The PALCS high school department strives to inspire every child to learn and empowers them to excel. We:
- Provide a rigorous and challenging academic program.
- Cultivate a dynamic community where all students are prepared to enter an ever changing world.
- Honor, embrace, and respect our diverse student population.
- Remove the barriers to success by fostering a culture of exploration, inquiry, support, and integrity.
- Encourage all our students to think critically, be problem solvers, and use technology to enrich their lives.
Academic courses are designed to meet all standards set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. These courses are designed for those students who plan on entering the work force or attending community college at the conclusion of high school.
College-Prep courses are designed for a student who is college-bound. Students should be self-motivated and
dedicated to be successful at this level.
Honors courses are academically rigorous courses designated for the college-bound student. In order to be successful, this level requires students to be self-disciplined and self-motivated with excellent analytical and study skills.
Following the Honors track, Advanced Placement (AP) courses are academically rigorous courses that require the same skill level as listed for honors courses. AP courses follow a prescribed syllabus determined by the College Board. Students are expected to take the AP exam offered in the spring semester in each subject. Once a student begins an AP course, no withdrawal from the course is permitted. Additional AP courses may be available through the PALCS University Scholars program; please see the University Scholars section of this catalog for more information.
Students need at least five credits (including 1 credit in each core area) by the end of their 9th grade year to move to 10th grade, and 10 credits (including 2 credits in each core area) by the end of their 10th grade year to move to 11th grade. Therefore, we encourage all students to do their best in all of their academic classes.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
High school level courses receive quality points based on credit worth and final letter grade. Quality points are used to calculate the grade point average. Honors and Advanced Placement courses are weighted. Courses graded as Pass/Fail are not included in the GPA. The grading scale is available in the introductory information at the beginning of this catalog.
High school class rank is determined by using the grade point average of all students in a graduating class. Class rank is calculated after the first semester and again at the end of each school year.
Virtual Lessons, Office Hours & Homework Help
Every high school course offers at least one live virtual lesson each week. The lesson will be hosted by your teacher, using a headset and webcam, and is open to all students in the course. Many high school virtual lessons have optional attendance, though students may be required to attend virtual lessons based on the course subject and student performance. Virtual lessons last 45 minutes to an hour and take place on a set weekly schedule.
Teachers also host Office Hours during standard business hours, where they will be present in a virtual classroom at a scheduled time and be available to assist students with any assignment questions on an as-needed basis. PALCS offers online Homework Help after standard business hours, Sunday through Thursday nights, from 6 pm to 8 pm. Students may log in as needed and speak with a PALCS teacher.
Online, high school students can attend any of our open chats or participate in virtual clubs. In our offices, students are able to participate in recurring activities that alternate themes around holidays and fun topics. Around the state, families are welcome to attend any of the numerous field trips hosted by our teachers and parent network coordinators. Further information on PALCS activities can be found at http://www.palcs.org/all-programs, and enrolled students should check the PALCS Network for up-to-date field trip end event listings and contact information for these activities.
PALCS offers the University Scholars Program, the Center for Performing and Fine Arts, the School of Professional Studies, and the Leadership Program. Information about all these programs can be found on their program
PALCS recognizes that every student has different academic needs and we will attempt to accommodate these as much as possible. In addition to the high school programs mentioned above, a range of additional academic support and alternatives such as tutoring, vo-tech programs and college dual enrollment opportunities may be available to eligible students. Please note these programs may have fees associated with them. Please contact the Guidance Department for additional information.
PA Leadership Charter School is committed to providing students with the skills and knowledge to engage in a globally interconnected world. PALCS provides students with a variety of opportunities for educational travel, giving students the chance to gain first-hand experience and knowledge of other cultures. Certain travel opportunities will have an option of earning a half-credit through course work that can count toward the electives requirement for graduation.
In the past, PALCS teachers and students have enjoyed international experiences in Costa Rica, Quebec, China, and Panama. PALCS has also participated in the Disney Y.E.S. program held in Orlando, Florida. The 2016-2017 class travel schedule will be available in September 2016. Please contact the Guidance Department for information about currently available credited and non-credited educational travel opportunities.
NCAA is an organization that establishes rules for eligibility, recruitment and scholarships for Division I and II sports at the college level. Students who wish to participate in Division III sports should contact the coaches and colleges regarding their policies on athletic participation. Although eligibility requirements have recently changed, they continue to include the successful completion of a curriculum of courses taken at the college-prep or higher level. There are no minimum requirements for GPA, SAT or ACT scores. It is important that students choose from the list of approved courses provided by the NCAA. This list can be accessed at www.eligibilitycenter.org. Click the NCAA College-Bound Student-Athlete link to enter and then navigate to the Resources tab and select US Student where you will find the link for the list of NCAA courses.
It is the student’s responsibility to provide NCAA Eligibility Center with the following:
- A completed and signed student release form and application fee
- An official high school transcript (from all high schools attended) including junior year grades (available in September)
- Any SAT/ACT scores sent directly to NCAA Eligibility Center (by writing the code #999 on the SAT/ACT registration form)
- A final transcript upon graduation
High School students must also notify their guidance counselor if they intend to play NCAA sport during course selection so that the counselor can assist with placing students into NCAA approved courses. It is the student’s responsibility to be familiar with the NCAA’s eligibility requirements and to make sure that PALCS is aware of their intentions to play NCAA sports for course placement purposes.
If you have questions and want to contact NCAA directly, visit www.eligibilitycenter.org.
Students who have not scored proficient or higher on a Keystone Exam may be enrolled in a Keystone Review course, as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Keystone Review courses are basic, supplemental courses structured to help students reach on-level standards. High school students may not opt-out of a Keystone Review course.
RTII: Response to Intervention
In addition to the Keystone Review courses, PALCS offers courses in math and reading to help students build the skills they need to be successful on Keystone Exams and in high school courses. The Reading for Success and Math for Success courses are designed to provide students with individualized instruction and targeted interventions in Math and/or Reading. Students may be assigned to one of these courses based on assessment data, classroom performance and teacher input.
The course is a requirement and will be taught by PALCS staff in a synchronous format. The course is worth 0.5 of an elective credit which can count toward a student’s general elective graduation requirement.
Special Education services are available for PALCS students. Accommodations are highly individualized on a student-by-student basis. More information is available on the PALCS Special Education