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The mission of Algonquin Regional High School is for all members of its school community to grow and achieve to their potential within a supportive and safe environment.  In an atmosphere that fosters academic rigor, high standards and expectations are set for all disciplines including the fine and performing arts, technology, and wellness education.  Cultural diversity, individual expression, and inclusion are embraced and respected.  Lifelong learning and an understanding of civic responsibility are encouraged.  Collaboration among students and teachers empowers individuals to explore and pursue a variety of educational and social experiences.  The school community supports student participation in service projects, from which students derive an awareness of and sensitivity to the needs of others. 

                                           Academic Expectations 

Students at Algonquin Regional High School will:
Read critically, by analyzing, interpreting and evaluating text 
Synthesize information from diverse sources, to produce coherent summaries, arguments and positions
Speak and write effectively, using standard English in a manner appropriate to purpose and audience
Acquire and apply mathematical and technological skills, to interpret information and to solve problems
Explore, develop and express individual creativity; set goals and objectives; and manage time effectively
Demonstrate competencies in all curriculum areas identified by the Massachusetts Department of Education
Be challenged in an intellectually stimulating and engaging environment   

                                                                   Social Expectations

Students at Algonquin Regional High School will:
Develop the skills to work both independently and cooperatively
Demonstrate respect for themselves and others, as well as for diversity in the school community
Be active participants in the school community

                                                                 Civic Expectations

Students at Algonquin Regional High School will:
Become aware of their roles and responsibilities as members of local, national and global communities 
Contribute to these communities as active participants 

College Preparatory and Honors Courses Criteria



College Prep courses are designed to develop a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of a subject:  the skills needed to understand relevant material and the application of the concepts through various assessment tools.  Materials are presented at a deliberate pace in both abstract and concrete formats.  The teacher, with the goal of building independent study and critical thinking skills, provides considerable instructional support.  A student’s written work must be clear and thoughtful, demonstrating a basic understanding of vocabulary and an accuracy of expression.  Other criteria are structured by the teacher and/or the department.  Students in these courses have homework on a regular basis with the emphasis on reinforcement of the material presented.  Any students experiencing difficulties are expected to seek help from their instructors.  Students are expected to plan and complete selected long-term assignments.



The Honors courses at Algonquin are designed to engage the students who have a genuine interest in the subject matter.  In an atmosphere that provides an accelerated pace with little repetition of previous work, students with demonstrated academic achievement and a high level of maturity will expand their mastery and appreciation of the course content.  These courses require independent initiative and outside preparation with emphasis on analysis, synthesis, critical thinking, reflection and problem-solving.  Written work must exhibit complexity in structure, thought and vocabulary.  Students must also be able to organize time and demonstrate a consistency of effort to comply with long-term assignments and independent studies.  Students are expected to take advantage of opportunities to seek help from their instructors in order to ensure all possible steps are there to produce the best outcomes.  Therefore, self-directed students should seek Honors class in subjects that interest them to a high degree and must accept the responsibilities to meet the demands of these courses.

Graduation Requirements and Support Services

A.      Important Note to Students and Parents about MCAS.

Students are required to pass the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test, MCAS, in English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science in order to receive a high school diploma.  Additionally, students who receive a score within the Needs Improvement range, 220-239, will be expected to fulfill the requirements of an Educational Proficiency Plan (EPP).

The purpose of an Educational Proficiency Plan (EPP) is to assist students in further developing their academic skills.  An EPP will include, at a minimum:  a review of the student’s strengths and weaknesses based on MCAS and other assessment results, course work, grades and teacher input; the courses the student will be required to take and successfully complete in grades 11 and 12; and a description of the assessments the school will regularly administer to determine if the student is moving toward proficiency.

 B. Course Requirements for Graduation

The following credits must be earned in the designated areas in order to receive a diploma:

Courses that meet daily for one semester are valued at 2.5 credits. The total number of credits required for graduation continues to be 110. However, this number is only a minimum. All Massachusetts high school students are required to be in structured learning time for 990 hours per 180-day school year. This requirement means that all students must be in direct instruction or directed studies each period of every day. In order to be promoted to the Upper School (Grades 11–12), you must complete fifty-five (55) credits in the Lower School (Grades 9–10).

C.  Alternative Scheduling Options

1.  Course Waivers

Course waivers are not available for graduation requirements established by law or by listing in the school’s

 Program of Studies.

2.  Alternative Plans

An Alternative Plan provides a process through which students are sometimes able to 

fill course requirements through means other than regular participation in a specific course.  

An Alternative Plan is a last resort, one that is applied only in exceptional instances.

It is very important that students and parents understand these provisions.  

