Table of Contents

Make the Most of a World-Class School Division’s High School Program

Making the transition to high school is an exciting and challenging time for students and their families. There are many options to choose from and a number of requirements to meet. In Prince William County Public Schools, we believe that all students should have a rigorous educational experience based on our World-Class curriculum that builds on what students have learned at home, in our community, and at school. The high school experience is designed to prepare students for future employment, further study at the college and university level, and to be effective citizens in our local, national, and global community. It consists of high quality diploma options, a wide choice of specialty programs, core required coursework, an array of elective offerings, and non-traditional options for earning credits. While academic programs form the core of our high school program, it is also important to take advantage of the many opportunities to participate in the rich extra-curricular programs at all of our high schools.

Where Do I Start?

Select the diploma type you wish to earn. Students entering the 9th grade are strongly encouraged to consider the Advanced Studies Diploma option to maintain the greatest number of options as they progress through their high school career. School counseling services provide regular opportunities for families to evaluate student progress toward diploma requirements and to make adjustments to the type of diploma selected. All PWCS high schools provide diplomas and certificates to meet the needs of students with different interests and needs.

The purpose of this course description catalog is to describe in general terms the courses taught in Prince William County Public Schools’ high schools, grades 9-12. Students should study this course catalog and consult with their parent/guardian, school counselors, and teachers in planning their individual program of study. It is the responsibility of each student and his/her family to ensure that requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma or a Standard Diploma are met. Graduation requirements are based on the year a student first enters 9th grade. School counselors can help with planning by reviewing test scores and records of past achievements and by discussing current interests and long-term goals. School counselors also have up-to-date information available about various training programs, schools, colleges, universities, and employment possibilities. School counselors review graduation requirements with students annually, and the school counseling staff at each school is available to assist you. Please work closely with your school counselor in making academic planning decisions.

Academic Year

The state requires that the regular academic year is at least 180 days, divided into two semesters. Courses are generally one year in length, and students receive a final grade and one standard unit of credit at the end of the school year for each course successfully completed. Some courses, however, are individually designed for one semester only. A one-semester course receives one-half credit, upon successful completion.

Registration

Courses listed will be included in the curriculum for the 2021-22 school year if there is sufficient enrollment and available staff. Grade levels listed for courses indicate the grade(s) in which the course is normally taken. All students will be expected to maintain a full-day schedule of classes required to meet the minimum standards necessary for graduation and Virginia Board of Education regulations.

All courses described may not be offered at all schools due to staffing and/or enrollment limitations. School counselors will work very closely with students and parents/guardians to develop academic plans where appropriate substitutions can be made for courses not offered.

Placement/Promotion Procedure

Recommendations concerning instructional placement of students are the responsibility of the teacher and other professional staff directly involved with the students. The final decision concerning placement, however, rests with the principal. Promotion at the high school level is based on the following guidelines:

  • Students who are promoted from grade 8 will be placed in grade 9.
  • Students in high school progress toward graduation on a course-by-course basis. Students take courses based upon academic performance, academic needs, graduation requirements, and previous credits earned.
  • Graduation requirements for students shall be those in effect at the time the student entered the 9th grade for the first time.

The requirements for membership in grades 9-12 are as follows:

Grade Placement

  • 9th Grade: Successful completion of grade eight.
  • 10th Grade: Five units of credit, three of which must be in required courses.
  • 11th Grade: Eleven units of credit, six of which must be in required courses.
  • 12th Grade: Sixteen units of credit, nine of which must be in required courses.

To be classified as a 12th grader, a student must be in a program of studies which will enable the student to acquire the minimum number of standard units of credit and verified units of credit required for graduation by June of the senior year or by the end of summer school following the senior year. All alternative programs require the approval of the principal of the high school from which the student will graduate.

Course Requirements

All students, regardless of the diploma type or specialty program selected, will have to complete a set of required core classes in mathematics, science, social studies, English/language arts, physical education, and other subjects. The Standard (prior to 2018-19), Advanced Studies (prior to 2018-19), Standard (after 2018-19), and Advanced Studies (2018-19 and beyond) Diploma Charts are designed to help students see what required courses must be completed for each diploma type. Some specialty programs offer courses which may be substituted for required classes. Students and their families need to work closely with their school counselor to explore their available course options.

Specialty Programs

Specialty programs allow for career exploration, subject area concentration, and college/university preparation. Prince William County Public Schools provide excellent opportunities for students to explore a wide variety of special programs. These “specialty” programs give students the chance to investigate careers ranging from the various building trades to advanced computer science. Students participating in these programs can earn certifications, licenses, or other professional credentials in an area of study.

In addition to career exploration and concentrated study in fields of interest, all of our high schools provide rigorous college preparation through the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) courses, the IB, or the Cambridge Programme. All three of these programs offer students the possibility of earning college credit for courses completed while in high school. There are also Dual Enrollment and Early College courses available to students in PWCS.

Families can explore the wide range of options available in their neighborhood high school program or consider one of the many options presented at our specialty program fairs and information nights held annually across the county. You can contact the counseling office of any high school for more information about programs of particular interest to you. Be sure to visit the Prince William County Public Schools website for information concerning transfer policies and application deadlines.

Electives

In addition to the core course requirements and specialty programs, all PWCS high schools offer elective course options which extend and enrich the curriculum, and challenge students. Students may choose these electives to customize their educational experience to meet their interests. Some examples are: advanced physical education, journalism, theatre, geography, astronomy, international relations, and many more. Speak with your school counselor to learn about the offerings available at your school.


Ways to Earn Credit

Traditional Classroom

The vast majority of students experience Prince William County Public Schools through the traditional classroom environment where face-to-face collaboration leads to a deep construction of knowledge with our World-Class teaching staff. The classroom environment provides the greatest potential for student interaction. It also creates the opportunity to form life-long friendships with their classmates over an entire school year.

Virtual Courses

As technology has evolved, so have our educational tools and opportunities. An increasing number of students are seeking alternatives to the face-to-face classroom experience through virtual learning opportunities:

Virtual Prince William

Prince William County Public Schools is a pioneer in online schooling through our Virtual High School. Virtual Prince William continues to lead the online school movement with over a decade of experience of providing accelerated courses for students who are motivated to work in a more independent learning environment and are disciplined enough to manage their coursework and time. The online experience in Virtual Prince William is truly World-Class. Students taking our courses have highly skilled, certified, Prince William County teachers conducting their classes. Courses include a wide variety of state of the art media, course management, and collaboration tools. Virtual Prince William offers students the opportunity to take courses online to accelerate completion of graduation requirements, recover credits, and balance academic and extracurricular opportunities. With the exception of face-to-face tutorials, these courses are delivered via computer and the coursework is done outside school hours. Students have direct access to their instructors by telephone and by communication tools inside the course delivery platform such as email and instant messaging.

While the content and requirements of online coursework are the same as in the traditional classroom, online courses require different skills and learning styles than traditional face-to-face courses. For instance, students enrolled in an online course are responsible for scheduling their own “class time.” Online students must be very focused and self-disciplined. Information about the nature of online learning, the necessary computer equipment, the cost, and other aspects of this opportunity can be found on the Virtual Prince William webpage.

Courses offered in any given school year are dependent on sufficient enrollment and the availability of qualified and appropriately endorsed instructional staff.

Students interested in virtual course options should see their school counselor or contact Virtual Prince William. Contact information is available on the Prince William County Public Schools’ website at www.pwcs.edu.

Virtual Virginia

Virtual Virginia, sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education, provides online courses to students across the Commonwealth. Students have the opportunity to enroll in courses that they may not be able to fit into their regular school day or take advantage of courses that are not currently available in their school.

While some courses require tuition, any students participating in the Early College Scholars program have their AP course tuition covered by the Virginia Department of Education. Students who plan to take the AP exam are required to pay the AP exam fee. Students who enroll in a Virtual Virginia course and choose to drop the course once it begins, will be assessed a $75.00 fee. Students who are successful in online classes are generally skilled in the use of technology, are self-disciplined and self-motivated, have good communication skills (reading and writing), and have an interest in interacting with others in an online course environment. To learn more about Virtual Virginia opportunities, please visit your school counselor.

