College Level Courses in High School


Many schools offer a variety of college level classes including AP, IB, or classes provided by a local college.  Many of these classes require a minimum grade average to enroll and continue the class.  The are many advantages to these classes.  Taking college levels classes in high school shows colleges and potential employers that you are serious about your education.  These classes can also help prepare you for college level work with the support and help your high school teachers provide. Lastly, the count for college credit.  These classes will allow you to take less general education classes in college since you already completed them.

Recommended Downloads:High School Course Planning Sheet

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Elective Classes in High School


There are many options for electives.  Electives are offered in every subject area of the core classes.  There are a certain number of elective classes that are required. Students are required to take 1 credit of art or music, and 2 credits of physical education over 4 years. However,  students need 22 credits to graduate. To receive enough credits students must take additional electives.  Electives allow you to explore different subjects and topics.  This can help you realize what you enjoy and what you would like to study in college or what field you would like to work in.


Recommended Downloads:High School Course Planning Sheet

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Core Classes in High School


Always select your core classes first.  These classes are required for graduation.  They include math, science, English, social studies,  and foreign language.  Many schools offer multiple levels of these classes including Regents level, honors, and AP.  There might also be options for core classes.  College look highly upon students that took additional core classes.  This includes an extra year or two of your foreign language or an extra science or math class.


Recommended Downloads:High School Course Planning Sheet

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Requirements for High School Graduation


These requirements are for the NYS Regents Diploma.

All students are required to have 4 English credits,  4 Social Studies credits,  3 Math credits, 3 Science, 1/2 Health credit,  1 Art or Music credit,  and 2 Physical Education credits.   The Regents Diploma  requires 1 Secondary Language credit and the Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation requires 3 Secondary Language credits. Students also need  a total of 22 credits to graduate. These additional credits are earned through electives.  All students are also required to pass the following Regents Exams with at least a 65: Comprehensive English, Global History, US History, and Checkpoint B Language other than English. The Regents Diploma  requires 1 Math and 1 Science and the Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation requires all 3 Maths, 1 physical science  and 1 life science.

Please check with you local school district to check for additional requirements.

Recommended Downloads:High School Course Planning Sheet

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It’s the beginning of spring.  Take some time to enjoy the weather and the change of seasons.  Bring your homework or a book outside.  Open your windows and blinds and enjoy the sunlight.  Go for a walk after school to clear your mind and relax before beginning your homework.

Try something new.  You can learn a new sport or try a new art form.  Involve your friends in your new endeavor.  You can also learn a new skill. There are many instructional videos online that can help you learn something new.


Recommended downloads: Plan, Study Schedule, Writing Goals, Creating a New Plan

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Creating a New Plan


After completing a midyear evaluation and a midyear reflection you should create a plan.  Ask a teacher or guidance counselor if they have suggestions to help you improve.  Talk to some friends and see what they are doing.  Remember to keep your plan manageable and doable.  Set up a study and homework schedule.  Pick the days, times, and location of where you are planning to study.  Set up a study space.  It should be well lit, comfortable, and quite.  Your homework space should have a table or desk, pens, pencils, erasers, highlighters, sticky notes, and extra paper.  Reward yourself for sticking to your plan.  The reward should be appropriate for the goal.  You can reward yourself with a new game or outfit that you’ve been wanting or by going out with your friends one night, or by going to your favorite restaurant.

Recommended Downloads: Creating a Plan, Study Skills, Writing Goals

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Reflecting on What I Did


You should reflect on what you did in class and at home.  This will help you realize what worked and what you can improve on.  It will also help you create a plan so you can finish the year off strong.

Did I take effective notes?

Did I write down everything the teacher wrote on the board?  Did I take notes on what the teacher was saying?  Are my notes written neatly? Are my notes organized?

Did I participate in class?

Did I raise my hand to answer questions?  Did I ask the teacher questions if I was confused?

Did I do my classwork?

Did I try the independent work and questions on my own?

Did I study at home?

Did I do my homework?

Did I do my projects?

Why am I getting questions wrong?

Do I not understand the material?  Are they careless errors?

What worked?  What should I change?

Recommended Downloads: Midyear Reflection, Test Reflection, Self Evaluation of Understanding

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Evaluating after Midterms


The school year is now half over.  It is time to evaluate how you are doing in your classes this year.  You still have time to pull up your grade and do well in the course.  There are a few questions you should ask yourself.

Am I happy with my grade on the midterm exam?

Not just satisfied with the grade but are you actually happy with it?   Is the grade in the range that you were hoping for?  Is the grade in line with your first and second quarter grades?

Am I happy with the report card grades so far?

What is your average so far in each subject?  What is your overall average so far?  Is this the best that you can do?   Will these grades help me achieve my goals, whether it be college, the military, or a job?

Have I been studying and putting in my best effort?

Should I attend extra help?

Do I need a tutor?

Recommended downloads: Midyear Evaluation, Questions to Ask a Tutoring Company

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Student Responsibility for Grades


By middle school students should take responsibility for their grades.  If a student receives a low grade on a test he or she should be able to say why they received that grade.  They should also not blame everyone else.  The student should reflect on what he or she did to prepare for the test.  The student should also figure out what is something that he or she did not do that he or she can try next time.


Did the child study?

Did the child go to extra help?

Did the child complete his or her homework?

Was the child physically present in class?

Download our reflection sheets for free.  Test Reflection, Lesson Reflection, Level of Understanding.

Student Responsibility for Homework


Students should be responsible for completing their homework and projects.  When students are beginning school it is very common for parents to check that the student completed all of his or her homework and that it was done correctly.  As students become older and more responsible they should be responsible for completing their own homework.

By middle school the students should be able to complete their own homework without being told to do it.  They should be able to look in the agenda book and make sure that every part of the homework is complete.  However, they most likely will still need help planning and completing projects and other long term assignments.

By high school the students should be able to complete their own homework, projects, and long term assignments.

  • Students can check off each homework assignment as they complete it.
  • Students can use a planning sheet (there is a free one at to plan long term assignments.
  • If necessary, students can also use an incentive chart to encourage them to be responsible for their own work.  Some great and free incentives could be an extra hour of TV on the weekend, staying up an hour later on Friday night, or being able to choose dinner or dessert one night.

To download free organizational resources visit