Planning a High School Course of Study


The scheduling process typically begins during the second semester when a number of orientation and information sessions are offered for students and parents. The decisions involved in course selection are important, and assistance in facilitating the process is available. Active involvement by both students and parents/guardians is strongly recommended. Maintain contact with High School counselors and administrators, and take advantage of information sessions.


Planning a course of study involves input from the student, the parent, and the school counselor. Procedures include:

  1. individual student meetings with school counselors;
  2. teachers’/departments’ recommendations for student course placement;
  3. course verification forms for parent information and acknowledgment.


School counselors will recommend a suggested course of study for students to follow throughout their high school years. The recommended course of study is based on what colleges, special and technical schools, and employers seek in a high school graduate.

Graduates are typically evaluated by schools and employers based on:

  • high school average
  • difficulty/appropriateness of courses taken
  • high school class rank
  • SAT scores/ACT Scores (if taken)
  • counselor recommendation
  • teacher recommendation
  • courses taken in the senior year
  • involvement in co-curricular activities

Counselors will recommend a course of study designed to meet the needs of Regents, Honors, and Advanced Placement students whose post high school plans include:  colleges, universities, technical or trade schools, military service or joining the work force. Courses should be selected with input from parents, teachers, and school counselors. Our academic programs also afford students a significant opportunity to select elective courses in their areas of interest and vocational needs.


Pathways to Graduation – Current Requirements and Options

NYS Board of Regents
September 15, 2014

Typical Regents and/or Competitive College Program
Table of typical Regents or College preparatory courses in high school
Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12
English 9 English 10 English 11 English 12
Global History 9 Global History 10 US History &
Participation in Gov’t/
Earth Science Biology Chemistry Physics
Math Math Math Advanced Math
World Language World Language World Language World Language
Physical Education Physical Education Physical Education Physical Education
Music / Art Health Electives Electives
Electives College 101 Electives Electives

NOTE: Students considering highly competitive colleges should seek Honors and Advanced Placement courses at all grade levels where appropriate. See your school counselor for
specific information.

Honors Program

Admission to the Honors Program is determined by the faculty and administration. Various forms and screening systems have been established by the respective departments.

  • Honors and Advanced Placement courses are weighted by a difficulty factor of 1.03 and 1.05 respectively.
  • The weighted grade is used for G.P.A. and class rank purposes.
  • The raw score grade is reported on the students’ report card and transcript.

The performance of Honors and Advanced Placement students is evaluated periodically and primarily after each marking period. A minimum score of 85% is required for initial consideration for admission to the Honors Program in conjunction with teacher recommendations and standardized test scores. Factors considered for continuation in the program are grades, participation, attendance, and effort. Steps for consideration of removal from the program require the following:

  1. parent contact
  2. conference among school counselor, parent, student, teacher, and administrator
  3. administrative approval


Students who plan to practice and play NCAA Division I or Division II athletics must meet the requirements of NCAA Bylaw 14.3 commonly known as “Proposition 48.”Generally, this requires:

  • graduation from high school
  • a specific earned grade point average
  • specific earned SAT scores in Verbal and Math
  • satisfactory completion of core course requirements

A complete listing of specific information is available from the Guidance Offices as well as the office of the Athletic Director.

Please note: It is the parent’s and student’s responsibility to become familiar with this information, as early as possible during high school, if the student plans to participate in college athletics.

Independent Study

All Independent Study agreements are contractual; i.e., a written agreement signed by all parties (student, parent, counselor, teacher, department chairperson, administration) that identifies the specific areas of study, procedures, time allocation, credit requested, and manner of evaluation. The contract must be signed by all parties before it is in effect. Requests for Independent Study must be submitted within the first five weeks of school.

An adapted Independent Study Contract is available for students who are:

  1. required to repeat a full year course
  2. eligible to fulfill all course obligations in one semester.

Course Load

Students in grades 9-11 are required to carry a minimum credit load of six and one-half credits. Students needing additional credits in order to either: 1) proceed with their classes, or 2) meet graduation requirements, may be required to take additional credits annually.

Course/Schedule Changes

Students will generally be permitted to request schedule changes during the first five days of class with priority given to graduation requirements. In addition, students must maintain the six and one-half credits of course work including physical education over the course of the year.

After the five day period, all requests must be processed using a “Schedule Change/Drop Request Form.” These forms are available in the counselors’ offices. Please take note of the important stipulations listed on the form.

Students will generally not be permitted to enroll in a class beyond the second week of instruction.

Students will not be permitted to drop any course that they “cut.” They must attend the class they are presently enrolled, in order to be eligible for a program change/drop.

