Tappan Zee High School

Selecting Freshman Year Courses

Frequently Asked Questions

Must a student take Honors level courses in grade 9 in order to take Honors level courses later in high school?
No. Students may take Honors classes whenever they are ready.

Must students take all Honors classes?
No. Students may take all Honors classes, one or two Honors classes, or no Honors classes during their freshmen year.

If students try an Honors class, can they just drop to a Regents class later if it doesn’t work out?
Sometimes. For change requests, we do our best to accommodate and to do so with minimal impact to a student’s schedule. However, sometimes changing levels mid-year often means a major disruption to a student’s schedule and loss of an elective course. Also, a course level change cannot be guaranteed, as full Regents-level classes or sections may prevent a student from dropping to the requested course.

Must all students have a study hall in their schedules?
No. However, most students do benefit with a study hall built into their day.

ENGLISH

A student is better suited for Regents level English 9 when he or she:

  • Consistently earns below a 94% in middle school ELA classes and/or on course assessments (particularly on-demand written assessments);
  • Is less adept at managing a heavier workload and/or budgeting time;
  • Does not enjoy reading and/or writing but does the work when prompted;
  • Does not enjoy reading for pleasure;
  • Reads at or below grade level and does not possess the stamina or interest to read for extended period of time;
  • Struggles to read fiction and non-fiction primary and secondary sources beyond grade level, and makes connections between the text and self, other texts, and the world when guided;
  • Participates verbally in class occasionally, and contributions are more plot-oriented than inferential;
  • While occasional demonstrates analytical thinking, more often retells facts and summarizes material included in class readings and discussed in class;
  • Writing is more formulaic and generally underdeveloped;
  • Struggles to implement the rules of standard written English;
  • Becomes frustrated when facing challenges and/or does not advocate for self;
  • Able to formulate questions and answers in a concrete manner; and,
  • Earns a mid-level 3 or lower on the State ELA assessments.

A student is ready for Honors level English 9 when he or she:

  • Consistently earns a 94% or higher in middle school ELA classes and on course assessments (particularly on-demand written assessments);
  • Embraces the challenge of a heavier workload (both in school and at home) and knows how to budget time in classes that move at a faster pace,  particularly if taking multiple honors-level courses;
  • Genuinely enjoys reading and writing;
  • Reads for pleasure;
  • Reads above grade level and has the stamina to read for extended periods of time;
  • Outside of school, actively reads fiction and non-fiction primary and secondary sources beyond grade level, and independently makes insightful connections between the text and self, other texts, and the world;
  • Actively participates verbally in class each day and regularly seeks opportunities to connect class material to outside information;
  • Consistently demonstrates the inclination to think analytically, inferentially, and independently;
  • Independently embeds content and detailed analysis into writing (both journal entries and essays);
  • Employs the full rules of standard written English;
  • Productively responds to challenges and advocates for self;
  • Able to formulate questions and answers in both a concrete and analytical manner; and,
  • Earns a high-level 3 or higher on the State ELA assessments.

WORLD HISTORY

A student is more suited for World History 9 Regents when he or she:

  • Thrives with teacher-directed activities to find relevance and meaning from readings and/or the study of the World History;
  • Reads at or below grade level and finds it challenging to read independently for extended periods of time;
  • Is not consistently adept at managing a heavier workload and/or budgeting time, i.e.,
    • Requires teacher support to make connections  between course concepts and text as they often struggle to comprehend primary and secondary sources beyond grade level
    • Written work and responses are more formulaic and thus necessitate instruction in the development of analysis and historical thinking skills
    • Recalls facts and summarizes material included in class readings and discussed in class
  • Participates in class and contribute objective fact, but most often finds teacher-led interpretation and inference necessary
  • 
May become frustrated when facing challenges and/or often require support beyond the classroom

A student is ready for World History 9 Honors when he or she:

  • Demonstrates individual motivation and enjoys reading and studying elements of World History;
  • Reads independently and above grade level for extended periods of time;
  • Willingly assumes responsibility for conscientious and meaningful independent work for the purpose of:
    • Acquiring content through teacher-selected resources
    • Active class participation and opportunities to connect class material to outside information
    • Making insightful connections between independent work and class activities
  • Thinks analytically, inferentially, and independently, so as to:
    • Analyze primary and secondary  historical documents for the purpose of detecting meaning  as well as historical context, intended audience, purpose, and point of view
    • Develop an argument through thesis and essay writing, as well as identify another’s argument with the intention of either supporting it, or challenging it with historical evidence
  • Productively responds to challenges and advocates for self

