have additional time to complete homework assignments during the class period. With the A/B schedule, students have commented that it works best to do homework the same day as the class.
Will I be prepared for college?
Many students find that it is advantageous to take more challenging courses each year as they move through high school so that they are adequately prepared for college. Students will have the opportunity to take advanced courses (Pre-AP, AP, Pre-IB, IB, Dual Credit, On Ramps, etc) during high school. Many of these classes have similar requirements and expectations to classes at the college level. Learning to stay organized, effectively manage time and stress, in addition to participating in extracurricular activities are also valuable skills in helping students prepare for college and career. Many additional factors may affect college readiness including choosing the right courses in high school for your future degree and how you plan to pay for high education.
What math classes do I need to take in high school?
The Round Rock ISD Graduation Plans require that students have a minimum of 4 credits in math (Algebra I, Algebra II. Geometry, plus one additional credit). Please review the Math Pathway link for more information.
What academic credits will I need to get into a college?
Most colleges require that high school students complete 4 years of math, science, social science, and English. In addition, students must have completed two years of a foreign language (language other than English). If your student is interested in a specific college or university, it is helpful to review their admission requirements in advance.
What are colleges looking for and how do I choose what courses to take?
Most college are looking for well rounded students with a balance of academic, civic, and extracurricular activities in addition to standardized test scores. It might be helpful to review the admission requirements at several universities. If you plan on majoring in highly popular major that has a smaller acceptance rate, be sure your transcript shows that you have taken classes that focus on the area of interest, in addition to the other types of courses mentioned. Your transcript should tell a story of interest in that area.
What is an Academy?
The academy experience gives students a chance to explore career options, decide on or eliminate career paths, and develop an interest or skill. Academies are small learning communities on each high school campus which are comprised of a group of students within the larger high school who take classes together, taught by a team of teachers from different disciplines. Academies provide a college preparatory curriculum with a career theme. Opportunities are also available for internships, mentoring, and involvement in career related student organizations which fosters college and career readiness for all students. Each Round Rock ISD high school has 5 Academies including 1) Business & Industry, 2) Health Science, 3) Public Services, 4) Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math, and 5) Visual and Performing Arts. Each Academy has many Programs of Study to choose from with a 4 year plan for course selection for each program.
What is a Program of Study?

A Program of Study is a specific course pathway within an Academy. By completing a program of study in one academy, students also simultaneously earn their state mandated endorsement. This program of study should suit a student’s unique skills and interests.
Round Rock ISD Academies/Programs of Student/Endorsement Plans

How do I earn an Endorsement?

Students may earn an endorsement by completing a sequence of coursework within an academy. An endorsement is earned once a minimum of four credits in three or more courses are completed, and must include upper level coursework. Endorsements can be achieved in numerous ways to allow students to focus their studies in any Program of Study, in addition to other academic electives. Students on the Distinguished Level of Achievement graduation plan will need an endorsement by completing 4 classes in one of the 5 Academies or in Multidisciplinary Studies. Students may participate in multiple academies and earn multiple endorsements at the campus they are attending. Round Rock ISD Academies/Programs of Student/Endorsement Plans

How do I choose my electives, Academy, and Program of Study?
The academy experience gives students a chance to explore career options, decide on or eliminate career paths, and develop an interest or skill. The Academy and Program of Study should suit a student’s unique skills and interests. There are several opportunities to visit high school campuses and explores elective course options prior to course selection. It is often helpful to talk to older students about their Academy to get more information.
Do I have to pick an academy now and stick with it all through HS or can I change my academy?
Students can choose to change their electives or Academy before the next academic year. However, in order to receive an Endorsement (completion of four credits in a selected Academy & Program of Study) then students who switch academies may need to take additional classes to meet the requirements. The number of credits and prerequisites required to receive an Endorsement may not be achievable in fewer than four years for some Programs of Study. Please discuss changing your Academy with your counselor.
What do I do if I don't understand my school work or if I need extra help?
Every teacher is required to offer tutorials so that students may get additional help. You may also attend tutorials for another teacher in the same department. Tutorial times are usually posted on the teacher’s website and are listed in the class syllabus. Student video Should I take advanced classes in high school? It is recommended that students challenge themselves with several advanced classes during their high school years. Please consult with your current teachers and your counselor to help determine the best fit for you. The linked document explains the similarities and differences between a variety of college credit classes offered in RRISD.
What is the difference between regular and advanced classes (pre-AP, AP, Dual Credit, pre-IB, IB, OnRamps, etc)?
Regular classes (also called on level) are courses which meet minimum curriculum requirements for a specific course. Pre-AP are advanced courses designed to prepare students for AP (Advanced Placement) courses through which student may earn college credit upon completion of the AP subject area tests. Dual Credit and OnRamps classes are advanced classes held in conjunction with an institution of higher learning such as Austin Community College (Dual Credit) or the University of Texas (OnRamps) and may earn the student both high school and college credit upon completion.
How do I choose between Dual Credit and AP classes?
Each type of advanced coursework has unique benefits and requirements. Please discuss this option with your counselor and check out our online resources linked here.
What is the difference between Dual Credit and Concurrent college credit courses?
Dual credit courses are college courses that also fulfill high school requirements. These courses may be taken at the high school or at the college during regular school hours and are taught by a high school teacher with appropriate credentials or by regular college faculty. Successful completion of the course can earn high school credit as well as college credit. Concurrent courses are college courses taken by a student outside of high school hours and not associated with the high school or the high school curriculum. Successful completion of the course results in college credit. The Dual Credit courses are in cooperation with Austin Community College.
What is Articulated Credit?
Articulated courses are designed to prepare students for the future. Emphasis is placed on higher-level academic courses taken in conjunction with Career and Technical Education programs. Articulation agreements with community colleges (and some four-year universities) make it possible for students to earn college credits for a course of study that prepares them to obtain an associate degree, a two-year program certificate, or to enter the workforce better prepared to be competent employees. Taking articulated courses enables students to earn FREE college credits while in high school. (Subject to change.)
Do I have to take a foreign language in high school?
Yes, a minimum of two credits in the same LOTE (Languages Other Than English, computer programming language, or other allowable exceptions) are required to meet minimum graduation requirements.

