main content starts here

Course Catalog

Table of Contents

Message from the PrincipalSchool Counselor/Supervisor ContactsGraduation RequirementsRequirements and PoliciesGrade ReportingProgram OptionsPupil Services

Message from the Principal

Shaker High School offers rich and diverse courses of studies. Each year for four years students and parents are asked to decide on a course of study. This is one of the most important decisions made during a student’s high school years. These academic choices begin to define students’ interests, expectations, and future career path. Students and parents must reflect on students’ strengths, interests, and teacher recommendations. Each student’s school counselor will assist in reviewing a student’s academic record to insure that the appropriate courses are chosen.

The Course Catalog contains information on the courses and programs offered at Shaker High School. This document is updated yearly to reflect the changes and additions to the curricula at Shaker High School. Students and parents are encouraged to take time to review the many choices and options for study. The faculty and administration are available to aid in this important process. Please call upon them with questions.

Deadlines have been established for program and course selection decisions. Course changes will not be allowed after June 1. Students and parents must be sure that they have reviewed and considered all of the program options prior to making their final course selections.

Richard W. Murphy

Top of page

School Counselor/Supervisor Contacts

Shaker High School Phone Number: 518-785-5511

School Counselors

Content Area Supervisors

Top of page

Graduation Requirements

Course and Testing Requirements for Graduation

Advanced Regents Diploma

Required Courses
  • English: 4
  • Social Studies: 4
  • Math: 3
  • World Languages (LOTE): 3*
  • Fine Art: 1
  • Health: 0.5
  • Physical Education: 2
  • Electives: 2.5

Total Credits: 23

Testing Required for Advanced Regents Diploma (passing score: 65)
  • Common Core English Regents Exam
  • Global History and Geography Regents Exam
  • U.S. History and Government Regents Exam
  • Common Core Algebra, Common Core Geometry, AND Common Core Algebra 2 Regents Exam
  • Two Science Regents Exams
  • Checkpoint B Exam for LOTE*

*Students acquiring 5 units of credit in one of the following may be exempt from the LOTE requirement: Art, Business, Music, or Career and Technical Education.

Students who earn a 90 average or above on required exams will earn an “Advanced Regents with Honors” endorsement.

Regents Diploma

Required Courses
  • English: 4
  • Social Studies: 4
  • Math: 3
  • Science: 3
  • Foreign Language (LOTE): 1
  • Fine Art: 1
  • Health: 0.5
  • Physical Education: 2
  • Electives: 4.5

Total Credits: 23

Testing Required for Regents Diploma (passing score: 65)
  • Common Core English Regents Exam
  • Global History and Geography Regents Exam
  • U.S. History and Government Regents Exam
  • Common Core Algebra Regents Exam
  • One Science Regents Exam
  • Checkpoint A exam for LOTE OR 1 unit of high school Foreign Language (LOTE) credit.

Students who earn a 90 average or above on required exams will earn a “Regents with Honors” endorsement.

Specialized Shaker High School Diplomas

Students earning a 3-1/2 year average of 88-92 will receive a specialized diploma “with honors”; students earning a 3-1/2 year average of 93 or higher will receive a specialized diploma “with high honors.”

A Liberal Arts Diploma will be awarded to students who complete the following program:

  • 4 units Regents level or above English
  • 4 units Regents level or above Social Studies
  • 4 units Regents level or above Science
  • 4 units Regents level or above Math
  • 5 units of LOTE plus exam or 6 years of two different languages with LOTE exams
  • 2 units of Fine Art and/or Music
  • 0.5 unit of Health
  • 2 units of PE

A Scientific Diploma will be awarded to students who complete the following program:

  • 4 units Regents level or above English
  • 4 units Regents level or above Social Studies
  • 5 units Regents level or above Science
  • 5 units Regents level or above Math
  • 3 units of LOTE plus exam
  • 0.5 unit of Computer Science OR 1 year of Science Research
  • 1 unit of Fine Art and/or Music
  • .5 unit of Health
  • 2 units of PE

Top of page

Requirements and Policies

Selecting a Course of StudyHomeworkChanges of ProgramCourse Load/Homeroom PlacementDoubling of Courses

Planning a program of study for each of the four years of high school is one of many important decisions students must make. In this decision-making process, students are encouraged to use the advice and counsel of their parents, counselors and teachers, as well as students who have preceded them at Shaker High School.