Night School

A limited number of courses are available in the evenings. These courses are some of the most critical for graduation. Course availability is subject to meeting sufficient enrollment. Your school counselor can provide more information about the Night School Program.

Summer School

PWCS also offers select courses over the summer. The Summer School Program allows students to accelerate the completion of required coursework to free up their school year for participation in more elective programs while also concentrating on advanced academic coursework. Other students take advantage of the Summer School Program to retake coursework that proved difficult for them during the previous school year. Students interested in exploring summer coursework should contact their school counselor for more information. All students taking a summer school course that requires an End-of-Course SOL test, must take the SOL test scheduled during summer school, unless the student has already passed the test. Students who have not passed a state assessment may be required to enroll in available summer remediation programs. In support of PWCS students who must meet the Standards of Learning verified credit diploma criteria, an optional summer tutoring program is provided. This voluntary program is available to students who have passed their classroom instruction and received Carnegie credit, but have not earned verified credit due to failing the corresponding End-of-Course SOL test. Summer school courses not taken in PWCS must meet the requirements as outlined in regulation. See your school counselor for more information.

Alternative Methods for Granting Standard Units of Credit

In some instances, currently enrolled students find it necessary to look for other options to earn a standard unit of credit. Students seeking to earn high school credits from educational institutions outside Prince William County Public Schools or the Virtual Virginia program must request permission to take the course. Credit will only be awarded for the course if permission is granted by the Office of Student Learning prior to course enrollment. See your school counselor for more information about alternative options for earning standard units of credit.

Regional Advanced Academic Schools

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology – Virginia Regional Academic-Year Governor’s School

The Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology accepts Prince William County Public Schools’ students into its four-year program through an application and testing process. Interested students should ask a designated middle school counselor for an information packet. Students must complete Algebra I by the end of eighth grade or receive written authorization to apply to Thomas Jefferson from the Admissions Director. Additional information is available through the Thomas Jefferson Admissions Office at 571-423-3370 or on the TJHS Admission webpage.

The Governor’s School @ Innovation Park – Virginia Regional Academic-Year Governor’s School

The Governor’s School @ Innovation Park is a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) initiative of three school divisions, Prince William County, Manassas City, and Manassas Park, in collaboration with George Mason University. The instructional design of the program integrates strands in biology, chemistry, and physics with mathematics, concepts of engineering and technology, and with laboratory research. Learning experiences focus on real-world research with mentorship opportunities in business, industry, government, and university settings. Rising juniors are eligible to apply for the program. Interested students can access the application online at governors.pwcs.edu. Students must have completed Algebra II/Trigonometry and both Biology I and Chemistry I by the end of the 10th grade in order to apply and enter the Biology, Chemistry or Physics threads. Students must have additionally completed Pre-Calculus and Physics in order to be qualified to enter the Engineering thread (beginning in 2021)."

Alternative Education

Independence Nontraditional
(Grades 9-12)

Independence Nontraditional offers students in grades 9-12 a comprehensive instructional program that merges leadership, career, and social skills necessary for success in the 21st century with existing Prince William County Public Schools curricula. Students can expect a rigorous curriculum which promotes the development of academic resilience, social responsibility, and self-respect. The innovative education environment provides flexible learning opportunities to support student success. Day and evening programs are offered. Age-appropriate interventions that address effective and affective development, second language acquisition, and special needs are provided in an inclusive manner.

Students are recommended for placement by school administrators, parents/guardians, or the Office of Student Management and Alternative Programs. A nontraditional education plan for each student designed collaboratively by Independence Nontraditional staff, parents/guardians, and the student ensures each student meets his/her educational and graduation goals. Multiple instructional options support seamless student transitions to additional academic, extra-curricular, and service learning opportunities.

Individual Student Alternative Education Plan (ISAEP)

The Individual Student Alternative Education Plan (ISAEP) is a program offered through the Virginia Department of Education, which provides students ages 16 through 18, who are at risk of dropping out of school, an opportunity to work toward a General Educational Development (GED) certificate while developing a vocational or career skill. Students must be referred to the program by the school counseling office, with the permission of the parents/guardians, and must meet the eligibility criteria to be admitted to the program. The ISAEP will only be considered for students after all measures to maintain students in a traditional diploma program have been exhausted. Contact the school counseling office for more information regarding the program.


General Information

Grade-Point Values: All courses taught for credit in Prince William County Public Schools are assigned grade-point values as follows:

Grade Point Value For Courses Point Value For Courses Designated As
Advanced Placement, International
Baccalaureate, Cambridge, And Dual Enrollment Courses
Point Value For Designated Prerequisite Courses
A 4 points (90-100) 5 points (90-100) 4.5 points (90-100)
B+ 3.4 points (87-89) 4.4 points (87-89) 3.9 points (87-89)
B 3 points (80-86) 4 points (80-86) 3.5 points (80-86)
C+ 2.4 points (77-79) 3.4 points (77-79) 2.9 points (77-79)
C 2 points (70-76) 3 points (70-76) 2.5 points (70-76)
D+ 1.4 points (67-69) 1.4 points (67-69) 1.4 points (67-69)
D 1 point (60-66) 1 point (60-66) 1 point (60-66)
F 0 points (59 and below) 0 points (59 and below) 0 points (59 and below)

When students successfully complete courses identified as 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade courses prior to entering 9th grade, they will receive standard units of credit toward graduation. Such courses will be used in computing the student’s high school GPA. Weighted grade points are used to encourage students to take more challenging course work with less risk to their report card grades. Students and their families should note that colleges and universities routinely remove weighted credits to better compare applicants' performance in rigorous courses across school divisions where weighting practices vary.

(See paragraph below)

Omitting a Grade for a High School Credit Taken in Middle School

The Regulations Establishing Standards of Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia have provided families with the option of requesting that grades be omitted from a student’s transcript for any high school credit-bearing course taken in middle school. Requests to have a high school credit-bearing course grade removed from a student’s transcript must be submitted using the form available in the counseling office or on the school website to the appropriate principal before the deadlines established by the School Division. Families who elect to have a grade removed from the transcript should be aware that the decision to have the grade removed is binding and that no grade or associated credit will be awarded for the course once the request has been granted.

Schedule Changes

Each high school sets their own schoolwide schedule change procedures and guidelines. Students must comply with the schedule change process established at their school. Should a student elect to change a class, the following rules will apply:

  • Students who drop a year-long course before the end of the first quarter or before the end of the first four weeks for a semester based course, shall not have the attempt recorded on their transcript.
  • Students who drop a year-long course after the end of the first quarter or after the end of the first four weeks for semester based course, shall receive no credit and a notation shall be made on the student’s transcript indicating withdraw failing or withdraw passing.
  • Students who drop a year-long course after the end of the first semester or after the end of the first quarter for semester based courses, shall receive no credit and a failing grade for the course.
  • The principal (or designee) may, in extenuating circumstances relating to a student’s health or well-being, make an exception to the regulation governing the procedures for dropping a course.
  • If a student moves from one level to another level of the same course, the grades earned in the initial course will transfer to the second course. This rule applies even in those cases where the student is moving from an advanced level course to a lower level course within the same subject (e.g., Advanced English 9 to English 9).

Graduation Requirements and Diploma Options

The Virginia Board of Education sets forth requirements for students associated with the year the student entered 9th grade for the first time. The diploma options available to students can be found, organized by the year the student entered 9th grade for the first time, in the following section. Students will meet with their school counselor each year to update their individual graduation plan and diploma type.

Standard Diploma

22 Standard Credits, 6 Verified Credits: Students who enter 9th grade prior to 2018-19

Course Credits Verified Credits
English 4 2 Courses shall include English 9, 10, 11, and 12 or an advanced equivalent.
Math 3 1 Courses shall include at least two different course selections from among Algebra I; Geometry; Algebra Functions and Data Analysis; Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II
Science 3 1 Courses shall include at least two different course selections from among Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, or Physics or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the IB Diploma.
Social Studies 3 1 Courses shall include U.S. and Virginia History, U.S. and Virginia Government and one of the following: World History to 1500; World History from 1500.
Health and Physical Education 2 1 CPR/First Aid/AED Training
Courses shall include Health PE I and II.
*Students will meet the CPR/First Aid/AED Training requirement while enrolled in an HPE I and II course in Prince William County Public Schools.
Economics/Personal Finance (Virtual course component included) 1
Students will meet the Virtual Course graduation requirement after taking and passing this course in a Prince William County Public School.
Electives 6
Credits earned for this requirement shall include one credit in fine
or performing arts or Career and Technical Education. A computer
science course credit earned by students may be considered a Career
and Technical Education course credit. Courses shall also include two
electives which are sequential. The World Language, Fine Arts, or Career and Technical Education course credit may be used to partially satisfy the sequential elective requirement.
Other Requirements

CTE Credentialing Exam: Students must take and pass a Career and Technical Education credentialing exam that has been approved by the Virginia Board of Education.

