Course Guide and Information


Course Guide

2015-2016 Course Guide in PDF Format

Each year at the beginning of the second semester, you will select courses for the following year. Your selection will be based on graduation and college entrance requirements and on your own special needs and interests. At a conference with your counselor, you will discuss the courses needed to complete next year's program and to develop a general plan of studies for your years at the high school.

READ the requirements for graduation and for college preparation.

EXAMINE the Special Program Opportunities so that you will be aware of the ways by which you can earn credits.

USE the course selection worksheet provided by the counseling center. Write your courses for next year with the number of periods they meet for the week and the credit units they carry.

TOTAL the number of assigned and unassigned periods, and you will get a picture of your weekly workload.

WRITE in your tentative courses for the years ahead, keeping in mind whatever college major or career choice you are considering. You should also make plans to explore and pursue courses in subjects or areas that interest you. You may not have this opportunity after high school.

BRING the Course Directory intact with you to the conference with your counselor.

Course Information

This course directory contains information about every course offered to students in Spackenkill High School. In addition to a brief description of the course, other important information is provided about each course to help you plan your high school curriculum. This section explains the additional information you will see for each course.


Many courses are restricted by grade. For example, Pre-Calculus is offered to students in Grades 11 and 12 only. The Grade requirement is listed below the course title. Be sure you meet the Grade requirement before selecting the course.

Length and When Offered

Most courses meet every school day throughout the school year. Some courses, however, meet on Odd days only or Even days only. Other courses meet every school day but only for one semester. (A semester is one-half of a school year.) You will see just below the course title the length of the course (1 year or 1/2 year). If the course does not meet every school day, you will see what days it meets. If there is no indication how often the course meets, then it meets every school day. Finally, a few courses are offered only once every two years. Be sure to watch for these special cases.


For each course you complete successfully, you receive credit towards the requirements for graduation. Generally, a course which is conducted over the entire school year provides one credit; a course conducted for just half of the school year provides ½ credit; a course that meets every other day for the entire school year provides ½ credit. Some courses provide no credits. The credits you receive for completing the course successfully are listed below the course title. Be sure to read the section Graduation Requirements in this guide to understand the number of credits you must accumulate for graduation.


   Each course has been assigned a "Factor". The Factor is a number - 0, 7, 8, 9, or 10 - which approximately describes the relative difficulty of the course. The Factor is used when calculating your "class rank."  Your class   rank is determined by your grade average for each course you take as well the Factors for these courses. For example, achieving an 85 average in a course that has a Factor 9 will improve your class rank more than achieving an 85 average in a course that has a Factor 8. Rank will be determined by the following formula:

Grade  x  weighted factor  x  credit
Total credits attempted


The courses offered at Spackenkill High School are classified by "level". The level of a course indicates how the course contributes towards graduation requirements. You will find the level for each course in parentheses next to the course title. The levels and their meanings are as follows:

  • General
    These courses provide a general education in the subject, but they provide no "Regents" credit for graduation. Be sure to read the Diploma Requirements section in this guide to understand what you must do to earn a Regents diploma or Advanced Designation.
  • Regents
    These courses provide a more challenging education in the subject than the corresponding General course and can contribute units towards the Regents diploma.
  • Modified
    These courses generally follow a curriculum similar to the corresponding Regents course, but the students are provided with additional support. The support may consist of additional classroom time, a variety of hands-on activities, or modified assessments.
  • Honors
    These course are intended for the more mature and capable student who has demonstrated competency above the grade level.
  • Advanced Placement
    These courses are high school courses for which students may earn college credits and/or college course exemption, or course placement. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered in Art, Computer Science, English, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies, and are described in detail in the departmental sections of this catalog. Students in AP courses are required to take an AP examination administered and rated by the Educational Testing Service in May. All AP exam scores must be posted on the permanent record card and transcript. The cost per subject examination is approximately $86.00. (2 tests are required for AP Physics C.) Also, a school final exam is required of all students in June.
  • Academic Intervention Services 
    These courses provide individualized instruction in small groups to help students improve basic skills. Students who fail a required Regents Exam may be enrolled in these courses.

Course Number

Each course has been assigned a course number. This number identifies the course in the computer programs that are used to create your personalized schedule.

School Curriculum


Students are heterogeneously grouped except for honors level. All students take the English Comprehensive Regents in grade 11. Senior English requirement is World Literature, except for students enrolled in AP English, DC BOCES or full-time Bridge students. Electives are offered in Communication and Public Speaking.

Social Studies

As required by the New York State Education Department, students are enrolled in the two-year Global History curriculum. Juniors take either AP US History or US History and Government. Seniors take Economics and Participation in government. Students may enroll in a variety of electives including AP European History, Psychology, Sociology and Interpersonal Relations.


Math classes are homogenously grouped: honors, regents, extended. Accelerated students may take up to 5 years o fhigh school Math, including AP courses in Calculus AB, Calculus BC and Computer Science AB.


All students begin with a high school course in Biology. Courses are offered at three levels; honors, regents, and general. AP courses are offered in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, with electives in Math, Science & Technology, Forensics, Oceanography and Environmental Science.

Foreign Language

French and Spanish are offered. All students are encouraged to enroll beyond the one year requirement. Many students go beyond the three-year Advanced Regents Diploma requirement and enroll in AP Spanish or AP French.

Fine Arts

Students may enroll in a variety of fine arts, including but not limited to Chorus, Band, Orchestra, Strings, Drawing, and Graphic Design. Students of Drawing may enroll in AP Art: Drawing.

Physical Education

All students must enroll in physical education for 4 years. Health is a required course for graduation.

Advanced Placement

Students may enroll in advanced placement courses uopn discussion with their classroom teacher and school counselor.