Selecting a Course of Study

Prior to entering grade 9, each student will meet with their junior high school counselor to plan the high school program the student wishes to pursue.  In each subsequent year, students will meet with their counselor individually and in small groups to review and plan the next year’s program.  Parents are also expected to review their child’s program.  They are provided a written copy of the child’s tentative program for the next academic year in sufficient time to request desired modifications prior to June 1st.  If conflicts in scheduling develop, students will be notified during the summer so that alternate courses may be selected.  Parents and students are reminded that program or individual subject offerings may vary from year to year as circumstances warrant necessary changes.   Electives described in this publication are open to all students regardless of sex and will be taught providing conditions of enrollment, staff availability and other pertinent factors as determined by the building principal. 

A (P) following a course title indicates a prerequisite exists. Many courses have stated prerequisites which must be met before a student can be enrolled in that particular course. Prerequisites are determined through experience over several years and are established to aid students in selecting courses in which they have reasonable assurance of success.  If a student requests a course, but does not meet the prerequisite, he/she may contact the school counselor to pursue the Request for a Waiver of Prerequisite process. The Department Supervisor may give permission for a student to take a course where adequate grounds exist for the student not having met the prerequisite and in the opinion of the Department Supervisor, where there is a reasonable likelihood that the student will be successful in the course.


North Colonie Administrative Regulations define homework “as that activity which is intended to extend beyond the time of the instructional period, and which is to be completed in the study hall or out of school.” Homework will be assigned in English, social studies, mathematics, science, foreign language and business with a maximum intended length of 45 minutes per class lesson. Other departments may assign homework where appropriate within this guideline. (For further details, please refer to the complete Board of Education Policy.)

Changes of Program

While students may exercise wide latitude of freedom and choice in determining their academic program, all program requests for the next year must be finalized by June 1st.  Students needing to have program adjustments as a result of summer school must effect such changes prior to September 1st.  After these dates, requests for a program change can only be initiated under the most unusual circumstances via the Special Program Procedure available in the Counseling Office. Withdrawal from courses will be noted on the final transcript by a W.

Course Load/Homeroom Placement

Each student in grades 9, 10 and 11 must enroll in a minimum of six courses each semester. Students in grade 12 must enroll in a minimum of five courses each semester. In addition, all students must enroll in physical education each semester. A student’s homeroom placement is determined by the number of units earned and by the highest grade level of English or Social Studies in which the student is enrolled.  Assignment to a 10th grade homeroom requires a student to have earned 5 credits, exclusive of physical education, including one unit in English 9 or Social Studies 9.  Assignment to an 11th grade homeroom requires 9 units of credit, exclusive of physical education, and successful completion of either English 10 or Social Studies 10.  Exception: all candidates for graduation in that academic year will be assigned to a 12th grade homeroom.

Doubling of Courses

No student may concurrently pursue two full-year courses that are ordinarily taken in sequence, e.g., English 9 and 10, Languages 1 and 2, Global Studies 9 and 10, Global Studies 10 and U.S. History, Math 9 and 10.  Only in the senior year would a student be permitted to take English 11 and English 12 or U.S. History and Economics and Government concurrently.

Top of page

Grade Reporting

Class RankHonor/Merit RollStudent Transfers – NCAA Eligibility

All grades are numerical.  The passing grade for all levels is 65.  The letters written as part of the title of a course are used to designate the level of instruction.

Subject Level

  • AP- Advanced Placement
  • H – Honors
  • R – Regents
  • B – Basic
  • E – Elective
  • Y – Special Education

A mark for the first semester is the result of averaging first and second quarter marks with the semester test, where applicable. A second semester mark is the result of averaging third and fourth quarter marks with the final examination, where applicable. The final school mark (FSM) is found by averaging first and second semester averages.  In effect, class work counts two-thirds of the final mark and examinations, one-third. The final school mark and Regents score are recorded on a student’s secondary school record and are entered on transcripts sent to colleges and employers.

Class Rank

In order to provide information which students may be required to submit to colleges or employers, and to recognize the district’s highest achieving students, a rank in class will be computed according to established regulations (4741-R) for each student completing grade 11 at Shaker High School, or those Shaker High School students who have declared by the end of their sophomore year to be a 3 year graduate (Policy 4770#7A).  The top five percent of each graduating class will be designated honor graduates.  Averages will be reported to the nearest whole number and rank will be reported to colleges in deciles. Physical education, health, and independent study will not be included in the ranking. Should a student repeat a subject, the higher of the two grades will be used for class rank purposes. However, both grades will be recorded on the student’s transcript. (For complete procedure, please refer to the Board of Education Policy.)

Honor/Merit Roll

Grade level high honor, honor and merit rolls are established each marking period. To qualify for the high honor roll, a student must have an average of 93 in all courses with no grade less than 90. To qualify for the honor roll, a student must have an average of 90 in all courses with no grade less than 85. To qualify for the merit roll, a student must have an average of 85 in all courses with no grade less than 80.  To qualify for the high honor, honor or merit roll a student must have a citizenship grade of “1” or “2.”

