Curriculum policy at Cardinal O’Hara High School is developed in the context of the school’s philosophy and objectives, regulations of the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and directives of the Secondary School System of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Academic requirements can be summarized as follows:
Freshmen are required to earn at least 7 credits, including both major and minor courses.
Sophomores are required to earn at least 7 credits, including both major and minor courses.
Juniors are required to earn at least 6 credits, but encouraged to take 7 credits.
Seniors are required to earn at least 6 credits, but encouraged to take 7 credits.
 
Class of 2017 and after: A minimum of 26 credits is required for graduation.
Theology four credits
English four credits
Mathematics three credits
Science three credits
Social Studies four credits
World Language two credits
P.E./Health one half credit each *
Electives four and a half credits **
Informational Technology I one half credit
 
Beginning with the Class of 2017 students must take ONE of the following:
A fourth year of Social Studies: Comparative Government/Economics
A fourth year of Math or Science
A third consecutive year of a language.
 
* Physical Education/Health must be fulfilled before graduation.
** Beginning with the Class of 2017 it may be necessary to choose 5 electives in order to attain 26 credits required for graduation. 

 

Academic Policies

List of 13 items.

  • Placement of Freshmen

    At the time of registration, each incoming freshman has an opportunity to indicate a desire to enroll in Art Class or in Band, and to indicate any foreign language preference. Theology, English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, World Language or Skill Enrichment, Freshman Seminar and Informational Technology (half credit courses each) are all required courses for freshmen. If a freshman is in the full-time Art or Music program, the Informational Technology and Freshman Seminar requirement is waived.

    The basis for our tracking begins with the entrance test, seventh grade final marks, the eighth grade semester marks, and the local percentile results of the Terra Nova test administered in the spring to all seventh-°©graders in our parish schools. Each academic department at O'Hara weighs these marks and scores to develop an index intended to determine the appropriate academic level for the student in that department.

    For example, the English Department emphasizes the reading mark and level, and the English and spelling marks from seventh and eighth grades, as well as the Terra Nova scores showing reading vocabulary and comprehension, language mechanics and expression, spelling and study skills. The mathematics department puts greater emphasis on the school mathematics marks and the Terra Nova scores showing math computation, concepts and applications. Thus a student's English index might differ significantly from math index, so the tracks for those two subjects could be different.
  • Course Selection for Upper Class Students

    Freshmen, sophomores and juniors begin the course selection process for the following year in the late winter. The course selection availabilities are the required courses and electives recommended by the school in light of the student's academic performance to date. For example, the English course listed will be in the track recommended by the teacher, and the electives listed will be based on the courses already taken by the student. The courses that appear on the course selection sheet will also appear online using the student and parent Grade Connect connection, and the actual course selection will take place online. When the online course selection is complete, the student or parent will lock the selection, and complete the registration by printing and signing the completed online registration. This will be submitted to the Academic Affairs Office on the specified date.
     
    Parents should make sure that they are involved in this process. If the courses selected all appear on the course selection sheet, no further permissions from the school will be required, and the form is submitted. To register for a course not on the course selection sheet, or to take a course listed but in a different track, will require an Exception Form. These forms are not online but are available from the Academic Office and will require your signature as well as signatures from O'Hara personnel who will be giving you their recommendations.
     
    The deadline for course registration will be announced. Students who register after the deadline often lose opportunities to take elective courses, since in rostering for these courses priority is given to those who registered on time. All registration forms will be dated upon their receipt.
  • Course Changes

    O'Hara permits limited roster changes. The various steps in the roster change process are meant to ensure that the change is really in the student's best interest, that class size and total teacher load are not compromised, and that a "domino effect" is not created involving course changes or track changes in subjects other than the one requested. It is extremely difficult to drop or add a course. However, for a good reason it is possible to change a course or change a track, but only with the approval of all the teachers involved and the approval of the Department Chairperson. Once the academic year begins no courses, whether required or an elective, may be dropped.
     
    Roster consultation days are designated in August for student and parents to fill out course change application forms. There is a fee for the application which will be refunded if the change cannot be made. This charge is meant both to emphasize the seriousness with which roster changes should be made, and to offset the real costs involved-°©updating the data base, and producing new rosters for the student and the various school offices. Changes in lunch periods, teacher requests, or to obtain early dismissals will not be considered. This planning of how to accomplish the desired course change is meant to be a learning experience; it can help prepare the student for the college rostering process. The student must determine when the desired course is offered, and how any conflicts with his or her other courses could be resolved. The teachers must consider how additional students in the desired class will affect both class size and total teacher load: neither parents nor teachers want excessive class size.
     
    Completed applications with all the necessary approvals must be in the Academic Office by the published deadline. The Academic Office will handle real conflicts or any mistakes on a student's roster without charge.  
  • Grading

    The highest report card grade that may be given is 100; the lowest passing grade is 70; and the lowest failing grade is 60.
     
    The quarter grade is determined by the teacher and, depending on the academic discipline, may include major tests, quizzes, term papers, homework, classroom participation, portfolio assessment, group/individual projects or a major project. At least three major assessments or major project must be included in the quarter grade; these major marks should be distributed over the quarter and returned to the student in a timely fashion so that the student is aware of his or her progress. Teachers are to update Grade Connect at least every seven days in order for parents/students to be aware of progress.
     
