Course Guide: General Information


This course planning guide is designed to assist students in grades six through twelve, and their families, as they make educational decisions to become college or career ready. All students enrolled in Powhatan County Public Schools are expected to earn an advanced studies diploma or a standard diploma with a career and technical education concentration or specialization. The program of studies provides a background needed to begin a career or enter an institution of higher learning. Elective classes will be offered if there is sufficient enrollment and staff is available.

Grades, Credit, Transcript, Class Rank, & GPA

Students who successfully complete high school courses, including those prior to promotion from middle school, earn high school credit toward graduation. However, grades earned in high school courses taken in middle school are not counted as part of the high school cumulative grade-point average (GPA). Rising ninth-graders who take high school courses in summer school earn credits toward graduation, and their grades are included in the GPA calculation. Quality points are assigned to each course grade according to the following scale:

PCPS Grade Scale
Regular Quality Points
Regular + .5
Regular + 1.0
A+ 97-100 4.0 4.5 5.0
A 93-96 4.0 4.5 5.0
A- 90-92 3.7 4.2 4.7
B+ 87-89 3.3 3.8 4.3
B 83-86 3.0 3.5 4.0
B- 80-82 2.7 3.2 3.7
C+ 77-79 2.3 2.8 3.3
C 73-76 2.0 2.5 3.0
C- 70-72 1.7 2.2 2.7
D+ 67-69 1.3 1.8 2.3
D 65-66 1.0 1.5 2.0
F 0-64 0.0 0.0 0.0

Weighted quality points are awarded for honors, AP, and Dual-Enrollment courses. The total number of quality points is calculated by multiplying the unit of credit for each course and the quality points assigned to the final course grade and then dividing the total quality points earned by the number of credits attempted.

Class rank is determined by arranging the GPA values in descending order with the student with the highest GPA being ranked first, the student with the second-highest GPA being ranked second, and so on. Class rank is first calculated at the end of the 10th-grade year.

Transcripts contain students’ courses, final course grades, attendance, verified credits, and test scores. Many courses have letter codes at the end of the course number that provide additional information about the course and/or weighting of the course. This information is shown not on the transcript, but in the course guide and on report cards. Please review the codes in the table below.

Transcript Code Key
Abbreviation preceding or following course name/number Designation Weighted Credit
A Advanced No quality points - Middle School only
ACA Advance College Academy Weighted Quality Points
AP Advanced Placement Weighted Quality Points
DB Double Block Depends on the course
DE Dual Enrollment Weighted Quality Points
EL Elective in a core subject Depends on the course
H or Honors Honors Weighted Quality Points
W Weighted Weighted Quality Points

A student can elect in writing to have the student’s test record excluded from the student transcript. The test record includes at least the highest score earned, if applicable, on college performance-related standardized tests such as SAT and ACT, excluding Standards of Learning (SOL) test scores.

Honor Roll

Students must be enrolled in at least 5 credits. Honor Roll is awarded at the end of each 9-weeks and is based on a 3.0 GPA or all As. The GPA (utilizing weighted credit) is used to determine Honor Roll.

Promotion / Retention Policy

Middle School. Students are required to pass five of seven classes that must include three of four core (English, math, science, history/social sciences) classes, to be promoted to the next grade level. Students not passing English or Math must complete summer school.

High School. Students are promoted based on the number of total credits earned.
9th grade – A student must have been promoted from middle school.
10th grade - A student must have earned a minimum of 5 credits and must be enrolled in English 10.
11th grade - A student must have earned a minimum of 10 credits and must be enrolled in English 11.
12th grade - A student must have earned 15 credits and must be enrolled in English 12. Current schedule must include all courses and credits required for June graduation.

Honors Placement

To enroll in an honors level course in English, mathematics, science, or social studies for the first time, students must have a teacher recommendation or an ‘A’ in the preceding course in the specific subject area. To be successful in an honors class the student must have the ability to succeed in classes with increased workloads and greater responsibility for independent work.

Schedule Changes

Requests for class changes for the upcoming school year should be submitted on course verification forms given out in the spring. Class changes for the upcoming school year must be made prior to April 30. The only changes that will be considered once school starts are to place a student in the correct class level or a required course that was omitted.

High School Only. If changes occur before the end of the first nine weeks (with permission of the principal), the original course and earned grade will not appear on the student’s record. The only exceptions are changes within the same academic discipline; the earned grade from the original course will be transferred to the new course. Courses dropped after the end of the first marking period (with permission of the principal) will appear on the student’s permanent record as withdraw passing (WP) or withdraw failing (WF) depending on the student’s grade. WFs are calculated in the student’s cumulative GPA.