1 Student Selected Verified Credit: This verified credit may be earned by passing an SOL test and the corresponding course in any subject area. A student may also utilize additional tests for earning verified credit in computer science, technology, Career and Technical Education, economics, or other areas as prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education.

*Students who entered the 9th grade prior to the 2016-17 school year do not need to meet this requirement.

Advanced Studies Diploma

26 Standard Credits, 9 Verified Credits: Students who enter 9th grade prior to 2018-19

Course Credits Verified Credits
English 4 2 Courses shall include English 9, 10, 11, and 12 or an advanced equivalent.
Math 4 2 Courses shall include at least three different course selections from among Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II.
Science 4 2 Courses shall include at least three different course selections from among Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, or Physics or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the IB Diploma.
Social Studies 4 2 Courses shall include U.S. and Virginia History, U.S. and Virginia Government, and both World History to 1500 and World History from 1500; World Geography may be accepted as one of the required World History courses for transfer students.
World Language 3 or 4
Courses shall include three years of one language or two years each of two languages.
Health and Physical Education 2

CPR/First Aid/AED Training*

Courses shall include Health PE I and II.

*Students will meet the CPR/First Aid/AED Training requirement while enrolled in an HPE I and II course in Prince William County Public Schools.

Economics/ Personal Finance (Virtual course component included) 1
Students will meet the Virtual Course graduation requirement after taking and passing this course in a Prince William County Public School.
Electives 3 or 4
One elective must be a Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education course.
Other Requirements

1 Student Selected Verified Credit: This verified credit may be earned by passing an SOL test and the corresponding course in any subject area. A student may also utilize additional tests for earning verified credit in computer science, technology, career and technical education, economics, or other areas as prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education.

*Students who entered the 9th grade prior to the 2016-17 school year do not need to meet this requirement.

Standard Diploma

22 Standard Credits, 5 Verified Credits: Students who enter 9th grade in 2018-19 and beyond

Course Credits Verified Credits
English 4 2

Courses shall include English 9, 10, 11, and 12 or an advanced equivalent.

Math

3 1

Courses shall include at least two different course selections from among Algebra I; Geometry; Algebra Functions and Data Analysis; Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II.

Science

3 1

Courses shall include at least two different course selections from among Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, or Physics or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the IB Diploma.

Social Studies 3 1

Courses shall include U.S. and Virginia History, U.S. and Virginia Government, and one of the following: World History to 1500; World History from 1500.

Health and
Physical Education

2

CPR/First Aid/AED Training

Courses shall include Health PE I and II.

*Students will meet the CPR/First Aid/AED Training requirement while enrolled in an HPE I and II course in Prince William County Public Schools.

Economics/
Personal Finance

(Virtual course component included)

1

Students will meet the Virtual Course graduation requirement after taking and passing this course in a Prince William County Public School.

Electives 6

Credits earned for this requirement shall include one credit in fine or performing arts or Career and Technical Education. A computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a Career and Technical Education course credit. Courses shall also include two electives which are sequential. The World Language, Fine Arts, or Career and Technical Education course credit may be used to partially satisfy the sequential elective requirement.

Other Requirements



CTE Credentialing Exam: Students must take and pass a Career and Technical Education credentialing exam that has been approved by the Virginia Board of Education

OR

Take one advanced course during their high school career. An advanced course can be defined as any AP/Advanced, IB/Pre-IB, AICE/IGSCE course, or dual enrollment.

Advanced Studies Diploma

26 Standard Credits, 5 Verified Credits: Students who enter 9th grade in 2018-19 and beyond

Course Credits Verified Credits
English 4 2 Courses shall include English 9, 10, 11, and 12 or an advanced equivalent.
Math 4 1 Courses shall include at least three different course selections from among Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II.
Science 4 1 Courses shall include at least three different course selections from among Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, or Physics or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the IB Diploma.
Social Studies 4 1 Courses shall include U.S. and Virginia History, U.S. and Virginia Government, and both World History to 1500 and World History from 1500; World Geography may be accepted as one of the required World History courses for transfer students.
World Language 3 or 4
Courses shall include three years of one language or two years each of two languages.
Health and
Physical Education
2

CPR/First Aid/AED Training

Courses shall include Health PE I and II.

*Students will meet the CPR/First Aid/AED Training requirement while enrolled in an HPE I and II course in Prince William County Public Schools.

Economics/
Personal Finance

(Virtual course component included)

1
Students will meet the Virtual Course graduation requirement after taking and passing this course in a Prince William County Public School.
Electives 3 or 4
Courses shall include two electives which are sequential and one elective which qualifies as a World Language, Fine Arts, or Career and Technical Education course. One elective must be a Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education course.
Other Requirements

CTE Credentialing Exam: Students must take and pass a Career and Technical Education credentialing exam that has been approved by the Virginia Board of Education

OR

Take one advanced course during their high school career. An advanced course can be defined as any AP/Advanced, IB/Pre-IB, AICE/IGSCE course, or dual enrollment.

Graduation Requirements

Diploma Options for students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan

Students with disabilities who have an IEP or 504 plan are encouraged to pursue the Advanced Studies or Standard Diploma. The IEP or 504 team will work with students and their families to determine the appropriate individual path to graduation for the student.

Credit Accommodations

Students entering 9th grade for the first time in 2013-14 and beyond are eligible to pursue an Advanced Studies Diploma, Standard Diploma, or Applied Studies Diploma. These students who would have previously been candidates for the Modified Standard Diploma may use credit accommodations to earn the Standard Diploma if they meet the following eligibility requirements (i) the student has a current IEP or 504 plan with standards-based content goals; (ii) the student has a disability that precludes him or her from achieving and progressing commensurate with grade level expectation, but is learning grade level content; (iii) the student needs significant instructional supports to access grade level Standards of Learning (SOL) content and to show progress; and (iv) based on multiple objective measures of past performance, student might not be expected to achieve the required standard and verified units of credit within the standard time frame. Credit accommodations shall be determined and documented by the student’s IEP team or 504 plan committee, including the student where appropriate, at any point after the student’s eighth grade year.

Applied Studies Diploma (For students with an IEP)

Courses Needed: Students with disabilities who complete the requirements of their Individualized Education Program (IEP) and do not meet the requirements for other diplomas shall be awarded the Applied Studies Diploma.

Transition Services (For students with an IEP)*

Realizing successful post-secondary outcomes is a goal PWCS has for all students. Depending on the severity of disability and the support services required in adult life, successful transition from high school to adult life may require that planning activities begin in elementary school with students exploring their interests in middle school. Starting the process early prepares students with disabilities to think about what they want to be able to do in adult life. High school transition planning includes exploring post-secondary opportunities and employment options and may include connecting with the adult service agencies that may provide the student with services.

Statement of Needed Transition Services -

beginning no later than the first IEP developed when the eligible student is 14.

Recognizing the need for students with disabilities to engage in effective transition planning, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that transition planning be part of the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Beginning no later than the first IEP developed when the eligible student is 14, the Team considers the student's need for transition services and documents this discussion. If appropriate, the IEP includes a statement of needed transition services. Such documentation must be reviewed and updated annually thereafter. Students must be invited to all meetings and allowed to participate actively when transition planning is discussed and are encouraged to actively participate.

Linkages to Post School Options – beginning no later than the first IEP developed when the eligible student is 14 and update annually.

