Student Access to Accelerated, Honors, and Advanced Courses
Petaluma City Schools provides student access to a variety of accelerated, honors, and advanced coursework. Below is an explanation the process of how students can access these courses, course placement recommendations, what’s expected of students enrolled in these courses, and frequently asked questions. Please contact your student's counselor for further information.
The process begins both at school and at home. At home, students and parents must determine if accelerated/honors/advanced coursework is the desired pathway, understanding that the commitment and coursework are demanding, rigorous, and time-intensive. Students who are interested in taking accelerated/honors/advanced coursework will have the opportunity to initially register for these courses during the annual registration period.
At school, when students register for these courses, the school gives students course-specific objective assessments (which may include standardized test scores, prerequisite course grades, local assessments, other objective measures, and total student course load), to determine readiness for accelerated/honors/advanced coursework. These assessments will help identify some, but not all, students who may be ready for more rigorous coursework. Based on the results of these assessments, the school will notify the parents and student of their recommended placement.
Because no school measurement exists to determine a student’s career aspirations, motivations, work ethic, and/or other significant variables, both parent/student and school input are used to make placement decisions. For students who are not recommended for an accelerated/honors/advanced course, the student and parents may still opt for entry into the course.
Every effort/attempt will be made to accommodate all interested students, provided that there is space in the class(es). Should space availability become an issue, students will be placed in priority order based on the variety of assessment measures, mentioned above.
Accelerated/Honors/Advanced Coursework Expectations
Students placed in accelerated/honors/advanced courses must maintain a minimum “C” grade for every grading period. Failure to maintain a “C” will result in the student being placed on academic probation for the next grading period. Consecutive grading periods with below a “C” may result in removal from the course, provided there is space in the class that the student would be moved to. It should be noted that removing a student from a course mid-year may also require movement of other classes in the student’s schedule.
NOTE: For students who opt into accelerated/honors/advanced math courses, as indicated in State Bill (SB) 359, California Ed Code 51224.7, and Board Policy (BP) 6152.1, “within the first month of the school year… students shall be reevaluated to ensure that they are appropriately placed… Any student found to be misplaced shall be promptly placed in the appropriate mathematics course.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do we declare our intent to take accelerated/honors/advanced coursework? Is there a form? Is this part of registration?
A: Every registration form has accelerated/honors/advanced coursework options. Please register your intent on this form by selecting the desired course(s).
Q: My student’s registration form has already been submitted and we want to change our intent. How do we do that?
A: Please contact your student’s assigned school counselor at his/her current school.
Q: I am not sure whether to place my child in (an) accelerated/honors/advanced course(s)? Is there a typical profile of a successful student?
A: Solid student understanding of course content is key, but that alone will not guarantee success in advanced coursework. The most important variable to student success in accelerated/honors/advanced coursework is student motivation & desire to put in the effort required to meet the course requirements.
Q: What happens if my child starts with an accelerated/honors/advanced course, but later decides that it is not for him/her?
A: It is expected that students will commit to the course for the duration of the school year. Class changes are difficult to make during the school year and may not be possible.
Q: How will I know if my student is placed into an accelerated/honors/advanced class?
A: After reviewing the results of the variety of placements assessments, the school will notify the parents and student(s) of their recommended placement.
Q: If my student isn’t placed or recommended for placement into an accelerated/honors/advanced class, what process exists to advocate for my student and ensure placement?
A: Please contact your student’s assigned counselor to request placement in the course. If space is available, your student will be placed in the class. If space is limited, students will be placed in priority order based on the variety of course-specific objective measures.
Q: If I have specific questions about placement, whom do I contact?
A: Please contact your student’s assigned school counselor.
Q: Is there a limit to the number of accelerated/honors/advanced courses that my student can enroll in?
A: No, however parents and students need to carefully consider the total impact that a loaded schedule may have on a student’s academic, social, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, along with other commitments they may have.