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Guidance Counseling FAQ

Guidance FAQ

Guidance FAQ iconGuidance FAQtitle

Course Selection

Graduation Requirements and Credits

9th Grade Enrollment


Course selection

How many classes will I take at M-A?

  • 9th through 11th-grade students are required to have six classes. 12th-grade

  • students who are on track for graduation may take five classes, though it is not recommended for students applying to four-year colleges and universities.  

Who gets to take seven classes?  

  • Programs or courses that qualify students for a 7th Class include the following:

    • Support Programs - English support (based on placement testing), Math support (placement testing), AVID, Study Skills (w/IEP only)

    • Performing Arts Electives - Choral, Band, Orchestra, Drama, Stagecraft

    • Other Electives - Leadership, Digital Filmmaking, 3D Modeling and Animation, Food and Nutrition, Wood


Should I enroll in an AP class?

  • Enrollment in an Advanced Placement (AP) class reflects the student’s understanding of the rigor and responsibilities associated with the course.  Families who are not able to support their students in these courses should seek course or level changes during appropriate windows.


What if my first choice course request is full?

  • Several popular courses have been oversubscribed for the last few years. A lottery will be held for courses where this is the case.  Students need to have alternatives in case his/her first choice is not available.


How do I change my schedule?

  • The answer depends on the situation:

    • Errors/misplacement:  If your schedule is incorrect due to a staff or computer error (ie, 2 PE classes, missing English class, taking a class that was completed), please contact your Counselor as soon as possible [e-mail or come in before school, at brunch, lunch or after school].

    • Level change:  If you find, in the first six weeks of a semester, that a class is too challenging, it may be possible to accommodate a level change.  Please contact your Counselor for more information.

    • Elective change:  If you want to change an elective class, including a science, math, or world language class not required for graduation, we are not able to accommodate these changes after priority deadline in April of the previous school year. (Course selection occurs from January to April in the prior school year and students had the opportunity to change their course requests before the priority deadline in April.)  


How do I drop a class?

  • There are two drop deadlines each semester at M-A.  The first deadline is for students to drop a class without penalty, usually about six weeks after the semester starts.  The second deadline is for students to drop a class with a penalty, meaning that a “WP” (Withdraw Pass- no impact on GPA) or “WF” (Withdraw Fail- factors into GPA same as an F) will appear on the transcript.  This deadline is usually about fourteen weeks after the semester starts. Students can pick up a drop form from the Guidance Office.

What if I disagree with a course placement?

  • If a family wishes to change the level of a course when the student does not meet requirements per placements charts or course prerequisite, they must communicate with their High School Guidance Counselor to complete a SUHSD waiver.  The parent/guardian and student who complete the waiver confirm their understanding that they are going against the recommended placement.  Once a waiver has been submitted, the student cannot revert to the former schedule or waived class until the start of the next semester, if space permits.

Can I change my teacher/period of a class?

  • M-A has over 2,400 students making it impossible to accommodate requests for a specific teacher or period of a class.  If you are struggling with a specific teacher, there is a process for resolving the conflict. Please see your Guidance Counselor for assistance.


Graduation Requirements and Credits

How many credits do I need to graduate?

  • 220 credits are needed to earn an M-A high school diploma.  For full requirements, click here: http://www.mabears.org/Guidance/Academic-Counseling/Graduation--College-Requirements/index.html

How many credits should I have?

To be on track toward graduation, students should have the follow at each grade level:

  • 10th grade students should have at least 60 credits when they begin their 10th grade year.

  • 11th grade students should have at least 120 credits when they begin their 11th grade year.

  • 12th grade students should have at least 160 credits when they begin their 12th grade year.

What do I do if I am not on-track for graduation (I’m short on credits)?

  • If you have completed 9th grade and have fewer than 60 credits, please contact your Guidance Counselor about summer school.  

  • If you are completing 10th grade or will be turning 16, you may be eligible to attend Redwood High School.  Applications are available from the Guidance Office or the Administrative Vice Principal’s Office. It is important to continue attending M-A until your transfer to Redwood has been approved.  If you are selected to attend Redwood, you must attend the mandatory orientation with a parent or guardian before transferring.

  • There are other options for you to discuss with your Guidance Counselor including taking the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE), the General Equivalency Diploma (GED), the HiSet Exam,  or transferring to the Adult School.

Which classes meet the Visual and Performing Arts graduation requirement?

  • Courses offered at M-A that meet the Visual and Performing Arts requirement change slightly from year to year, depending on student interest and staff availability.  They usually include:

    • Performing Arts Classes: Advanced Band, Jazz Band, Orchestra, Choral, Guitar, Drama, Stagecraft

    • Visual Arts Classes: Drawing and Painting, Ceramics, Digital Photography, Art Studio(2-D or 3-D) , AP Art Studio (2-D or Digital Photo) , AP Art History

Which classes meet the Career Technical Education (CTE) requirement?

