Course Information and Academic Progress

Guidance and Counseling

Guidance and counseling services are provided to help each student realize his/her potential through the school’s continuous, planned program that is designed to meet the developmental needs of each student. A comprehensive guidance program is provided to aid students in understanding the variety, depth, and breadth of personal experience, the opportunities available, and the choices and alternatives open to them by helping them recognize, interpret, and act upon their personal resources and strengths.

Students may consult with the guidance counselors on individual problems concerning school courses and curriculum selection, schedule changes, failures, extra-curricular activities, interpretation of test results, remedial work, vocational selection, home and school adjustment, personal issues, college selection, job opportunities, scholarships and financial aid, information about the armed services, and/or other similar issues. Parents are encouraged to avail themselves of these services by appointment.

Registration Procedure

The state of Illinois requires new students to present their birth certificate at the time they register at Sycamore High School. A new student must also present two forms of documentation, and parent photo I.D., as proof of Sycamore Community Unit School District residency.

Pre-registration for all high school students will be held during the second semester. Guidance personnel will hold group conferences for all students for the purpose of presenting curriculum offerings and to explain the registration procedure. Following the group presentations, the students will have several days to confer with parents, counselors, and teachers regarding their proposed classes for the following year. A teacher recommendation is required in core classes in order for students to advance to the next course.

Graduation Requirements

Total Credits required: 20
1 credit = 2 semesters
Eight semesters of high school work are required, including the following:
English 4 years (including a semester of Speech)
Mathematics 3 years
Science 2 years
Social Studies 2½ years (including 1 year of World Cultures, 1 year of American History, and a semester of Government)
Consumer Economics 1 semester
World Language, Art, Music or Vocational 1 year
Physical Education 4 years (including a semester of Health and a ½ semester of Driver Education)

As of September 9, 2016, the College Board’s SAT with essay will fulfill the requirement in Section 2-3.64a-5 of the School Code that students take the state assessment in order to receive a regular high school diploma, unless eligible to take the alternative assessment or otherwise exempt from testing. Section 2-3.64a-5 of the School Code also requires that scores on the SAT must be placed on the student’s permanent record and entered on the student’s transcript.

Course Recommendations for College Bound Students and Studnet-Athletes

These requirements are subject to change. Please check with your counselor to ensure you are on track

NCAA-DIVISION I – All enrolling after 8/2016
Required courses – 16 core courses
10 core courses must be complete before the start of the 7th semester.

  • 16 Core Courses
    • English – 4 years
    • Mathematics – 3 Years (Algebra I or higher)
    • Natural /Physical Science – 2 years (1 year of lab)
    • 1 additional year of English, Mathematics, or Natural/Physical Science
    • Social Science – 2 years
    • 4 years of additional courses (from any above area, world language, or comparative religion/philosophy)
  • SAT/ACT Scores and GPA
    • The NCAA uses a sliding scale for test scores and GPA. This sliding scale can be found at
    • The SAT score used by the NCAA is a sum of the critical reading and math sections, the writing section is not used.
    • The ACT score used by the NCAA is a sum of the English, mathematics, reading, and science sections.
      AUGUST 1, 2016. Those enrolling before August 1, 2016 can go to

NCAA-DIVISION II – All enrolling after 8/2013

Required course – 16 core courses

  • 16 Core Courses
    • English – 3 years
    • Mathematics – 2 years (Algebra I or higher)
    • Natural/Physical Science – 2 years (1 year of lab)
    • 3 additional years of English, Mathematics, or Natural/Physical Science
    • Social Science – 2 years
    • 4 years of additional courses (from any above area, world language, or comparative religion/philosophy)
  • SAT/ACT Scores and GPA
    • SAT score of 820 or ACT 68
    • Minimum GPA is 2.0
    • The SAT score used by the NCAA is a sum of the critical reading and math sections, the writing section is not used.
    • The ACT score used by the NCAA is a sum of the English, mathematics, reading, and science sections.
    • THESE ARE THE STANDARDS FOR THOSE ENROLLING IN COLLEGE AFTER AUGUST 1, 2013. Those enrolling before August 1, 2013 can go to

Course Load

Students are required to be enrolled in four or more courses per semester, plus physical education (unless excused from P.E. by a physician with the excuse on file in the School Nurse’s Office). Students are expected to complete a course once they have registered for it because they have made a commitment both to themselves and to the school. Involvement in extra-curricular activities and athletics, provision for adequate study time, and the possibility of employment should all be seriously considered when planning the student’s course load. See Section III.A.14 for information regarding part-time student status.

