2023 - 2024 MCPS High School Course Bulletin
- Maryland Diploma Requirements
- College and Career Readiness
- Courses and Credits
- Immunization Requirements
- Maryland High School Comprehensive Assessment Program
- Promotion Regulation
- Special Education Instruction
- Maryland High School Certificate of Program Completion
- Montgomery County Public Schools Certificate of Merit (CM)
- Maryland Seal of Biliteracy
- Student Service Learning (SSL)
- High School Credit for Middle School Students
- Honors, Advanced-Level, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate Courses
- Course-Related Information
- Student Withdrawal from a Course
- Other Provisions for Earning Credit
- Alternatives to Four-Year Enrollment
- Taking Courses Not Available at the Student’s Home School
- Grading and Reporting
- Procedures for Grading
- Districtwide Assessments
- Reporting Student Progress
- Technology Education Requirement for Graduation
- Personal Financial Literacy and Environmental Literacy
- Credit/No Credit Grading Option
- Grade Point Average (GPA) and Weighted Grade Point Average (WGPA)
- Repeating a Course to Earn a Higher Grade
- School Library Media Program
- Academic Eligibility for Participation in Extracurricular Activities
- National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Eligibility Center
- MCPS Countywide Programs
- Local School Programs
- Career Readiness Programs of Study (POS)
- MCPS Regional Career Readiness Programs
- Regional College and Career Programs
- Foundations Programs
- The Visual Art Center (VAC) at Albert Einstein High School
- High School Science/Mathematics/Computer Science Magnet Program at Montgomery Blair HS and Poolesville HS
- The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programs in MCPS
- International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IB CP)
- International Baccalaureate/Middle Years Programme (MYP)
- Blair/Poolesville Magnet Courses and IB Courses
- Other Application Programs
- Virtual Academy
- Student Online Learning/eLearning
- Online MCPS Courses
- Online AP Courses
- Online Pathway to Graduation
- Student Online Learning/eLearning
- George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academies
Maryland Diploma Requirements
The state of Maryland authorizes one diploma for all high school graduates, based upon successful fulfillment of four categories of requirements: enrollment, course credit, student service learning (SSL), and Maryland assessments. Students must satisfactorily complete four years beyond Grade 8 to meet the enrollment requirement. All other requirements are summarized in the table below. Please consult the online MCPS course bulletin for 2024-2025 at http://coursebulletin.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/Home/PlanningTools your school counselor for further information.
College and Career Readiness
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Act, House Bill 1372 (HB1372), passed in February 2021. The ultimate goal is to transform Maryland’s education system into a world-class model that is competitive, both nationally and internationally, throughout the next ten years. The Blueprint includes the requirement that all students be assessed for CCR in English and mathematics by the end of Grade 10, using measures identified by the state. The assessment measures may include a required state assessment such as MCAP English 10 and/ or MCAP Algebra 1. Students who do not meet the CCR standard in English and mathematics by the end of Grade 10 will be required to participate in a support pathway in preparation for reassessment. The reassessment may include the same or different assessments as determined and approved by the state. School counselors and staff will work closely with students to determine the best support pathway for each student. All students who assess CCR will be able to enroll in Advance Placement (AP) courses, Career and Technical Education programs (CTE), Dual Enrollment (College Courses), and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, at no cost to students.
Students shall be enrolled in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and have earned a minimum of 22 credits that include the following (unless a preapproved MCPS alternative is satisfied):
|MCPS Graduation Requirements|
|ENGLISH||4 credits of organized instruction in comprehension of literary and informational texts, writing, speaking and listening, language, and literacy, of which 1 credit shall be aligned with the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) for English.|
|FINE ARTS||1 credit in dance, media arts, music, theatre, or visual art, or a combination of these.|
|HEALTH EDUCATION||1 credit in Honors Health Education A (0.5 credit) and Honors Health Education B (0.5 credit). Honors Health Education A is a prerequisite to Honors Health Education B|
4 credits, 1 including instruction in algebra aligned with the MCA for algebra or 1 or more credits in subsequent mathematics courses for which Algebra 1 is a prerequisite, and 1 with the content standards for geometry. Students must be enrolled in a Math course each year in High School. This may result in students earning more than four credits in Math for graduation.
|PHYSICAL EDUCATION||1 credit|
|SCIENCE||3 Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) credits, including 1 life science aligned to the MCA for science, 1 physical science credit and 1 credit in Earth/space science or an NGSS course with the topics of Earth/space science integrated.|
|SOCIAL STUDIES||3 credits, 1 U.S. History credit; 1 World History credit; and 1 National, State, and 1 Local Government credit required aligned with the MCA for government|
|COMPUTER SCIENCE, ENGINEERING OR TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION (TE)||1 credit designated TE. Courses satisfying this requirement are designated in the course bulletin and includes the study of computers and algorithmic processes or the application of knowledge, tools, and skills to solve practical problems and extend human capabilities.|
The additional credits required for graduation may be fulfilled by 1 of the following three options
|STUDENT SERVICE LEARNING (SSL)||75 service-learning hours. The SSL requirement is prorated for students enrolling in MCPS for the first time after Grade 6.|
Up-to-date graduation requirements by class may be found at
Students must satisfactorily complete four years of school beyond Grade 8. (For exceptions, see Alternatives to Four-year Enrollment.)
