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Course Selection and Planning

The course selection process for Bensalem High School students begins with a review of a student’s completed courses and his/her graduation requirements. School Counselors will meet with students to review their course selections to ensure proper placement. Parents/guardians are encouraged to contact their child’s counselor if they have any questions. Course selections should be considered very carefully as changes are limited. Courses run based on student requests and district resources.


Course Selection Steps

  1. School Counselors conduct classroom-based or large group presentations regarding course requirements and scheduling process.
  2. Core teachers make recommendations for the following school year.
  3. Student requests electives through Sapphire Community Portal (SCP).
  4. Student meets with counselor to review teacher recommendations and student requests to ensure proper placement and graduation requirements have been met. Student requests are finalized.
  5. Student and Parent review finalized request lists on SCP. Students will notify their school counselor of any necessary changes by the established deadline.

All selections are final as of Friday, January 26, 2024.



The following procedures governing schedule changes have been adopted for the high school:

  1. If a student receives a requested course, then he/she must keep that course.
  2. Any parent override requires a meeting with school district personnel to review data and parent request. All parent overrides are final.
  3. If the counselor or anyone responsible for evaluating transcripts and/or inputting scheduling data makes an error, then he/she will correct the error in the student’s schedule.

If there is any problem with a student’s schedule for next school year, he/she must call or see their school counselor.

Guidelines for Changing Courses

Once a student’s schedule is ready to be finalized, the schedule will be reviewed. If a change is necessary and the guidelines outlined below apply, these changes should be completed before the end of the school year or during the summer. Counselors schedule office hours during the summer break – after the close of school and just before school re-opens in the fall – in order to assist students with scheduling. We ask for your patience when trying to schedule time with a counselor as their office hours are greatly reduced in the summer. Once students receive their schedule to review before it is finalized, course changes will be limited to the following circumstances only:

  • A required course is missing
  • A course is out of sequence with the core subject planning chart
  • A prerequisite(s) is not met
  • A course failure or summer school completion affects course sequencing
  • A graduation requirement is not met

Guidelines for Dropping/Adding Courses – After Schedule is Finalized

Periodically students may experience academic difficulty in a course(s) and may feel the need to drop said course after the initial add/drop period in the beginning of the school year or 2nd semester (.5 credit courses only). When these situations arise, the following steps must be taken prior to an administrator’s consideration of a course change:

  • The student must submit the request in writing and clearly state the reason and/or rationale. This request must be submitted to the teacher and the counselor.
  • Once the counselor has received and reviewed the request and feels that the request is valid, the counselor will arrange a meeting with the student and the teacher to address the following:
  • Review the reason and rationale for the request
  • Ensure that the student is meeting all necessary requirements for the class:
  • Attending regularly and actively engaging in classwork
  • Completing in-class work and HW assignments
  • Maintaining an organized notebook and planner
  • Exhibiting good study habits
  • The teacher, counselor and student will develop a plan of action that must include at least a minimum of 5 documented after school sessions with the teacher or tutor over a 3-week period
  • Parent Contact
  • The teacher must contact the parent to discuss the situation
  • The parent will be asked to share information about home study habits and share efforts that will be made at home to address the issue
  • Teacher will share efforts that have been made in the classroom with regards to instruction & assessment strategies, and interventions (Use BHS Student Feedback Checklist)
  • If all of these steps have been followed and the student is still not making adequate academic progress, then a meeting with the counselor and administrator must be arranged to review the situation. Once all information is reviewed, the counselor and administrator will arrange a meeting with the student, parent and teacher to present their recommendation. If the decision is made to drop the course, a withdrawal code of “W” or “WF” will appear on the student’s transcripts based on the final recommendation. All changes to student schedules must be approved by the grade level administrators after the 10th day of school.

Course selection is important in preparing students for post-secondary endeavors. New ideas and careful sequencing can open up exciting future opportunities. Parent conferences are also very helpful and welcomed by counselors. It is really important to keep in contact with the guidance counseling staff. Choosing the right courses is one of the most significant tasks a student completes each year. Courses should be selected with these questions in mind:

  • Will this course allow me to meet graduation requirements?
  • Will this course help me to meet college entrance requirements?
  • Will this course help me develop a skill to become employable after high school?
  • Will this course introduce me to a new subject or experience?
  • Is this course appropriate for my ability? Will it be a challenge?
  • Do I have the prerequisite for this course?

Students are given opportunities to choose from a wide variety of elective subjects beyond the required core subjects listed in this guide. Every effort is made to fulfill these requests; however, no master schedule can provide every course that every individual student requests. The development of a master schedule takes into consideration many factors when determining which courses can be offered. Staffing, the number of students requesting a particular course, unique combinations of course requests, school resources, etc., are among many factors that influence the access to particular courses in a given year. The administration and school counselors will work diligently and methodically to provide a rich and varied academic experience, but there may be some instances where, for scheduling purposes, the administration and school counselors will have to adjust an individual student’s course selections. If this occurs, every effort will be made to place the student in a similar course at a similar level. That is why it is important for students to list an adequate number of electives and alternatives to insure they are scheduled in to courses aligned with their academic goals and interests.

