The 2013-2014 MCPS High School Course Bulletin provides students and parents/guardians with information about high school courses, programs, and career programs of study. This bulletin contains information about graduation requirements, required state assessments, internships, opportunities for dual enrollment in college, and special programs.
Course selection in high school is critical to the realization of career and higher education goals. Students should talk to their teachers and school counselor about the courses needed to meet their individual goals.
MCPS offers several hundred interesting and rewarding courses that help prepare students for the demands of the post-secondary world of college and careers. The 2013-2014 MCPS High School Course Bulletin contains brief descriptions of all approved courses offered in MCPS. Each MCPS high school offers a broad selection of these courses. Students and parents should work together to review the course offerings provided at their school, the graduation requirements, and other information in this bulletin.
Throughout this bulletin, you will find URLs directing you to MCPS websites containing program information and MCPS policies or regulations.
Maryland Diploma Requirements
The state of Maryland authorizes one diploma for all high school graduates, based upon successful fulfillment of four categories of requirements: enrollment, course credit, student service learning (SSL), and Maryland assessments. All requirements are summarized in the table below. MCPS requirements that extend state requirements are designated with a double asterisk (**).
Maryland High School Assessments (HSA)
Maryland High School Assessments (HSA)
Maryland High School Assessments are end-of-course tests related to the MCPS courses Algebra 1, Biology, and English 10. All students enrolled in an HSA course are required to take the appropriate HSA upon completion of the course. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has designed the tests to measure student achievement and school performance, providing valuable information to students, parents, and schools. Maryland high school students must meet the HSA requirements in order to receive a Maryland High School Diploma.
The Government HSA has been reinstated. Entering ninth graders in the 2013-2014 school year and beyond will be required to pass the Government HSA or obtain a combined score of 1602 on the four high school assessments to meet graduation requirements.
For more information about the HSA or MSA, visit http://hsaexam.org/about.html contact your local high school, or contact the MCPS Office of High School Instruction and Achievement, 301-517-5007.
Maryland High School Certificate
This certificate is awarded to students with disabilities who do not meet the requirements for a diploma but who meet one of the following criteria:
1. The student is enrolled in a special education program for at least four years beyond Grade 8, or its age equivalent. The student is determined to have developed appropriate skills for the individual to enter the world of work, act responsibly as a citizen, and enjoy a fulfilling life by an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) Team, with agreement of the student's parents/guardians. The world of work includes, but is not limited to, gainful employment, work activity centers, supported employment, or sheltered workshops.
2. After being enrolled in a special education program for four years beyond Grade 8, or its age equivalent, the student reached age 21.
Montgomery County Public Schools Certificate of Merit (CM)
In addition to the Maryland high school diploma, students who meet the following requirements may be awarded the Montgomery County Public Schools Certificate of Merit, a diploma endorsement:
a. Advanced CoursesAt least 12 credits must be earned in advanced courses identified by MCPS as applicable to the Certificate of Merit. CM designates courses that satisfy this requirement. All courses to be counted toward the Certificate of Merit must be taken for a letter grade.
b. Mathematics RequirementStudents must successfully complete and receive credit for Algebra 2.
c. Cumulative Grade Point AverageStudents must obtain at least a 3.0 un-weighted cumulative grade point average.
Courses and Credits
Each MCPS high school provides a comprehensive program of studies that enables all students to earn required graduation credits. All high school courses are one semester in length. All courses satisfying graduation requirements must be taken for a letter grade. Upon completion of each semester's work, students earn credit in each course taken - 0.5 credit for successful completion of a single-period course, 1 credit for a double-period course, and so on. Yearlong courses usually have the same name for the two semesters with the title of the first semester followed by "A" or "1" and the second by "B" or "2". In general, the first semester of a course is a pre-requisite for the second semester.
Technology Education Requirement for Graduation
To satisfy MSDE high school graduation requirements, students are required to take a state-approved technology education course. MCPS technology education courses that meet this requirement are designated TE. Note that MCPS eLearning offers Foundations of Technology A/B in an online format during the summer. Advanced Technology Courses satisfying graduation requirements for electives, Option 2, must also meet state approval. Courses meeting these requirements are designated AT.