Students who enter Grade 7 in the 2024–2025 school year, or who were new to MCPS and in Grades 8–12, must receive one dose of the Tetanusdiphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccination and one dose of the Meningococcal conjugate vaccination (MCV4) before the first day of school. Students who do not have the required vaccinations within 20 days of starting school must demonstrate proof of vaccination, positive titer results, or proof of a vaccination appointment. These vaccinations are required by the state of Maryland for school attendance. Acceptable proofs of vaccinations are a computer-generated vaccination record from the student’s health-care provider or the Maryland Department of Health Immunization Certificate (Form 896), found https://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/forms/pdf/mdh_896_form.pdf, that is completed by the health-care provider. Additional information about immunization requirements can be found here: https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/immunizations/
Maryland High School Comprehensive Assessment Program
The Maryland High School Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) consists of tests developed for or adopted by MSDE that are aligned with and measure a student’s skills and knowledge as set forth in the content standards for specified courses. The term "MCAP" covers state and federal mandated assessments in English Language Arts/Literacy, Mathematics, Science, and Government at the high school level. Students take these assessments as they complete the corresponding courses. MCAP also includes the Alternate Assessments for select students.
MARYLAND HIGH SCHOOL COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM (MCAP)
These assessment requirements are subject to change by Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).
Course credit earned in Algebra 1 AND
Course credit earned in English 10 or equivalent, or English 10 for EMLs AND
Course credit earned in National, State, and Local Government or equivalent AND
Course credit earned in Biology or equivalent AND
For additional information regarding MCPS graduation requirements visit https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/graduation-requirements
MCPS Regulation JEB-RA, Placement, Promotion, Acceleration, and Retention of Students, (http://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/jebra.pdf requires that high school students earn 5 credits each year in order to be promoted, including specific required credits in English, mathematics, science, and social studies, as indicated in the chart below.
|End Of:||Total Credits Needed for Promotion to Next Grade||Total Credits in Required Courses|
|Math||English||Science||Social Studies||Other Courses - See Options Required for Graduation|
Special Education Instruction
If a student has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), the student will continue to receive the identified special education services as they transition to high school. Students may receive instruction in a variety of service-delivery models in the middle school setting to acquire skills and knowledge. The array of services could include, but is not limited to, consultation with special education personnel about instruction, direct service within the general education classroom, pull-out service in a resource room, direct service within a self-contained special education classroom, or some combination of the above. If you suspect that your child may have an educational disability and may require an evaluation, please contact the school counselor for information.
Maryland High School Certificate of Program Completion
This certificate is awarded only to students with disabilities who cannot meet the requirements for a diploma, but who meet the standards set forth in the Code of Maryland Regulations §13A.03.02.09, and MCPS Regulation ISB-RA, High School Graduation Requirements, found at ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/isbra.pdf. All students will be considered diploma-bound and will be assessed and graded accordingly, unless and until an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team determines that a student meets the criteria to be determined eligible to participate in instruction and assessments aligned with alternate academic achievement standards and the IEP team obtains written consent from the parent/guardian.
Montgomery County Public Schools Certificate of Merit (CM)
In addition to the Maryland high school diploma, students who meet the following requirements may be awarded the MCPS Certificate of Merit, a diploma endorsement:
a. Advanced Courses
Students must earn at least 12 credits in advanced courses designated by MCPS as applicable to the Certificate of Merit (CM). CM courses contribute to a weighted grade point average only when the course also is identified as Advanced Level (AL). All courses to be counted toward the Certificate of Merit must be taken for a letter grade.
b. Mathematics Requirement
Students must successfully complete and/or receive credit for an MCPS Algebra 2 course.
c. Cumulative Grade Point Average
Students must obtain at least a 3.0 unweighted cumulative grade point average.
Maryland Seal of Biliteracy
Maryland Seal of Biliteracy is awarded to high school graduates who can function in two or more languages and are equipped with the knowledge and skills to participate successfully in college, careers, and a diverse 21st century society. The Maryland Seal of Biliteracy is a diploma endorsement, authorized by Maryland law, that recognizes a student’s high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages other than English. To receive a Maryland Seal of Biliteracy, a student must do the following:
- Pass the Maryland High School Assessment in English 10; AND
- Demonstrate Intermediate High proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in a language other than English, as measured by assessments that are aligned to ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) proficiency guidelines.