Beginning no later than the first IEP developed when the eligible student is 14, the IEP's of students should include a post school vision statement as well as identify the transition services necessary to support the vision. IDEA 2004 defines transition services as a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that -

  1. Is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the student with a disability to facilitate the student's movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;
  2. Is based on individual strengths, preferences and interest; and
  3. Includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. (P.L. 108-446, Sec 603 (34))

Transfer Students

Students who transfer to a Prince William County Public School from a public school system within the state of Virginia must meet all graduation requirements set forth by the Virginia Department of Education. Students who transfer to a Prince William County Public School from a private or out-of-state school will work with their school counselor to make an individualized graduation plan that allows the student some flexibility in meeting graduation requirements as set forth by the Virginia Department of Education. Students who enroll during the school year after the first 20 hours of instruction will be required to meet the following verified unit of credit requirements for graduation:

Standard Diploma Advanced Studies Diploma
Student enters the 9th grade for the first time prior to 2018-19
Student enters at the beginning of or during 9th grade:
Student must obtain all six required verified units of credit
Student enters at the beginning of or during 9th grade:
Student must obtain all nine required verified units of credit

Student enters at the beginning of or during 10th grade or at the beginning of 11th grade:

Student must obtain four verified units of credit

  • One in English
  • One in Math
  • One in History/Social Science
  • One in Science

Student enters at the beginning of or during 10th grade or at the beginning of 11th grade:

Student must obtain six verified units of credit

  • Two in English
  • One in Math
  • One in History/Social Science
  • One in Science
  • One student selected

Student enters during 11th grade or at the beginning of 12th grade:

Student must obtain two verified units

  • One in English
  • One student selected*

Student enters during 12th grade:

Student may apply for a waiver of verified units with the State Board of Education

Student enters during 11th grade or at the beginning of 12th grade:

  • Student must obtain four verified units
  • One in English
  • Three student selected*

Student enters during 12th grade:

Student may apply for a waiver of verified units with the State Board of Education

Student enters the 9th grade for the first time during 2018-19 and beyond
Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma

Student enters at the beginning of or during 9th grade or at the beginning of 10th grade:

Student must obtain all five required verified units of credit

Student enters at the beginning of or during 10th grade or at the beginning of 11th grade:

Student must obtain all five required verified units of credit

Student enters during 11th grade or at the beginning of 12th grade:

Student must obtain two verified units

  • One in English
  • One student selected*
*One must be earned in mathematics if participation in mathematics testing is required by federal law
Student enters during 12th grade:
Student may apply for a waiver of verified units with the State Board of Education

Students transferring with weighted credits from other divisions will have those credits assessed and aligned with similar courses in PWCS. Students may also be granted additional flexibility in meeting some of the course requirements for graduation as outlined in the Virginia Standards of Accreditation. Any student or parent with questions about graduation requirements for transfer students should consult with their assigned school counselor. Students whose parents are active duty military may receive additional flexibility as outlined in the Interstate Military Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. Information for transfer students who enter during 10th grade in 2019-20 and beyond is available in each school counseling office.


Diploma Warranty

Prince William County Public Schools will provide a two-year warranty for diploma recipients. The diploma warranty guarantees minimum competencies in reading, writing, and mathematics. Students receiving a diploma from Prince William County Public Schools:

  • Understand, interpret, and analyze written material;
  • Carry out oral and written directions or obtain clarification when necessary;
  • Express ideas both orally and in writing, using appropriate vocabulary and proper grammar;
  • Locate and obtain needed information from common reference materials, computerized databases, maps and diagrams, and resource people;
  • Apply basic computation skills; and
  • Use problem-solving strategies in the work environment.

Prince William County Public Schools’ graduates who are identified by employers as lacking one or more of these minimum competencies may be retrained through Prince William County Public Schools’ Night School Program at no expense to the graduate.

Diploma Seal

Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia contain provisions for awards for exemplary performance for students who meet the requirements for graduation as follows:

  • Students who complete the requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma with an average grade of “B” or better and successfully complete college-level coursework that will earn the student at least nine transferable college credits in Advanced Placement (AP), IB (IB), Cambridge (AICE), or dual enrollment courses will receive the Governor’s Seal on the Diploma.
  • Students who complete the requirements for a Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma with an average of “A” will receive a Board of Education Seal on the Diploma.
  • The Board of Education’s Career and Technical Education Seal will be awarded to students who earn a Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma, complete a prescribed sequence of Career and Technical Education courses, and either:
    • Maintain a "B' or better average in those courses; or
    • Pass one of the Virginia Department of Education approved industry certifications, occupational competency assessments, or professional licenses. See your school counselor for a list of approved industry certifications.
  • Board of Education’s Diploma Seal for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) will be awarded to students who:
    • Earn either a Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma.
    • Satisfy all Math and Science requirements for the Advanced Studies Diploma with a “B” average or better in all course work.
    • Successfully complete a 50 hour or more work-based learning opportunity in a STEM area.
    • Satisfy all requirements for a Career and Technical Education concentration. A concentration is a coherent sequence of two or more state-approved courses as identified in the course listing within the CTE Administrative Planning Guide.
    • Pass one of the following:
      • A Board of Education CTE STEM-H credential examination; or
      • An examination approved by the Board that confers a college-level credit in a STEM field.
  • The Board of Education Seal of Advanced Mathematics and Technology (available for students entering high school prior to 2018-2019) awarded to students who earn a Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma and satisfy all of the mathematics requirements for the Advanced Studies Diploma (four standard units of credit including Algebra II; two verified units of credit) with a “B” average or better and either (i) pass an examination in a career and technical education field that confers certification from a recognized industry, trade, or professional association; or (ii) acquire a professional license in a career and technical education field from the Commonwealth of Virginia; or (iii) pass an examination approved by the Board that confers college-level credit in a technology or computer science area. The Board of Education shall approve all professional licenses and examinations used to satisfy these requirements.
  • The Board of Education’s Seal for Excellence in Civics Education will be awarded to students who earn a Modified Standard Diploma, Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma and satisfy all of the following criteria: (i) complete U.S. and Virginia History and U.S. and Virginia Government with a grade of “B” or higher; (ii) complete 50 hours of voluntary participation in community service or extracurricular activities that have a civics focus; and (iii) have good attendance and no disciplinary infractions. Any student who enlists in the United States military prior to graduation will be deemed to have completed the community service requirement for this seal.
  • The Board of Education’s Seal of Biliteracy will be awarded to students who earn a Board of Education-approved diploma and (i) pass all required End-of-Course Assessments in English reading and writing at the proficient or higher level; and (ii) be proficient at the intermediate-mid level or higher in one or more languages other than English, as demonstrated through an assessment from a list to be approved by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. For purposes of this seal, "foreign language" means a language other than English, and includes American Sign Language.
  • The Board of Education’s Seal for Excellence in Science and the Environment is awarded to students who enter the 9th grade for the first time in the 2018-19 year and thereafter, and meet each of the following criteria:
    • Earn either a Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma.
    • Complete at least three different first-level board-approved laboratory science courses and at least one rigorous advanced-level or postsecondary-level laboratory science course, each with a grade of “B” or higher.
    • Complete laboratory or field-science research and present that research in a formal, juried setting.
    • Complete at least 50 hours of voluntary participation in community service or extracurricular activities that involve the application of science such as environmental monitoring, protection, management, or restoration.

Prince William County Public Schools
“Ready to Go” Checklist

Students completing the courses and other graduation requirements outlined below will be “Ready to Go” to post-secondary education institutions of their choice to include Northern Virginia Community College and four year universities.

Students may opt to take a standard level or advanced level (AP, IB, AICE) of any required course depending on the program available at their school.

Students must complete all requirements for their chosen diploma to include earning verified units of credit for courses which have a Standard of Learning (SOL) test attached.

Students are encouraged to research admission requirements for highly selective colleges and universities during their 9th grade year.


Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12
English

English 9

Completed

English 10

Completed

English 11

Completed

English 12

Completed
Math

Algebra I or Higher

Completed

Geometry or Higher

Completed

Algebra Functions and Data Analysis,

Algebra II, or higher

Completed

Algebra II or higher

Completed
Science

Earth Science I, Environmental Science, or
Biology I

Completed

Biology I or Chemistry I

Completed

Chemistry I or Physics I

Completed

Higher Level Science (AP, IB etc.)