Before an Alternative Plan is considered, the student requesting that plan must answer three questions:

     1.  What alternative plan is being requested?

     2.  Why is this proposed plan important?

     3.  What procedures and measurement criteria will ensure that the student will meet the criteria of the course

          for which an alternative plan is being requested?

To answer question 3, the students must refer to the curriculum of the course for which he or she is

 requesting an Alternative Plan (Program of Studies).  The proposal must include both content and skills.

 To ensure emphasis of appropriate sections of the course curriculum, the student must also confer with the 

appropriate department head for assistance.

Proposals should be submitted through the student’s Guidance Counselor.  

Final approval rests with the principal within the framework of School Committee policy.


3.  Independent Study

Independent Study is available as an option based on the following requirements:

  • It is contained within the regularly scheduled student school year under the direction of the teacher.
  • It is a program that has the same rigorous course of study and standards as a core subject.
  • It is assigned a grade and credit.
  • It is individually or team designed.

An independent study contract must be completed and approved prior to any implementation.


4.  Teaching Assistant

A Teaching Assistant is a valuable resource to both the 

classroom teacher and students. Any student wishing to become a TA must be approved by the 

assigned teacher and department head. All TA assignments must adhere to the school wide guidelines. Students choosing to enroll in a TA assignment are only allowed to enroll in one senior study during the given semester.


5.  Online Learning

Algonquin Regional High School provides students an opportunity to take an online elective course

 as a part of their high school experience.  If you wish to sign up for an online elective course,

 you must discuss this option with your Guidance Counselor. 


6.  Course Level Overrides

During the course selection process, teachers make recommendations pertaining to appropriate course

 levels based on a student’s past performance and teacher’s perceptions of future success.

 These recommendations for students include collaborative work with peers, teachers, colleagues and data.

  If a parent or student disagrees with a teacher’s recommendation, the student must speak with

 the recommending teacher. If after speaking with the teacher they still wish to pursue an override, they 

should request an override contract from the teacher. Override contracts must be completed and submitted 

on or before the published deadline. Late override forms will not be accepted.

Eligibility prerequisites for AP courses are not subject to parental overrides.

**For grade 8 students, please follow the guidelines outlined by your middle school.


7.  AP Courses

Advanced Placement courses are generally appropriate for grade 11 and 12 students who are highly motivated and have demonstrated their eligibility through required prerequisite courses and appropriate levels of achievement. Prerequisites for AP courses are determined by individual departments. We are open to expanding options for exceptional students; however, please understand that AP courses are college courses.  The curriculum for AP courses is mandated by the College Board and not aligned with MA curriculum frameworks and MCAS tests.  If students or parents feel that they would like to pursue an AP course in grade 10, they should speak to the current teacher and department head for the content area. Enrollment in AP courses is subject to eligibility.

Beginning in fall of 2019, College Board will require students to commit to taking AP Exams by  

early November, exam fees will be collected at the time of registration/commitment. 

8.  Course Change Guidelines

Our goal is to work with students to provide a challenging learning experience. Teachers make 

recommendations pertaining to appropriate course levels based on a student’s performance and perceived 

future success in the subject matter. Occasionally students experience difficulties with the subject matter which

 results in the teacher recommending a level change. The purpose of recommending a level change is to assist a student in finding greater success in their course work. It’s important that students are appropriately placed early on in the school year in order to experience greater success.  With this in mind, the following are the course change guidelines. 

Semester Course:

All course withdrawals or level changes must be made before the midpoint of 1st or 3rd quarter.

1. Weighted grades will follow student in level change.

2. Course will not appear on transcript.

Full Year Course:

All course withdrawals or level changes must be made before the end of term 1.

1.       Weighted grades will follow student in level change.

2.       Course will not appear on transcript.


Course Levels, Honor Roll, Grade Point Average, and Class Rank

1.  Course Levels

    Courses are organized on the basis of three achievement levels, College Preparatory, Honors and Advanced Placement. Each of these levels meets the requirements for post-secondary education placement. All courses are designed to challenge students to achieve at their highest possible level.

    College Preparatory courses are college and post-secondary educational preparatory classes.  These are taken by a majority of four-year college bound students, and require well-developed reading, writing, verbal, conceptual, mathematical, and study abilities, as well as substantial outside preparation and assignments.

    Honors courses include material presented at an accelerated and more intensive pace than the College Prep courses. They require advanced reading, writing, verbal, conceptual, mathematical, and study abilities, as well as extensive outside preparation.

    AP courses are curriculums designed to give students college level courses and exams while still in high school.  The curriculum for AP courses is standardized by the College Board and challenges students to the highest degree.