Courses and Credits
Each MCPS high school provides a comprehensive program of studies that enables all students to earn required graduation credits. All high school courses are one semester long. All courses satisfying graduation requirements must be taken for a letter grade. Upon completion of each semester’s work, students earn credit in each course taken—0.5 credits for successful completion of a single-period course, 1 credit for a double-period course, and so on. Year-long courses usually have the same name for the two semesters with the title of the first semester followed by “A” or “1” and the second by “B” or “2.” Generally, the first semester of a course is a prerequisite for the second semester
Student Service Learning
The Student Service Learning (SSL) program in MCPS promotes a culture of student involvement and student responsibility through civic engagement. Service learning is a graduation requirement in Maryland. MCPS students must complete a minimum of 75 service-learning hours to graduate. They may begin fulfilling this requirement in the summer after Grade 5 and continue to accrue SSL hours through high school. Students who earn 240 or more SSL hours receive a Certificate of Meritorious Service at the time of graduation. Preparation, action, and reflection are the three phases of service learning that distinguish SSL from traditional volunteering and community-service efforts.Service learning hours are earned through the following:
- School Courses— Successful completion of specific courses identified in this course bulletin where the three phases of SSL achieve curricular objectives.
- School Clubs— Fully participating and completing the three phases of service learning in activities promoted by school-sponsored clubs and organizations.
- Community Organizations and Opportunities (must meet MCPS SSL guide- lines)— Fully participating in opportunities with community organizations following the MCPS SSL guide- lines listed on the MCPS SSL website, found at https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/ssl/ MCPS SSL opportunities are identified on the Montgomery County Volunteer Center (MCVC) web page with the MCPS SSL icon, found at www.montgomeryserves.org. Students also may seek approval for other types of service learning by submitting MCPS Form 560-50, Individual Student Service Learning Request
All in-person activities for which SSL hours are desired must occur in a public place, be secular in nature, and be supervised by an adult representative from a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. Parents/guardians and relatives may not supervise a student directly. One SSL hour is awarded for every one hour of service outside of the instructional day, with a maximum of 8 hours in a 24-hour period. MCPS Form 560-51, Student Service Learning Activity Verification, is required to document all activities for which SSL hours are desired. SSL FAQs and more information is available at the MCPS SSL website www.mcps-ssl.org and the MCVC website www.montgomeryserves.org. For individual SSL questions, please contact the SSL coordinator in any middle or high school.
High School Credit for Middle School Students
Class of 2025 (first time Grade 9 in 2021–2022)—by default high school credit courses taken in middle school are included on a high school transcript, but grade points are not calculated into the cumulative GPA. Beginning this year, an automated process at the end of each semester will determine which courses to include or exclude resulting in the highest cumulative GPA. Transcripts and the Student Grade and Graduation Credit Report (SGGCR) generated after mid-February will reflect this GPA.
Additional information about secondary grading can be found here: https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/grading/report-cards-secondary
Middle school students must meet the same requirements as high school students by earning a final grade of A, B, C, or D each semester. Additional information is in MCPS Regulation IKC-RA, Grade Point Averages (GPA) and Weighted Grade Point Averages (WGPA), found at https://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ikcra.pdf
Honors, Advanced-level, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Courses
Honors (H), Advanced-Level (AL), Advanced Placement (AP), ), and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses provide opportunities for students to pursue rigorous and challenging studies. Students seeking an IB diploma or participating in a certificate program must meet the requirements of the program in addition to the MCPS requirements for graduation. Teachers, counselors, and parents/ guardians will work together to support each student’s progress in these challenging courses.
Honors courses provide expectations and opportunities for students to engage in more rigorous and complex content and processes and to develop authentic products that reflect the student’s understanding of key concepts. The curriculum in each Honors course includes appropriate adaptations for enriched learning to pursue in-depth studies that require abstract and higher-order thinking skills.
AL courses are based on previous achievement in a sequence of study. Advanced-level courses include appropriate adaptations for accelerated and enriched learning to pursue in-depth studies that require abstract and higher-order thinking skills.
College Level (CL)/Dual Enrollment
Students who successfully complete a college course for dual credit will receive 1 advance level credit on their high school transcript.
MCPS has developed courses that meet College Board guidelines to accompany the AP examinations. A qualifying score on an AP exam may earn the student college credit or advanced standing in the subject in college. All MCPS AP courses meet the requirements of and are approved by the College Board Audit Committee and include concepts and skills that help students prepare for the AP exams
- AP Exam Registration—Students must register for AP exams by November 15th for full year AP courses and March 15th for second semester AP courses.
- AP Exam Fees—Students enrolled in an AP course for the 2023- 2024 school year will take the AP exams at no cost.
Student Withdrawal from a Course
A student-initiated withdrawal may occur when the student and parent/guardian determine that withdrawal will be beneficial to the student. Additional information is in MCPS Regulation JEC-RA, Student Withdrawals from Classes and School, found at https://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/jecra.pdf. An eligible student’s withdrawal (one who is 18 years of age or older or is emancipated) must be reviewed by the counselor and may be discussed with the parents/guardians. If the student is not an eligible student, the student’s withdrawal request must be approved by the parent/guardian in writing, reviewed by the counselor, and discussed with the student to ensure that the student understands that withdrawing from the course may result in a possible delay in meeting graduation requirements. Then, the counselor’s recommendation is forwarded to the principal for approval.
The student must be presented with alternatives to withdrawing from a course. The student may transfer into another course within the same subject area for which the student has had adequate academic preparation. If no such alternative is available, the student may transfer into an appropriate elective course. Administrators/ designees have discretion to adjust student schedules if necessary and as appropriate.
- If a student withdraws from a course before the end of the 25th day of the semester, no notation is made on the student’s permanent record or report card.