LIVING ENVIRONMENT

Features of Living Environment Regents:

  • Summer Assignment: None
  • Pre-requisite: None
  • End-of-Year Assessment: Living Environment Regents Exam
  • Slow to moderate pace (3 units covered during the first quarter)
  • Time expectation: 15-20 minutes per night to review content and complete homework
  • Labs: Generally inquiry that is guided with teacher; no formal lab reports
  • Classroom notes: Guided notes provided during class.
  • Text: No online component, level approximately 8th/9th grade
  • Tests: Class exams use Regents style questions (approximately 30-35 questions in a period)
  • Interest Level: New York State required course
  • Current anecdotes: This rigorous course prepares students well for the Regents exam and offers strong, foundational knowledge in this field

Features of Living Environment Honors:

  • Summer Assignment: Multi-part assignment
  • Pre-requisite: Completed Algebra Honors and Regents Earth Science with 95% for Y1 Grade
  • End-of-Year Assessment: Living Environment Regents Exam AND a separate final exam to be counted as 16% of overall yearly grade AND SAT II Biology Test, which is part of the college application requirements for some schools and allows most students to earn college credit
  • Fast pace covering 6 units first quarter, due to the need to explore topics in more depth
  • Time expectation: 45-60 minutes per night to review material and complete homework
  • Labs: Students write pre-lab reports and follow their own procedures to test independent hypotheses. Formal lab rubric is followed to create a lab report.
  • Classroom notes: Student-generated notes completed at home and reviewed in class in the following days
  • Text: Online registration required for online quizzes, textbook, study aids, etc., level is approximately 10th-/11th-grade
  • Tests: Class exams use SAT II-style questions (approx. 40-45 questions in a period)
  • Interest Level: Students should have a sincere interest in entering a scientific field after college graduation
  • Current anecdotes: Students who are not academically prepared or independent workers often drop this course (approximately 20 students this year and 27 students last year). Students who had “algebra enhancement” in eighth-grade struggle the most.

ALGEBRA PATHWAYS

A student is best suited for Algebra 1A when he or she:

  • Consistently enrolled in Math 8 Enhancement and is struggling
  • Failed Math 8 or often has extremely low quarter averages; failed four (4) or more quarters over 7th- and 8th grades
  • Sites for the Common Core Algebra 1 Regents exam upon completion of Algebra IB
  • Will be successful on the Algebra Regents exam after two years of Algebra instruction
  • Works best at a slow to moderate pace
  • Has trouble with some fundamental skills and requires steady teacher re-direction
  • Has difficulty in reading directions and following classroom routines; requires steady teacher re-direction
  • Requires but does not seek extra support for content mastery
  • Is able to complete approximately 15-20 min per night
  • Works best with guided notes and ongoing teacher-led instruction

A student is best suited for Algebra 1 with Lab when he or she:

  • Often enrolled in Math 8 Enhancement and struggling
  • Occasionally has lower quarter averages; failed three (3) quarters of the 7th- and 8th grades
  • Sits for the Common Core Algebra I Regents Exam
  • Will be successful on the Algebra Regents exam in June with one period of instruction per day plus a teacher-led lab period 2 days of 6 six-day cycle
  • Works best at a moderate to fast pace, with extra supports
  • Has trouble with particular skills, yet can work independently with moderate teacher re-direction
  • Requires some assistance in reading directions and following classroom routines
  • Takes advantage of the extra support in and outside of the classroom
  • Is able to complete approximately 20-25 min per night
  • Works best with guided notes and occasional, individualized prompting

A student is best suited for Algebra I Regents when he or she:

  • Not enrolled in Math 8 enhancement
  • Sometimes has a low quarter average; failed no more than two (2) quarters of the 7th- and 8th grades
  • Sits for the Common Core Algebra I Regents Exam
  • Will be successful on the Algebra I Regents Exam in June with one period of instruction per day
  • Works best at a moderate to fast pace
  • Is on grade-level with fundamental skills and can work within groups with very little teacher re-direction
  • Typically follows directions and classroom routines
  • Seeks extra support when needed
  • Is able to complete approximately 20-30 minutes of homework per night
  • Works best with some guided notes provided in class and some independently generated notes
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