Criteria for Schedule Change

  • Errors such as enrolling in a course previously taken or resulting from data processing
  • Failure in a prerequisite course and/or in a semester or year-long course
  • Successful completion of summer school courses
  • Scheduling conflicts
  • Teacher/counselor/administrator initiated changes
  • Except for the reasons listed above, there will be NO CHANGES AFTER CLASSES BEGIN.

Adding Courses

Students may add a class only during the first FIVE STUDENT ATTENDANCE DAYS of the semester if the reason strictly adheres to the approved criteria for schedule changes. A $20 fee will be assessed for a schedule change that is not initiated by a teacher/counselor/administrator.

Dropping Courses

“Dropping” is a student’s withdrawal from a course after the first day of the school semester. The student will receive a “W,” which does not affect grade point average. If, after talking it over with the instructor, a student finds that he/she must drop a course, he/she should see his/her counselor. Written permission from a parent is required to drop a course. If a course is dropped after the fourth week of the semester, the student may receive an “F” as a semester grade, and that grade will be recorded in the student’s permanent record. Students who withdraw from school or drop from non-attendance will receive “F’s” for semester grades.

Academic Standing

Class standings are classified as follows:

  • Freshman – Completed 8th grade
  • Sophomore – 5 credits
  • Junior – 10 credits
  • Senior – 15 credits

Students will be promoted upon completion of each credit benchmark. An early graduation is an option. Students should monitor this process through their guidance counselor. A deadline to apply is September 15th of each school year.

Study Halls

Students may only register for one study hall unless they have the recommendation/approval of their guidance counselor. Students are to bring sufficient schoolwork and materials to the study hall to keep them productively occupied the full period. Permission to leave study hall to go to lockers, the restroom, etc., will not be granted except in rare cases, and then only with teacher permission. Truancy from study halls will result in disciplinary consequences.

Driver’s Education

The Sycamore School District shall provide the classroom driver education course for each public and non-public high school resident of the school district who either has received a passing grade in at least eight courses during the previous two semesters or has received a waiver of that requirement from the county superintendent of schools. In addition, students must have achieved sophomore standing or be a freshman that have signed up for summer school.

In accordance with Public Act 94-0916, the following restrictions on student driver’s licenses will apply:

  1. In order to receive a driver’s license or instruction permit, applicants under the age of 18 must be enrolled in high school or college, a GED program, or be receiving home instruction.
  2. A driver’s license or instruction permit shall be canceled if a student under the age of 18 drops out of school.

Dual Credit

Kishwaukee Community College has partnered with many of the high schools in our area, including Sycamore High School, to teach college level courses that fulfill high school requirements for graduation and earn college-level credit that can be transferred to a college or university.

Semester Exam Policy

Sycamore High School supports the administration of final exams at the end of each semester. Semester final exams reinforce important objectives and stress the synthesis and connection of all information and concepts. Departments will weigh these final exams as 20% of the total semester grade. A special final exam schedule is developed to create larger blocks of time (75 minutes) for these exams. Due to the serious nature of final exams, students are not permitted to enter the final exam testing sites after the exam has begun. Absences other than illness must be submitted in writing one week prior to exams and must be approved by the administration.

With the exception of Physical Education courses and study halls, all teachers are expected to give a final exam in all classes on the day and at the time scheduled. Exceptions may be made in some instances. If this occurs, teachers will provide written notification to parents and students. Students are to remain in the classroom for the entire time scheduled; no students should be allowed to leave the room during the exam time, except for emergency situations. Students will not have to attend study halls or PE classes during scheduled exam times. The cafeteria, library and computer lab will be available to students at these times. Buses will depart 10 minutes after each day’s last exam.

Semester Exam Schedule

All students will be required to take 1st & 2nd semester final exams:

  • Day 1
    • 8:15 – 9:30 1 period EXAM
    • 9:40 – 10:55 2 period EXAM
    • 11:05 – 12:20 3 period EXAM
  • Day 2
    • 8:15 – 9:30 4 period EXAM
    • 9:40 – 10:55 5 period EXAM
    • 11:05 – 12:20 0 period EXAM
  • Day 3
    • 8:15 – 9:30 6 period EXAM
    • 9:40 – 10:55 7 period EXAM

Grading System


Grade Point Average

Non-Weighted Grade Point Average: Sycamore High School uses a 4.0 grade point system. This means that grades in classes are given “grade points” as follows: A = 4.0; B = 3.0; C = 2.0; D = 1.0: F = 0.
This system is utilized for the following purposes:

  1. To determine honor roll.
  2. To report to colleges and other post-high school organizations through posting on a student’s official transcript.

