This page has frequently asked questions that relate to course offerings, programs, graduation, scholarships, etc.

Academy of Finance
Accelerated and Advanced Placement Program
Advanced Placement (AP) Achievement Award (formerly known as SFSD AP Scholar)
AP Scholar Award Requirements
College Bound Students
Course Equivalency (Credit by Exam)
Credit for High School Courses Taken in Middle School
Dropping a Course
Dual Credit Opportunities
Early Graduation
Gifted and Talented Program
Grade Level Classification of High School Students
Grading Scale
Honor Roll
Learners to Leaders
National Honor Society Information
NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse
Online Coursework
President's Award for Educational Excellence Program
Registration Facts
Regents' Scholar Diploma Information
South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship
Summer School
Technical Institute Bound Students
Transcript Requests
Transportation
Virtual/Online Coursework
Weighted Grades

Accelerated and Advanced Placement Program

The Accelerated and Advanced Placement (AP) programs provide a rigorous curriculum for students who select a more challenging course of study. Accelerated courses are designed to lay the foundations for Advanced Placement courses. Advanced Placement is a cooperative educational program between secondary schools and colleges/universities. AP courses use college-level curricula to prepare students for the AP exams, which are offered annually in May at a cost of $87 per exam. A student who earns a score of 3 or better on an AP exam will generally receive credit for the equivalent course at one of the 2,000 colleges and universities that give credit for AP exams. The Sioux Falls School District expects students to take the AP exam as a part of the AP course.

AP exams are a significant part of the AP program, but not the only part. Students can benefit from taking AP courses by learning a subject in greater depth, developing skills that are critical to successful study in college, demonstrating to colleges their willingness to undertake a challenging course. Listed below are the Accelerated and AP courses that are offered and the recommended sequence in which to take the course. Students may elect to take an AP course even if they have not had any previous accelerated courses.

2015-16 ACCELERATED AND ADVANCED PLACEMENT COURSE OFFERINGS

ART: AP Studio Art
COMPUTER SCIENCE: AP Computer Science Principles, AP Computer Science
LANGUAGE ARTS: Accelerated English I, Accelerated English II, AP English Language & Composition, & AP English Literature & Composition
MATHEMATICS: Accelerated Geometry, Accelerated Algebra II, Accelerated Pre-calculus, AP Statistics, and AP Calculus
MUSIC: AP Music Theory
SCIENCE: Accelerated Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics I & II, and AP Environmental Science
SOCIAL SCIENCE: AP World History, AP Human Geography, AP Macroeconomics, AP American History, AP Government, and AP Psychology (semester and yearlong)
WORLD LANGUAGE: AP French, AP Latin, and AP Spanish
Back to Top

AP Achievement Award

High school seniors must have earned a minimum weighted GPA of 3.5 through the first semester of their senior year, have taken AP classes in three disciplines offering AP courses, and have attempted three exams to receive AP Achievement Award diploma recognition.
Back to Top

AP Scholar Award Requirements

The AP Program offers AP Scholar Awards to recognize high school students who have demonstrated college achievement through AP courses and exams. The following awards and requirements are given annually by the Advanced Placement program.
  • AP Scholar—Granted to students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams.
  • AP Scholar with Honor - Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.
  • AP Scholar with Distinction - Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
  • AP State Scholar - Granted to the one male and one female student in each U.S. state and the District of Columbia with scores of 3 or higher on the greatest number of AP exams and then the highest average score (at least 3.5) on all AP exams taken.
  • National AP Scholar - Granted to students in the United States who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP exams taken and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.
Back to Top

College Bound Students

Students should check current college catalogs regarding class rank, ACT test scores, SAT test scores, and science/math, world language requirements for admission. Many college applications and scholarship information are available in the counselor’s office. Your counselors are there to help.Entrance Requirements for SD State Universities:
  • Four years of English
  • Three years of Social Studies
  • One year of Fine Arts
  • Three years of advanced Mathematics (Algebra I and above)
  • Three years of Laboratory Science(Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science)
  • And ONE of the following: 2.6 high school GPA, an ACT Composite Score of 18 or top 60% of your graduating class.
Contact the University or access its website for current admission requirements.
Back to Top

