Upper School FAQ
What are AP Courses?
Advanced Placement is a national program governed by the College Board. Courses designated AP must meet specific criteria and are comparable to entry-level college courses. Our Woodlawn teachers must submit their syllabi to the College Board for approval and AP designation. We offer AP classes for two reasons: To offer the highest level of academic challenge to our students in the area(s) they seek it, and to ensure that we are meeting or exceeding a recognized national standard for that challenge.
How many AP classes can I take?
Woodlawn currently offers nine AP courses. All students take four of them: AP World History, AP US History, AP English Literature, and AP English Language and Composition. Students can earn the opportunity to choose additional AP courses depending on their performance in preceding courses.
Students are at the center of our Upper School. We encourage students to take the lead in communication with faculty and with their parents, and in order to facilitate and engender that independence, all faculty members serve as mentors and advisors to their students; they are available before school, during lunch, and during homeroom to meet with students, answer questions, or offer support. Parents can help nurture their student’s independence by encouraging him or her to approach teachers, or the Upper School student success team, directly with questions or concerns. Parents should also feel free to initiate communication with teachers or administration. Students and families also receive college counseling beginning in the ninth grade year; in the junior and senior years, students and their families meet individually with our college counselor throughout the process.
Attendance of all classes is mandatory at Woodlawn and students should attempt to minimize absences throughout the school year. All students are expected to be in their classrooms by 8:15am. Students not present at 8:15am will be marked absent. Students who arrive to campus after 8:15am must report Stinson Hall to be signed in by a parent, in which case the student absence will be changed to a "tardy" notice. Students must not be dropped off outside of the school after classes have begun.
Students leaving campus before 3:15pm must report to Stinson Hall to be signed out.
Any student arriving after 12:00 noon or checking out before 11:00am will be counted as absent for the day. Students must be in class four hours during the day to receive credit for a full day and to be able to participate in any extracurricular activities.
If a student is tardy and/or signed-out early more than 5 times per trimester, the family will be contacted by the Head of School. If a student is absent more than 15 times per year, the family will be contacted by the Head of School.Please keep in mind that we regard attendance records as critical to the student’s academic standing. Absences and partial absences are recorded on the student’s report card and/or transcript.
Can my student drive to school?
To ensure the safety of all students on campus, students who drive their own vehicles as transport to and from school are requested to read carefully these guidelines and follow them at all times. Parents or guardians must sign and return the Student Driver Vehicle Registration Form on the first day of school for students who are already driving, or whenever the student begins driving to and from school. All students who drive to school or who ride to school with a student driver must have permission to do so from their parents or legal guardian. Driving to school is a privilege that can be suspended or revoked by the school. The student is to have read the guidelines below and agree to abide by the conditions stated.
- The student driver must hold a current driver’s license.
- Students are not permitted to go to their vehicles during school hours for any reason unless a teacher or administrator has granted permission.
- Students will not be permitted to leave the school grounds in their vehicle during school hours, unless permission is granted from administration. A student may be given permission by administration to leave school for a sporting event that requires early dismissal.
- Student drivers are expected to be at school on time. Repeated tardiness will result in loss of driving privileges.
- Student driver/parent assumes all responsibility for occupants in his/her vehicle.
- Students who drive irresponsibly or who disregard the wishes of the school will be disallowed from driving to school.
We have over 100 parking spaces on campus. There are approximately 50 parking spaces in the Stinson gravel lot. The Woods Hall parking lot offers 30 gravel spaces, plus 14 asphalt spaces. Parking spaces along the Lodge access road are reserved for teachers only. Please do not park in any grassy areas unless directed by staff. Please do not park in any handicapped spaces on campus unless directed by staff.
Can my student use a cell phone at school?
- Cell phones must remain off and out of sight during regular school hours (8:00am to 3:30pm).
- Only with explicit faculty or administrative permission, students may use personal cell phones to call or text a parent during lunch and/or extended breaks. We ask that parents use discretion in communicating with students during the school day.
- Cell phones are not permitted on day field trips.
- Cell phones must remain off and out of sight on overnight field trips until designated call times. In certain cases (e.g., lack of cell service at trip location), students may be required to leave cell phones at home.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
Woodlawn is committed to open communication between faculty, students, parents, and staff. If a problem or question arises, please first contact the teacher. For inquiries extending beyond a specific class, please contact Paul Zanowski, our Head of School. Faculty members and administrators are committed to responding to parent concerns by the end of the following school day.