Completed
Social Studies

World History I

Completed

World History II

Completed

U.S. and Virginia
History

Completed

U.S. and Virginia
Government

Completed
World Language

Level 1 or higher

Completed

Level 2 or higher

Completed

Level 3 or higher

Completed

*Recommended for
highly selective colleges

Higher Level Language (AP, IB etc.)

Completed

*Recommended for
highly selective colleges

Health and
Physical Education

Health and

Physical Education I

Completed

Health and

Physical Education II

Completed


Electives

Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education (1 Credit)

Completed (list below)


Sequential Elective (2 Credits – Standard Diploma Only) for students who enter 9th grade prior to 2018-19. Required for all students who enter the 9th grade in 2018-19 and beyond.

Completed (list below)

Other Electives (2 or more credits depending on diploma type)

Completed (list below)


Additional
Graduation
Requirements

Economics and
Personal Finance

Completed

CTE Credentialing Exam or One
Advanced Course#

Completed

Virtual Course

Completed

CPR/First/AED
Training

Completed

See your school counselor for more information about your high school course plan and your post-secondary education plans!

# All students entering the 9th grade for the first time during the 2018-19 school year and beyond must take EITHER one advanced course or pass a CTE credentialing exam. All students entering the 9th grade for the first time during the 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 or 2017-18 must pass a CTE credentialing exam if they plan to receive a STANDARD diploma.

Prince William County Public Schools
General College Admissions Information

Data below based on acceptance information reported for the class of 2018 from Prince William County Public Schools


Average GPA of accepted students Average SAT of accepted students (combined Verbal and Math) Average ACT of accepted students (composite score)

Elite – National

Examples: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton, Cornell University
4.5 1400 33

Exclusive – State

Examples: University of Virginia,
College of William & Mary, University of Richmond
4.2 1275 28

Highly Selective – State

Examples: George Mason, Virginia Tech,
James Madison University
3.9 1175 25

Moderately Selective – State

Examples: Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Mary Washington, Christopher Newport University
3.7 1128 23

Selective – State

Examples: Old Dominion University, Longwood University,
Shenandoah University, Radford University,
Hampton University
3.33 1033 21

What are the Odds?

See below for information from the Class of 2019 and their acceptance rate at colleges to which over 100 students applied.

  • Radford University 63%
  • West Virginia University 63%
  • Bridgewater College 63%
  • Longwood University 59%
  • Hampton University 48%
  • Shenandoah University 54%
  • Virginia Commonwealth University 57%
  • Old Dominion University 60%
  • University of Mary Washington 60%
  • Marymount University 58%
  • George Mason University 60%
  • Christopher Newport University 55%
  • James Madison University 52%
  • Norfolk State University 44%
  • Virginia State University 48%
  • Virginia Tech 52%
  • College of William and Mary 32%
  • University of Virginia 30%
  • George Washington University 28%
  • Howard University 21%
  • New York University 12%
  • Penn State 56%

Virginia Public Four Year Colleges and Universities

  • Christopher Newport University
  • College of William and Mary
  • George Mason University
  • James Madison University
  • Longwood University
  • Norfolk State University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Radford University
  • University of Mary Washington
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Virginia’s College at Wise
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia Military Institute
  • Virginia State University
  • Virginia Tech

Virginia Public Community Colleges

  • Virginia Public Community Colleges
  • Blue Ridge Community College
  • Central Virginia Community College
  • Dabney S. Lancaster Comm. College
  • Danville Community College
  • Eastern Shore Community College
  • Germanna Community College
  • J Sergeant Reynolds Comm. College
  • John Tyler Community College
  • Lord Fairfax Community College
  • Mountain Empire Community College
  • New River Community College
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Patrick Henry Community College
  • Paul D Camp Community College
  • Piedmont Virginia Community College
  • Rappahannock Community College
  • Southside Virginia Community College
  • Southwest Virginia Community College
  • Thomas Nelson Community College
  • Tidewater Community College
  • Virginia Highlands Community College
  • Virginia Western Community College
  • Wytheville Community College

Historically Black Colleges & Universities

Alabama

  • Alabama A&M University
  • Alabama State University
  • S.D. Bishop State Community College
  • Concordia College
  • Miles College
  • Oakwood College
  • Stillman College
  • Talladega College
  • Tuskegee University

Arkansas

  • Arkansas Baptist College
  • Philander Smith College
  • University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff

Delaware

  • Delaware State University

District of Columbia

  • Howard University
  • University of the District of Columbia

Florida

  • Bethune-Cookman University
  • Edward Waters College
  • Florida A&M University
  • Florida Memorial University

Georgia

  • Albany State University
  • Clark-Atlanta University
  • Fort Valley State University
  • Morehouse College
  • Morris Brown College
  • Paine College
  • Savannah State University
  • Spelman College

Kentucky

  • Kentucky State University

Louisiana

  • Dillard University
  • Grambling State University
  • Southern University and A&M College
  • Xavier University of Louisiana

Maryland

  • Bowie State University
  • Coppin State University
  • Morgan State University
  • University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

Mississippi

  • Alcorn State University
  • Coahoma Community College
  • Jackson State University
  • Mississippi Valley State University
  • Rust College
  • Tougaloo College

Missouri

  • Harris-Stowe State University
  • Lincoln University of Missouri

North Carolina

  • Barber-Scotia College
  • Bennett College
  • Elizabeth City State University
  • Fayetteville State University
  • Johnson C. Smith University
  • Livingstone College
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • North Carolina Central University
  • St. Augustine’s College
  • Shaw University
  • Winston-Salem State University

Ohio

  • Central State University
  • Wilberforce University

Oklahoma

  • Langston University

Pennsylvania

  • Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
  • Lincoln University

South Carolina

  • Allen University
  • Benedict College
  • Claflin University
  • Clinton Junior College
  • Denmark Technical College
  • Morris College
  • South Carolina State College
  • Voorhees College

Tennessee

  • Fisk University
  • Knoxville College
  • Lane College
  • LeMoyne-Owen College
  • Meharry Medical College
  • Tennessee State University

Texas

  • Houston-Tillotson University
  • Jarvis Christian College
  • Paul Quinn College
  • Prairie View A&M University
  • Texas College
  • Texas Southern University
  • Wiley College

Virginia

  • Hampton University
  • Norfolk State University
  • St. Paul’s College
  • Virginia State University
  • Virginia Union University

West Virginia

  • Bluefield State College
  • West Virginia State University

Colleges with large Hispanic enrollments (50% or more)

California

  • Bakersfield College
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • Cerritos College
  • Chaffey College
  • College of the Sequoias
  • East Los Angeles College
  • Hartnell College
  • Imperial Valley College
  • Los Angeles Trade-Technical College
  • Reedley College
  • Rio Hondo College
  • San Bernedino Valley College
  • Southwestern College

Florida

  • Florida International University
  • Miami-Dade College

Illinois

  • City Colleges of Chicago – Wilbur
  • Wright College

New Mexico

  • New Mexico State University – Dona Ana

New York

  • CUNY – Bronx Community College

Texas

  • El Paso Community College
  • Laredo Community College
  • Palo Alto College
  • San Antonio College
  • Southwest Texas College
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Texas at Brownsville
  • University of Texas at El Paso
  • University of Texas at San Antonio
  • University of Texas-Pan-American

Virginia Private Four Year Colleges & Universities

  • Appalachian School of Law
  • Averett University – Danville
  • Bluefield College
  • Bridgewater College
  • Centura College – Alexandria
  • Centura College – Chesapeake
  • Centura College – Newport News
  • Centura College – Norfolk
  • Centura College – Richmond
  • Centura College – Richmond West
  • Centura College – Virginia Beach
  • Christendom College
  • Eastern Mennonite University
  • ECPI University
  • Emory and Henry College
  • Ferrum College
  • George Washington University
  • Hampden-Sydney College
  • Hampton University
  • Hampton University – Virginia Beach
  • Hampton University – Roanoke Higher Education Center
  • Hollins University
  • Institute for the Psychological Sciences
  • Jefferson College of Health Sciences
  • Liberty University
  • Lynchburg College
  • Mary Baldwin College – Staunton
  • Marymount University
  • National College – Bluefield
  • Randolph-Macon College
  • Randolph College
  • Regent University
  • Roanoke College
  • Shenandoah University – Winchester
  • Skyline College
  • Stratford University
  • Sweet Briar College
  • Union Theological Seminary &
  • Presbyterian School of Christian Education
  • University of Management and Technology
  • University of Richmond
  • Virginia Intermont College
  • Virginia Union University
  • Virginia Wesleyan College
  • Washington and Lee University

Post-Secondary Planning Timeline
Are you “Ready to Go”?