Weighted Grade Point Average: Sycamore High School also utilizes a “weighted” grade point average for the purpose of recognizing student effort in particularly challenging elective classes. Students will receive an additional .5 weighting per year for each grade in these courses as follows: A = 4.5; B = 3.5; C = 2.5; D = 1.5; F = .5. This includes all Dual Credit non-KEC courses.

Weighted elective classes are as follows:

  • English: Pre-Advanced Placement (AP) English (9), Pre-Advanced Placement (AP) English (10), Junior Composition and Literature, Senior Composition, Senior Literature,
  • Mathematics: Geometry, Algebra II, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus
  • Science: Chemistry, Physics, Advanced Chemistry, Advanced Physics, Advanced Biology
  • Social Studies: Current American Problems, Economics, Psychology, Sociology, World History
  • World Language: French 2,3,4; Spanish 2,3,4
  • Students who meet the criteria to qualify for Sycamore High School’s Mathematically Talented Program, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, or AP History will receive an additional 1.0 per year weighting each in Geometry G, Algebra II G, Pre-Calculus G, AP Calculus, AP Art, AP Spanish, AP Physics 1 and 2, AP English and AP History. Grade points in these classes will be awarded as follows: A = 5.0; B = 4.0; C = 3.0; D = 2.0; F = 1.0

The purpose of the weighted grade point system is to determine class rank. Valedictorian and salutatorian will be determined using the weighted GPA and will be computed at the conclusion of all eight semesters of high school. Also, initial eligibility for National Honor Society will utilize the students’ weighted grade point average.

Honor Roll

An Honor Roll is published at the end of each semester. There are two classifications, which are based on grade point average. Students with a grade point average of 3.75 or above are included on the High Honor Roll. Students with a grade point average between 3.00 and 3.74 are included on the Honor Roll. Any student receiving a grade of C- or lower in any class will not be considered for the Honor Roll.

Class Rank

Class rank will be calculated by the Guidance Department at the end of the sophomore year and each semester thereafter. Weighted scores will be used to calculate rank based on courses taken. A list of these courses is available in the curriculum booklets.

Parent Portal, Progress Reports, Report Cards

The Parent Portal has been made available to track academic progress online. Please access the district’s website at and click on the link to the Parent Portal. Sycamore High School will no longer mail home progress reports and quarter grades because those grades are always available on the portal. If you do not have computer/internet access, please contact the high school for assistance in monitoring academic progress. Semester report cards will continue to be mailed home.

Make-Up Work

Students will receive no credit for any class missed until work is made up, regardless of the reason for the absence. The responsibility for make-up work should be a cooperative effort between the student and the teacher. For the ordinary short absence, the work should be completed within a maximum of one day for every one day of absence, with this time allowance beginning on the day a student returns to class. For an extended illness, the student may be allowed a longer time for making up the work, but the time given should NOT exceed a nine week period. Serious illnesses will be an exception.


Incompletes are placed on report cards when students who have excused absences have not had sufficient time to submit make-up work before the end of the grading period. A student has two weeks after the end of the grading period to complete the make-up work (unless an extenuating circumstance exists and an extension is approved through the guidance office). If a student receives a grade of “incomplete” and does not complete the make-up work within two weeks of the end of the grading period, the grade will be changed to an “F.”

Online Learning

Online Learning is a computer-based program that is offered as an intervention or as an opportunity to take a course that is not offered at SHS.

  • Intervention: Students may be eligible to enroll if they are at least a second-year student in high school and have failed a required class. There are periods during the regular school day as well as after-school opportunities if a student qualifies for this program.
  • Other Options: Online learning opportunities are also available to students seeking an alternate learning experience.

Students should contact the guidance department for more information.

Independent Study

Most courses at Sycamore High School regard class participation and daily teacher-student-class contact as essential to the nature of the subject. There is a procedure policy for independent study which may be followed in some cases at the recommendation of the teacher and principal.


Sycamore High School has no provision for the retaking of a class for no credit.

National Honor Society

Membership in the National Honor Society (NHS) is open to juniors and seniors with a weighted 3.5 GPA used to determine students who qualify to apply. Students who apply for membership are evaluated by the faculty at large and by a faculty committee chosen by NHS advisors. Selection is based upon leadership, service, character, and scholarship – the principles of this honorary organization. Throughout the school year, NHS works to promote and to recognize scholarship at Sycamore High School.