Planning for high school – Important info for grade 8 families

The following information was presented to parents of students in the GHS class of 2024, who are planning for the transition from middle school to high school.

Choosing your child’s grade 9 classes – Timeline

  • January  6th-17th Counselors present in class
  • January 9th – “Planning the HS Program” at GHS
  • January 13th-February 13th  Counselors meet with 8th graders in small groups to select electives
  • February 14th-23rd-  Eschool parent portal opens to review requests
  • February 24th-March 2nd  Parents/students contact Counselors and Teachers with questions or changes
  • March 2nd Deadline for making changes in course requests.

2020-21 GHS Curriculum Handbook

How can I support my ninth-grade student?

  • Encourage them to hand in work on time
  • Have them seek out teachers when they have questions and stay after school for extra help 
  • Contact teachers individually when absent
  • Do school work at home: homework and studying
  • Manage greater levels of independence (social media, conflict resolution, and self-advocacy)
  • When they make mistakes, help them reflect and learn
  • Be ready for social/emotional changes

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from Guilderland High School, students must: 

  • Earn at least twenty-three (23) credits
  • A full credit (1) or half-credit (½) is granted upon completion of a course with a passing grade of 65 or higher.
  • Pass five (5) Regents exams with a score of sixty- five (65) or higher 

If a student fails a class, it needs to be repeated in summer school or the next school year

Diploma Requirements

  • 4 credits of English
  • 4 credits of Social Studies
  • 3 credits of Math
  • 3 credits of Science
  • 1 credit of World Language and Culture
  • 1 credit of Fine Arts
  • ½ credit of Health
  • 2 credits of Physical Education
  • 4 ½ credits additional electives

Regents Exams

All Students must pass the following Regents Exams with a sixty-five (65) or higher:

  • English
  • Social Studies
  • Algebra 1 
  • Science

an complete at least one of the following Pathways

*Humanities Pathway:

A minimum score of 65 on a second Social Studies Regents or state-approved alternative

*STEM Pathway:

A minimum score of 65 on either a second Science Regents or a second Math Regents or state-approved alternatives

*Bi-literacy Pathway:

Completion of a foreign language sequence and state-approved foreign language assessment 

*CTE Pathway: 

Completion of a state-approved CTE program and approved assessment

*Arts Pathway:

Completion of an additional arts course and state-approved arts assessment.

Advanced Regents Diploma 

Students must complete Regents Diploma requirements plus:

– 3 or 4 units of a World Language and Culture (and pass the Checkpoint A & B exams)


    – a five-unit sequence in art and design, music, business, technology, or career and technical education (CTE)


– Pass the following additional Regents Exams

with a sixty-five (65) or higher:

  • Geometry
  • Algebra 2
  • A second Science

Fine Arts Requirement

Students choose from one of the following: 

Visual Arts

  • Studio in Art
  • Studio in Media Arts
  • Studio in Creative Crafts


  • Music in Our Lives
  • Mixed Choir
  • Concert Orchestra
  • Symphonic Band
  • Music Technology I
  • Music Theory and Composition I


  • Choreography
  • Dance Styles

Technology Education

  • Design and Drawing for Production


  • Acting and Directing I & II

Courses for the 5-credit music sequence

  • Mixed Choir (1/2 credit per year)
  • Concert Choir (1/2 credit per year)
  • Concert Orchestra (1/2 credit per year)
  • Symphony Orchestra (1/2 credit per year)
  • Symphonic Band (1/2 credit per year)
  • Wind Ensemble (1/2 credit per year)
  • Music Theory and Composition I (1 credit)
  • AP Music Theory (1 credit)
  • Music Technology 1 (1 credit)
  • Music Technology 2 (1 credit)
  • Music in Our Lives (1 credit)

Traditional and digital media coursework arts requirement or 5-course course arts sequence

  • Graphic Design
  • Animation
  • Cartooning
  • Photography
  • Art & Game Design
  • Film
  • Advanced Media Arts
  • Drawing & Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Ceramics
  • Portfolio Prep
  • Advanced Art I
  • Advanced Art II
  • AP Studio


(New Business CTE programs)

  • Accounting and Finance (13 college credits)
  • Business Management & Entrepreneurship (19 college credits)
  • Marketing (6 college credits)

CTE Pathway Programs at GHS

  • Expands options for graduation

Students are eligible to participate in a CTE (4+1) Graduation Pathway to earn their diploma

  • Real-life connections and knowledge about financial literacy, careers and the workplace
  • Provides college credit at reduced college tuition costs
  • Competitive advantage in fields students are interested in pursuing 

STEAM Academy Courses

  • Pre-Engineering – PLTW
  • Computer Science and Programming
  • Medical and Biological Sciences
  • Biotechnology and Bioethics
  • Clean Energy 
  • Earth and Space Sciences

Math & Science Programs

Differences in Honors vs. Regents

  • All Regents topics plus additional
  • Study topics in more depth
  • Pace is faster
  • Larger class sizes 
  • Projects
  • Expected to contribute to class discussions
  • More independent learning

English Program

NYS Graduation Requirements

  • Four credits (Grades 9, 10, 11 & ELA 12 electives)
  • Common Core ELA Regents Exam (grade 11)
  • Next Generation ELA standards 
    • Close reading & annotation
    • Determine central idea
    • Build evidence-based arguments
    • Research to deepen understanding
    • Collaboration & communication
    • Develop & strengthen clear, coherent writing
    • Creativity & authenticity
    • Language & expression

Reading Program

  • Literacy Tutorial is a half-year course offered to students who need extra support in reading, writing, vocabulary, language, active listening, and information processing as well as preparation for the CC ELA Regents.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in Literacy Tutorial if they are recommended by their teachers.

Social Studies Program

NYS Graduation Requirements

Four credits:

  • Global History 9 & 10
  • U.S. History & Government 11
  • Economics & Public Policy 12

New Common Core Regents Exams

  • Global History: June 2020
  • U.S. History: June 2021

ELA/Social Students Aligned Program (class cohorts share the same ELA & SS teacher)

  • Content & skill are mutually reinforced within ELA and social studies classes 
  • Aligned courses prepare students for the required ELA and social studies Regents exams
  • Students can move into and out of the program each year at GHS
  • The course is filled by lottery each year

World Languages

You must have a minimum of one credit in World Languages to graduate.

  • American Sign Language 1 
  • American Sign Language 2


  • Spanish 1
  • Spanish 2 or 2A
  • Spanish 3
  • Spanish 4
  • Spanish 5/UHS
  • Spanish 6/UHS
  • French 2 or 2A
  • French 3
  • French 4
  • French 5/UHS
  • French 6/UHS
  • German 2 
  • German 3
  • German 4
  • German 5/UHS
  • German 2 
  • German 3
  • German 4/UHS

Level 2: if you have average language abilities and perhaps are enrolled in many other advanced courses. This is the typical level students take.

Level 2A: if you have superior or excellent language skills in Spanish or French. Students need a minimum average of 90%.


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