Credit for High School Courses Taken in Middle School

The SFSD has received a waiver from the State Department of Education to allow middle school students who successfully complete Algebra I, Accelerated Geometry, Accelerated Algebra II, Biology, Accelerated Chemistry, and Spanish I at the middle level to receive high school math content credit toward graduation for Algebra I, Accelerated Geometry, Accelerated Algebra II, a high school science credit toward graduation for Biology/Accelerated Chemistry and elective/World Language credit for Spanish I. The credit for Algebra I, Accelerated Geometry, Accelerated Algebra II, Biology, Accelerated Chemistry, and Spanish I will count toward graduation requirements. These courses will be listed on the high school transcript, be included in the high school GPA, and apply to the SD Opportunity Scholarship. Students must pass the course to receive credit.
Back to Top

Dropping A Course

Students must submit a written request signed by a parent/guardian and obtain administrator approval to drop a course. In making the decision the administrator shall at minimum consider the following factors:1. Appropriate placement with regards to academic abilities and designated course selection option;
2. Class availability of desired replacement course (full sections/schedule conflicts)
3. The degree to which the request is arbitrary and capricious.
Students who drop a course after the first 5 school days of a semester will receive an “F” grade, which will appear on their transcript and be figured in their grade point average. However, changes to a course of a lower or higher difficulty in the same subject area may occur with approval of the administrator and the teacher after the first 5 days without receiving an “F” grade.
Back to Top

Dual Credit Opportunities

The Sioux Falls School District provides a variety of options for high school students to enroll part-time in post-secondary courses. Students can also take courses of interest on location or online at STI, Augustana University, the University of Sioux Falls, University Center, etc. for dual credit. Participation can be through the state’s dual credit program that partners with South Dakota’s public universities and technical schools or through arrangements with local private schools. Those wishing to participate in the program must follow these procedures:
  1. Students must be high school juniors or seniors or at least 16 years of age, and meet eligibility requirements of the institution.
  2. Students must file a dual enrollment form with the high school and with the post-secondary institute (STI, Augustana, USF, University Center, or other). This form requires the signature approval of a parent/guardian AND high school official.
  3. Students must contact the institution and follow the admissions and registration procedures, and adhere to the requirements.
Please note: Space provided for high school students is limited. Registration is conducted on a first come first served basis. All costs are the responsibility of the student and/or parent/guardian. High school students are not eligible for financial aid.

Dual Enrollment Achievement Award:
1. Earned 9 college credits through Dual Enrollment Courses
2. High School GPA of 3.5 or better
3. College GPA-no grade lower than a B
Back to Top

Early Graduation

Students interested in early graduation should see a counselor and complete the necessary forms.
Back to Top

Gifted and Talented Program

The Gifted and Talented Program provides opportunities for students of high capability to further develop their talents and skills by facilitating acceleration, and coordinating enrichment opportunities. Acceleration - Accelerated courses are available in English, Math, and Science. These classes will be labeled on transcripts reflecting their difficulty. It is recommended that students meet these requirements for an accelerated strand class: an "A" or "B" in previous similar courses, standardized testing score at or above the 90th percentile in that subject, commitment to course work, and self-motivation. Enrichment Opportunities - Shadowing, interest group seminars, discussion groups, Future Problem Solving, Quiz Bowl, Nobel Conference, Fine Arts Mentorship, and after-school classes are some of the enrichment opportunities available to students in the Gifted and Talented Program.
Back to Top

Grade Level Classification of High School Students

At the beginning of each school year, high school students will be classified by the total number of credits. Student must earn the following number of credits to be classified as a 10th, 11th or 12th grader:
10th Grade: 5.0 credits
11th Grade: 11.0 credits
12th Grade: 16.0 credits
Back to Top

