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High School (Grades 9 - 12)

Overview

There are three high schools and one career and technology center that serves all three schools in the county. The high schools house grades 9 through 12. The secondary schools in Worcester are:

  • Stephen Decatur High School (Grades 9 - 12)
  • Snow Hill High School (Grades 9 - 12)
  • Pocomoke High School (Grades 9 -12)
  • Worcester Technical High School (Grades 9 - 12)

The purpose of the high school is to help students gain the skills, knowledge, and concepts needed to follow the academic pursuits of a higher education, and to prepare students for careers in the world of work.

The high schools in Worcester County have consistently been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, as being both comprehensive and competent. Each high school's instructional programs and co-curricular offerings provide activities and opportunities for each and every student. The high schools continuously assess their performance and implement those instructional strategies and curricula that will meet the student's present and future needs.

The Instructional Program

Worcester County high schools have instructional programs designed to meet the needs of each student. A student brings to the high school specific talents and interests. One goal of the instructional program is to provide courses of study that will assist the student in his or her academic growth. In addition, the teachers and educators believe in involving students in a variety of learning experiences which introduce the young adult to many disciplines of learning.

These learning experiences have been developed and expanded throughout the elementary and middle school years. Now, in the high school, these disciplines are designed around the individual student's need, and/or interests. The Worcester County high school graduate will be a competent citizen of both the State and County. He or she will possess the necessary skills to enter the work force, and/or be competent to pursue additional educational programs.

At the high school level, each student is given the opportunity to select the program of instruction best meeting his or her needs. Beginning in the ninth grade, the student and his/her parents select the courses that will eventually lead to the completion of the program of instruction and graduation from high school. During the initial and subsequent selection of courses, the student and parents have access to various guidance services. Each school provides written communications describing the instructional programs. They also conduct orientation and career awareness opportunities.

High schools offer a variety of instructional programs. They have been carefully developed to ensure that each Worcester County high school student will meet and exceed the Maryland State Department of Education's requirements for graduation. The awarding of the high school diploma signifies the student has complied with the academic, social, and attendance regulations of the school and has successfully completed courses that are commensurate with his/her ability.

The Instructional Day

The school day for high school students consists of four periods of instruction each day. During these instructional periods the student is under the direct supervision of a certified teacher trained specifically for that subject area. Each day the student receives the most relevant information in the area of study presented in the most efficient manner.

Because the high school curriculum is designed to meet both the student's needs and interests, as well as to ensure the student meets both State and County graduation requirements, student schedules will vary. However, all students study English, social studies, science, and mathematics. The daily schedule may also include courses designed to enrich and expand the student's knowledge and skill base. The student's schedule may include additional and/or advanced courses in science, math, or foreign language. The high school curriculum has additional opportunities for the student in computer science, music, business administration, physical education, art, home economics and industrial arts. A student may elect to attend the Worcester Technical High School in order to prepare for immediate employment following graduation, attend a postsecondary school or both.

Worcester County high school students are given opportunities to expand their academic backgrounds beyond the minimum requirements of graduation. The certificate programs are college level studies and career and technology studies.

Advanced Placement Studies

Academically talented high school seniors may enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) courses in a variety of subject areas. Successful completion of these courses may earn college credit. With this college credit, the Worcester County graduate may enter college with advanced standing.

Dual Enrollment

WCPS high school seniors and juniors (with at least 16 high school credits) who have met eligibility requirements may participate in a Dual Enrollment Program articulated between WCPS and Wor-Wic Community College. The program enables qualifying high school students to earn college credit, at a reduced cost to the student, while in high school. Most dual enrollment courses will be taught at our high schools by qualified teachers, eliminating travel time to Wor-Wic. Interested high school students should contact their school counselor for more information.

Bridges Credit Recovery

The Bridges Credit Recovery Program provides review credit opportunities for high school students who have failed courses and may not graduate on time. Students must have principal approval from the student's school prior to enrolling in the program.

To review a course, students must complete a minimum of 45 hours of class time and complete a required curriculum with a passing grade. Upon successful completion of a review course, the grade earned is entered on the student's transcripts. Students who have failed Algebra I, English 10, or Biology are not eligible for review credit courses unless they have already passed the high school assessment related to those courses.