Student Service Learning
The Student Service Learning (SSL) program in MCPS promotes a culture of student involvement and student responsibility through civic engagement. Service learning is a graduation requirement in Maryland. MCPS students must complete a minimum of 75 service-learning hours for graduation. Students may begin fulfilling this requirement the summer after Grade 5 and continue to accrue SSL hours through high school. Students who earn 260 or more SSL hours receive a Certificate of Meritorious Service at the time of graduation. Preparation, action, and reflection are the three phases of service learning that distinguish SSL from traditional volunteering and community service efforts.
Service learning hours are earned through:
All activities for which SSL hours are desired must occur in a public place, be secular in nature, and be supervised by an adult representative from a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. Parents and relatives may not directly supervise a student. One SSL hour is awarded for every one hour of service outside of the instructional day with a maximum of 8 hours in a 24-hour period. MCPS Form 560-51, Student Service Learning Activity Verification, is required to document all activities for which SSL hours are desired. More information is available at the MCPS SSL site, http://mcpsssl.org, or the SSL FAQ pages at http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/ssl/faqs/faq.shtm. For individual SSL questions, contact the SSL coordinator in any middle or high school.
High School Credit for Middle School Students
High school credit is awarded to students who complete yearlong high school courses while in middle school after the student has passed both semesters of the course and passed the semester B high school final examination. The credit and grade are recorded on a student's transcript during the first year of high school. Grades 6–8 students may retake a high school course taken in middle school and receive the higher grade earned.
Honors, Advanced-Level, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate Courses
Honors (H), advanced-level (AL), Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses provide opportunities for students to pursue rigorous and challenging studies. Students seeking an IB diploma or participating in a certificate program must meet the requirements of the program in addition to the requirements for graduation in MCPS. Teachers, counselors, and parents/guardians will work together to support each student’s progress in these challenging courses.
Honors courses provide expectations and opportunities for students to engage in more rigorous and complex content and processes, and to develop authentic products that reflect the student's understanding of key concepts. The curriculum in each honors course includes appropriate adaptations for enriched learning for pursuing in-depth studies that require abstract and higher-order thinking skills.
Advanced-level courses are based upon previous achievement in a sequence of study. Advanced-level courses include appropriate adaptations for accelerated and enriched learning for pursuing in-depth studies that require abstract and higher-order thinking skills.
Advanced Placement Courses
MCPS has developed courses that meet College Board guidelines to accompany the Advanced Placement examinations. A qualifying score on an AP exam may earn the student college credit or advanced standing in the subject in college. All MCPS Advanced Placement courses have met the requirements of and been approved by the College Board Audit Committee and include concepts and skills that help students prepare for the AP exams.
Criteria for Enrollment in Honors, Advanced Placement, and Advanced-level Courses
According to the MCPS Gifted and Talented Policy (IOA) and accompanying Regulation (IOA-RA), multiple criteria such as mastery of course prerequisites, willingness to complete challenging assignments, previous grades, student interest, and teacher/counselor recommendations will be used to admit high school students to Honors, Advanced-level, and Advanced Placement classes. All students who have the capability, motivation, or potential to accept the challenge of such a program will be provided an opportunity to do so. As part of their school improvement management plan, principals will review their local gifted and talented programs annually and refine them consistent with a goal of continuous improvement. MCPA Policy IOA and Regulation IOA-RA can be found at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ioa.pdf and www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ioara.pdf.
Student Withdrawal from a Course
A student-initiated withdrawal may occur when the student and parent/guardian determine that withdrawal will be beneficial to the student. The student's withdrawal request must be approved by the parent/guardian in writing, reviewed by the counselor, and discussed with the student to ensure that there is understanding that withdrawing from the course may result in a possible delay in meeting graduation requirements. The counselor's recommendation is forwarded to the principal for approval.