Grading Scale

A: 100-93%
B: 92-85%
C: 84-76%
D: 75-65%
F: 64-0%
Back to Top

Honor Roll

  • To be eligible for the straight "A" honor roll, a student must earn a 4.0 grade point average and be enrolled in four credit bearing courses.
  • To be eligible for the honor roll, a student must earn a 3.5 grade point average and be enrolled in four credit bearing courses.
  • To be eligible for the merit roll, a student must earn a 3.0 grade point average and be enrolled in four credit bearing courses.
1000 level courses are not included in honor roll and class rank.
Back to Top

National Honor Society Information

The National Honor Society (NHS) was founded "as a concrete way to promote high school academic standards, a means of ensuring the continuation of democracy, and an instrument for the betterment of the individual and the school (NHS Handbook, 1992)." The NHS promotes the development and exhibition of positive leadership qualities, encourages service involvement in the community, and promotes the development and manifestation of character.
The faculty council for each High School Chapter of the National Honor Society makes a review of the scholastic records of all junior and senior students. This review determines scholastic eligibility for further consideration for nomination to the NHS Chapter. Successful appointment to membership in NHS is dependent upon the following things:
  • Grade point average (must equal or exceed 3.5)
  • Recommendation for membership by one or more of the teaching staff
  • Expression of interest on the part of the student in the NHS
  • Completion of all parts of a Student Activity Information Form
  • Favorable recommendation for membership as determined by majority vote of the faculty council
Back to Top

NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse

Students planning to enroll in college and participate as freshmen in Division I or II, or NAIA athletics must be registered by either NCAA Eligibility Center or NAIA Eligibility Center. Not all courses offered by the Sioux Falls School District are NCAA approved. Please check the following website for details. For registration see the following sites:
http://www.ncaa.org/student-athletes/future/eligibility-center
https://www.playnaia.org/
Back to Top

Online Coursework

Online courses provide increased accessibility and flexibility for high school students to take either during the school day or after school. Courses are available in English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and elective courses. Students taking a virtual/online course during the school day will report to the designated online classroom. Students taking high school courses online after school hours will provide their own computer and Internet access. See your high school counselor for information.
Back to Top

President's Award for Educational Excellence Program

The purpose of this award is to recognize academic success in the classroom. To be eligible for the President's Award for Educational Excellence, students must meet the following requirements:
  1. Grade Point Average: Students are to earn a grade point average of 90 on a 100 point scale, (A on a letter scale or a 3.5 on a 4.0 scale).
  2. School Criteria/Standards: Standards for the award are to be established by each school that reflects a 90 percent level or high on the traditional grading scale. This category enables school personnel to use new assessment and evaluation tools in developing award criteria at their school and apply the criteria fairly to all students. The primary indicator of excellence must be based on academic achievement. School personnel may also consider, as part of the criteria, activities in which a student demonstrates high motivation, initiative, integrity, intellectual depth, leadership qualities and/or exceptional judgment. They may also require student essays and outstanding attendance, but these activities must bear some relationship to the academic performance of a student.
  3. In addition to 1 & 2, schools are to include one or more of the following criteria to determine their selected students:
  • High achievement in reading or math on state tests or nationally-normed tests. The school may consider college admissions examinations for seniors, for example the SAT or ACT.
  • ACT score of 26 or higher, and proficient (3 or 4) on the Smarter Balance Test.
or
  • Recommendation from a teacher plus one other staff member may be used.
Back to Top

Registration Facts

  1. Students must have received passing grades in at least four (4) subjects at the last semester of report cards to be eligible in any school activity.
  2. The school day is divided into seven 50-minute periods, one of which is designed for a 25-minute lunch period and a 25-minute study period. The remaining six periods are filled with classes.
  3. What is an elective? These are any type of classes that you would like to take depending on your career choices, interests and skills.
  4. What is a selective course? Selective courses provide students with options to meet graduation requirements in specific departments. A listing of courses is identified for students to choose from and fulfill the selective requirements.
Back to Top