English Learners

All students who enroll in Worcester County Public Schools and indicate that a language other than English is spoken in their home are assessed for English language proficiency. Those students whose level of English proficiency is not at an advanced level will receive additional educational services designed to improve their proficiency and assist them in meeting academic success.

All English Learners (EL) are assessed annually to document their progress in learning English. Students will exit the program after scoring at the advanced level on the English Proficiency Assessment. Interpreters (if available in the student's native language) are provided free-of-charge to parents during parent/teacher conferences, school activities, and other school-related meetings.

Career & Technology Studies

Experienced instructors and comprehensive facilities at the Worcester Technical High School provide the specialized knowledge and skills necessary for a wide variety of occupations and further training for technical school, college, or university studies after graduation. Many of the programs of study are affiliated with national and state certifications and licensing regulations. Successful completion of these programs provides portable credentials that advance student readiness for immediate employment at higher than entry-level positions and enrollment in post-secondary education.

High school students in grades 9-12 may select a half day or full day of specialized instruction that will prepare them for a career or post-secondary training immediately following high school graduation. Students successfully completing the course requirements will receive a Certificate of Program Completion. Certificates are awarded in early childhood education, agriculture science, protective services, nursing assistant, manufacturing, computer repair technology, culinary arts, automotive technology, carpentry, masonry, electrical wiring, electronics, cosmetology, HVACR, graphic communications, and emergency services. Accounting, administrative assistanting, and marketing programs are offered. College credit is available through articulation agreements with Wor-Wic Community College and Del Tech in many areas of study. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Academy offers four-year programs for accelerated students in pre-engineering, biomedical science, interactive media production, and renewable energy.

Special Education

The high schools of Worcester County have developed programs of instruction for those students who learn best through an Individualized Educational Program (IEP). The program goals, developed cooperatively by parents and teachers, provide specially designed instruction to meet the student's unique needs. Services may include instructional and testing accommodations within general and special education classroom settings. Careful monitoring of progress is maintained so that the goals may be constantly reviewed and updated to improve student achievement.

Alternative School Program

An Alternative School Program is available to Worcester County students that experience academic or behavior problems in a regular classroom. The purpose of the program is to help students resolve their academic and/or behavioral problems. The program goal is for each student to return to the regular classroom and exhibit acceptable academic and social behavior. Academically, students will follow a program of studies established by their school counselor, PST, or ICM committee. This academic program will be managed by the instructor, after considering the ability of the student and the requirements of the course.

Maryland High School Assessment

High school students participate in the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) Program to evaluate student achievement in reading and math. All students enrolled in the English II course will take the English II test. This assessment will count as the English HSA and as the reading MSA. All students enrolled in the Algebra I course will take the Algebra, Data Analysis test. Parents will receive a copy of their child's performance report.

In the 2013-2014 school year, a class of students at each school took the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) pilot test. PARCC will take the place of the MSA in the 2014-2015 school year. PARCC is administered online.

High school assessments are a series of end-of-course tests covering the areas of English, Algebra I, Government, and Biology. The assessments are an extension of the Maryland School Assessment Program. In order to graduate with a Maryland diploma, students enrolled in the courses evaluated must take the assessments. Required assessments are administered to all students in Algebra I, Biology, Government, and English II. Students entering high school must achieve, as a graduation requirement, one of the following: (1) the passing score on each test, (2) a combined overall score of 1602, (3) a specific score on an MSDE-approved comparable assessment(s), or (4) eligible students may complete an Academic Validation Project Package. Charts illustrating graduation requirements are found under the Graduation Requirements section.

High School Academies

Expanded educational opportunities for students in academic intervention and enrichment are provided to students in Pocomoke, Snow Hill, and Stephen Decatur High Schools through the high school academies. The Horizons Academies, a 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, provide expanded learning programs beyond the regular school day and during the summer months. The goals of the Horizons Academies are to raise academic achievement, specifically as measured by the Maryland High School Assessments, as well as to infuse STEM concepts.