If a student withdraws from a course before the end of the fifth week (25 school days), no notation is made on the student's permanent record card or report card.
If the student withdraws after 25 school days of the course, the date of the withdrawal and the achievement attained at the time of withdrawal will be entered on the report card and permanent record. Withdrawal grades are not used in computing GPA or WGPA. Withdrawal grades are included when determining student academic eligibility for participation in extracurricular activities.
Alternative Provisions for Earning Credit
In addition to earning credits during the regular school day and year, credits may be earned through summer school, extended-day learning opportunities, work experience programs, online courses, and college courses. Advance permission from the principal or designee is required in all cases involving alternative provisions for earning credit. Specific provisions govern the use of each of these programs. It is critical that students and parents consider these programs carefully and consult school counselors in advance to obtain full information about any alternative means of earning credit and its advisability. Online courses must be approved by MSDE and MCPS. The list of online courses approved by MCPS for credit towards graduation is at http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/onlinelearning.
Alternative provisions for earning credit are discussed in MCPS regulation High School Graduation Requirements, ISB-RA, found at: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/isbra.pdf.
Alternatives to Four-Year Enrollment
Specific provisions governing the use of alternatives to four-year enrollment are delineated in the MCPS regulation High School Graduation Requirements, ISB-RA, found at http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/isbra.pdf. Advice from counselors is critical and should begin far in advance. The principal's permission is required and must be obtained in advance. The alternatives include early college access programs, early admission to an approved vocational, technical, or other postsecondary school, or the General Educational Development (GED) testing program.
A commitment to school attendance on the part of both students and parents/guardians is an essential component of a high-quality learning experience. Parents and school personnel are expected to do everything possible to ensure each student's regular attendance. Students should attend all scheduled classes and approved educational activities and are responsible for completing all assigned work on time. Students should be enrolled in a full-day program or spend a comparable period of time in an alternative program or activity approved by the student's parent/guardian and principal.
Grading and Reporting
Basis for Grading
Grades reflect student achievement based on what the student knows and is able to do, as defined by the MCPS curriculum. Students receiving services for limited English proficiency, special education, or 504 disabilities will be afforded all accommodations and modifications as documented by English Language Learner (ELL) plans, individualized education programs (IEPs), or Section 504 plans.
Procedures for Grading
Grading procedures will be applied consistently within and among schools. Grading practices must include clear and timely communication, alignment with curriculum, accurate reflection of student achievement, and fair representation of student performance. Grading practices must be fair and manageable, and support effective teaching and learning. Grades on report cards reflect academic achievement in relation to course expectations, as outlined in the Montgomery County Public Schools curriculum. Extra credit may not be used. Course-specific procedures for grading are defined, used consistently, and explained clearly to students and parents in writing at the beginning of a semester or school year. A final evaluation activity is required at the conclusion of all courses. Semester examinations in specified courses are computed as 25% of the final grade for the semester and reported separately on the report card.
Reporting Student Progress
Teachers will provide students and parents with information about achievement throughout the marking period. This feedback may take several forms, including the following:
The Credit/No Credit grading option may be used only in courses not specifically required for graduation by MSDE or MCPS. Courses taken using the Credit/No Credit option cannot be applied towards a Certificate of Merit.
Grade Point Average (GPA) and Weighted Grade Point Average (WGPA)
Only final course grades and credit reported on high school transcripts are used in determining GPA and WGPA in accordance with the procedures set forth in MCPS Regulation IKC-RA: Grade Point Averages and Weighted Grade Point Averages, http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ikcra.pdf. To determine WGPA, an additional quality point is added to grades of A, B, and C in all honors, advanced-level, and Advanced Placement courses only.
The Marking Period Average (MPA), used in determining academic eligibility, is shown on student report cards. The MPA is not cumulative and is not used to establish the GPA or WGPA.
MCPS does not rank students. Additional information about grading and reporting is available on the MCPS website at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/grading/.