2.  Honor Roll

The Honor Roll is published at the end of each quarter. It consists of three lists, the Principal's List, the Honors List, and the Commended List.               

  •  Principal's List:  No grade lower than A-
  • Honors List:  No grade lower than B
  • Commended List:  No grade below B-

An incomplete in any course will prevent you from being included on any of the above lists.

3.  Career Grade Point Average

A grade point average aggregates the grades a student has received into a single average.


  • All courses will be counted as part of the career GPA.  
  • Career GPA Option:  One non-required course per semester may be exempted from counting in the career GPA.

    This must be declared at the time of course selection.

4.  Calculation of Career GPA

Determine the quality points and potential credits for each course taken.  All courses at ARHS are assigned weighted quality points based upon the level of class (i.e. Advance Placement, Honors, and College Preparatory).  Please refer to the following chart on the next page.   Potential credits can be found in the description of courses in the Program of Studies (i.e. year long = 5 credits, semester = 2.5 credits).

Career GPA is calculated by first multiplying quality points by the potential course credit for each course taken.  Then divide the sum of these products by the total potential course credits.




Potential Credits


Quality Points


Eng. (H)




5.0 = 25.0






3.0 = 15.0

58.5/15= 3.9 GPA

Math (CP)




3.7 = 18.5









All courses are calculated into the GPA unless an exemption is noted. Students are allowed to exempt one non-required course each semester from their GPA.  This must be declared at the time of course selection.

The junior GPA based on six semesters is the GPA sent to colleges during the college application process.

Computation of grade point average (GPA) is based on the following charts:

6.  Summer School Policy

Students who fail a course and receive a minimum grade of 55 may attend summer school with the approval of their guidance counselor.

When the summer school transcript is received in August, the student’s counselor will adjust the transcript and make any necessary changes to the student’s schedule.

After the course has been passed, credit will be reinstated, a notation will be made on the transcript that summer school was attended and the quality points and grade will be calculated into the GPA.  The failing grade is still noted on the transcript and this grade is also calculated into GPA. 




The vision of the Algonquin Regional Guidance Counseling Program is for all students to acquire the academic, vocational and personal/social skills to successfully participate as productive citizens in an ever-changing, multicultural world.


Our mission is to assist all students in realizing their academic, social/personal and career potential within a supportive and safe learning environment.


The goals of the ARHS Guidance Counseling Program support the ASCA (American School Counseling Association) National Standards for student academic, career and personal/social development. These goals include:

  • Academic Achievement

To assist students in appraising their abilities, achievements and interests


To provide information and resources for long and short term planning


To advocate for students to maximize their educational opportunities regardless of learning styles or differences

  • Career Planning

To encourage students to investigate the world of work in relation to knowledge of self and to make informed career decisions


To help students develop a viable plan for their future through the resources both in and out of school


  • Personal /Social Development

To help students develop the skills to evaluate personal issues, problem solve and seek appropriate in school/community resources


To assist students in acquiring the attitudes, knowledge and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others


To foster the development of good decision making


Course Scheduling

    Many hours go into reviewing students’ programs and assisting them in making good decisions about their future.  Counselors encourage every student and parent to read the Program of Studies, evaluate the teacher recommendations, and then decide on their program.  Every choice should involve good decision-making, taking into consideration achievement, motivation, ability, interest and future goals.  This process includes:

  • Counselors distribute course selection materials & explain the graduation requirements
  • Teachers make individual course recommendations in IPASS
  • Course selection requests are reviewed and submitted by students & parents in IPASS
  • Counselors review course selections
  • The master schedule is built to reflect course requests
  • Course conflicts are resolved
  • Final schedules are distributed to all students


The Career Resource Center, open and staffed during school hours, is a vital part of the Guidance Department.  It serves not only the needs of the student body, but also those of the citizens that reside in the communities of Northborough and Southborough.

The services available in the Resource Center include:

  • Internet access for on-line research and applications
  • Naviance, a web-based college and career planning program for students and parents 
  • College and career representatives visits providing information and /or opportunities
  • Weekly, monthly and quarterly newsletters to students and parents
  • Mock interviews for students

Some of the materials located in the Career Resource Center include:

  • College catalogs, view books and applications
  • College CD’s
  • A wide variety of handbooks and directories of trade, technical and vocational schools
  • Information from colleges with specialized student support services
  • Occupational information on over 1,550 careers detailing required skills, training    
    wage projections and employment trends
  • Catalog of volunteer opportunities and job postings for students
  • Information on summer programs and foreign exchange opportunities
  • A substantial library of written materials which include books and articles
    on the college planning process, college majors, financial aid, careers, etc
  • Information to help with resume writing, college interviewing and college
    essay writing
  • Scholarship information