- If the student withdraws after the 25th school day of the semester in which the class begins, a notation of “W,” or “Withdrew,” the date of the withdrawal, and the average grade at the time of withdrawal will be entered on the permanent record, transcript, and report card.
- Should the student, with prior approval, transfer from an honors or advanced-level course to an on-level course in the same subject area (IKC-RA course-level change) after the 25th school day of the semester, no notation is made on the student’s permanent transcript, and appropriate credit is awarded for those courses completed successfully. The Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs may designate approved on-level transfers for certain courses, which will be set forth in implementation guidance and available from school counselors.
Additional information about withdrawal and student eligibility for extracurricular activities is in MCPS Regulation IKC-RA, Grade Point Averages (GPA) and Weighted Grade Point Averages (WGPA), found at https://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ikcra.pdf and in MCPS Regulation IQD-RA, Academic Eligibility for High School Students Who Participate in Extracurricular Activities, found at https://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/iqdra.pdf.
Other Provisions for Earning Credit
In addition to earning credits during the regular school day and year, students may earn high school credits through summer school, extended-day learning opportunities, work-experience programs, online courses, and college courses. Advance permission from the principal or designee is required in all cases involving other provisions for earning credit.
Online courses must be approved by MSDE and MCPS. See the list of online courses approved by MCPS for credit toward graduation at http://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/onlinelearning.
It is critical that students and their parents/guardians consult with academic advisors/ counselors prior to registering for courses for which they intend to obtain credits to meet high school graduation requirements. More information about other provisions for earning credit are discussed in MCPS Regulation ISB-RA, High School Graduation Requirements, found at http://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/isbra.pdf.
Alternatives to Four-Year Enrollment
In recognition of the fact that four-year enrollment in a public high school may not serve the best interests of some students, alternatives are available. Requirements include advance permission from the principal or designee; an alternative plan developed, with enough lead time to allow a decision to be made at least one full semester prior to anticipated enrollment in a specific course or program; and a waiver. Approval may be made contingent on the student’s acceptance to an approved college, vocational, technical, or other postsecondary school program. Required forms, reasons for which waivers are approved, and additional information about alternatives to four-year enrollment are discussed in MCPS Regulation ISB-RA, High School Graduation Requirements, found at http://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/isbra.pdf
Taking Courses Not Available at the Student’s Home School
Students who wish to take courses not available at their home school must apply through the counseling office at their home school.
A commitment to school attendance, on the part of both students and parents/guardians, is an essential component of a high-quality learning experience. Parents/guardians and school personnel are expected to do everything possible to ensure each student’s regular attendance. Students should attend all scheduled classes and approved educational activities and are responsible for completing all assigned work on time. Students should be enrolled in a full-day program or spend a comparable period of time in an alternative education program or activity approved by the student’s parent/guardian and principal. See MCPS Regulation JEA-RA, Student Attendance, at ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/jeara.pdf and Guidelines for the Continuing Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students, at ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ioera.pdf.
Grading and Reporting
The Board of Education is committed to maintaining rigorous performance and achievement standards for all students and to providing a fair process for evaluating and reporting student progress that is understandable to students and their parents/guardians and relevant for instructional purposes. The Board Policy IKA, Grading and Reporting ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ika.pdf and accompanying MCPS Regulation IKA-RA, Grading and Reporting (ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ikara.pdf), set forth expectations and guidance. The office of the Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instructional Programs publishes procedures at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/grading/.
Procedures for Grading
Grading procedures will be applied consistently within and among schools. Grading practices must include clear and timely communication, alignment with curriculum, accurate reflection of student achievement, and fair representation of student performance. Grading practices must be fair and manageable and support effective teaching and learning. Grades on report cards reflect academic achievement in relation to course expectations, as outlined in the MCPS curriculum. Extra credit may not be used. Course specific procedures for grading are defined, used consistently, and explained clearly to students and parents/guardians in writing at the beginning of a semester or school year. Additional information about grading and reporting can be found at https://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ikara.pdf.
Districtwide AssessmentsRequired assessments administered districtwide are one component of the body of evidence.
- A districtwide assessment is required to be given at designated times in identified grade levels and identified middle and high school courses
Reporting Student Progress
Teachers will provide students and parents/guardians with information about achievement throughout the marking period. This feedback may take several forms, including the following:
- Report cards
- Interims/progress reports
- Online grade reports
- Parent conferences
- Informal methods of communication
- Teacher feedback
Credit/No Credit Grading Option
- The Credit/No Credit grading option may be used only in courses not specifically required for graduation by MSDE or MCPS.
- Courses taken using the Credit/No Credit option cannot be applied toward a Certificate of Merit.
Grade Point Average (GPA) and Weighted Grade Point Average (WGPA)
Only final course grades and credit reported on high school transcripts are used in determining GPA and WGPA, in accordance with the procedures set forth in MCPS Regulation IKC-RA, Grade Point Averages and Weighted Grade Point Averages (http://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ikcra.pdf). To determine WGPA, an additional quality point will be added to grades of A, B, and C in all Honors, AL, and AP courses only.