  • Classes that meet the CTE requirement change slightly from year to year, depending on student interest and staff availability.  They usually include:

    • Digital Filmmaking, Advanced Digital Filmmaking, Digital Communications & Video, Digital Journalism (I-III), Digital Photo & Design, Digital 3D Modeling & Animation, Advanced Digital 3D Modeling & Animation, Graphic Design & Production (Yearbook), Woods (I-III),  Architectural Design I, Foods & Nutrition, Culinary Arts, Mobile Apps Development, AP Computer Science ( Principles and JAVA)


I need to make up Life Skills.  What are my options?

  • The class is typically offered in summer school.  It is occasionally offered during the school year, during 0 period.  It may also be made up through the district’s online credit recovery program.   

I need to make up a class.  How can I do that?

  • Classes required for graduation may be made up in the following ways:  

    • Enroll in summer school (when offered and if space permits)

    • Retake the class the following semester or year (not possible for English or social studies/history courses)

    • Take the class through the district’s online credit recovery program, or enroll in an accredited program (i.e. community college, etc.).  If a course is taken outside of the SUHSD, a district concurrent enrollment form must be completed and turned into your counselor prior to the first day of the SUHSD semester that the student intends to enroll in the class.  

    • Enroll in a non-college prep concurrent enrollment course at the Sequoia Adult School, when available.  

How can I earn Physical Education (PE) credits?

  • Typically, students earn ten credits (four quarters) of PE during ninth grade.  The additional ten credits required for graduation may be met by passing ten credits (four quarters) of PE during tenth grade.  

  • Student-athletes may also meet the requirement by successfully competing in three seasons of Menlo-Atherton team sports during the tenth through twelfth grade.  Student-athletes earn 3.5 elective credits for each season, and the combination of the three seasons will waive the remainder of the PE requirement.

  • Student-athletes who compete year-round for the cheerleading or dance teams will earn 7.0 elective credits for the year.  

  • Students may complete the 2nd year of PE (10 credits) through an accredited institution (i.e community college, online program) any time after the end of ninth grade. A district concurrent enrollment form must be completed and turned into your counselor prior to the first day of the SUHSD semester that the student intends to enroll in the class.  





9th Grade Information


How many classes will my 9th grader take at M-A?

Freshmen must be enrolled in six classes.  Students in band, jazz, drama, choral or AVID may choose to take world language as a 7th class if space permits.


How is my student placed in 9th grade classes?

Students are placed in English, math and science courses based on test scores.  Based on these scores, some students may be enrolled in a second math or English class.  All students are enrolled in PE-1. Students enrolled in college prep English I are enrolled Life Skills in Quarter 1, followed by World Studies 1 and 2.  Other classes available to ninth graders are listed on the course selection form. They include world language, visual and performing arts, support programs, and career technical education classes.   


My student has chosen an elective.  Can it be changed?

A final confirmation of classes will be available through the Online Information Update.  You may comment on or request changes via the online system. The priority deadline for course selection is in April of the preceding school year.


How can I get my student into the Advanced Biology course?

All freshmen who are initially placed in Biology class in ninth grade are placed in Biology

benchmark. The Biology teacher will offer all students the option to take Advanced Biology

within the first two weeks of school and will explain the expectations, projects and grading

scale for the advanced class. Students who opt to take Advanced Biology sign an agreement

form along with their parents/guardians and return it to their teacher within the first 10

school days of the semester. Students in Biology and Advanced Biology remain in the same

classroom with the same teacher.


My student is attending a private middle school.  How does he/she enroll at M-A? What tests does my student need to take?

The family must first complete Address Verification at the Sequoia Union High School District Office.  After that, you will work with the Registrar at M-A. All incoming 9th graders will take the Gates-McGinitie Reading Test (GMRT) and the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project (MDTP).  Additional testing may be required. A testing appointment will be made when you initiate the enrollment process with our Registrar. Testing appointments may be made Wednesdays from 1:30-3:30 pm or Thursdays from 8:00-10:00 am.  



When will we complete Online Information Update?

The Sequoia District will mail login information mid-April.  The priority window for the Online Information Update will be during the month of May.  


Can my student attend summer school at Menlo-Atherton?  

M-A offers two summer enrichment programs for eligible 9th graders:

  • M-A Honors Institute is for students who will be first-generation college students.  The program will enrich a student’s academic preparedness for accelerated classes at M-A.

  • Compass helps prepare students for the transition to high school.  Students develop organizational and leadership skills and take English, math, leadership and P.E.  (Eligible if GRMT is 7.0 or below and/or MDTP is 14 or below).

Contact Jennifer Taylor-Smith at jtaylorsmith@seq.org to sign-up or visit our website for details about M-A’s summer program.  Please note, M-A does not offer summer acceleration classes for incoming 9th graders.


What are the next steps?  

All students should complete the summer reading for English classes:  http://www.mabears.org/Academics/SUMMER-ASSIGNMENTS/index.html