Student Transfers

A parent or legal guardian must accompany students transferring to Shaker High School.  Credentials of students transferring to Shaker will be evaluated in terms of the requirements of the student’s previous school and NYS Education Department requirements.  Necessary changes in a transfer student’s program of studies may be made in consultation with the student’s counselor any time prior to the end of the student’s second full week at Shaker High School.  For class rank purposes only, students who transfer with letter grades will have these grades transposed to numerical grades using the following conversion:

  • A+: 98
  • A: 95
  • A-: 91
  • B+: 88
  • B: 85
  • B-: 81
  • C+: 78
  • C: 75
  • C-: 71
  • D+: 69
  • D: 67
  • D-: 65
  • F: 60

Students who transfer after the first 5 weeks of school will have grades computed as determined by the School Counselor, Department Supervisors and Hall Principal.

NCAA Eligibility

The NCAA has strict academic eligibility requirements in order to compete at the collegiate level in Division 1 or 2 athletics. In determining eligibility, the NCAA considers the academic courses a student takes, performance on standardized tests and grade point average. Not all courses can be used towards eligibility to become a student athlete at the D1 or D2 level.

To familiarize yourself with course eligibility and other academic requirements, please:

  • Visit this website
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on CORE COURSES under the Student-Athlete Pages.
  • Next click on “Find Your High School’s List of NCAA core courses” and enter Shaker High School’s CEEB code which is 333388

Top of page

Program Options

Advanced PlacementUniversity in the High SchoolIndependent StudyAcademic Intervention ServicesSummer SchoolOptions for Seniors

Advanced Placement

Shaker High School offers a variety of Advanced Placement courses for students who wish to earn advanced college placement or college credit in particular subjects. Awarding of this advanced placement or course credit is based on the student’s AP exam grade and the specific requirements and expectations of the college or university that the student will be attending.  Please note that the AP examination is required of all students taking an AP course. A fee is charged by the College Board and must be paid or the student may be placed in a different course. Students must complete an AP application for each Advanced Placement course for which they are interested in enrolling. Applications can be obtained from the Supervisors’ Office. The specific deadline date will be clearly marked on the application and also announced by subject area teachers and supervisors. Questions about the AP program should be directed to the School Counselors. Specific AP courses should be discussed with the Department Supervisors.

AP courses offered at Shaker High School are:

  • AP Biology
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP Physics C
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Spanish
  • AP French
  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • AP Statistics-Probability
  • AP Computer Science
  • AP World History
  • AP United States History
  • AP United States Government and Politics/ Economics 12H
  • AP Macroeconomics/Government 12H
  • AP English Literature and Composition
  • AP Language and Composition

University in the High School

In order to provide qualified Shaker High School students with an opportunity to acquire college credit, many courses have been developed in collaboration with local colleges.  In order to enroll in a UHS course, students must meet the established prerequisites. College credit will be granted in UHS courses if the student achieves a grade of 75 or higher. A student must earn a minimum grade of 65 in order to receive Shaker High School credit towards graduation. There are no exemptions from final examinations. Questions about the program should be directed to the School Counselors; individual courses should be discussed with Department Supervisors.  The transferability of these courses is determined by the college or university the student will be attending. There is no guarantee that college credits earned while in high school will be accepted by a student’s college or university.

Advantages to enrolling in the UHS Program:

  • Students can earn college and high school credit for successfully completing the courses.
  • Students may fulfill first-year courses required for college graduation.
  • The cost of a college education could be reduced depending on the college and the student’s plans.
  • The tuition for each course would vary between $120-160. However, in some cases of specific financial need, some students may be eligible for a scholarship which would cover up to 75% of their tuition.

University at Albany

  • Topics In Advanced Math (3 credits)
  • College Accounting (3 credits)
  • AP Statistics-Probability (3 credits)
  • Precalculus R (3 credits)
  • Calculus Non-AP (3 credits)
  • University in the High School Physics (up to 8 credits)
  • Science Research (up to 12 credits)
  • Reading Literature (3 credits)
  • Introduction to Philosophical Problems (3 credits)
  • French 4 (4 credits)
  • French 5 (4 credits)
  • AP French (4 credits)
  • Russian 4 (5 credits)
  • Russian 5 (5 credits)
  • Spanish 4 (4 credits)
  • Spanish 5 (4 credits)
  • AP Spanish (4 credits)
  • Latin 3 (4 credits)
  • Introduction to Sociology (3 credits)