A Marking Period Average (MPA), used in determining academic eligibility for interscholastic athletics, is shown on student report cards. The MPA is not cumulative and is not used to establish the GPA or WGPA. For information about conditions under which the MPA applies to interscholastic athletics, please see https://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/detail.aspx?recID=248&policyID=IQD-RA§ionID=9
MCPS does not rank students. Additional information about grading and reporting is available at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/grading/.
Repeating a Course to Earn a Higher Grade and Repeating a Portion of a Course (Credit Recovery)
Any student who completes a high school course may retake the course for a replacement grade. Eligible students may retake a portion of the course for credit recovery. Grades and credits for courses retaken will be treated as follows, for computing the GPA and WGPA: a) a course may be retaken, no matter the final grade; b) the highest of the grades received shall be entered on the student’s transcript and shall be used for the purpose of computing GPA/WGPA; c) students may only replace a course with a course of the same or comparable course code, as authorized by the Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instructional Programs; or d) if space in a class is limited, students taking a course for the first time have priority for placement in the class over students retaking the course. Upon completion of the course, their official transcript and GPA/WGPA will reflect only the higher mark earned. Further information can be found in MCPS Regulation IKA-RA,Grading and Reporting, found at http://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ikcra.pdf, and MCPS Regulation IKC-RA, Grade Point Averages (GPA) and Weighted Grade Point Averages (WGPA), found at ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ikara.pdf or by contacting the student’s counselor or College and Career Readiness and Districtwide Programs, 240-740-3941.
School Library Media Program
As a teacher and collaborator, school library media specialists
contribute to the development of students who are equipped with
the knowledge and skills to read, evaluate, and utilize print and
digital resources for curricular and personalized learning needs.
The guiding principles for an instructional approach to a robust school library media program:
- School library media specialists support literacy and student achievement
- School library media specialists are teachers and instructional partners
- School library media programs provide unique virtual learning environments
- School library media staff members advocate for equity and foster connections
School library media specialists enrich the learning environment by expertly vetting and sharing award-winning books and appropriate approved digital tools by providing updated collections and embracing the integration of innovative technologies. In addition, school library media specialists share information related to emergent issues in regard to accessibility, privacy, digital ethics, and copyright guidance.
A well-rounded school library media program maximizes student and teacher access to resources, programming, and instruction and provides opportunities to immerse all students in literacy-rich environments. School library media programs support students with the access and use of online resources, including eBooks (Sora, Capstone Interactive, Montgomery Public Library eBooks, etc.).
Whether independently or in collaboration with other teachers, school library media specialists must continue to ensure that students are able to efficiently, effectively, and ethically access and utilize print and digital resources for lifelong learning in multiple literacies. Instruction and collaboration must continue in distance learning, hybrid models, or in person.
Information literacy standards are embedded in content areas. Information literacy skills are grounded in classroom content because, when taught in isolation, they do not provide an authentic learning experience that is relevant to students. School library media specialists can be added as co-teachers to the classrooms in order to support any content area with information literacy standards. Digital citizenship is a component of information literacy and should be taught in the context of a larger lesson that requires practice in safe searching, safe sharing of information, etc.
Academic Eligibility for Participation in Interscholastic Athletics
As a district committed to nondiscrimination, equity and cultural responsiveness, the Board of Education seeks to balance the state and collegiate expectations with its interest in making extracurricular activities including interscholastic sports, accessible to as many students as possible. Academic eligibility requirements for high school students participating in interscholastic sports are established in MCPS Regulation IQD-RA, Academic Eligibility for High School Students Who Participate in Interscholastic Athletics. Students who have a 2.0 average with no more than one failing grade in the previous marking period will be academically eligible to participate or practice during the next marking period. Eligibility standards become effective as of a student’s second year in any high school, as initially determined by their marking period average in the fourth quarter of their first year of high school. Additional information about academic eligibility may be found in Board Policy IQD, Extracurricular Activities, at https://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/policy iqd english.pdf, and MCPS Regulation IQD-RA, Academic Eligibility for High School Students Who Participate in Interscholastic Athletics, at https://www2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/siteassets/schools/high-schools/r-w/rmhs/uploadedfiles/athletics/academiceligibility20.pdf.
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Eligibility Center
The National Collegiate Athletic Association established the NCAA Eligibility Center to serve as the authorizing group for the final review and approval of core courses for freshmen college students who want to participate in intercollegiate athletics in NCAA Division I-A, I-AA, and II colleges and universities. The NCAA Eligibility Center Approved Core Courses are identified in the course bulletin with the symbol NCAA. In all cases, the list of eligible courses available on the NCAA Eligibility Center website represents the final determination of acceptable core courses. To learn more about NCAA Approved Core Courses or about NCAA Freshmen Eligibility Standards, contact the local school resource counselor and visit the NCAA-IEC website at www.ncaa.org/sports/2021/2/8/student-athletes-future.aspx. Students may want to download the NCAA student document at http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/eligibility_center/Student_Resources/CBSA.pdf.
MCPS Countywide/Regional Programs
MCPS offers a range of high school programs to meet the unique interests or programmatic needs of students. Programs are offered at the local high school level or through an application process at the regional or countywide level. These programs may include enriched/ accelerated, thematic, career readiness, or dual enrollment.