Social FAQs

How do I find activities to get involved in and meet new friends?
Studies have shown that high school students who are actively involved in extracurricular activities have higher grades and are more likely to enroll directly into college after their senior year. Each Round Rock ISD campus offers a variety of clubs, student organizations, and extracurricular activities. Please visit your high school website for more information about organizations on your campus.
Are there resources to help if I find myself anxious, burned out, or depressed?
Each Round Rock ISD campus has a counseling department available to assist students who feel anxious, stressed, depressed, or burned out. Student may also report serious concerns regarding another student through Anonymous Alerts. There are also additional resources and seminars available through the District. There are also effective techniques that can be used to reduce stress and anxiety.
Where do I go if I am being bullied?
If a student’s health or well being is ever in immediate danger, they can call 911 or contact local law enforcement. Students may also contact a member of the Counseling Department, your grade level Assistant Principal, or submit an incident report on Anonymous Alerts.
What if I do not know anyone in my lunch period?
Within a few days of starting school, you’ll start to meet new people in your classes and potentially see former classmates during lunch. You can also ask one of your teachers for a pass to the library or ask if you can visit them during lunch.

Procedural FAQs

What will we do on the first day of school?
Each campus has a process for helping students pick up their schedules and find their classes on the first few days of school. Adults are posted all over the campus for the first few days to help students find their classrooms.
Will my high school student have a homeroom or advisory period?
Most campuses don’t have a homeroom or advisory period. Several high schools now have flex time during the day. This time is utilized in various ways on each campus. Please contact your campus for more information or review the Bell Schedule.
Will I have a locker?

Some campuses will issue students a locker during student orientation. However, most students prefer using a backpack due to time constraints.

How do passing periods work and will I have enough time to get from one class to another?
Passing periods should provide adequate time to walk from class to class. Due to size of high school campuses, most students do not utilize a locker. It’s best to plan before school each day what you need to carry to allow enough time to get to class. If a class requires a textbook, you will get a copy that is meant to stay at home. Each classroom will have a class set of textbooks to use during class time.
How can I keep from getting lost? Who can help me if I need directions?
This is the number one concern that we hear from incoming 9th grade students so you are definitely not alone! There are many adults and older students available to assist you if you should become lost. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions! Adults are posted all over the campus for the first few days to help students find their classrooms.
What is the class ranking process?
Class rank is determined by your weighted GPA in comparison to all students in their graduating class. You can get more information on class ranking from your counselor.
How does GPA work in high school?
High schools calculate both a weighted and unweighted GPA for all students for their core classes (math, science, social science, language arts, and foreign languages).
Do I get my schedule before school starts?
Each school has its own method for notifying students of class schedules and course assignments. There are usually dates/times scheduled for students to go to the campus for student orientation before schools starts. For students who will receive their schedules on the first day of school, they will be directed by staff where to go when they arrive on the first day so that they can pick up their schedules.
Once I make a course selection, can I make a change later?
Each campus has different policies and procedures regarding changing classes. Contact your Counselor for information regarding changes to your schedule or course selection.
What happens if I'm tardy to my class?
Many teachers will give students a grace period for the first few weeks of school. Please talk to your teacher if you find that you cannot make it to class on time due to distance or other considerations. Tardies will be marked on your attendance record and may affect your ability to exempt Midterm or Final Exams.
Can absences affect my high school credits?
It is important to be at school every day. It is very difficult to make up work while keeping up with current class work. Tardies and absences may also affect your ability to exempt Midterm or Final Exams. According to District policy, high school students will not be given credit or a final grade for a class unless the student is in attendance 90 percent of the days the class is offered (some exemptions apply).
How many credits are needed to graduate from high school?
Students must complete a minimum of 23 credits to be eligible for graduation. Several levels of graduation have been established by the District with the highest level of graduation requiring 27 credits.
What do I do if I don't understand transcripts, credits, and graduation requirements?
Will there be a time I can meet my child's teachers?
Most campuses will host an Open House or Back to School Night during the first few weeks of school. This will allow students and parents to opportunity to visit the classroom and meet the teachers. Please see your campus calendar for date/time. You may also email a teacher to request a parent/teacher conference.
What types of state assessments are required for high school?
High school end-of-course (EOC) exams are required in the following courses: English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology, and U.S. History. Middle school students who are enrolled in high school courses are also required to take the EOC tests. Passing STAAR EOC exams is required for high school graduation.
What does lunch look like at the high school?
Most campuses have approximately 30 minutes for each lunch period. Students may bring their lunch from home or select from a variety of meal options in the cafeteria. Each campus has 2-3 lunch periods. Some class periods may be split before and after lunch. Please refer to the Bell Schedule on your campus for specific times.
Are we able to use our phones in high school?
Each campus and teacher has specific phone and personal device policies.
Is there a dress code in high school?
Yes, the District enforces at dress code as identified in the Round Rock ISD Student Handbook. Please refer to the Handbook for details.