Please be aware that dropping a course may have a negative impact on college acceptances. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss any program changes with their counselors/parents/guardians before making a final decision.

Students enrolled in college level courses (University of Albany/OCCC) must check with the University’s guidelines before dropping a course. Colleges have different requirements than Monroe-Woodbury High School.

Course Removal

Students may be removed from a course by the administration at any time during the school year in which they have failed to meet the necessary course and time requirements. Parents will be informed, in writing, about the decision.


Credits for High School Courses

High School students enrolled in approved college courses may receive appropriate high school credit. One-half (1/2) unit of high school credit will be granted for satisfactory completion for each three semester hours of college work or its equivalent. Prior approval from the Principal is required.

Class Standing

A freshman will advance to the Sophomore Class after achieving a minimum of 6.5 credits, to the Junior Class with 12 credits, and to the Senior Class with 17 credits. Regardless of the maximum number of credits earned, a student will proceed with his/her original class unless admitted to the Early Graduation Program. Early graduates are members of the graduating class for the year they complete all requirements.

Service Credit

Monroe-Woodbury High School is committed to the encouragement and recognition of student service to school, community and society. With advance approval, students may earn up to one credit (which cannot be used to meet minimum graduation requirements).

  • 150 hours of service is equal to 1/2 credit –
  • 300 hours of service is equal to one credit.

Hours of service may be accumulated from year to year. Specific approval forms, indicating additional conditions, are available in the Guidance and House Offices and on the high school website. All requests for service must receive advanced approval.

Work Study

Juniors and seniors, with parental, counselor, and administrative approval, may receive academic credit for part-time work. High school credit may be earned as follows:

300 hours minimum – 1 Credit
150 hours minimum – 1/2 Credit
75 hours minimum – 1/4 Credit

Total credits for each student cannot exceed two.

For additional details, contact the Guidance Department.

Denial of Credit

Student attendance and related participation activities in class are integral factors in assessing student performance. After advance notification to student and parent, the administration may deny credit to a student for not meeting course requirements. Student class participation can represent up to 15% of the student’s grade.



The major objectives in establishing these examinations are to provide:

  • assessment of student achievement
  • feedback to students/parents/guardians
  • simulated final examination experiences
  • diagnostic assessment  in such areas as  student placement and areas in need  of review
  • an opportunity for students to be required to cumulatively recall material covered throughout the semester.

Mid-year examinations results are indicated on the report card and represent 10% of the final grade.

Mid‑year examinations will be administered during January of each school year.  Some departments may not be offering these examinations due to the nature of their programs (such as courses in Art, Music, Technology Education, etc.).  These examinations will be departmental in nature whenever the course is taught by two or more teachers.

All students must be present for all mid‑year, semester and final examinations.  Only in unique and serious situations will a medical excuse signed by a physician entitle students to a make‑up examination.  Other emergency situations such as an accident or death in family will be accepted, but will require written approval from the appropriate administrator prior to the teacher providing a make‑up examination.

Academic Integrity

The ability and responsibility of students to use their own ideas, works, creations, and knowledge in completing exams, projects, reports, etc. are guiding principles of public education in a free and democratic society.  Students who cheat and/or plagiarize (use the ideas or words of another without full acknowledgment) will receive a zero on the assignment/exam and will not be permitted to re-do it.  Students who commit fraud (cheating) on any state examination (Regents, RCT, etc.) will lose their right to take any subsequent state exams.

State Regents and RCT examinations may not be made‑up until the next time they are offered state‑wide.

Special Examinations

  1. The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is available in October to sophomores, juniors and three‑year graduates. The PSAT is an optional test, and there is a fee payable to the College Board. All college‑bound sophomores or juniors, as well as those who are undecided about their future plans and goals, are strongly urged to take this test.  It is required of all juniors who plan to enter the National Merit Scholarship competition.
  1. College Board Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT I) should be taken by college‑bound students. Check college catalogues and see your school counselor for specific details or recommendations.  (The SAT I measures verbal and mathematical reasoning; it is not an achievement test.)
  1. College Board Achievement Tests (SAT II) should be taken as close to the completion of the course as possible. It is highly recommended that students enrolled in H/AP courses consider taking the SAT II in their subjects.  (The SAT II measures achievement in more than 20 different subject areas.)
  1. An increasing number of colleges are requiring applicants to take the American College Testing (ACT) exam in lieu of the College Board examination. Check college catalogues or see your school counselor to determine which test you should take.
  1. Advanced Placement (A.P.) tests are administered upon completion of an A.P. course. All associated fees are paid by the student.  It is recommended that students check the A.P. testing‑credit policy with the college of their choice.