Local School Programs
In addition to offering a comprehensive high school program, a number of high schools have created programs that integrate a specific focus or distinguishing theme with skills, concepts, and instructional strategies of some portion of a school’s curriculum. The theme or focus becomes the vehicle for teaching the traditional high school curriculum in a fresh, interesting, and challenging way. All high schools offer a wide range of robust college and career programs that prepare students for college and the workforce. For additional information about local programs offered at a student’s home school, please visit the home school website.
Career Readiness Programs of Study (POS)
Programs of Study (POS) are state-approved programs that satisfy the Career Readiness graduation option requirements and are designated by POS in this bulletin. Each program is designed to help students acquire the specialized knowledge, skills, attitudes, and work habits required for employment and postsecondary education.
Students seeking to enroll in a POS with a work-based learning component may be required by the employer or sponsoring organization to provide appropriate documentation that may include a social security number and/or proof of citizenship/green card. Please review program information and POS requirements carefully for specific work-based learning component guidelines.
MCPS Regional Career Readiness Programs
Some career readiness POS are offered to high school students through a regional choice model, to ensure access to programs when not offered in the student’s home school.
These programs are available at designated high schools and offer limited seats to students from designated regions of the county. Student participation is determined by an application process. Grades 8–11 students from designated regions of the county are eligible to apply to the following application programs:
- Fire Science and Rescue at Home School and MC Public Safety Training Academy
- Flight and Aircraft Systems at Col. Zadok Magruder HS
- Network Operations & Information Technology (P-TECH) at Clarksburg HS
- Project Lead The Way Biomedical at Gaithersburg HS, Rockville HS and Wheaton HS
- Project Lead The Way Engineering at Rockville HS and Wheaton HS
- Seneca Valley Regional Programs
- Junior Reserve Officers Training (JROTC) at Gaithersburg, Kennedy, Paint Branch and Seneca Valley
- MCPS Apprenticeship Maryland Program
- IEC Electrical School to Apprenticeship
These are just a few examples of the programming options available. Extensive information about MCPS career readiness programs of Study is available online at and https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/career-readiness/. For a more complete list and information about the various special programs available to students entering high school and beyond, visit www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/specialprograms/high/.
Regional College and Career Programs at Wheaton/Thomas Edison High School of Technology (TEHST) and Seneca Valley High School
Regional College and Career programs provide all MCPS students with the opportunity to co-enroll in advanced academic, technical, and career programs. The mission of college and career readiness programs is to provide students with state-of-the-art technological, academic, and interpersonal skills needed to achieve excellence in their chosen fields of study. The variety of career readiness programs offered allow students to explore and experience traditional and nontraditional career options and to prepare for college and a wide range of expanding and challenging postsecondary options. Students enroll in college and career readiness programs through their home school and take courses at both the home school and at the Regional College and Career Program location. Students may also be eligible to apply to a full-time comprehensive regional program at a college and career readiness programs location. Bus transportation is provided. All programs offered at Regional College and Career Program sites are state-approved and meet the career readiness graduation option requirements for students.
The Montgomery County Student Foundations Office serves as a liaison between the business/professional community and MCPS, by coordinating four separate nonprofit educational foundations that prepare students for a wide range of postsecondary options within the automotive, construction, information technology and computer science, and the hospitality and restaurant management industries. Programs provide instruction in classroom and laboratory settings with state-of-the-art technology and authentic, real-world experiences for students through rigorous curriculum, career programs of study, industry certification opportunities, community business partnerships, entrepreneurial projects, scholarships/awards, SSL hours, and articulation agreements through which students may earn college credit. Additional information is at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/foundations/ or contact the Foundations Office at 240-740-2050.
Automotive Trades Foundations Programs (ATF)
ATF programs are located at
- Seneca Valley, and
- Thomas Edison HS
Aviation Pilot Program
Located at Col. Zadok Magruder High School. This is a four year pilot program for either manned or unmanned (UAS) flight. Students must choose to make Magruder HS their home school to participate in this program. Bussing is available from Gaithersburg, Rockville, and Sherwood High Schools.
Construction Trades Foundations Program
Construction Trades Foundation programs are located at
- Thomas Edison High School of Technology, and
- Seneca Valley HS
Information Technology and Computer Science Programs
Information Technology programs in computer repairs and networking (Network Operations) are located at
- Clarksburg High School
- Thomas Edison High School of Technology, and
- Seneca Valley High School.
IT Networking Academy (CISCO) are located in five high schools:
- Quince Orchard
- Springbrook, and
The Computer Science pathway, which includes a robotics unit, is offered in 25 high schools. Students can take AP courses in the pathway as well as earn college credits and obtain internships.
Mobile Applications and Software Development Program of Study at Walter Johnson High School allows students to design and build a fully-functioning in Swift and XCode. Students can earn industry certification in App Development in Swift: Level 1.