Academic Eligibility for Participation in Extracurricular Activities
Students must maintain a 2.0 marking period average (MPA), with not more than one failing grade in the previous marking period in order to participate in extracurricular activities. Further information can be found in MCPS Regulation IQD-RA: Academic Eligibility for High School Students Who Participate in Extracurricular Activities, http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/iqdra.pdf.
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Eligibility Center
The National Collegiate Athletic Association established the NCAA Eligibility Center to serve as the authorizing group for the final review and approval of core courses for freshmen college students who want to participate in intercollegiate athletics in NCAA Division I-A, I-AA, and II colleges and universities. In the course bulletin, NCAA Center Approved Core Courses are designated NCAA. In all cases, the list of eligible courses available at the NCAA Eligibility Center website represents the final determination of acceptable core courses. To learn more about NCAA Approved Core Courses or about NCAA Freshmen Eligibility Standards contact the local school resource counselor and visit the NCAA-IEC website at https://web1.ncaa.org/eligibilitycenter/common/.
Taking Courses Not Available at the Home School
Students wishing to attend a neighboring school for a course not available at the home school must apply through the home school counseling office. Courses are open to students on a space-available basis. Students/parents must provide transportation.
The Superintendent's Leadership Program
The Superintendent's Leadership Program (SLP) is an honors career and leadership development program for high school seniors in the humanities. Students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and academic excellence are selected through a highly competitive process. The program is designed to encourage lifelong learning, provide practical experience, and develop global citizenship.
Up to 15 students are selected and will earn two honors credit hours per semester in the senior year by devoting 15 hours per week to a professional internship and participating in class projects. Students benefit by learning how to manage projects, overcome challenges, make decisions, and operate as independent leaders and members of teams.
The interactive online application is available through the MCPS website www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/superintendent/leadership. Applicants must have a 3.2 GPA. Students accepted will be allowed up to four (4) morning classes. The program is open only to rising seniors enrolled in Montgomery County Public Schools. The deadline for completed applications and supporting materials is March 1.
Significant program components include the following:
Applications are online. For more information or an application please contact:
Programs Of Study (POS)
Programs of Study (POS) are state-approved programs that satisfy the career development graduation requirement and are designated as POS in this bulletin. Each of these programs is designed to help students acquire the specialized knowledge, skills, attitudes, and work habits required for employment and postsecondary education. Each MCPS high school offers career development programs.
Students seeking to enroll in a POS that includes a work-based learning component may be required by the employer or sponsoring organization to provide appropriate documentation that may include a social security number and/or proof of citizenship/green card. Please review program applications and POS requirements carefully for specific work-based learning component guidelines.
Extensive information about MCPS Programs of Study is available at the website http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/careerprograms.
Schools not offering a particular POS may request placement of a student in that program at another school. Efforts will be made to fulfill reasonable student requests for transportation; Students and counselors must ensure that the proper amount of transportation time is allocated in the student schedule. Form 565-6 is available through the MCPS website.
Thomas Edison High School of Technology
Thomas Edison High School of Technology (TEHST) provides all MCPS students the opportunity to co-enroll in advanced academic, technical, and career programs. The mission of TEHST is to provide students with state-of-the-art technological, academic, and interpersonal skills needed to achieve excellence in their chosen fields of study. The variety of career development programs offered at TEHST allows students to explore and experience traditional and nontraditional career options and to prepare for a wide range of expanding and challenging postsecondary options. Students enroll in Thomas Edison programs through their home school and take courses at both the home school and at Thomas Edison. Bus transportation is provided. All programs offered at TEHST are state-approved and most meet the career development graduation requirement for students.
College Credit Available at Montgomery College for MCPS Students Who Complete Career Programs Of Study
MCPS graduates who successfully complete one of 38 programs of study may earn free college credit when receiving grades of A or B in courses articulated with Montgomery College (MC). Earned credits may be used toward an Associate degree at MC. For more information regarding the MC articulated credit for programs of study, contact your school counselor. MC offers financial aid to help pay tuition and fees for qualifying students. More information is available at http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/careerprograms. Call 301-279-5000 at MC for college-related information, including information from the Financial Aid Office, and an application packet.
