Guide to Program Planning FAQ 2020-2021

What is a Credit?

A credit is earned by taking a course for a full block for a full year, and passing it with an average of 65 or higher. A half credit is earned for a one semester course.


What is a “Sequence”?

Sequence refers to a 5-credit series of courses in one subject area such as art or technology. Sequences in Art, Music, Technology, and CTE may be used as part of the requirements for an Advanced Regents Diploma.

How is a student placed in a specific level of a course?

Judgments regarding the placement of a student in specific levels of a course are based on the student’s past performance in the subject as well as the student’s standardized testing record, where applicable. The subject teacher(s) make a recommendation for the level of instruction appropriate for the next school year. Course selection must be considered seriously, as changes during the school year could be very difficult. Decisions are subject to review each year.


How is a student promoted from one grade to the next?

In general, promotion from one grade to the next depends upon passing all required subjects and earning the number of credits shown in the chart that follows. Note: Certain privileges such as placement of pictures in the yearbook, parking on school property, etc. are granted based on a student’s grade level assignment.

Grade Level

Number of Credits earned by student








16.50 and above

How difficult is it to change my schedule of classes after the school year has started?

Course selection should be made carefully since opportunities to change courses are limited after the school year begins. Because the number of sections of each course is established by the number of students who sign up during the annual course selection time, it is difficult to accommodate much change in individual student schedules after that time. All student schedule requests are final as of April 1st. Many times course sections are full or conflicts cannot be resolved. Also, courses in any department will be offered only if there is sufficient registration. In these cases, schedule requests may need to be altered. Only under the following circumstances may courses be dropped after the school year begins:


  • Student failed the prerequisite course.
  • Student went to summer school and no longer needs the assigned course.
  • Student is repeating a course with the same teacher.
  • Clerical error or two courses assigned to one time slot.
  • Medical considerations (requires medical verification).
  • Student requests a drop after Week #2, unless the course is a requirement for graduation. The designated drop/add period is 2 weeks after the start of the first semester and full year courses, and concludes after 2 weeks. For second semester courses the drop/add period is 2 weeks after its start and will remain open for 2 weeks.
  • Student must initiate the drop consideration with his/her counselor. Written input of his/her parent/guardian, input from the subject teacher, counselor and administrator will all be taken into consideration as well as documentation of one of the 6 reasons listed above. “Level” changes can be considered at any time before half of the course is completed.


Course adjustments will NOT be honored for:

  1. a) Teacher preference.
  2. b) Requests that drop a student’s total number of courses below the required minimum.
  3. c) Choice of a particular time for a class or study period/lunch.
  4. d) A course required for graduation.

Note: For all dropped classes, a designation of “W” (Withdrawal) will appear on the transcript. This will not apply to level changes.

All students including seniors must carry 5.5 credits, including P.E. each semester. Students who wish to finish their graduation requirements by January of their senior year must apply to be a January Graduate by June of their junior year.


For what reasons may my course selections not be honored?

  • If a student fails a prerequisite course and fails to take and pass it during summer school, he/she will not be scheduled for the requested course.
  • Course conflicts: In some cases requested courses may only be offered once during the day at the same time period. If this is the case, a student will have to choose which course to take.
  • If a course is oversubscribed and additional sections cannot be offered, seniors will be scheduled first, followed by juniors, sophomores and freshmen.
  • If all prerequisites have not been met.


Can a student graduate in less than four years?


The High School Principal, in certain cases, shall grant students who wish to graduate from high school in less time than the usual four years permission to complete graduation requirements on an alternate schedule. All state and local graduation and diploma requirements must be completed for early graduation.

As early as possible, the student and his/her parents or guardian must consult with the high school counselor in order to develop an early graduation plan. Students need to be enrolled in Physical Education during each semester of school attendance. For those who graduate early, extra Physical Education is not required. In regard to individual student requests, the following factors must be considered: the student’s grades; performance in school; the student’s future plans; and benefits that would accrue to the student if the request for early graduation were to be approved.

The Principal shall make the decision on whether to grant permission after consultation with the individual student’s counselor, the student, and the student’s parent(s). A parent has the option to appeal the Principal’s decision to the Superintendent of Schools.


What do employers look for in job applicants entering the workforce right after graduating from high school?

Employers look for job applicants who will be productive employees. This means individuals who have good communication skills and a willingness to learn new things. They want responsible people who get along with fellow workers and who take pride in their work. They expect that employees will come to work everyday and want to see a track record of good attendance in high school.