The Clarksburg Pathways in Network and Information Technology Program (P-TECH) is a dual-enrollment program that allows students to earn both an MCPS high school diploma and an Associate of Applied Science (ASS) degree from Montgomery College, at no cost, while in high school. This program is offered exclusively at Clarksburg High School, and the only entry point for this program is at the beginning of ninth grade.
Academy of Information Technology (AOIT)—Web Design offers students opportunities to explore careers related to website development and database administration. This program is offered at schools currently offering AOIT with NAF: Gaithersburg High School, Springbrook High School, Wheaton High School and Thomas S. Wootton High School.
Hospitality and Restaurant Management Program
In 2019, the Foundation for Hospitality & Restaurant Management (FHRM) was established to develop and engage the hospitality and restaurant industry to partner with MCPS in support of the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism Management POS and the Professional Restaurant Management POS. In collaboration with the business community, the Foundation is in the process of reviewing and updating curriculum material, and identifying career-enriching experiences for students who want to study and learn about career opportunities within the hospitality industry.
Career Readiness Education Academy (CREA)
The Career Readiness Education Academy (CREA) is an academic and career readiness program for older Emergent Multilingual Learners (EMLs) in MCPS. Students in CREA have the opportunity to prepare for the GED exam and earn industry certifications in their chosen field of study. Students are referred to CREA if they are at least 18 years old and unlikely to meet graduation requirements before turning 21 and/or if they are interested in pursuing an alternative pathway to a high school diploma via GED preparation. CREA offers both full-day and evening programs at Thomas Edison High School of Technology and Seneca Valley High School.
The Visual Art Center (VAC) at Albert Einstein High School
The Visual Art Center (VAC) offers students a broad perspective of the fine arts and deepens their understanding of the opportunities for art-related careers through exposure to contemporary artists and artwork. This rigorous and comprehensive program, directed toward portfolio development, enables students to realize and achieve their full potential in visual art. Lessons consist of lectures, demonstrations, slide presentations, studio activities, assigned research and group critiques. Most graduating students study fine arts or commercial art at a higher level. Any student who resides in Montgomery County and is currently enrolled in Grades 8–11 is encouraged to apply for acceptance into this magnet program, if they are interested in a rigorous portfolio-development program. The VAC program is open to applicants from all high school clusters in the county. As of next school year, the VAC is not a part time program. Students must transfer to Einstein. Downcounty Consortium (DCC) resident students who have been assigned to Einstein through the choice process and have been accepted into the Visual Arts Center will be provided transportation from Consortia neighborhood stops. For more information, contact the MCPS Visual Arts Center at 240-740-2700 or go to https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/vac/. For more information, contact the MCPS Visual Arts Center at 240-740-2700
High School Science/Mathematics/Computer Science Magnet Program at Montgomery Blair HS and Poolesville HS
Recognizing that education is an individual experience that depends on the unique talents and interests of each person, the mission of the MCPS High School Science/Mathematics/Computer Science Magnet Program is to provide an environment in which each student’s education is maximized by emphasizing the interrelationships among the disciplines, developing a repertoire of problem-solving techniques and pursuing both independent and collaborative research projects.
To realize this mission, the staff nurtures the special talents of its students, challenging them through a unique, diversified curriculum that fosters individualism, independent thinking, and self-confidence. Students construct their own knowledge base, learn problem-solving strategies that foster a multidisciplinary approach, and develop the ability to think precisely and creatively.
The curriculum is designed to enable each student to build a solid foundation in Grades 9 and 10. Core courses in these first two years include physics, chemistry, Earth science, biology, two years of computer science, two years of mathematics, and an interdisciplinary course—Research and Experimentation for Problem Solving. During their junior and senior years, students have opportunities to go beyond traditional high school offerings with more than 25 special courses and independent research projects, while still meeting MSDE requirements (e.g., enrollment in mathematics).
Program descriptions, brochures, and applications are at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/specialprograms/high/magnet-science.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programs in MCPS
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is a rigorous two-year program that challenges students to think critically, excel in their studies, and develop as global citizens, leading to a qualification that is recognized by universities around the world. To earn an IB diploma, students must take a challenging liberal arts course of studies and pass examinations in six academic subjects.
The IB Diploma Programme is offered at the following schools:
- Albert Einstein High School (for students who attend Einstein HS)
- Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (for students who attend B-CC HS)
- John F. Kennedy High School (Regional application)
- Richard Montgomery High School (Countywide application)
- Rockville High School (Regional application)
- Seneca Valley High School (for students who attend Seneca Valley HS)
- Springbrook High School (Regional application)
- Watkins Mill High School (Regional application)
- Richard Montgomery High School (Countywide)
- John F. Kennedy High School (Regional)
- Springbrook High School (Regional)
- Watkins Mill High School (Regional)
International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IB CP)
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Career-related Programme (CP) is a framework of international education that incorporates the values of the IB into a unique programme addressing the needs of students engaged in career-related education. The CP is designed to prepare students for higher education, an internship or apprenticeship, or a position in a designated field of interest.
