Enrollment and Course Load Requirements

Course Load Requirements

Students are required to take:

  • Five or six courses each semester.
    While a student may petition for a seventh, no student may take eight courses in a given semester

  • English each semester

  • No more than three honors/AP courses in a semester.
    While a student may petition for a fourth, no student may petition for five

  • Grade 9 students participate in Community Forum during some of their open study periods.
    Community Forum is designed to help grade 9 students with the transition to high school at Stevenson. The dean of students and the director of community education guide a carefully selected group of senior leaders, who facilitate the curriculum for the freshmen. With a focus on healthy relationships and values-based decision making, students discuss topics such as drug and alcohol use and avoidance, time management, peer pressure, community standards, ethics, boundaries, and sexuality. Much of the focus is on developing intra- and interpersonal skills by teaching effective communication and creating a space where students can explore their habits, choices and aspirations in a safe, respectful, and trusting environment. These lessons lead to a clear understanding of how to engage in community and build the foundation for ninth graders to become effective citizens and leaders.

Placement in Courses

Placement in a course is determined by the department head in consultation with the classroom teacher following placement requirements detailed in links from each department’s course listing. These guidelines are also communicated to new students by the registrar and to returning students by their classroom teacher.

Diploma Requirements

To qualify for a diploma, students must be currently enrolled and in good standing in the school, and must satisfy the various departmental requirements regarding level of study and proficiency.

Teachers, advisors, and the registrar will work with students to make sure that they will meet Stevenson diploma requirements and complete a challenging, comprehensive course of study that complements their interests and talents. 

Subject Requirements

To qualify for a diploma, students should have grades of D- or better in:

One Credit

Those applying to UC or Cal State colleges must choose both semesters in the same discipline (music, radio, theater, or visual arts).

Four Credits

English must be taken at Stevenson each semester.

Four Credits

The requirement includes one year of US History.

Four Credits

The requirement includes one year of US History.

Four Credits

Those applying to UC or Cal State colleges must have a year of geometry, or the equivalent in integrated courses.

Three Levels

Students entering Stevenson in Grade 11 or Grade 12 who are not on track to complete a level 3 world language course by the end of Grade 12 will be asked to fulfill the requirement as best they can, which may mean completing only level 1 or level 2 of a world language. Students with language-based learning disabilities may have this requirement waived but still need to meet the overall credit requirement.

Students should have:

  • completed four or more years of high school

  • earned 20 full course credits, where:

    • Yearlong course = 1 credit
    • Semester-long course = 0.5 credit
    • Trimester-long course (earned before Fall 2019) = 0.33 credit
  • participated in after-school activities each season

  • earned a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher

  • spent their 12th grade year on campus

Summer Courses

Students interested in taking courses outside of Stevenson should consult with the registrar, Mrs. Liz O’Hara (lohara@stevensonschool.org). Stevenson supports summer study for three purposes.

  • Acceleration
    Each academic department has its own policies regarding course acceleration. Students who wish to take a summer course in order to accelerate through a department’s sequence of study must first inform the registrar and receive advance approval from the appropriate department head and the head of the upper division.

  • Credit Recovery
    Students seeking to recover credits lost to course failures or withdrawals should consult with the registrar before proceeding to enroll in summer programs at other institutions or online.

  • Enrichment
    Students often choose to take courses at other schools during the summer for their own enrichment.

If a student is successful in a summer course taken for a grade and credit at an accredited school, Stevenson will include a note on the student’s transcript indicating the title of the course, the school at which it was taken, and the grade and credit earned. 

Note that the successful completion of summer courses taken elsewhere does not count as Stevenson course credit and cannot replace a low grade in a Stevenson course. However, these courses can count for placement. Students taking a summer course are still expected to take a full academic load during the school year.