9th Grade

Investigate

  • High school graduation requirements;
  • Interests as they relate to careers;
  • Personal strengths; and
  • Skills you have and those which you need to build.

Create

  • Personal portfolio – gather your report cards, evidence of awards and honors, and a list of school and community activities; and
  • Personal goals using the Naviance Student Program.

Action

  • Take challenging courses;
  • Meet with your school counselor to discuss post-
    secondary goals;
  • Read as much as you can from a variety of materials;
  • Prepare for the PSAT and Pre-ACT;
  • Volunteer or work part-time;
  • Participate in extra-curricular activities; and
  • Update your Academic and Career Plan.

10th Grade

Investigate

  • Career options;
  • College entrance requirements at most competitive colleges include:
    • English (4 units);
    • Social Studies (4 units);
    • Science (3-4 units);
    • World Language (3-4 units);
    • Mathematics (3-4 units, at least up to Algebra II); and
    • Fine/Practical Arts1Electives (with a focus).
  • The cost of post-secondary education; and
  • AP/IB/AICE Courses.

Create

  • Update your personal portfolio throughout the school year.
  • Create a resume using the Naviance Student Program.
  • Update and modify your personal goals as needed.

Action

  • Continue to take challenging courses.
  • Meet with your school counselor to evaluate your current performance as it pertains to future goals.
  • Read as much as you can from a variety of materials.
  • Take the PSAT and/or Pre-ACT tests.
  • Volunteer or work part-time.
  • Start saving for college.
  • Participate in extra-curricular activities.

11th Grade 

Investigate

  •  College options and the application process;
  •  NCAA Clearinghouse for potential college athletes; 
  • Personal traits and how they relate to future plans; and 
  • Dual Enrollment with Northern Virginia Community College. 

Create 

  • Update personal goals. 
  • Update personal portfolio. 
  • Finalize and update your resume in the Naviance Student Program.

Action 

  • Continue to take challenging courses to include AP/IB/AICE. 
  • Take the PSAT in the Fall of your junior year. 
  • Take the SAT or ACT in the Spring of your junior year. Remember, SAT preparation is now free at the Khan Academy website
  • Form relationships with teachers and determine who you may ask for a letter of recommendation. 
  • Participate in extra-curricular activities and consider options for leadership within organizations. 
  • Attend college fairs. 
  • Visit college campuses during spring break. 
  • Meet with your school counselor to update your Academic and Career Plan and begin to finalize your post-secondary plan.

12th Grade

Investigate

  • College entrance requirements;
  • College application deadlines;
  • Financial aid deadlines;
  • Scholarship options;
  • College majors; and
  • Community College options.

Create

  • Update your personal portfolio throughout the
    school year.
  • Finalize your resume using the Naviance Student Program.
  • Finalize your personal goals.

Action

in June-August:
  • Prepare for the SAT/ACT. Remember, preparation is free at the Khan Academy website.
  • Practice completing online applications.
  • Practice college essays and ask family, friends and teachers to review your writing.
  • Decide if you will apply to college early.
  • Work part-time or intern.
in September:
  • Meet with your school counselor for your senior interview.
  • Register for the fall SAT/ACT tests.
  • Search for colleges and make a plan for meeting application deadlines.
  • Request letters of recommendation from teachers and family friends.
in October-December:
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with your parents.
  • Take the SAT I/SAT II/ACT again if needed.
  • Request recommendations from teachers.
  • Apply to colleges.
in January-March:
  • Complete scholarship applications.
  • Continue to apply to colleges.
in April:
  • Review college acceptance decisions and finalize your college choice.
  • Notify your selected school by sending letter of commitment and submitting a deposit check.
  • Review any financial aid packages and scholarship awards with your parents.
  • Study for AP/IB/AICE Exams.
  • Apply to Northern Virginia Community College if that is your chosen path.
  • Take the Northern Virginia Community College placement test if needed.
in May:
  • Take AP/IB/AICE exams.
  • Send thank you notes to people who wrote letters of recommendation.
in June:
  • Inform your school counselor of any earned scholarships.
  • Inform your school counselor about your final post-secondary plan.
  • Register for college courses.
in July-August:
  • Participate in any summer orientation program available at your school of choice.
  • Finalize financial aid arrangements.
  • Get ready to start college in the fall!

Adapted from Battlefield High School Counseling Department – Counselor, Elizabeth Chase-Kang

How Can My High School Counselor Help Me?

20 Questions to Ask your High School Counselor

  1. What courses do I need to take to be ready for college?
  2. How should I plan my schedule so I'll complete them?
  3. Which elective courses do you recommend?
  4. Which AP/IB/Cambridge courses should I consider taking?
  5. When is the PSAT/NMSQT or Pre-ACT going to be given?
  6. How should I study for the SAT or ACT, and is it given at this high school or do I need to go somewhere nearby?
  7. Do you have any college planning sessions scheduled?
  8. Do you have college handbooks or other guides that I can browse or borrow?
  9. What activities can I do at home and over the summer to get ready for college?
  10. What kinds of grades do different colleges require?
  11. Are there any college fairs at this school, or nearby?
  12. What colleges do other kids from our school go to?
  13. What are the requirements or standards for the honor society?
  14. Can you put me in touch with recent grads who are going to the colleges on my wish list?
  15. Do you have any information to help me start exploring careers?
  16. If my colleges need a recommendation from you, how can I help you know me better, so it can be more personal?
  17. Are there any special scholarships or awards that I should know about now, so I can work toward them?
  18. Can I see my transcript as it stands now, to see if everything is as I think it should be?
  19. What forms do I use to apply for financial aid and where I can find them online?
  20. How does our school compare to others, in terms of test scores and reputation?

Adapted from Collegeboard.com/BigFuture

Terminology

Advanced Placement, IB Diploma, and Cambridge AICE Courses

Certain courses have been designated as AP, IB, and Cambridge Courses (AICE). These courses are externally moderated and exceed the expectations of grade-level objectives for a specific subject. Students taking these courses will have a plus sign (+) beside the course title listed on the student report card and on the student transcript. These courses offer the possibility of weighted credit.

College Board, the governing body for Advanced Placement (AP) courses, determined that schools may no longer use the term "Pre-AP" without adopting the associated College Board course. The Pre-AP courses proposed by College Board are not advanced level courses, do not align with VDOE and PWCS curricula and have associated costs. Therefore, Prince William County will now refer to all our advanced-level courses as "Advanced." Current course weightings and curricula will remain the same.

Career and Technical Education Industry Credentialing

Career and Technical Education industry credentialing can be achieved by successful completion of Career and Technical Education coursework which will enable students to participate in Virginia Board of Education approved assessments for industry credentialing. Students who earn these credentials are eligible to earn verified credits toward graduation requirements. Students pursuing the Standard Diploma who enter the 9th grade prior to the 2018-19 school year will be required to pass a state approved Career and Technical Education Credentialing exam. All students who enter the 9th grade in 2018-19 and beyond pursuing either the Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma will be required to pass a CTE credentialing exam only if he/she has not taken an advanced or honors course for high school credit.

CPR/First Aid and AED Training

Beginning with first-time 9th grade students in the 2016-17 school year, requirements for the Standard and Advanced Diplomas shall include a requirement to be trained in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary, resuscitation, and the use of automated external defibrillators, including hands-on practice of the skills necessary to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. PWCS students will be trained in these skills while enrolled in Health PE I.

Dual Enrolled

Students taking courses from a community college, trade school program, college or university for a credit, while simultaneously enrolled in a Prince William County public high school are said to be dual enrolled. Agreements between the college and PWCS must be in place prior to courses being approved for dual enrolled credit.

Elective

Electives are additional courses beyond the required courses that are needed to meet the total minimum standard units of credit for graduation.

Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education

  • Fine Arts courses include those courses which lead to student’s aesthetic education in the areas of visual arts, theatre arts, music, dance, creative writing, journalistic writing, or speech. The course taken to satisfy the fine arts requirement may also serve as one of the two courses required to satisfy the sequential electives requirement.
  • Career and Technical Education courses are those in which a student is taught 21st century career skills in a real world setting. All courses listed under Career and Technical Education, JROTC, Athletic Training I and II, and Employ I and II courses listed under Special Education meet this graduation requirement. The course taken to satisfy the CTE requirement may also serve as one of the two courses required to satisfy the sequential electives.

Sequential Electives

According to the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) Standards of Quality (SOQ), students who enter the 9th grade for the first time prior to the 2018-19 school year and are pursuing the Standard Diploma or students who enter the 9th grade for the first time during the 2018-19 school year and beyond who are pursuing either the Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma must complete at least two sequential electives. Students who successfully complete any career and technical education sequence that consists of at least two 36-week courses or semester equivalents that equal two 36-week courses will fully meet this requirement. For students pursuing the Standard Diploma the World Language, Fine Arts, or Career and Technical Education course credit may be used to partially satisfy the sequential elective requirement.

For students pursuing the Advanced Studies Diploma who enter the 9th grade during the 2018-19 school year and beyond, the Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education course credit may be used to partially satisfy the sequential elective requirement.

Standards of Learning (SOL)

The Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools describe the Commonwealth’s expectations for student learning and achievement in English, mathematics, science, history and social science, technology, the fine arts, world language, health and physical education, and driver education for grades K-12.

Standards of Learning Tests (SOL Tests)

SOL tests are End-of-Course (EOC) tests which are required by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to verify attainment of knowledge and skills in specific English, math, science, and social science courses.

Standard Unit of Credit

A standard unit of credit for graduation is based on a minimum of 140 clock hours of instruction and successful completion of the requirements of the course. A semester course receives one-half credit.

Verified Unit of Credit

A verified unit of credit for graduation is based on a minimum of 140 clock hours of instruction, successful completion of the requirements of the course, and achievement of a passing score on the End-of-Course (EOC) Standards of Learning (SOL) test or additional test for that course as approved by the Board of Education.

Locally Awarded Verified Unit of Credit

A locally awarded verified unit of credit is awarded by a local school board in the science or history/social science areas of study. Locally awarded verified units of credit are available to students who are pursuing the Standard Diploma. Specific criteria have been developed for the awarding of these credits. Students may not earn more than three locally awarded verified units of credit, with the exception of those students with an IEP or 504 Plan who are eligible for credit accommodations. For students who enter the 9th grade in 2018-2019 and beyond pursuing the Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma, only one locally awarded verified unit of credit may be earned toward the five verified credits required to graduate. Those students with an IEP or 504 plan who are eligible for credit accommodations may earn all verified units of credit through the local award process.

Weighted Credit

Weighted credit refers to grade point values assigned to Advanced Placement, IB, and Cambridge courses; certain Career and Technical Education courses; qualifying college courses; and designated prerequisite courses.

Student-Selected Verified Credit

A student-selected Verified Credit can be earned in certain elective courses that include a test approved by the Virginia Board of Education. According to the Standards of Accreditation, a student may utilize additional tests for earning Verified Credit in Computer Science, Technology, or other areas as prescribed by the Board. The Board of Education has provided guidelines for awarding differentiated numbers of Verified Credit for CTE Certification and licensure examinations. Verified credits earned in CTE may be used to satisfy the student selected Verified Credit requirements for the Standard Diploma or the Advanced Studies Diploma. Your school counselor will assist you in determining your Verified Credit status. Beginning with students who enter the 9th grade during the 2018-19 school year and beyond, the student selected verified credit requirement will be eliminated.

Criteria for Awarding Student-Selected Verified Credit

Student-selected Verified Credit will be awarded for certification or licensure examinations that meet all of the following criteria:

  • Industry certification or licensure examinations that are approved to satisfy the requirements for the Board of Education’s CTE Seal and the Board of Education’s Seal of Advanced Mathematics and Technology will satisfy requirements for student-selected Verified Credits.
  • The teacher and/or the CTE program must be certified by the issuing organization relative to the industry certification or license.
  • A standard credit may not be verified more than once.

Earning Student-Selected Verified Credit

One student-selected Verified Credit will be awarded for passing each certification or licensure examination that meets all of the above criteria, and the student earns one standard unit of credit only in the CTE concentration or specialization.

Two student-selected Verified Credits will be awarded for passing each certification or licensure examination that meets all of the above criteria; and:

  • The student meets program completion criteria listed in this course catalog; and
  • The student earns at least two standard units of credit in the CTE program completion option.

Course Selection

When selecting courses for the upcoming school year, students and parents/guardians should choose carefully.

The courses selected should be based on the student’s ability, past record of academic achievement, interest in the subject, career goal(s), and teacher recommendations. The pursuit of a course of studies leading to entrance into college may include those courses not directly related to college entrance. Art, music, and Career and Technical Education courses offer students the opportunity to explore new areas of study as well as to gain knowledge and skills that may likely prove useful to them in whatever career they choose.

Through careful course selection and close cooperation between the student and the school counselor, a student will be able to pursue a career goal and still have time for other course offerings without excluding any particular area of study.

This catalog includes a listing of courses taught in Prince William County Public Schools’ high schools. Not all courses are taught in every high school. Course offerings are contingent on sufficient student interest. This may result in some courses not being available in certain schools even though they are listed for those schools. Numbers 1-12 and 99 shown below the course’s descriptive paragraph indicate the schools in which each course is taught. The code number for each high school is as follows:

School Number Code:

1 – Brentsville

2 – Gar-Field

3 – Osbourn Park

4 – Potomac

5 – Unity Reed

6 – Woodbridge

7 – Hylton

8 – Forest Park

9 – Battlefield

10 – Freedom

11 – Patriot

12 – Colgan

13 – Gainesville

99 – Virtual Prince William

 

For easy reference, this code is repeated at the bottom of each section of this catalog wherever courses are described.

A student desiring to take a course offered at a school other than his/her assigned school should contact his/her school counselor for details.

Course Selection

It should not be assumed that a student must select the Advanced Studies Diploma if the student plans to enter college after high school. The Standard Diploma allows a student the flexibility to schedule courses required for college entrance while leaving time for various electives. It is also possible for a student to select the Advanced Studies Diploma and still have options in areas not necessarily required for college entrance such as art, music, or Career and Technical Education courses.

The scheduling of classes in high school is a highly personal task and should be based on the student’s aptitude and interests, teacher recommendations, and close collaboration among school, student, and  parent/guardian.

Driver Education

The classroom driver education course is offered as part of the 10th grade health education curriculum in all high schools. When students successfully complete the classroom phase and have secured a learner’s permit, they then may take behind-the-wheel driver instruction. Behind-the-wheel driver instruction in Prince William County Public Schools is offered after school and during the summer. There is a fee for behind-the-wheel driver instruction.

Prince William County Public Schools
Northern Virginia Community College

Dual Enrollment Opportunities for Students

What is dual enrollment?

Dual enrollment is an early college program allowing eligible high school students to simultaneously earn credit toward their high school graduation while also earning college credits.

Who can take a dual enrollment course?

Generally, any student who meets the following criteria may take certain dual enrollment courses offered through Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) and PWCS:

11th or 12th Grade standing

16 years of age

Place into college-level MATH and ENGLISH courses by receiving a passing score on the Placement Test or an accepted substitute as outlined below:

SAT – 480 or higher on both the Reading and Writing section, 530 or higher on the Math section

PSAT is no longer acceptable for English 12

ACT – 18 or higher on both the English Reading and Writing section, 22 or higher on the Math section

Virginia SOL – a passing score on the Algebra I, II or Geometry SOL will allow students to meet the MATH placement requirement.

Where do I take a dual enrollment course and what is the cost?