In addition to the IB Diploma Programme, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Career Programme is offered at
- Watkins Mill High School
- Rockville High School (regional program)
- Seneca Valley High School
International Baccalaureate/Middle Years Programme (MYP)
The MYP is designed for students ages 11 to 16. It provides a framework of learning that encourages students to become creative, critical, and reflective thinkers. The MYP emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and the real world. It fosters the developmental skills for communication, intercultural understanding, and global engagement—essential qualities for young people who are becoming global leaders. Students engage in research and acquire critical hinking skills through all subject areas, as well as study a second language. MYP is authorized and offered as a whole-school program for Grades 9 and 10 at
- Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
- Seneca Valley High School (IB candidate school)
- John F. Kennedy High School(IB candidate school)
- Richard Montgomery High School
- Springbrook High School, and
- Watkins Mill High School
The MCPS IB program website, www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/specialprograms/high/ib, contains links to each school’s program and admission process. Each high school offering an IB programme has individualized its program, providing unique selections from the IB electives and languages. Local school course listings will indicate those courses available at a given school.
Blair/Poolesville Magnet Courses and IB Courses
A sampling of courses are listed at the end of each departmental listing in this bulletin and the Interdisciplinary and Research Courses section. To learn more, visit each school’s website.
Other High School Application Programs
There are other competitive programs offered to MCPS students, with a limited number of seats that require students to complete an application and meet specific admission criteria. Programs include the Communications Art program at Blair HS, Global Ecology and the Humanities programs at Poolesville HS, the Leadership Training Institute at Kennedy HS, as well as PLTW Bioscience and PLTW Engineering Applications programs at Wheaton HS. Some programs accept applications countywide, while others accept applications from designated regions of the county. For more information about application programs offered in MCPS, visit www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/specialprograms. Parents/guardians of current Grades 8 students are able to access and review all eligible high school application programs on the Synergy ParentVUE. The Grade 8 eligibility report is found in ParentVue and StudentVue. The High School Common App is found in ParentVue. All other applications are found on the High School Special Programs website. All applications require the student to have an MCPS Student ID to participate. Private school students may visit the special programs website to apply.
MCPS offers a full-time virtual learning program for students in kindergarten to Grade 12, known as the Montgomery Virtual Academy. (https://www2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/virtualacademy) Students interested in the program are required to apply for admission and must be approved to participate. The Virtual Academy is a centrally managed program and will partner with students’ home schools to provide the academic and social emotional support students need to thrive in virtual instruction. The Virtual Academy provides a separate course catalog that can be found at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/virtualacademy
Student Online Learning/eLearning
The MCPS Student eLearning program provides opportunities for students to take selected high school courses outside the traditional classroom setting. The program allows students access to online courses for acceleration, flexibility in scheduling, or to retake previously failed courses. Courses taught by MCPS teachers follow a blended learning model, requiring attendance at scheduled face-to-face meetings, in addition to online instruction. More information about student online learning/elearning is at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/onlinelearning/.
Students can choose to take coursework for original credit, retake a course or retake a portion of a course (credit recovery). Additional information about procedures for credit recovery can be found here: https://ww2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ikara.pdf.
Online MCPS Courses
MCPS offers three online courses: Comprehensive Health, Foundations of Engineering & Technology, and Foundations of Computer Science, which follow a blended model of online and face-to-face (f2f) learning. Each course satisfies both MCPS and Maryland state graduation requirements. Registration and cost information for these classes is available on the Student eLearning website
Online AP Courses
Approved AP courses, offered by vendors outside of MCPS are delivered solely online. Courses have an associated fee. Registration information is available on the Student eLearning website. As with all courses offered by institutions other than MCPS, advance permission from the principal or designee is required for courses for which the student seeks high school credit. Additional information regarding eLearning is at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/onlinelearning/.
Online Pathway to Graduation
The Online Pathway to Graduation (OPTG) is a year-long program, split into two sessions, that enables current and former MCPS high school students to meet the academic requirements for a Maryland high school diploma. Students who have completed at least one year of high school are eligible to participate in the program. Instruction in OPTG courses is of a blended nature, and students access required synchronous sessions and a comprehensive asynchronous curriculum digitally. Students will engage in course-specific meetings weekly, and will have access to a digital support and testing center each week. As participants successfully complete each course, credit is awarded, thus helping the participant progress toward earning a high school diploma. Also, participants are responsible for completing all Maryland and MCPS graduation requirements, including MCAP and SSL requirements. These courses are free for current MCPS students.
To learn about the Student eLearning program, see your counselor, contact the Student eLearning team, or visit the Student eLearning website, www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/onlinelearning/.
Additional Learning Opportunities
George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academies
Twelve MCPS schools host The George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy, Inc. programs on Saturday mornings (Saturday School), providing enrichment, tutoring, and mentoring for students in Grades K–12. The George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy, Inc. was established in 1986 by the Mu Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, as an outgrowth of the Saturday School Initiative of Blacks United for Excellence in Education. Saturday Schools are open to all students, regardless of their home school. High school sites include Blair, Clarksburg, Einstein, Gaithersburg, Magruder, Northwest, Paint Branch, Rockville, Springbrook, Watkins Mill, and Wheaton. There is also a location at Strathmore ES. For more information about Saturday School tutoring and the George B. Thomas, Sr. learning academies, contact your local school or visit www.saturdayschool.org.