General Information

  • This course planning guide is designed to assist students in grades six through twelve, and their families, as they make educational decisions to become college and/or career ready. The program of studies provided the background needed to begin a career or enter an institution of higher learning. Elective courses will be offered if sufficient enrollment and staff are available.

    Grade, Credit, Transcript, Class Rank and GPA

    A student’s grade point average in FCPS is computed on a four-point scale using the final yearly average with computation beginning with high school credit-bearing courses and continuing through the end of the senior year.

    Students who successfully complete high school courses, including credit-bearing courses at the middle school level, earn high school credit toward graduation. Quality points are awarded for some Dual-Enrollment and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Students who successfully complete Dual-Enrolled/AP courses that qualify for a 0.05 increase in their GPA will receive it. 

    When a student repeats the same course he or she has already taken, the highest final grade will be used for class rank computation. Both grades will be shown on the transcript. Credit will be awarded on the transcript the first time the course is passed.

    Class rank computation methods will be consistent throughout the school division. Grades and credits established by a transfer student from an accredited public school are included in the computation of that student’s GPA. Transfer students from an accredited homeschool or private school will receive a Pass or Fail grade on their transcript. These grades will not be included in the computation of that student’s GPA.

  • High School Honors/Advanced Placement Courses

    Honors and Advanced Placement courses are designed for students who wish to accelerate their high school course of study. These courses are faster paced that require in-depth analysis and synthesis of subject matter. Students attempting an Honors or Advanced Placement course should have strong study habits. Please note that some courses have prerequisites that must be completed before enrolling in an Advanced Placement course. 

    Advanced Placement Testing

    Students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses may participate in the College Board Advanced Placement tests in an attempt to earn college credit from colleges and universities participating in the Advanced Placement program. The Department of Education will reimburse all or part of the cost of the Advanced Placement test fees for qualifying low-income students who enroll in an Advanced Placement course and take the Advanced Placement test. There is no requirement that students who take an Advanced Placement course must take the College Board test in the given content area; however, college credit will not be awarded unless the student earns a qualifying score as determined by the institution of higher education. Students should see their counselor for more information.

    Earning College Credit While in High School - Transferable Dual Enrollment Credit

    Opportunities exist for students at our three high schools and Dowell J. Howard Center to earn transferable college credit for approved college-level courses. Through a partnership with both Laurel Ridge Community College (formerly Lord Fairfax Community College) and Shenandoah University, students may earn college credit while in high school. Dual Enrollment course offerings vary at each high school based on teacher credentials. Dual Enrollment courses are generally transferable to Virginia community colleges as well as state universities. However, students should check with their prospective colleges and/or individual college programs to verify that the college will accept dual enrollment credit. These dual enrolled courses offer college-level material. Students should expect a challenging curriculum and extensive assignments, mirroring those opportunities found in the respective college courses taken on campus. Students who successfully complete a dual-enrolled course may receive a 0.05 increase in their grade point average (GPA). Dual enrollment credit taken in our high schools is offered at a reduced cost. 

    Students who choose to take a course from an accredited college or university that is not part of the school division’s dual enrollment program will be allowed to have the transcript from the college or university included in their cumulative file. The grade the student earns will not be reflected in the student’s GPA for graduation purposes.

    Virtual Virginia

    Middle and high school students make take up to two courses free of charge through Virtual Virginia pending principal approval as long as the course(s) do not conflict with the student’s schedule in their home school. High school students who request to enroll in the Virtual Virginia full-time program may still be considered FCPS students, but the parent/guardian will be required to serve as the student’s mentor. Tuition for the full-time program will be the responsibility of the parent/guardian (tuition is determined by Virtual Virginia). Students who enroll in Virtual Virginia, but decide to unenroll during the school year will be allowed to enroll in equivalent courses in their home school. The transfer grade(s) will be reflected on the student grade report. The deadline for enrollment in courses is established by Virtual Virtual. Virtual Virginia does not allow students to enroll after the posted deadline.

    Course Load

    All students are expected to take a minimum of seven credits required to meet the minimum standards necessary for graduation and attendance requirements of the state. 

    Students at the high school level may be permitted to carry additional courses provided their records indicate their ability to handle such courses, their presence in the class will not cause overcrowding, and the needs of the students requiring the courses have been fulfilled.

    In certain circumstances, seniors may be allowed a reduced schedule, given they are enrolled in the required number of classes to graduate and receive permission from the principal. Underclassmen are not permitted to take a reduced schedule.

    Scheduling Adjustments

    Changes from one course to another will be made under the following circumstances only:

    • Failure of a course that is a prerequisite for a scheduled course or a graduation requirement;
    • Human or computer error;
    • Grouping adjustments and/or balancing of class sizes;
    • Recommendation of SSRT Committee or IEP Committee

    Withdrawal from a Credit-Bearing Course

    Any student enrolled in a credit-bearing course has up to three weeks after a course begins to withdraw from the course without receiving a failing grade (F); instead, students may withdraw from the course with a “W” and no grade will be awarded. Withdrawing within the first three weeks will not affect a student’s grade-point average (GPA), but after the first three weeks, the grade on the transcript will be reflected as an F. Consideration will be given if there are extenuating circumstances that necessitate a student to withdraw after the three-week window of time. Parents/adult students (18 yrs or older) are required to submit in writing a request for consideration to be given to waiving the F for extenuating circumstances to the principal. The principal and the Director of Secondary Instruction will make the final decision as to whether the class may be dropped without the student earning a failing grade.

    Request to Omit Grade and Credit for High School Course taken in Middle School

    Grades and credits earned in middle school for high school credit-bearing courses will count toward graduation credits and will be calculated in the high school GPA unless a “Request to Omit Grade and Credit for High School Course taken in Middle School” is filed under the provision of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (8 VAC 20-131-90) and Frederick County Public Schools regulations.

    Requests to omit grades and credit for a high school course taken in middle school must be submitted to the high school principal prior to the first student day of the student’s ninth-grade year.  When parents do not opt to omit a grade and credit and the student proceeds to the next course in the sequence, parents may appeal to the high school principal during the first month of school that the student is returned to the prerequisite class if it becomes apparent that further preparation is needed for success in the more advanced course.

    If the parent wishes, a student who took a high school credit class while enrolled as a middle school student may re-enroll in the course for which a grade and credit were deleted.  If the student’s deleted final grade is an “A” or a “B” with a passing score on the accompanying SOL test (if applicable), he/she may proceed to the next level course without a grade or credit for a prerequisite class.  Students with a deleted final grade lower than a “B” or without a passing score on the SOL test (if applicable) must re-enroll and successfully complete the prerequisite course.

    Further information is available through middle and high school counseling offices.