The educational objectives of the Shaler Area School District are to offer a wide variety of required and elective courses so that each student may have the opportunity to develop an educational program adapted to his or her needs and interests. The Course Description Book is intended to serve the student in the course selection process, but it is only one of several sources of information. While each student is responsible for meeting his or her own graduation requirements, the help of counselors, teachers, and administrators should be sought in interpreting the requirements of various programs.
Course prerequisites are guidelines set for the purpose of placing students in the academic course with the appropriate level of individual academic rigor, as well as to ensure that students have the basic skills needed to be successful in upper level courses. Numerous data points are reviewed to arrive at a decision for course placement, including sequential course completion, final grade average in a previous course, cumulative grade point average and/or Keystone Exam proficiency (or an equivalent criterion-based entrance exam). These data points reflect a strong academic foundation that is predictive of student success in advanced coursework.
Several key Areas of Concentration were designed to guide students in course selection during their high school years. Each area is aligned with specific examples of S.T.E.A.M. careers so that students can gain a sense of those fields and the necessary skills needed for success. Areas of Concentration are intended to push students beyond the typical criteria for acquiring a high school diploma. Each area is defined by a minimum accruement of 28 credits; including 4 years of mathematics, 4 years of science, and 9 department specific electives. Students need to apply for a specific Area of Concentration during the third quarter of their senior year. A team of administrators and guidance counselors will review the application and issue the advanced certificate to successful applicants.