Woodlawn’s website is always the best place to start when looking for information. We continually update the site so that you have the latest information about the school. The faculty class pages and Woodlawn Notes are our primary means of communicating information to students and families. The class pages are dynamic and updated frequently; please refer to them on a regular basis.
What is the dress code? Is there a uniform?
Woodlawn embraces individuality and does not require a uniform. However, students are expected to make appropriate choices in terms of clothing and appearance. Woodlawn is a place of active learning and expects that students will dress accordingly on a daily basis. Woodlawn School reserves the right to tell any student that their clothing is not appropriate. Please consult the Student Handbook for specific information regarding the upper school dress code.
Woodlawn has 177 days of school spread over three trimesters. A trimester is approximately 12 weeks in length. Reports cards are issued at the end of each trimester. Grades are based on the student’s progress during the trimester being evaluated.
All students in grades 9-12 will receive letter grades based on the following A - F grading scale:A 100-93, A- 92-90 B+ 89-87, B 86-83, B- 80-82 C+ 79-77, C 76-73, C- 72-70 D+ 69-67, D 66-63, D- 62-60 F 59-0 A Work that is exemplary and represents complete mastery in the ability to organize, apply, and relate information. B Work that demonstrates progression towards mastery and shows development in the ability to organize, apply, and relate information. C Work that fulfills the requirements but lacks depth in the areas of organization, application, and relevancy. D Work that shows some involvement but is incomplete, inaccurate, or inconclusive. F Failing. Work that lacks understanding, application, or motivation. I Incomplete. Students who miss an excess of 10 days per trimester may receive an “I” in all subject areas. In some instances students may be graded on a number scale when grading with the A-F scale is not appropriate. 4 = Exemplary 3 = Proficient at grade level 2 = Developing 1 = Beginning
Will my student have homework?
At Woodlawn, homework is meant to reinforce what is learned in the classroom. We view homework as part of the learning process, helping to teach self-discipline, responsibility, and time management. It also helps to reinforce and prepare students for what they are learning in the classroom.
We hope parents take an interest in what their child is learning in school – not providing answers, but instead acting as a guide and resource as students search for the answers. The student ultimately is responsible for his or her work, and must be able to understand and support their answers. We expect all work to be authentic, in accordance with the Honor Code.
Woodlawn faculty members work together as a team to ensure that multiple assignments or projects are not due at the same time. However, we expect students to manage their time in order to turn in each assignment when due.
The workload may ebb and flow during the trimester, but no student should spend several hours on any one subject. If you find your child is struggling with homework, please contact the teacher to discuss strategies to help the student better manage their workload.
Do you offer honors courses?
All Woodlawn standard-level courses are taught at the “Honors” level or above, so we do not designate any classes as honors or advanced. We note this on our transcript and in our school profile.
Will my child be prepared for all types of colleges?
The answer is an emphatic yes. Our students have applied, been accepted to, and are attending a vast range of colleges and universities across the United States. Whether attending large universities, liberal arts colleges, or specialized conservatories, our alumni have repeatedly said that their experiences at Woodlawn resulted in exceptional preparation for the next level.
Why don't you weight your GPAs?
Faculty and administration at Woodlawn have always taken great care to protect the integrity of our grading scale and our students’ grade point averages. We want students to take AP courses for the additional challenge, not as a way to boost GPAs. College admissions teams have repeatedly confirmed the notion that students are measured within the context of their own schools.
Grade Point Average
Your grade point average is calculated on a 4.0 scale. The end-of-course average (i.e., the mean of all three terms for year-long courses) is translated to a letter grade, which is then assigned a grade point:
History 87 82 91 = 87/ B+ = 3.3/4.0
- Core classes are factored in as one credit; electives are factored in as .25 credits.
- Service learning is graded on a scale of 0-4 and not factored into the GPA.
- Transfer courses or independent studies receive a pass/fail designation and are not factored into the GPA.
Latin Scholar Designations Given to Graduating Seniors*
Summa Cum Laude - GPA of 3.95 and above
Magna Cum Laude - GPA of 3.75 and above
Cum Laude - GPA of 3.5 and above
*Students must attend Woodlawn for at least their junior and senior years to earn a Latin honor.
*Students must take at least 3 AP classes to earn a Latin honor.
Transfer courses appear as a credit on the transcript and do not factor into the GPA. Transfer credits will be awarded at the discretion of the Upper School Head.