2022-23 Curriculum Guide
Course Load Requirements
Students must carry a minimum of five classes plus physical education each semester. Class and homeroom placement are based upon the number of credits previously earned. A student must have a minimum of 5.5 credits to be ranked as a sophomore; a total of 11 credits must be accumulated before the student is ranked as a junior; and 16 credits are required to be considered a senior.
Counseling Center Services
Each student has a counselor to assist in planning the student’s high school program and to help with college or vocational decisions. The student’s involvement with the Counseling Center begins the first day of school when the counselor becomes an advocate for the student.
Our counseling philosophy is to serve each student’s educational, vocational, social and personal needs as effectively as possible. Students and parents are encouraged to contact the Counseling Center with questions and concerns. Daytime appointments are easily scheduled.
Both students and parents are also encouraged to use the online Naviance/Family Connection program. This internet program helps students explore both colleges and occupational interests. The program also provides lists of four- and two-year colleges that match geographic, financial, occupational or other criteria entered by the student. Naviance can be accessed http://connection.naviance.com/burnthills or see the link and instructions on the High School Counseling Center’s web page.
College Entrance Requirements
Colleges prefer a strong academic preparation in high school. Specific subject and grade point average requirements vary from one institution to another, as the institutions themselves vary in the programs they offer and the kinds of students they seek. Generally speaking, colleges prefer students who have completed:
- Four years of English & social studies
- Three to four years of mathematics
- Three to four years of science
- Two to three years of a world language
College-bound students who choose to drop one of these areas before they graduate should do so only after careful consideration. Teachers, counselors and department chairpersons can provide valuable information in these cases.
Taking a full academic program and obtaining a high level of achievement, together with activities to show the student is willing to participate in and contribute to the school or community, are the best ways to ensure a student will meet the requirements for college entrance. Students should check college bulletins and consult their counselors for specific information as they make their choices.
Courses Offering College Credit
There are three ways for BH-BL students to earn college credits while still in high school: through Advanced Placement (AP) exams; through agreements our school has with several colleges; and through the new BH-BL+1 Early College Program. Students interested in taking any one of these college-level courses should consult with their teachers or school counselor.
Colleges have different policies when it comes to accepting credits earned during high school, so students and parents should contact colleges directly for information. Successful completion of an AP exam, for instance, may allow students to opt out of an otherwise required college course, to be placed in a more advanced college course or to receive college credit hours for work done in high school.
AP courses are designed for students who demonstrate a high level of aptitude and success in the subject matter. Students recommended for AP courses will be those who:
- Demonstrate a clear understanding of material and a thorough conceptual knowledge base
- Demonstrate a high level of motivation (always complete homework, actively participate in class, seek additional challenges)
- Demonstrate a high level of performance on other standard indicators (Regents exams, standardized tests, etc.)
- Submit work of high quality
- Demonstrate high academic achievement in course work.
Counselors meet with students to discuss course selections/requests in February or March. A copy of course selections/requests are given to students and should be brought home for a parent’s to review. Counselors should be contacted if there are questions or changes.
Course selections/requests are mailed home with final report card. Changes can be made up until mid July. No course changes can be made after that date.
Program Planning for Students
When you plan your high school program, you should take into consideration your special abilities, interests and goals. Your pattern of studies should be built around the courses and subjects required for graduation, but it should go far beyond these. By carefully selecting electives that meet your needs and interests, you can work toward your own educational, career and technical and personal goals.
The worksheet on page 11 of the physical copy of the Curriculum Guide is provided to help you list and plan required courses and your top priority electives for each year. It is your responsibility to consult with your parents, teachers and guidance counselor in this process.
Steps in Planning
- Establish personal goals. Even though these may change, you should have some specific educational, career and technical and personal objectives toward which you are working.
- Honestly evaluate your personal strengths, interests, aptitudes and needs.
- Learn the typical entrance requirements for the kind of college
or school or for the type of work you hope to pursue after graduation.
- During 11th grade, take part in information nights and college fairs, and visit the colleges and vocational resources in which you are interested.
- Consult your parents, teachers and counselor to benefit from their experiences and the information they can make available to you. Talk with others in the community who are working in the professions or vocations you are considering.
- List the courses you would like to include in your high school study program. Choose those that will contribute most toward helping you achieve your goals. Think also about courses that will enrich your life and those that will provide you with useful skills as an adult.
- Select courses so your course load will be balanced throughout your four years of high school.
Exploring the Future
In planning your high school program, think about your hopes for the future. This is a time for learning as much about yourself as about the content of the courses you take. Pay close attention to what you like and what you do well. Think about how to apply that information to your future plans. Look for ways to try out ideas and suggestions about careers.
Several programs at BH-BL High School and local BOCES have been created with this goal in mind. They are programs that allow you to work directly and in a meaningful way in a variety of fields, to gain experience and knowledge about careers and about yourself. As you plan your high school program, you may wish to consider one of these programs, which are described later in this booklet:
- Career Exploration Internship Program (CEIP),
- Capital Region Career & Technical Education programs, and
- Saratoga Career & Technical Education programs.
Graduating in Less Than Four Years
BH-BL High School students may graduate in less than four years. The decision to do so should be made by parents and students based on the student’s goals, so that the time saved by this decision will be put to good use in work, travel or continued study at some other institution.
After parents and students have discussed the option thoroughly, they should consult the student’s school counselor for a careful consideration of how such a decision could affect the student’s future plans.