The academic program of the Upper School represents a four-year college preparatory curriculum, which provides broad training in the liberal arts and sciences and stresses independent thinking, writing, critical reading, discipline, and creativity. Homework and outside preparation are required. Students may expect to spend 30 to 45 minutes per day outside of class on each academic subject. Honors or accelerated sections and AP courses are available to qualified students upon faculty recommendation and may require significant extra effort and preparation outside of class.
The daily schedule allows time for students to meet with teachers outside of class. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor who provides guidance, counseling and support. Advisors and students share in conversation at weekly lunch meetings. During the lunch period, there are relaxed opportunities for conversations with faculty and friends. Teachers and students may schedule brief tutorial sessions throughout the week.
The Upper School Handbook is the official policy guide and may be found at www.esdallas.org.
View the 2012-13 Upper School Handbook.
English: 4 units
Mathematics: 3 units taken in Upper School
History: 3 units – World Cultures, World History, American History, ½ Gov’t
Science: 3 units – Biology, Chemistry, plus 1 more credit unit (Classes of 2014 and 2015)
– Biology, Chemistry, and Physics (Classes of 2016 and subsequent classes)
Modern/Classical Language: 3 units in the same language *
Fine Arts: 1 unit (including ½ unit in a performance-based or hands-on course)
Religion: 1 unit (including ½ unit for freshmen in World Cultures)
Computer Science: ½ unit (2013 programming component; may not include Journalism, Photography, or Yearbook)
Physical Education: 2 units – Physical Education/Athletics/Outdoor Education (6 trimesters)
½ unit – Health & Wellness
Successful completion of a Level I language taken in the eighth grade applies toward graduation if the student continues to study the same language in the Upper School.
In addition to the course requirements for graduation, successful participation in the following is required: daily attendance in Chapel, the Outdoor Education Program, Student Services, and Community Service. It is important to note that some colleges require additional units in Foreign Language, Mathematics, or Science. The student is responsible for checking college entrance requirements.
Class schedules and course load
Student schedules are designed from student-generated course requests. All students must be enrolled in a minimum of five courses each semester. At least four of the courses must be core courses. The core courses must be chosen from the fields of English, Mathematics, History, Science, Foreign Language, Religion, Advanced Placement Fine Arts, or Computer Science. Physical Education and Fine Arts courses complete the schedule. Students who want to enroll in more than five core courses, or more than six courses total, must have the approval of the Head of Upper School. Students wishing to enroll in three or more Honors or AP-level courses must have the approval of the Head of Upper School. Students are assigned study hall during open class periods in the daily schedule.
Students must maintain a minimum load of five courses including four core courses. Students may drop or add courses within ten (10) school days of the beginning of each semester without consequence. After the ten-day deadline: Students enrolled in only five courses must receive semester grades for all five courses and wait until the end of the semester to drop or add a course. Students enrolled in more than five courses have until the second and fourth quarter interims respectively to drop a course. A grade of WP (withdrawal/pass) or WF (withdrawal/fail) is recorded on the transcript if the drop occurs after the ten-day deadline. WP and WF grades are not included in the student’s grade point calculation.
The academic year is divided into four quarters. Grade Reports are issued at the close of each quarter. The Grade Report provides an evaluation of the student’s academic performance, effort, and behavior and includes the teachers’ written comments. Semester grades are the official grades of record for graduation credit and are recorded on the student’s transcript. The semester grade is computed by combining 40% of each of the two-quarter grades and 20% of the exam grade. Semester examinations are given in December and May. The following grade scale is used:
Letter Grade Numerical Value Grade Point
A+ 97 - 100 8
A 90 - 96 7
B+ 85 - 89 6
B 80 - 84 5
C+ 75 - 79 4
C 70 - 74 3
D 65 - 69 2
F Below 65 0
Academic Honors are announced at the end of each quarter and semester. To qualify for the Headmaster’s List, a student must receive an A in all courses. To earn Honor Roll status, a student must receive a B or above in all courses. In addition to the course requirements for graduation, successful participation in the following is required: daily attendance in Chapel, the Outdoor Education Program, Student Services, and Community Service. It is important to note that some colleges require additional units in Foreign Language, Mathematics, or Science. The student is responsible for checking college entrance requirements. Physical Education/Health grades, which are pass/fail grades, are not used when generating Upper School Headmaster’s List and Honor Roll.
AP AND HONORS CLASSES
Although every effort is made to challenge all students through the standard curriculum, beginning in the ninth grade students may be placed in classes designated as “Honors” or “Advanced Placement” using the following procedure:
During the second semester, a student may be encouraged by a teacher who feels the student might profit from a more challenging curriculum to apply for an “Honors” or “AP” class in that subject for the next year. The student completes a form requesting consideration, which is returned to the Upper School Office by the advisor.
A student not so encouraged may apply for consideration after consulting his/her teacher. The Department Chair will confer with members of the department who have previously taught the student and seek input from the Head of Upper School. Some departments may require further assessment or testing before approval. At the beginning of the fourth quarter the student is then notified of the decision made on his/her application. He/She is also advised regarding how many “Honors” or “AP” classes to take, should he/she be accepted in more than one subject. All placement decisions require final approval of the Department Chair and the Head of Upper School.
Students new to the school are evaluated in similar fashion, considering grades and teacher evaluations from their previous school, writing samples in their admissions packet, ISEE or other standardized test scores, and departmental assessments to be administered during the fourth quarter.
WEIGHTING OF HONORS & ADVANCED PLACEMENT COURSES
Upper School grades in Honors and Advanced Placement courses are weighted one quality point higher than the grade earned each semester. Grades of D or F are not weighted.
CUMULATIVE GRADE POINT AVERAGE
The cumulative grade point average earned at Episcopal is calculated using semester grades for courses taken at ESD only. Grades for all courses taken at ESD will be averaged into the GPA including those courses that are repeated. Grades for courses that are repeated are included on a student’s transcript in addition to the original grade; they do not replace the original grade.
The policy of ESD is to rank numerically only the top ten percent of students and not to rank the remainder of the class. A student must have attended Episcopal for two years to be ranked. The honor students are announced at the end of their senior year.
SUMMER COURSE WORK
All summer-course work must be approved by the Head of the Upper School and the appropriate Department Chair. To meet a graduation requirement and/or receive academic credit, a course must be taken at ESD Summer School if it is being offered unless approved by the Head of Upper School. If a course is not offered at ESD, students may enroll in a course at a community college or other school only if they have received the approval of the appropriate Department Chair and the Head of Upper School before enrolling in the course.
SUMMER SCHOOL GRADE REPORTS
Semester-equivalent courses will receive an interim report and a final semester-equivalent grade report. A semester-equivalent exam will be given. Full year-equivalent courses will receive interim reports and semester-equivalent grades. Semester-equivalent exams will be given for each semester-equivalent in full year-equivalent courses.
SUMMER SCHOOL DROP/ADD POLICY
Students may drop a summer school course within three (3) school days of the beginning of each summer semester without consequence. After the three-day deadline, a grade of WP (withdrawal/pass) or WF (withdrawal/fail) is recorded on the transcript. WP and WF grades are not included in the student’s grade point calculation.
Study halls are a regular period in the school day. Attendance in study hall is required. Study halls are to be quiet and orderly. Students must arrive with the necessary study materials and be prepared to work for 45 minutes. Students may not use electronic devices, such as cell phones or CD players, during proctored study hall.