Sage College of Albany

  • UHS Advanced Art and Design 2 (3 credits)
  • UHS Advanced Art and Design 3 (3 credits)
  • UHS Advanced Digital Photography (3 credits)
  • UHS Advanced Graphic Design (3 credits)

SUNY Oswego

  • German 4 (3 credits)
  • German 5 (3 credits)

Hudson Valley Community College

  • Principles of Marketing (3 credits)
  • Business Statistics (4 credits)
  • Math and Finance (3 credits)
  • Child Development (3 credits)
  • Residential Construction (3 credits)
  • Manuf. Processes for Engineering (3 credits)
  • Television Production (3 credits)
  • College Algebra with Trigonometry (4 credits)
  • Business Management (3 credits)
  • UHS Metal and Jewelry Design (2 credits)
  • UHS Advanced Metal and Jewelry Design (2 credits)
  • UHS Stained Glass Design (2 credits)
  • UHS Advanced Stained Glass Design (2 credits)
  • UHS Art History (3 credits)

Syracuse University Project Advance

  • Writing 114: Introduction to Creative Nonfiction (3 credits)

Independent Study

Any student may choose to learn about a topic or subject that is for elective credit through the Independent Study Project. Independent Study may involve an investigation of one specific area of a subject for which both the student and the advisor share an appreciation. It may involve out-of-school endeavors or a vocational interest. This involves an individual student working with a faculty advisor on a project approved by the principal. The project results from a written application made to the advisor by the student prior to the commencement of study. A minimum of 75 hours is required for one-half unit of credit and a minimum of 150 hours is required for one unit of credit. Independent Study is excluded from the required minimum of classes in a student’s schedule. Applications for the Independent Study Contract Agreement may be obtained from the Main Office.

Academic Intervention Services (AIS)

Shaker High School has developed an AIS plan consistent with NYS regulations. Students are provided AIS services if they have not yet passed a Regents exam required for graduation (CC English, Living Environment, Global History, US History, CC Algebra); have scored a level 1 or 2 on the ELA, math, social studies, or science eighth grade assessments; or have failed a midterm exam in a course leading to a Regents exam needed for graduation. Placement in AIS will be made with the approval of department supervisors, counselors, principals and AIS coordinators. Participation in AIS is mandatory for students who meet the above criteria.

Summer School

Summer school may be pursued in an approved secondary summer school upon the recommendation and permission of the counselor. Students may be admitted to August Regents examinations at Shaker High School, or other high schools, by applying directly to the summer school principal. The request must be signed by the student and a parent/guardian and authorized by the principal of the student’s home school. Summer school, or a formal tutoring program, is strongly recommended for students taking August walk-in Regents examinations.

Options for Seniors

Early Admission to College and Graduation from The Shaker High School

A limited number of students who have not completed all of the requirements for graduation from The Shaker High School may be accepted into college at the end of their junior year.  In order to be eligible for this program, a student must have attended The Shaker High School as a full-time student for a period of one school year.  In addition, students wishing to pursue this option must have successfully completed three years of physical education, English and Social Studies and passed all of the Regents exams required for graduation.  Interested students must also complete an application and submit it through their school counselor to the building principal for approval. Those students who receive approval will be awarded a Shaker High School diploma after successfully completing their first year of college, which must include the equivalent of two semesters of English and Social Studies and confirmed by the submission of a completed official transcript to the Guidance Office. Those students wishing to participate in graduation ceremonies must notify the Taft Hall Principal by April 1 of the year in which they plan to graduate.

January Graduation from The Shaker High School

Students who wish to complete graduation requirements in January of their senior year must complete the appropriate application and submit it to their counselor prior to the end of grade 11.  Students choosing this option must complete one unit in both English and Social Studies during the first semester of their senior year. Final approval of all requests will be subject to available space in appropriate classes as determined by the school’s administration.

Early Graduation from The Shaker High School

Students who wish to graduate from Shaker High School at the end of three years must indicate this intention in the appropriate application and submit it to their counselor prior to the end of the sophomore year. Students choosing this option must complete all graduation requirements.

College Courses

Seniors may be interested in taking one or more college courses on one of the local college campuses. Students who wish to pursue this option must notify their counselor and their request will be handled through a special program. One college course may be applied toward meeting the Board of Education requirement which states that each senior must be enrolled in a minimum of five courses. Acceptance in college courses is dependent upon the student’s achievement during the first three years of high school. Cost of tuition and transportation for such courses is the responsibility of the student.