Foundations Office Programs
The Foundations Office provides programs in partnership with three separate non-profit educational foundations: automotive, construction, and information technology. Each provides a liaison between the business/professional community and MCPS to promote and advance student education, training, and preparation for college and a full range of careers within the automotive, construction, and information technology industries. Additional information may be found at http://www.foundationsoffice.org. All Foundation student programs provide opportunities to earn industry recognized credentials and also provide entrepreneurial experiences.
Automotive Trades Foundations Programs
Automotive Trades Foundation Programs are located at Damascus, Edison, Gaithersburg, and Seneca Valley high schools. Three student-run car sales per school year are held, selling over 2000 renovated vehicles to date. Students donate one renovated vehicle yearly to a deserving Montgomery County organization.
Construction Trades Foundations Program
Construction Trades Foundation Programs are located at Edison high school. Students design, construct, and market student-built houses; 38 houses have been built and sold thus far in Montgomery County.
Information Technology Programs
Information Technology Programs in computer repair and networking are located at Clarksburg, Edison, and Rockville high schools. Valuable industry-standard CompTIA certifications and college credits may be earned. Students renovate, market, and sell donated computers to the community during three yearly sales. Students also donate a refurbished computer lab yearly to a deserving Montgomery County non-profit organization.
The Visual Art Center (VAC) at Albert Einstein High School
The Visual Art Center (VAC) is a challenging and rigorous portfolio development program with a competitive application process consisting of an interview, portfolio assessment, scholastic achievement record review, and teacher recommendations. Through studio activities, group critiques, assigned research, lectures, demonstrations, slide presentations, and gallery visits, students develop a broader perspective of the fine arts and a greater awareness of opportunities in art careers. An important outcome of the program is the assembly of a strong portfolio for Advanced Placement (AP) studio exams, college admissions, and scholarship applications.
Grade 9 and 10 students attend the VAC for a double period morning session, 90 minutes each day. Grade 11 and 12 students can chose to attend the morning or afternoon session for a triple period, 135 minutes each day, to pursue the AP studio art curriculum. Students may choose to transfer to Einstein High School full-time once they have been accepted into the program. Students/parents must provide transportation.
For more information contact Michael Piechocinski or Jane Walsh at 301-962-1027 or go to http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/vac/index.htm.
High School Science/Mathematics/Computer Science Magnet Program at Montgomery Blair HS and Poolesville HS
Recognizing that education is an individual experience that depends on the unique talents and interests of each person, the mission of the MCPS High School Science/Mathematics/Computer Science Magnet Program is to provide an environment in which each student’s education is maximized by emphasizing the interrelationships among the disciplines, developing a repertoire of problem-solving techniques, and pursuing both independent and collaborative research projects. To realize this mission, the staff nurtures the special talents of its students challenging those students through a unique, diversified curriculum fostering individualism, independent thinking, and self-confidence. Students participate in constructing their own knowledge base, learn problem-solving strategies that foster a multidisciplinary approach, and develop the ability to think precisely and creatively.
The curriculum is designed to enable each student to build a solid foundation in Grades 9 and 10. Core courses in these first two years include physics, chemistry, Earth science, biology, two years of computer science, two years of mathematics, and an interdisciplinary course entitled Research and Experimentation for Problem Solving. During their junior and senior years, students have opportunities to go beyond traditional high school offerings with more than 25 special courses and independent research projects. Program descriptions, brochures, and applications can be found at the MCPS website http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/specialprograms/high/magnet-science.aspx.
Blair/Poolesville Magnet CoursesBlair/Poolesville magnet courses are listed at the end of each departmental listing in this bulletin. Courses unique to the IB and Blair/Poolesville Magnet programs are included in the Interdisciplinary and Research Courses section within the departmental listings.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programs in MCPS
The IB Diploma program is offered at
The MCPS International Baccalaureate Program website, www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/specialprograms/high/ib.aspx contains links to each school's program and admission process. , contains links to each school’s program and admission process. Each MCPS high school offering the IB has individualized its program by providing unique selections in the IB electives and languages. Local school course listings will indicate those courses available at a given school.