PWCS students may take the following courses for dual enrollment credit based on established agreements during the 2020-21 school year:

  • AP Environmental Science
  • Biology II: Survey of Advanced Topics in Biology
  • Cloud Computing
  • Computer Networking I, II, III, and IV Hardware Operations (CISCO)
  • Cybersecurity Network Systems
  • Cybersecurity Systems Technology
  • Cybersecurity Systems Technology, Advanced
  • Criminal Justice II
  • Early Childhood Education Services I and II
  • English College Composition 12
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Enrichment in Speech Communication
  • IB Business Management (SL)
  • Intro to Speech Communications
  • IT Database Design and Management (Oracle)
  • IT Database Design and Management Advanced (Oracle)
  • IT Fundamentals
  • IT Programming, Advanced
  • IT Web Technologies
  • IT Web Technologies Advanced
  • Multivariable Calculus
  • Linear Algebra
  • Photography I
  • Small Business Management
  • SOL English College Composition 11
  • Survey of World Literature 12
  • Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow (through Shenandoah University)
  • US/VA Government
  • US/VA History
  • Welding I, II, and III

For Northern Virginia Community College courses taken in a Prince William County Public School there will not be a charge for tuition. See your school counselor for more information about fees associated with dual enrollment.

I am ready to take a dual enrollment course! How do I get started?

Indicate your interest in dual enrollment when you meet with your school counselor to discuss course selection prior to the start of your junior year. Your school counselor will guide you through the next steps to include completing a PWCS Dual Enrollment application and the NVCC application.

Can I take NVCC courses for college credit only?

Some students wish to get a head start on their college course work while in high school and wish to take classes that are not included in the dual enrollment agreement. If the student meets admission requirements and has permission from their family and principal, they may enroll in NVCC courses while they are in high school. Interested students should discuss this option with their school counselor for more information.

How Can My High School Course Work Earn Me College Credit?

Students may take dual enrollment courses as "contract dual enrollment" by attending their community college classes on PWCS high school campuses and receiving instruction from PWCS teachers who are authorized to teach dual enrollment courses by the community college or university partners of the Division.

Students may also take "on campus" courses at the community college for dual enrollment credit for those courses identified in the Division's annual list of published dual enrollment offerings.

Students wishing to take courses not included in the Division's list of dual enrollment course offerings may take "college credit only" offerings with the community college or university.

In all cases, students must meet the entrance requirements of the community college or university and have their principal's permission to enroll in courses offered for college credit with those schools the Division has partnered with for these opportunities.

Dual Enrollment
  • Many earned credits with a "C" or better transfer to most four year colleges
  • Courses may fall within a specific subject area or may be considered an elective
  • The awarding of college credit for courses taken in high school varies and students should research the specific school they wish to attend.
Advanced Placement (AP)
  • Earned exam scores of 3, 4 or 5 may qualify students for 3 or more college credits per AP course.
  • The awarding of college credit for courses taken in high school varies and students should research the specific school they wish to attend.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • Earned exam score of 4 or higher may qualify the student to earn college credit.
  • Earned exam scores of 5, 6, 7 may qualify students for up to 9 college credits per one IB course.
  • The awarding of college credit for courses taken in high school varies and students should research the specific school they wish to attend.
Cambridge (CIE)
  • Earned exam grades of E or higher may qualify the student to earn college credit.
  • Earned exam grades of A or B on A level exams may qualify students for up to 6 college credits per one Cambridge course.
  • The awarding of college credit for courses taken in high school varies and students should research the specific school they wish to attend.

Information for all Virginia Public Four Year Colleges can be found at www.schev.edu/index/students-and-parents/prepare/credit-for-ap-ib-cambridge-and-clep-exams

Why Should I Take Advanced Course Work During High School?

College Admissions

Schedule Strength Matters

Colleges want to see students challenge themselves to the best of their ability.

Preparation for College

Many students find their college course work to be easier after taking a challenging high school curriculum.

Challenge Yourself

Rigor is Best

Most colleges want to see students take English, Math, Science, Social Studies and World Language each year of high school.

Life Long Payoff

Students who take rigorous courses during high school often do better in college and in turn are able to secure more stable employment.

Start a College Transcript

Dual Enrollment

Students start a college transcript in high school when they take an approved Dual Enrollment course.

Head Start

Students who take college courses, at low or no cost during high school, can save money on college tuition and are more likely to graduate college early or on time.

Balance is Best!

Students should make sure to leave plenty of time to participate in extracurricular activities both at school and in the community.


Eligibility Requirements (Extracurricular Activities)

The following applies to interscholastic athletics, cheerleading, marching band, and drill team.

  • A student must pass five subjects and earn a “C” or better in two subjects at the end of the first semester, and
    at the end of the school year to remain eligible for participation. This applies to practice as well as to games.
  • Initial determination of eligibility at the beginning of a new semester is made on the first calendar day following the end of the previous semester. Student assistant electives such as science lab assistant, library lab assistant, physical education assistant, and student assistant for special education shall not be counted toward meeting
    the standards.

Virginia High School League Athletic Eligibility For Students Who Transfer To
Specialty Programs

Students who are granted approval to transfer to a school outside their established attendance area shall be eligible to participate in Virginia High School League (VHSL) activities when entering the school as a first time 9th grade student. Any student who transfers after establishing eligibility in the freshman year at his or her base school shall be ineligible to participate in VHSL-sponsored activities for 365 days of the transfer to a requested school. Only the Superintendent of Schools or designee may grant a waiver to the VHSL transfer rule based on a decision made by the School Division that requires the transfer of the student, but not for athletic and/or activity purposes. (VHSL Handbook, Transfer Rule 28A-7-1.)

  • Students who transfer to a school to participate in a designated site program shall meet all eligibility requirements for VHSL-sponsored activities. The transfer shall become effective when the student enters the program. The student shall meet full participation requirements for the program in order to retain eligibility and remained enrolled at that school.
  • Once a student establishes eligibility in a high school, any additional transfer requests for designated site programs shall not be considered for a waiver and the student shall be ineligible for 365 days from the date of the transfer.

Athletic Activity Participation

The Virginia High School League rules specify that in order to participate in varsity or junior varsity athletics, drama, forensics, debate, scholastic bowl, cheerleading, and any academic or athletic activities involved in competition between/among schools, a student must have passed five subjects during the preceding semester and must be enrolled in five subjects during the current semester. In addition to meeting Virginia High School League regulations, students will be required to meet PWCS eligibility standard (requirement) each semester. End of the year grades from the previous school year will determine eligibility for the first semester of the next year.

NCAA Eligibility

Students planning to participate in intercollegiate athletics at an NCAA Division I or Division II institution must have their academic and amateurism status certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center. To play sports a student must graduate from high school, earn a minimum GPA of 2.300 for Division I and a GPA of 2.200 for Division II in 16 core courses, and earn a minimum sum ACT or SAT score that matches the core-course GPA on the Division I & II NCAA sliding scale. Middle school credit bearing courses can be used to satisfy core-course requirements.

  • Division I Academic Eligibility Requirements
    • Four years English;
    • Three years mathematics (at least Algebra I level or higher);
    • Two years social science;
    • Two years natural or physical science (one lab if offered at any high school attended);
    • One year additional English, mathematics, or natural/physical science;
    • Four years additional from areas above or World Language, philosophy, or comparative religion;
    • 1) Full qualifier = competition, athletics aid (scholarship), and practice the first year;
      2) Academic redshirt = athletics aid in the first year, practice in the first regular academic term (semester or quarter);
      3) Nonqualifier = no athletics aid, practice or competition; and
    • 10 core courses required before beginning of
      the seventh semester.
  • Division II Academic Eligibility Requirements
    • Complete 16 core courses;
    • Three years English;
    • Two years mathematics (Algebra I or higher);
    • Two years social science;
    • Two years natural or physical science (including one lab course);
    • Three years additional courses in English, mathematics, or natural or physical science;
    • Grade point average of 2.200 in core courses; and
    • Four additional years of English, Math, Natural or Physical Science, World Language, philosophy, or comparative religion.

Core courses, high school transcripts, and test scores for all prospective Division I and Division II students must be reviewed by the NCAA Eligibility Center. School counselors and student activities coordinators at each high school can direct students regarding the submission of the Student Release Form, appropriate records, and a fee.

The NCAA rules are complex, so students should ask coaches, student activities coordinators, and school counselors for help. It is important to let the school counselor know if a student plans to seek an athletic scholarship to ensure that the course selection process is tailored to this need. More detailed information is available on the NCAA website at www.ncaa.org/.