Early Release

Only students in grade 12 who meet the minimum course load requirements as defined by the Board of Education policy may apply for early release. Students must have earned 16 units of credit by the beginning of their senior year to apply for early release. Qualified students must apply through the Taft Hall Office and the hall principal must approve. When an 8th period class is scheduled, and period 8 replaces period 7, students will not be granted an early dismissal. Early release will not be honored if there are conflicts with requested courses of study. Please see application for more detail.

Top of page

Pupil Services

The pupil services department includes counseling services, health services, psychological services, speech therapy, remedial reading and special education. It should be noted that except in instances where the physical safety of the students is involved or where the commission of a crime is involved, students shall have the right to enter into privileged communication with their counselor, the student assistance counselor, the school psychologist, the school physician or school nurse.  A brief description of each service follows:

School Counselor

The primary objective of the school counselor is to aid students in their development of a responsible approach to decision making. Each grade level presents specific challenges to students, and the school counseling program is therefore designed to provide appropriate supports for students in assisting them to meet these challenges. Counselors provide assistance to students in understanding their educational strengths, in making realistic college/career choices and in making decisions in areas of personal concern. Through evening parent meetings and individual conferences, counselors attempt to involve parents in their student’s educational and vocational planning.  Counselors are assigned to students on an alphabetical basis.

School Psychologist

The school psychologist acts as a consultant-advocate for students in a wide variety of educational and social adjustment domains. In addition, this individual may act as a resource and provide information on community specialists, agencies and available programs.  Students who wish to utilize the service of the school psychologist may make an appointment in the school psychologist’s office or through the Counseling Office.  Parents, teachers and others may also request that the psychologist have contact with a particular student.

Student Assistance Counselor

The Student Assistance Counselor is designed to support students and families by providing counseling, education, and referral services related to: mental health, substance abuse, healthy relationships, transition/adjustment, divorce and separation, grief and loss and self-harm and suicide.  Students may make appointments in the School Counseling Office to see the Student Assistance Counselor who is also available to students in crisis. Students are also encouraged to refer peers to the Student Assistance Counselor, which can be done confidentially.

Health Services

An experienced health staff consisting of a school physician, school nurse and health office assistant, is available to students. A physical appraisal is required for all tenth grade students. In addition, students competing in athletics or seeking working papers must receive a physical examination by a physician. Students who have specific concerns about any aspect of their physical health are encouraged to meet with a member of the health services staff.

Remedial Reading

A reading specialist is available to work with students who require assistance. Performance below the district standardized test reference point or the NYS ELA reference point and/or teacher recommendation qualify a student for services. Such services are offered on a group basis. In order to help the greatest number of students, the reading specialist works closely with the English Department which emphasizes reading skills as a major part of the English curriculum.

English as a New Language (ENL)

Students identified as English Language Learners (ELLs) are expected to achieve the same standards- based goals established by the Board of Regents for all students. In accordance with the Commissioner’s Regulation Part 154, ELLS who score below specified levels on the NYSITELL or NYSESLAT exam shall receive language proficiency and academic support services based on designated units of study and provided though integrated instruction in content area courses and stand-alone ENL classes.

Specialized Student Support Programs

There are several options available for students experiencing academic/social challenges.  They consist of: TASC, PIIP, and RISE. Please contact the Counseling Office for more information.

Speech/Language Therapy

Qualified students who wish help in improving their speech may take advantage of this service. Meeting on a regular basis with a speech/language therapist provides the opportunity to gain in self-confidence and to correct any problems which make it difficult for the student to communicate clearly with others.

Special Education

Special Education is available to students with disabilities upon completion of an appropriate evaluation, program visitation by parent, student and staff, consultation with parents, approval by the building Pupil Service Team, the District Committee on Special Education, the Board of Education and the parents.  Based on the educational needs of the student, the following options are available: Resource Room (RR), Special Class (SPCL) and Consultant Teacher Services (CT). The Resource Room program is for students who participate in mainstream classes and require academic support in the areas of reading, math and/or language arts.  Special Class is for students who require core academic instruction within a special educational setting. SPCL students have access to our elective offerings. CT support is provided to students who are mainstreamed 100% of the day that require support from a special education teacher, but who do not need a special education program.

Confidentiality of Records

A cumulative record (K-12) for each student enrolled at Shaker High School is maintained by the Counseling Department subject to specified Board of Education Policy and approved administrative regulations.  Students, by appointment with their counselors, are entitled to receive an interpretation of all information contained in their records. Parents, or persons in parental roles, are also authorized to review, by appointment, their child’s record as well and receive an interpretation of it from appropriate school personnel. However, no third party including peace officers, lawyers, or agents shall be permitted access to information contained in any student’s record without the expressed written permission of the person in a parental relationship to the student or the written permission of a student eighteen years or older.

Top of page