High School

High School Gifted Specialists

Christopher Smith

Denise Cobb
John Marshall     


Parent Information on High School Opportunities

High School Gifted Services

High school students are encouraged to take the most rigorous courses they are capable of taking to best prepare them for college and life in a global economy and workforce. It is important for all students to plan for education and employment beyond high school.

Our three high schools - Century, John Marshall, and Mayo - offer a wide variety of honors courses and Advanced Placement courses to meet the needs of our students. Honors courses are open to all students meeting the course prerequisites. These courses extend the curriculum in terms of depth, quality of product, and pace of content. Honors classes are clearly defined on a student’s transcript; students are also encouraged to apply for an honors diploma. Gifted Services also offers mentorships for juniors and seniors. A mentorship is an accelerated, individualized program of study for students who wish to learn a new skill, develop an interest, or explore a career under the supervision of a specialist in our community. Mentorships are excellent learning experiences outside of the normal classroom.


Honors Program: The primary role of the Gifted Specialist at the High School level is to oversee the administration of the Honors Program. All students have the opportunity to participate in the Honors program. The program is designed for students who desire more challenging coursework. The program can provide students with more depth and rigor (Honors English is an example) or it can accelerate a student in their coursework by skipping a grade (Honors Geometry in 9th grade is an example.) The honors program has several components which may be of interest.
Honors Diploma: Students in the Honors Program are generally working towards an Honors diploma. Students receive an honors diploma by completing 24-semester honors credits over their four years in high school with a grade of an A or B.  All honors courses are clearly designated on the high school transcript by an H to the left of the class. We recommend students start planning in 9th or 10th grade for an honors diploma. Students wishing to earn an honors diploma must fill out and sign a self-nomination form and return it to their Gifted Specialist. There are currently 87 courses listed in the registration guide which count as honors credits.
Honors Credits: There are several ways to earn an honors credit:
  • Honors Courses
  • Honors Option Courses
  • Advanced Placement
  • Mentorship in the Community
  • Independent Study*
Honors Courses
Honors Courses are open to all students meeting the prerequisites.Honors courses add more depth and rigor to the existing curriculum. They promote higher level thinking skills and provide an opportunity for a variety of extended projects.
Honors Option Courses
Students desiring more challenge in a regular course may elect to receive honors credit by signing up for the honors option. To receive the honors credit the student must complete assignments designated by the instructor which differ in depth, pace, rigor, and/or use of higher level thinking skills. Students must complete an Honors OptionRegistration contract which must be signed by the teacher, student, and parent, and then submitted to the Gifted Specialist. The Honors option is only available for courses that do not already have a correspondingHonors designation. Check the course listing in the registration guide for a list of these courses.
Advanced Placement (AP)
The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) enables students to pursue college-level studies while in high school. Based on their performance on rigorous AP Examinations, students can earn credit, advanced placement, or both, for college. AP courses make substantial academics demands on students.
Mentorship in the Community Honors
Mentorship is an accelerated, individualized program for students who want to explore a career field under the supervision of a specialist in the community. Mentorships are done outside of school and are offered for juniors and seniors only. Mentorship is an honors credit course that provides challenge beyond the traditional high school curriculum. The mentorship is arranged and supervised by the Gifted Specialist.
Independent Study
This is an option for a student who has an area of interest beyond our curriculum. It requires the cooperation of an interested teacher. The student must write and submit a proposal for the principal’s approval. *Students must petition the Gifted Specialist to receive honors option credit for an independent study.
All honors courses taken for honors credit receive a weighted grade on your transcript. Weighted grading is a system for calculating grade point average and/or class rank that gives more points for honors, honors options, AP, and approved Independent Study courses. Non-weighted grades are based on a 4.0 scale, while weighted grades go above that4.0
Why would you want to get an honors diploma?
Selective colleges place more weight on the rigor of the courses that you take in high school than they do on your final GPA (grade point average.). A student with many honors courses with a few B’s in honor courses will be more likely to get into a highly selective college over the student who has a perfect 4.0 by taking non-honors courses. Taking the most rigorous courses offered (all four years), together with leadership and above average ACT/SAT scores will put students in a favorable position for college admission.
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