Repeating Courses

Middle School Only. Students taking a high school credit course during middle school may repeat the course at the high school level. Students wishing to remove the original course and grade (from the middle school) from their high school transcript should submit their request in writing to the high school counseling department prior to August 1 preceding the 9th-grade year. If the original (middle school) course and grade are not removed, the course and grade will be included in the student’s high school transcript.

High School Only. When students repeat a course, the original course and the repeat course with their grade are included on the transcript. Both grades will be counted toward the GPA. Students will only receive credit for the course with the higher grade.

Career & Technical Education

Students are encouraged to explore the opportunities available in our career and technical education (CTE) departments. CTE courses allow students to learn “hands-on” job skills in a variety of career fields. High school courses are offered in agriculture, business and information technology, carpentry and building trades, cosmetology, culinary arts, electricity, engineering, firefighting, family and consumer sciences, health and medical sciences, horticulture, JROTC, and technology education. Cooperative education programs allow students the opportunity to earn high school credit for working at an approved job through early release during their junior and senior years. Dual Enrollment courses may be offered in several CTE high school courses. Middle school courses are available in agriculture, computer literacy, technology, and family consumer sciences as exploratory options. In addition, many of our CTE programs provide students the opportunity to participate in Industry Certification and State Licensure testing. Refer to diploma requirements for CTE credentials, if seeking a Standard Diploma.

Academic Year Governor's Schools & Regional Programs

Powhatan County Public Schools is a member school division in several regional programs. Students may apply for available slots at each program based on the school board’s budgeted allocation for each school.

  • Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies - The Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies (MLWGS) is an innovative public high school offering a comprehensive college preparatory program emphasizing government, international studies, science, mathematics, languages, and fine arts. The school serves students selected on the basis of aptitude and interest in its mission.
  • Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology - The Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology provides gifted and talented students a differentiated and rigorous education, cultivates a supportive environment that inspires unique artistic and technological visions, promotes cultural tolerance, nurtures community partnerships, and produces active, engaged citizens.
  • CodeRVA- CodeRVA is an innovative regional public high school in Central Virginia focused on preparing students for college and careers in computer science.
  • Goochland Public Schools – CTE Exchange Program – Students interested in CTE programs not offered at Powhatan High School can enroll at Goochland High School for their 11th and 12th-grade years. Transfer is based on the availability of space in the designated programs. Available courses at GHS will be determined and advertised during the course enrollment process.

Opportunities to Earn College Credit

  • Advanced Placement Courses (AP) These courses offer college-level material and help to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement tests. Students who score above a specified level on the AP test(s) may be awarded college credit(s). Credit award decisions are made by academic departments at individual colleges. Students will pay all fees associated with AP testing.
  • Dual-Enrollment Courses provide students the opportunity to earn high school and college credits simultaneously. These courses are offered by the Virginia Community College System, Longwood University, and Shenandoah University.
  • Advance College Academy (ACA) The ACA provides students the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree in social sciences from Reynolds Community College (RCC) while also earning an Advanced Studies high school diploma. All 8th-grade students are eligible to apply for acceptance into the ACA. Students who are selected will take honors and AP level courses during the 9th and 10th grades and dual enrollment college courses during the 11th and 12th grades, earning 60 college credits at a minimal cost to their parents. Credits are transferable based on college and university policy.
  • Concurrent Enrollment provide students the opportunity to earn college credits solely through a higher education institution. These courses will not appear on the high school transcript and not entered into a student's GPA.

Athletic Eligibility

Middle School
To be eligible for participation in athletics at PMS, a student must not have failed more than one class the previous semester and must be enrolled in the 6th, 7th, or 8th grade. If the student was placed or retained, they are not eligible to participate in athletics the entire first semester but can be eligible the second semester if they are in good academic standing after the first semester.

High School
The Virginia High School League (VHSL) requires that students be enrolled in five credited classes and must have passed five classes the previous semester. Repeating a course for which a passing grade was received does not count toward the required five courses for athletic eligibility. First semester 9th-graders are eligible for athletics based on their promotion from 8th grade. See VHSL linked here for details. Students interested in college athletics should visit this website: linked here.

Athletes are not allowed to have afternoon early release during the semester in which they play a sport. They can have morning Late Arrival. Be sure to note on your enrollment form if you are an athlete.

Title IX Notice

In accordance with federal laws, the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the policies of the Powhatan County School Board, The Powhatan County Public School Division does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, age, religion, disabilities, or national origin in the provision of employment and services. The Powhatan County Public Schools is an equal opportunity employer. The Section 504 and Title IX Coordinators may be reached at 4290 Anderson Highway, Powhatan, Virginia 23139, and (804)598-5700.