Guide Course Level

College Prep Level:

The College Prep is our universal course level. Courses at this level are intended to provide students with the skills and competencies to be prepared for college and career readiness.

Honors Level:

Student is capable, highly motivated and is clear about goals for post-secondary education, demonstrating the ability to achieve the higher standards demanded by advanced level courses. Requirements include, but are not limited to, proficiency or advanced status in reading and writing, superior grades from prior year’s courses, and ability to complete rigorous assignments. MAP universal screener, teacher recommendation and historical data sets are used to assist with placement at the appropriate level.

Gifted Level:

Student has met the state mandated guidelines for the gifted program and has been identified for gifted services through a GIEP.

Advanced Placement Level:

Student accepts the challenge of meeting the demanding criteria of a college-level curriculum of intense and in-depth study in humanities, math and sciences. The AP student will take the AP final exam not just for possible college credit, but for the demonstration of his/her new found understanding of the AP curriculum.

Marking/Grading Policy

Weighted Courses

Courses are weighted, or given extra value, according to the difficulty level of the course. This emphasis is reflected in a student’s GPA. Class rank is based on weighted courses. The official weighted system:

  • College Prep and Electives = 1.0
  • Honors / Gifted = 1.1
  • Calculus & 3rd - 5th year world language courses = 1.1
  • Advanced Placement (AP) = 1.2

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate and earn a Bensalem High School diploma, students must meet the following requirements:

1. Successfully complete and earn credit for courses as detailed in the table below.

2. Demonstrate readiness for postsecondary success as defined by the State of Pennsylvania; proficiency in a pathway as outlined in Act 158 (More Information)


All students that do not demonstrate proficiency on the Keystone Exams may be required to meet additional academic requirements prior to graduation (pending State guidelines).

Options For High School Graduation Requirements

The fourth year of high school shall not be required for graduation if a student has completed all requirements for graduation and attends a post secondary institution as a full-time student. Students who have demonstrated proficiency on required exams, have completed all graduation requirements, and are on track to graduate may schedule less than seven (7) credits during their senior year. Fifth year seniors will take only those courses needed for graduation. Such seniors are mandated to leave school for the day at the completion of last class.

Possible College Requirements

Please check with the college you are planning to attend for admission requirements. Many colleges require two or more credits in a World Language (Spanish and French) and may specify the Science courses (example: Biology, Chemistry and/or Physics). Most colleges require Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry; however, some colleges require higher level. Exceptions to the patterns may apply depending on the situation.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

4 years of English.

3 years of mathematics (Algebra I or higher).

2 years of natural/physical science (1 year of lab if offered by high school).

1 year of additional English, mathematics or natural/physical science.

2 years of social science.

4 years of additional courses (from any area above, foreign language or comparative religion/philosophy).

3 years of English.

2 years of mathematics (Algebra I or higher).

2 years of natural/physical science (1 year of lab if offered by high school).

3 years of additional English, mathematics or natural/physical science.

2 years of social science.

4 years of additional courses (from any area above, foreign language or comparative religion/philosophy).

Advanced Placement Courses

Advanced Placement Courses: The AP courses are offered by Bensalem High School in cooperation with The College Board. These courses allow our students to take college-level studies while in high school. This is a national program whose policies are set by member institutions and operated by Educational Testing Service. Students enrolled in AP courses will take the AP exams offered by The College Board each May. Participating colleges can grant credit if a student scores a 3, 4, or 5. The College Board sets the cost of the tests each year. The AP courses currently offered at Bensalem High School are: AP English 11 (Language), AP English 12 (Literature), AP Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics C: Mechanics, AP Physics 2, AP Human Geography, AP American History, AP American Government, AP European History, AP Psychology, AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics, AP Computer Science, AP Studio Art, AP Art History and AP Music Theory. AP credit will not be awarded to students who do not take the AP Exam. All AP students are required to take the AP exam.

Dual Enrollment Courses at Holy Family University

Bensalem High School students have the opportunity to simultaneously receive both college and high school credits through the district’s partnership with Holy Family University. Through the Dual Enrollment program students take college classes, earning college credits, before they graduate from Bensalem High School. In addition to receiving college credit, students also receive an elective credit toward their graduation requirements at Bensalem High School. There is a large selection of college courses being offered through this opportunity at Holy Family University for a significantly reduced rate. If you are interested in more information on this, please see your guidance counselor during the course selection process or visit Bensalem High School’s website.

BHS Graduation and Promotion Policy

For students to be certified for a Bensalem Township School District diploma, they must meet the following requirements:

Students must be a full-time student in the high school or a student engaged in district approved dual enrollment courses, practicums or internships, who has successfully completed the specified number of credits as defined by the Chapter 4 Curriculum Regulations of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These credits will consist of:

BHS Graduation and Promotion Section
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