What person in the school can help me the most?

The person who will guide you through your high school program is your school counselor. This person monitors your records and will assist you with all your major decisions. He/she can help with subject information as well as job or college options. Further, individual teachers and other school staff can be of significant assistance as advisors or even mentors. The entire Averill Park staff is committed to helping you make the most of your high school experience.



This program is a joint venture between Rensselaer County Mental Health and Averill Park High School. The Student Assistance Program (SAP) works with students and their families to encourage healthy alternatives. The program provides confidential services for students whose personal concerns may be affecting their performance or behavior in school. Students are encouraged to use the program for assistance with a variety of issues including family problems, emotional concerns, alcohol and other drug abuse. The program offers comprehensive, evidence based, substance abuse prevention education in the classroom. The program also offers intervention and referral for all high school students at risk for substance abuse or other issues impeding their ability to reach educational goals.

You will find that the APCSD is committed to providing the most effective approaches to preventing the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs in our schools and community. We know that prevention of drug use and abuse is most effective when it is a partnership between the community, the home, and the school.


How is a student’s progress reported?*

An evaluation of a student’s progress in school is reported to students and parents eight times a year. Two different formats are used as follows:

  1. Report cards and marking period procedures: The school year is divided into four marking periods approximately ten weeks in length. At the end of each marking period, a numeric grade is calculated. This grade is an average of the marks accumulated during the marking period based on class participation, assignment preparation and quiz/test grades. The student’s final grade for full year courses will be an average of the four quarters. For semester courses, the final grade is an average of two quarters. A student must achieve a final average of 65 in order to pass a course and earn credit.

The district calendar indicates days when report cards are available to view in SchoolTool. *NOTE: Parents who do not have computer access may request that a copy of report cards be mailed to them. This request should be made in writing to the Counseling Center.

What are some other programs available to me as an Averill Park High School student?



What are they? Written agreements between a high school and college granting college credit for knowledge obtained in high school provided rigorous academic standards have been met. Why were they created? Educational institutions want to promote high academic standards and foster student learning. How do they work? Students enroll in a “college credit” course at Averill Park High School; at the start of the course teachers will explain the articulation agreement and ask interested students to complete college registration forms and pay a reduced rate tuition fee. Students are then enrolled in a college course at Averill Park High School. Once the course is completed, the student will receive a transcript from the college documenting completion of the college credit.

College Course Credits – College course credits (earned at colleges) can be used for Averill Park High School credits providing the following conditions are met: (l) Prior approval is received from the guidance counselor and an administrator. (2) Student pays all tuition costs and requests an official transcript from the college for high school permanent records. (3) Generally a college semester course of 3 or 4 semester hours will be given ½ credit at Averill Park High School. (4) Passing grades must be earned in the college course. College courses do not count in rank-in-class determination.

What advantage is there in earning college credit in high school?

Firstly, earning college credit while still in high school shows a prospective college or employer that you were successful in meeting the demands of a college level course. Secondly, the college credit may be applied to your college requirements. (There is no guarantee of this. It depends on where you go to college and what you study.) Thirdly, the tuition fee is at a much reduced rate than actually taking the course at a college.


What articulation agreements does Averill Park High School have?


Through Hudson Valley Community College students may earn college credits for:

Introduction to Engineering Design

Digital Electronics

Automotive Technology 2

Biology 105-The Gene

Advanced Painting & Drawing

Calculus I w/ Pre-Calc


College Readiness & Research Skills

Through The University at Albany students may earn college credit for:

French IV, French V

Through SUNY Oswego students may earn college credit for:

Spanish IV, Spanish V

Through The University Of Northwestern of Ohio students may earn credit for:

Automotive Technology 2

Through Columbia Greene Community College:


Advanced Ceramics

English 11 AP

English 12 AP

Through Schenectady County Community College students may earn credit for:

Music Theory

Questions about articulation agreements may be directed to your counselor or the teachers of these courses.




The Averill Park School District provides education in the area of occupational studies to those students desiring these programs. Career Technical Education programs are one-year and two-year programs in which students earn four (4) credits each year by attending morning or afternoon classes at the Rensselaer Education Center in Troy. One credit is awarded for successful completion of each quarter’s work in the CTE program. Students in the CTE occupational programs in general can take only their required courses or, at most, one elective at the high school. Transportation is provided to these classes and back to Averill Park High School. Afternoon CTE students return to the school at approximately 3:00 p.m., we offer late buses on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons only. Students will need to arrange pickup on the other days.