    The semester grade is calculated by adding 50% of each quarterly grade. The final grade is calculated by taking 45% of each semester grade and 10% of the final assessment grade. This determines whether the student has passed or failed the course. Only the first semester grade and the final grade appear on the permanent record. The first and third quarter grades are meant to be progress reports to the students and their parents. 
  • Report Cards

    Student academic reports are processed by our administrative computer system. In addition to the grades, the report cards provide an opportunity for teacher comments; they also contain the students' absences, lateness, and the conduct grade. Report cards are distributed three times during the school year on the day assigned by the Academic Office; final reports are mailed to the parents at the end of June.

    Only the first semester grade and the final grade in June appear on the students' permanent record cards, which become their transcripts. The record of absence and lateness is also part of the permanent record; the conduct grade is not.
     
  • Honor Roll

    The Honor Roll is determined by general average, and is independent of the tracks of the courses which the student is taking. Partial credited courses are counted as such in this calculation. Honors are calculated on a quarterly basis; they do not include semester grades or semester assessments. General averages are not rounded up to meet the following criteria:
    • 1st Honors 93.0 with no grade below 90
    • 2nd Honors 88.0 with no grade below 85
  • Failure Warnings

    Any student who is in danger of failing for the semester, third quarter or for the entire school year must receive a failure warning notice before the close of the marking period; suggested dates are noted on the school calendar. A failure warning may be issued later in the marking period if the student’s academic performance changes dramatically. Although instructors are not obligated to issue failure warning notices during the first quarter, progress reports are issued throughout the year to keep parents aware of scholastic progress.

    Students who fail three subjects at the end of the school year are subject to dismissal. Ninth grade students with five failures at the end of the first semester are liable for dismissal, as are upperclassmen with four failures at the end of the first semester.
  • Tracking

    The tracking system is designed to place students in classes according to ability and achievement. It is possible for a student to be in different tracks for different subjects. The following tracks are offered at O’Hara:
    • HONORS Advanced classes for honor students.
    • COLLEGE PREPARATOY College preparatory classes for above average students.
    • ACADEMIC College preparatory or general classes for average students.
    • A.P. Specialized classes for Advanced Placement students.
  • Rank in Class

    Rankinclass considers the track level of each course. In the track system all subjects are divided into tracks or levels, which place different interpretations on the grade received for a given course. It is an attempt to show greater justice to students who select difficult subjects and also, an attempt to encourage other students to earn a higher grade.
     
    Tracking enables classes to be taught on the basis of difficulty of subject matter and the ability of the students taking the subject. The grade is meant to indicate whether or not a student is working to his or her level and it is independent of the track; thus students in Academic can make the Honor Roll just as easily as students in Honors.
     
    Rankinclass, however, is determined by an Adjusted Quality Point average, which gives greater weight to the more difficult courses in the advanced tracks. The student who ranks first in the class has the highest Adjusted Quality Point Average. The weighting is accomplished by assigning quality points to each mark according to the track of the course, as detailed in the accompanying Quality Points Table. The Quality Points Table is used to calculate quality points and rank. Current and cumulative rank in class appears only on the semester report card.
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  • GPA

    The GPA will be calculated based on the final grade per course using the weighted scale below. Each course receives a GPA value and then the average GPA of all courses is calculated. The GPA will be reported on the transcript. Semester-long and quarter-long courses will be counted into the GPA.


    Final Course Grade
    AP
    Honors
    Tracks 2, 3, 4
    90 – 100
    4.3
    4.1
    4.0
    80 – 89
    3.3
    3.1
    3.0
    73 – 79
    2.3
    2.1
    2.0
    70 – 72
    1.3
    1.1
    1.0
  • Academic Probation

    Although students are encouraged to participate in activities program of the school, great care should be exercised so that the degree of participation in these activities does not have a harmful effect upon their academic progress. Students who fail to receive a passing grade in two or more subjects will be placed on academic probation. Students who are on academic probation are ineligible to participate in any sport or activity during the next quarter. This is a total ban from all practices, work sessions, meetings, and any club activities. Students will be required to have their teachers complete an evaluation form for the review period during academic probation and submit to the Assistant Principal for Academic Affairs.
  • Summer School Policies

    Archdiocesan policy stipulates that seniors with failures for the school year do not participate in the graduation exercises. Seniors with any failures for the year must successfully make up those failures in Diocesan Summer School in order to receive the diploma; this applies even if the failure was in an elective.

    Underclassmen with any failures for the year must successfully make up those failures in Diocesan Summer School in order to return to O’Hara the following September. Students with excessive absences do not successfully complete the school year until they make up the time they have missed in Discipline Summer School. According to the policy of the Secondary School System, “secondary school students who have missed 22 or more days without a medical note must attend a Discipline Summer School at their school. Any student who fails to attend this week may not return to any Archdiocesan School in the fall.”

    Diocesan Summer School is held online through www.Educere.net. Summer School registration for summer school takes place when the school year ends. There is a registration fee and an additional fee for each subject; these fees must be paid at the time of registration.
  • Testing Schedule

    To allow students to prepare adequately for tests and to avoid multiple tests on the same day, the Testing Schedule is followed for major tests. A major test extends over most of the class period and reviews extensive subject matter. The schedule is given by number days; an alternate testing day for the department is given in italics. Quizzes may be given at the discretion of the teacher.

    Day 1 Theology, Fine Arts, English
    Day 2 Language, Business, Math
    Day 3 Science, Social Studies
    Day 4 English, Theology, Fine Arts
    Day 5 Math, Language, Business
    Day 6 Social Studies, Science

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Cardinal O’Hara High School