Regents' Scholar Diploma Information

The South Dakota Department of Education and the Board of Regents annually recognize seniors committed to academic excellence by issuing Regents' Scholar diplomas.
Additional information can be found at:http://www.sdbor.edu/services/studentaffairs/regentscholars.htm
Recipients of Regents' Scholar diplomas are accepted for automatic entrance to any of the six institutions of high education in South Dakota. To be eligible, a student must have completed the following courses with no final grade below a C and a grade point no lower than a B:
  • 4 credits of English
  • 1 credit of fine arts
  • 3 credits of social studies
  • 4 credits of algebra or higher mathematics
  • 4 credits of science, including 3 credits of approved lab science
  • 2 credits of a modern or classical language (including American Sign Language): The two credits must be the same language.
Back to Top

South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship

The State of South Dakota has established a scholarship for students interested in attending a State University or technical school. This program awards a $5,000 scholarship over four years to high school graduates from South Dakota who completes a challenging high school curriculum and maintains certain academic standards.
The South Dakota Legislature established five requirements that all South Dakota high school graduates must meet in order to establish their initial eligibility in the Opportunity Scholarship program.
These requirements specify that a recipient must:
  1. Be a resident of South Dakota at time of high school graduation.
  2. Have an ACT composite score of 24 or higher before beginning postsecondary education. If using a SAT score, the sum of the verbal and mathematic scores on the SAT must be at least 1090.
  3. Complete high school course requirements with no final grade below a C and cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (grade B) prior to graduation. (see below)
  4. Attend a university, college, or technical school accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and that provides instruction from a campus located in South Dakota.
  5. Enter into program within 5 years of high school graduation, or within 1 year of the student's release from active duty military service (if that release is within 5 years of the date of the student's high school graduation). Students seeking to transfer from a regionally accredited university, college, or technical school located outside of South Dakota may do so within two years following high school graduation and be eligible to receive a partial award.
Additional information can be found at https://sdos.sdbor.edu/require/
High School Course Requirements for Students Entering High School After July 2010
All recipients must receive a C or higher on all coursework including:
  • 4 units of English
  • 4 units of Algebra or higher mathematics
  • 4 units of science including 3 units of an approved lab science(biology, chemistry or physics)
  • 3 units of social studies
  • 2 units of either of the following or a combination of the two:
    1. Approved career and technical education courses
    2. Modern or classical language (includes American Sign Language)
  • 1 unit of fine arts
  • 0.5 units of personal finance or economics
  • 0.5 units of physical education
  • 0.5 units of Health or Health Integration (students entering high school after July 2013)
Back to Top

Summer School

  1. Students who wish to take additional courses or are behind in credits may register for Summer School in the spring.
  2. Students will receive no credit for repeating a course that has already been taken and passed.
More information regarding Summer School Registration and courses offered.
Back to Top

Technical Institute Bound Students

Get a head start on a technical diploma or Associate of Applied Science degree by taking and getting a "B" or better in specific classes. You can earn high school credit, while earning credit toward programs at Lake Area (Watertown), Mitchell, Southeast (Sioux Falls), or Western Dakota (Rapid City) Technical Institute.
Tuition and fees charged by the technical institutes will be waived. Students pay a transcript fee for credit earned. See your school counselor for further information.
Back to Top

Transcript Requests

The registrar will accommodate requests made by seniors for college entrance or scholarship requirements.
Back to Top

Transportation

Transportation is the student's responsibility when taking a course at another high school. Transportation will be provided to the CTE Academy.
Back to Top

Weighted Grades

The District will maintain a non-weighted GPA and corresponding class rank and a weighted GPA and corresponding class rank. Bonus points for AP courses and Project Lead the Way Courses will be added to a student's GPA after the GPA has been calculated using a non-weighted system. Both weighted and non-weighted GPA's corresponding class rank will always be printed on student transcripts.
Calculation of Weighted GPA
  1. Students shall receive bonus points to their non-weighted GPA for all Advanced Placement and Project Lead the Way courses that they complete with a semester grade of C or better.
  2. In order to receive credit for a yearlong course, students must complete both semesters of an Advanced Placement or Project Lead the Way courses. Students in yearlong AP or Project Lead the Way courses will lose the first semester bonus points if they do not complete the second semester of the course.
    • Grade: Bonus Points
      • A: 0.045
      • B: 0.0225
      • C: 0.015
      • D: No bonus points
Back to Top