Upper School students are expected to carry five major academic courses. A student may take four or six courses in rare circumstances with specific approval of the department heads and principal. A minimum of four academic credits is required each year.
We expect students to complete all course work successfully. For ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade students, failure to do so may lead to required summer work or dismissal from Friends Academy. For seniors, failure to complete all course work successfully may delay or prevent the awarding of the diploma. The Independent Service Project may also be canceled or delayed.
Minimum requirements for a diploma are the completion of sixteen full-credits plus designated courses in religion, health, technology, physical education, community service, outdoor education, and the arts.
Students who leave at the end of their junior year to attend an accredited college may receive a diploma from Friends Academy upon presenting evidence of the successful completion of their first year in college, including a full year’s course in English.
- English (four years): English 9; English 10; American Studies in grade 11; and two semesters of English in grade 12.
- History and Social Studies (three years): Ancient Foundations of Human Civilizations in grade 9; West and the World in grade 10; American History or AP U.S. History in grade 11. Electives are offered to seniors. Four years are recommended.
- Mathematics (three years): Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 or Algebra 2/Trigonometry are required. For seniors not taking another math course, College Algebra with Pre-Calculus is recommended. Four years are recommended.
- Science (three years): Three years of sciences are required. It is expected that students complete Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Four years are recommended.
- World Languages and Cultures (two years): The completion of level three of one world language is required.
- Arts: One full credit of courses in the arts is required. Two or more years are recommended.
- Religion and Ethics (three semesters): Quakerism in grade 9, Community Service in grade 10, and Religion in American Culture in grade 12 are required courses. The following commitments are also required of all students:
- YSOP: As part of the culminating experience for the grade 10 course, tenth graders take part in an overnight work camp in Manhattan.
- Work Program: Every student is expected to take part in the daily work program on campus, cleaning classrooms and common areas.
- Weekly Quaker Meeting for Worship: “The most important appointment of the week”, all students are expected to attend Meeting for Worship on Thursday
- Community Service: At all grade levels, students are expected to do volunteer work at local agencies.
- Technology: All students are required to take either one Computer Science course OR one Digital Arts course.
- Physical Education (four years): All students are required to take the Physical Education classes unless they are playing on an interscholastic team. All dance classes count toward Physical Education credit.
- Health (2 semesters): Health courses in grades 9 and 11 are required.
- College Readiness (one semester): Required weekly course designed to support seniors in the college application process.
- Outdoor Education: All ninth grade students are expected to participate in this three-day program .
- Independent Service Project (ISP): This service project is a graduation requirement for all seniors.
- Cum Laude Society (grades 11 and 12): Selection is based on academic excellence alone. Must be a student for three consecutive semesters prior to selection for induction.
Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT):
The PSAT is a practice test for the SAT and students need not share their scores with colleges. The test is offered at Friends in October and is optional for 10th and required for 11th grade students. The PSAT can be used to estimate the SAT score by adding 50 points each to the math and verbal and writing PSAT score. The PSAT scores for juniors will be used to select National Merit Semi-Finalists and National Merit Commended Students (who are in the top 1% and 5%, respectively, of juniors across the nation who take the test), and these students can become eligible for merit scholarships at some colleges.
Advanced Placement Level Courses:
Advanced Placement (AP) courses enable students who are eligible to take college-level courses while still in upper school. The courses which delve into greater depth than standard courses, teach skills that can prepare students for the rigors of college. They help students to develop solid writing skills, problem solving techniques, and good study habits. These courses push the students intellectually and help students to learn to develop and support their own arguments and perspectives.
Virtually all departments offer AP level courses at Friends. Not all students are ready for the rigors of an AP course; therefore students who are interested in taking AP level courses must meet the departmentally determined prerequisite requirements as outlined in the course of studies.
Students enrolled in an AP course are expected to prepare for and take the AP exam in May. Scores on the exam are not automatically sent to perspective colleges and universities that students are applying. Students must give permission to the College Board to release exam grades to the schools they have selected. Many colleges and universities grant student credit, placement, or both for qualifying AP exam grades (not for the course grades).
Students will be informed in late winter about the date, cost, and registration procedures for the exam. More information about AP exams can be found on the web at www.collegeboard.com.