The IB organization allows schools to develop individual programs within their subject specifications. Each of these MCPS schools has individualized its programs by unique selections in the IB electives and languages. Local school course listings will indicate those courses unique to a given school.
International Baccalaureate CoursesIB courses are listed at the end of each departmental listing in this bulletin. Courses unique to the IB and Blair/Poolesville Magnet programs are included in the Interdisciplinary and Research Courses section within the departmental listings.
Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College and The University System of Maryland Partnership Programs
Programs for College Ready MCPS High School Students
Several MCPS high schools offer early college access programs in which college ready high school juniors or seniors may take college courses while in high school. Students may enroll in college courses offered at the home high school or on a college campus. Credits for these courses are fully transferable to the providing institution. Students must check with the college of their choice to ensure transferability to other institutions of higher education. Limited financial aid may be available through the institutions’ financial aid offices to help pay tuition and fees. For information about early college access programs contact your school counselor.
MC Ensembles Partnership Program
The MC Ensembles Partnership gives talented MCPS high school instrumental music students the opportunity to participate in the MC Symphony Orchestra or MC Wind Ensemble. For additional information, speak with your school's instrumental music teacher or contact Dr. Jay Crowder, Music Department Chair, at 240-567-7554, email@example.com.
Gateway to College Program at Montgomery College
The Gateway to College Program at MC serves high school students, 16-20 years old, for whom high school completion is at risk. To enroll, students must be significantly behind in credit attainment and have a GPA that is less than 2.0. Students attend classes on the college campus, simultaneously earning their high school diploma and credit towards an associate’s degree or certificate. For more information about the Gateway to College Program, contact your school counselor, call or email Amy Crowley, Gateway to College at MC program director, at 301-610-4052 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the website www.montgomerycollege.edu/Departments/mcmcps/gateway/.
George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academies
Twelve Montgomery County Public Schools host Saturday morning programs providing enrichment, tutoring, and mentoring for students in Grades 1–12. The George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academies programs are also known as "Saturday Schools." The George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy, Inc. was established in 1986 by the Mu Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity as an outgrowth of the Saturday School Initiative of Blacks United for Excellence in Education. Saturday Schools are open to all students regardless of their home school. High school sites include Montgomery Blair, Albert Einstein, Gaithersburg, John F. Kennedy, Magruder, Northwest, Paint Branch, Rockville, Sherwood, Springbrook, Watkins Mill, and Wheaton.
For more information about Saturday Schools tutoring and the George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academies, contact your local school or check the MCPS website, www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/gbtla/.
Student Online Learning / eLearning
MCPS eLearning provides an opportunity for students to take selected high school courses outside of the traditional classroom setting. At the eLearning website, students can learn more about eLearning, review the titles of all courses approved by MCPS and MSDE for credit towards graduation, read the Frequently Asked Questions, and take a tour of an online course. For more information or to enroll in an online class, see your counselor or visit the eLearning website, www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/onlinelearning/.
Summer SchoolSummer School 2013
The Regional Summer School Program provides an alternative for students to receive credit for select courses during the summer. The courses taught follow the same curriculum guidelines as those during the regular school year. Brochures for the 2013 Regional Summer School Program will be available in all schools by the last week of April 2013. Registration forms, tuition reduction waiver vouchers, and a copy of the summer school brochure will also be available on the MCPS website.Summer School Sites and Schedules
Summer School site locations and schedules will be advertised as soon as they are available. The sites for the Regional Summer School Program are selected based upon serving the needs of all students. All high schools can also develop their own Local School Program (LSP) to serve the needs of their specific population. The LSP operates independent of the Regional Summer School Program.Contact Information
Questions regarding Local School Programs should be directed to individual schools. Questions regarding the Regional Summer School Program should be directed to 301-279-3202.
Regional Summer School Program