Due to the large financial responsibility assumed by the District for each student attending a CTE course, it is imperative that careful consideration be given to all facts relating to the program before a final decision is made. Once enrolled, students are committed for one full year and may not drop CTE. Students should plan to talk with their counselor, read the descriptive information about the program, discuss fully with parents, have them sign necessary forms, and visit the CTE course of their choice.

Questar III has the following course offerings:

  • Academy for Info. Technology
  • Cosmetology
  • Culinary Arts
  • Criminal Justice
  • Heating & Cooling Ventilation
  • Heavy Equipment Operation and Maintenance

              See your counselor for more details.


This state mandated program is offered only to students for whom English is not a native language. The curriculum is devised around the students’ individual needs, which are demonstrated in an assessment given prior to placement in the program. Intensive individualized and/or small group instruction is given in the skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking in English. Also, some instructional time is dedicated to assisting students with coursework for other classes, as well as to improving study skills. Students who qualify may receive English credit through the English to speakers of other languages program. Prerequisite: Language Assessment Battery Test or New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test.

What do I do if I fail a course or required exam?


Students who fail require courses are strongly urged to participate in summer school or other credit recovery opportunities. AP currently uses Apex, an online learning program paid for by the student and/or parent. Summer School is used for remedial purposes only. Students must either fail a class or lose credit in the class to be eligible. If due to attendance, they must remain in the class in order to fulfill the “seat time” requirement. Students must have earned a final average of 50 or more in class to be eligible for summer school. To register, students must first obtain a permission form from their counselor at Averill Park High School. Forms are usually available the beginning of June.


Averill Park High School will administer August Regents examinations. Students who have failed a Regents examination or have passed a Regents examination but wish to improve their test grade by taking the August Regents, may do so by submitting a written request to their school counselor by June 29th. The written request must be countersigned by both the student and the parent or guardian.

It is recommended that any student who has previously failed a Regents examination attend summer school or receive tutoring before taking an August Regents examination in that area.



Any student who failed a Regents examination but passed a course is encouraged to attend summer school or receive tutoring before re-taking an examination. Auditing of a course the following year has, in general, proven to be a less successful option. A student is welcome on an audit basis only if he/she adheres to the behavioral and participation requirements of the teacher. Students who audit a class do not receive a grade. Note: Auditing a class will be permitted only upon the recommendation of the counselor and teacher. Approval of the principal is also required.


The New York State Education Department requires that schools provide additional support services to students who fail to meet NYS graduation requirements. Students who fail to pass required state exams or who fail to earn required credits may be scheduled for AIS. The goal of AIS is to help students meet requirements and achieve a diploma.

What are some Alternative Methods of Earning Credit?

Averill Park High School offers several alternative methods of earning credits in addition to taking regularly scheduled classes. Some of these options are described below. Independent Study – Independent study projects may sometimes be used to achieve credits in all departments. Independent study projects must adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. A teacher/advisor must oversee and evaluate the project work.
  2. A written contract is required and it must specify: [a] academic objectives and activities, [b] approximate number of hours of student time commitment, [c] a timeline for project completion, [d] project evaluation criteria and [e] student, parent, teacher, counselor and principal signatures indicating prior approval.
  3. A general guideline of 90 hours of project work equals 1/2 credit, 180 hours of project work equals 1 credit will be used.
  4. The project work will be graded pass/fail and a passing grade must be earned to achieve credit.
  5. A student must seek approval prior to September 30th for semester one classes and January 30th for Semester 2 classes.


Independent study grades may not count in rank in class determination. It will depend on the course. Principal approval is required, as well as teacher willingness to participate.

Course Credit by Examination and Project Work – Credits at Averill Park High School can be achieved by challenging the Regents examination. A grade of 85 or higher plus the completion of an appropriate project is required to earn credit. A student/parent must make a request to challenge a Regents in writing at least one semester prior to taking the exam. This process cannot be an ‘ad hoc’ decision. Prior meetings with the counselor should take place. Approval needs to be given by the principal to challenge a Regents exam as well as to approve the project. Grades achieved under the credit by examination and project procedures will not be used in rank-in-class determination.

What services are available for students by the Committee on Special Education?

Each school district in New York State is required to have a Committee on Special Education to review students who have educational related disabilities.

The continuum of special education services is used by the CSE to determine the type of support services that are needed. Special Education instruction is provided in a variety of settings, including general education classes, and small class environments with the goal of providing services in the least restrictive environment possible.

All services are determined by the CSE.