HHS Transition

HHS Transition 8th to 9th Grade (March Update Added)
Posted on 01/04/2023

March 3, 2023


 Dear 8th Grade Students, Parents & Guardians:

It is officially time to select your courses for your freshman year of high school!  The Genesis portal scheduling tab will open for you today, March 3rd at 4 pm.  You will then be able to see your recommended course placements and select your elective courses including choice of world language studies. 

 The HHS Program of Studies for 2023-24 was shared with all current eighth graders last month during presentations conducted on teams by the HMS school counselors.  The Program of Studies contains a great deal of important information, including course descriptions, prerequisites, and guidance for making appropriate selections by department.  Please review that site together as you decide on course requests.   Graduation requirements and suggested course sequences are also posted there along with a quick list under the “general information” section which lists electives available to 9th graders.  

 Additionally, you can find slide presentations that provide an overview of the program of studies and course sequences for each department designed specifically for each class level at HHS - including the incoming Freshman graduating Class of 2027 here.  Finally, if interested, you may also view a presentation by one of the HHS counselors who has prepared a “4-Year Planning Guide” video that provides a nice overview of how to plan your individual course of study for incoming freshmen. Further instructions on how to make course selections in the parent portal can be found here

 The deadline for choosing course requests is Wednesday, March 15thOn Thursday, March 16th, HHS school counselors will visit HMS and meet with 8th grade students individually during their health/PE class period to review their individual course requests and answer any questions students may have.  Note that students planning to attend Somerset Vo-Tech or a private/ parochial high school should still select courses for HHS until their acceptance to other schools are finalized.  Do not hesitate to reach out to our school counseling office if you have any questions or need assistance with this process at any time. 


Dr. Joseph Trybulski Ms. Jessica Smedley

HMS Principal Director of School Counseling

Note Additional Information to Address Frequently Asked Questions


World Language recommendations for next year’s placements have been entered based on your current world language choice and progress for the past several years. If you wish to change to a new language, you will be able to choose Level 1 of a new world language in the same manner as choosing electives. Please note that we recommend that any student who would like to take American Sign Language (ASL) have a viable second choice of world language. Typically very few to no 9th graders can be scheduled for ASL.



 It is important for those students who have availability to schedule electives to choose at least ten (10) elective course options indicating the priority for each in terms of preference.  If selecting semester electives, be sure to list additional choices for BOTH semesters.   Choices for electives as well as instrumental/choral music can be found under the “REQUEST” course tab.  A quick tutorial video on selecting electives can be viewed here



 If you have been recommended for an honors course that you do not wish to take, please contact your HMS counselor to make the necessary course adjustment.  If you have questions regarding honors placement decisions, please direct those to the respective curriculum supervisors:

  • Literacy - Sheila Cooper, District Literacy Supervisor (ext. 3311)
  • Math - Kyle Dattola, District Math Supervisor (ext. 2010)
  •  Science - Lisa Kiel, District Science Supervisor (ext. 2728)
  •  Social Studies - Abraham Nole, District Social Studies Supervisor (ext. 3474)
  •  World Language - Roberto Lugo, District World Language Supervisor (ext. 2014)


 For assistance in all other areas, contact your child’s counselor at HMS:

  • Teams 8B, 8D and 8E - Aime Casagrande (ext. 2022)
  •  Teams 8A and 8C - Sara Hunkeler (ext. 3278)


 For children with individual education plans (IEP’s), contact your child’s case manager:

  • Learning Disabilities Teacher-Consultant - Carol Ann Giresi (ext. 2761)
  • School Psychologist - Pam Misztal (ext. 2106)
  •  School Psychologist - Mikala Fuscoletti (Connery) (ext. 3343)

The Child Study Team (CST) case managers will be working with the school counselors to ensure that all course selections are in accordance with the student’s IEP.  

January Notice

Over the next few months some important activities will be taking place as the transition from middle school to high school begins to take shape. To help guide you through this transition, here is a brief timeline for your reference:

Mid January  - Students interested in being considered for HHS honors courses in literacy, science, or social studies must complete a very short online form (due by Jan. 20th) at HHS 9th Grade Honors Course Interest Form. Indicating interest in honors courses, in any or all subjects, at this time does not commit a student to that course of study. This step is merely to indicate interest for evaluation. If a student is uncertain, he or she should indicate interest now and may choose later which courses he or she actually wishes to enroll.

January - HHS will present a PARENT ORIENTATION program at 6:00 pm on January 25, 2023 exclusively online via Zoom Webinar to review the HHS Program of Studies.  The link to view the livestream event will be shared at a future date and posted to the district website at www.htps.us on January 25. This presentation will be conducted by the HHS Director of School Counseling along with the District Supervisors for each curriculum department. Please mark your calendar for this important orientation program. We will also be recording the event and will post it on the district’s website.
**UPDATE (January 26th) To view the slide deck from the Parent Orientation Program visit: https://hhs.htps.us/departments/school_counseling/8th_grade_parent_night_presentation

Early February - HMS counselors will meet with 8th grade students via their social studies classes to review the HHS Program of Studies and the course offerings and course selection process with all students.  The updated 2023-2024 Program of Studies will be available live by January 23, 2023. The current version is available for view online here

Late February - Notice will be sent out once the process of course placement recommendations has been completed for all subject areas and entered into the Genesis student information system.  At that point, the course recommendations will be viewable online via the Parent Portal. You will be able to view the recommendations for core courses, discuss them with your child, and enter rank-ordered elective course requests. Understand that a student cannot request an honors course for which he or she has not been approved by meeting the placement criteria and receiving the HHS departmental recommendation for honors placement.

Mid-March - HHS counselors will travel to HMS on March 16, 2023 to have short meet & greet sessions with their assigned 8th grade students to provide a general overview of the high school, the transition from 8th to 9th grade, and answer students’ questions. If there are any outstanding questions or discrepancies in course requests and placements, the HHS counselors will note these and follow-up with students and parents as needed to complete the initial course assignments for 9th grade.

Students considering attendance at Somerset County Vocational-Technical High School (SCVTHS) or at a private/parochial high school outside of Hillsborough will proceed through this process for HHS until such time as a formal acceptance notice and request for transfer of records by the out-of-district high school is received.  The HMS School Counseling office can assist parents and students interested in attending other high schools including SCVTHS.  

For more information about the academic, career and technical programs available at Somerset County Vo-Tech (SCVTHS), visit their website at www.scvths.org.  Applications to SCVTHS are due online via their website (under the admissions tab) by February 22, 2023.   

Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s counselor at HMS for any questions or assistance throughout this transition:

The HMS and HHS School Counseling departments will be working very closely together to ensure a smooth transition for all 8th graders, and their parents, on this next and most exciting phase of education. 


Joseph Trybulski, Ed.D., Principal


HHS Freshman Orientation for Students & Families will be held on August 25, 2023. Details to follow at a later date.



HMS - Basics of the 8th to 9th Grade Transition Webinar presented on January 19, 2022 by the HMS School Counseling Office. A recording of the webinar appears below: