Program of Studies » Overview


The primary educational goal of the South Allegheny School District is to provide a quality educational opportunity for all children.  This shall be accomplished with the establishment of behavioral objectives to enhance and strengthen this goal and to define proper forms of evaluation to maintain the goal.
A successful school system is characterized by performance and results determined by personal evaluation.  An understanding and appreciation of everyone’s assigned duties should accomplish the desired goal and practical objectives of our system.  In order to accomplish a goal of quality education, we must provide the interest and educational opportunities necessary to meet the challenge of a most critical society.  The prescribed goal with fair and consistent evaluation must be completed within the economic situations of our communities.
This program of studies has been prepared to meet the diversified needs, aptitudes and interests of the middle and senior high students of the South Allegheny School District. As a matter of policy, all courses are open to both males and females.  It should also be noted that in the area of elective courses, a minimum of fifteen students must register for a course before that course will be scheduled. Parents are invited to consult with the counselor concerning an individual’s particular choice of courses.  Programs should be planned and selected in view of the individual’s future career plans.
Graduation Information
Minimum Requirements
Graduation is based on the subjects completed in grades nine through twelve, and students are responsible for meeting the minimum requirements.  Students and parents will be assisted by their guidance counselor and teachers to develop an appropriate and challenging program of study.
Minimum Credits for Graduation
English 4.00
Social Science 3.00
Science 3.50
Mathematics 3.00
Physical Education 1.00
Health 0.25
Arts and/or Humanities 2.00
Electives 6.00
TOTAL 22.75

Graduation is dependent upon distribution of required credits, total number of credits, State Assessment Proficiency, and completion of the graduation project.
Grading Scale
South Allegheny Middle/High School (Approved by the Board of School Directors):
A 90%-100%
B 80%-89%
C 70%-79%
D 60%-69%
E 0%-59%
I Incomplete work (becomes an "E" if not made up within 14 total days)
Steel Center Grading Scale:
A 93%-100%
B 85%-92%
C 77%-84%
D 70%-76%
F 0%-69%
Class Rank 
South Allegheny High School uses an unweighted and weighted quality point average formula to determine honors. Students will receive a cumulative unweighted and weighted quality point average (QPA) that will be reflected on student transcripts. Unweighted QPA is determined by dividing the total quality points by the total eligible credit hours. Quality points are numerical values assigned to grades (A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, E = 0). Weighted QPA is calculated using an added value for Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors courses.  The QPA is calculated by AP courses receiving additional weight by adding one (1) quality point to the grade achieved by the student, (e.g. A=5.0, B=4.0, C=3.0, D=2.0, E=0.0). Honors courses receive additional weight by adding one-half (.5) quality point to the grade achieved by the student (e.g. A=4.5, B=3.5, C=2.5, D=1.5, E=0.0).
Class rank will be made available for scholarship applications and on student transcripts. Class rank will be determined using the weighted QPA and by limiting the calculations of quality point averages (QPAs) to two (2) decimal places.
The new graduation honors procedure will eliminate the titles of valedictorian and salutatorian. A student who obtains 17.25 credits during his/her tenure will be considered a senior and will be eligible for graduation honors.  
South Allegheny graduates will be recognized for their academic achievement as follows:
  • Cum Laude: weighted cumulative QPA 3.2 to 3.74 (blue honor cord)
  • Magna Cum Laude: weighted cumulative QPA 3.75 to 4.24 (gold honor cord)
  • Summa Cum Laude: weighted cumulative QPA 4.25 and higher (blue and gold honor cord)
All graduates earning a QPA of 4.0 or higher will be recognized by a Certificate of Distinction.
Grade Non-Weighted Honors Advanced Placement
A 4 4.5 5
B 3 3.5 4
C 2 2.5 3
D 1 1 1
E 0 0 0
Personal Requirements
Listed below are the graduation requirements at South Allegheny High School:
  1. All subjects taken must be passed, including physical education and health. Any failure must be cleared from the academic records. 
  2. Each student must take final exams scheduled regardless of previous grades for the year. 
  3. Any debts incurred as a student at South Allegheny must be paid in full.
  4. Each student must demonstrate citizenship and responsibility at all times. 
  5. Any student guilty of excessive absence may be retained for the year. 
  6. Each student must complete a Graduation Project by the end of the first semester of the senior year. 
  7. Each student must be proficient on all State or Local Exams.
Course Request Change/Withdrawal from Class
Students requesting a schedule change to drop/add courses should communicate with the appropriate guidance counselor, either in person or through email.  The counselor will evaluate the request based on the following:
  1. Students will only be allowed to drop classes within 10 days after the first day of school and within 5 days after the first day of the 3rd nine weeks without penalty.  The course will be removed from that student’s schedule without any record of it being on the student’s transcript. 
  2. All students must carry 5.75 credits or above per year, unless approved by the Principal.   Every dropped class will be replaced with another class. A student cannot drop a class and take a study hall if he/she has less than 5.75 credits on his/her current schedule unless approved by the Principal.
The retention policy for students in grades 9 – 12 is revised to reflect the following:
  1. Once a student has successfully completed a course, this credit will count towards the required graduation total. 
  2. The courses failed will have to be satisfactorily completed in an accredited program. 
  3. The remediation course completed will be averaged in with the failing grade towards the grade point average.
Credit Deficiencies
A credit deficiency, which occurs through a subject failure, may be resolved by repeating the course the following year or by attending an accredited summer school.  Students who have accumulated credit deficiencies will be notified of the deficiencies at the end of the year.  It is the responsibility of the student to reschedule credit deficiencies.
Senior students who fail a required course or who lack sufficient credits for graduation may attend an accredited program or return to South Allegheny High School as a full time student the following semester. 
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency -
Name Phone Email
Mr. Chad Smith (412) 675-3070 ext. 1205 [email protected]
Mrs. Gina LaRose (412) 675-3070 ext. 1206 [email protected]

South Allegheny School District
District Mission Statement:  Inspire and empower our students to succeed today and flourish tomorrow.
Administration will attempt to include every course in the schedule that is listed in this booklet.  However, if the demand for a course exceeds available space or the demand is too limited, students may be asked to make an alternate choice.
Course Difficulty Rating
Courses have been assigned a value so that the level of difficulty of a given course will be clearly understood by parents and students.  Most of the courses list a range of one or two levels of difficulty.   Counselors are required to sign the course selection of their students on the course selection form.  This process will help to ensure that the student has selected the appropriate academic level in order to meet with success. 
Level 1: Academic This level focuses on basic skills and develops an educational foundation by mastering fundamental concepts.  Continue to develop and enhance basic skills by completing moderately complex tasks to prepare students for post-secondary training or work force.
Level 2: Honors This level focuses on application of concepts learned and the development of higher level thinking skills. Concentrate on critical-thinking, writing and research skills at an accelerated pace.  These courses are recommended for students who are capable of independent work and are preparing for post secondary education.
Level 3: Advanced Placement (A.P. Exam) This level focuses on college-level studies based on the College Board Advanced Placement program which recommends that all students should select these courses if they “are willing to accept the challenge of a rigorous academic curriculum.”  These courses emphasize level 2 skills and include an additional workload which sets these courses apart from regular high school courses in the same subject.  Students can earn college credit based on the AP exam. Teacher recommendation based on evaluation of student work is needed.  
Level 4: Vocational Steel Center Vocational Technical School produces students who contribute to the larger community by learning how to learn fundamental academic skills, by having self-discipline, by embracing the work ethic, and by possessing a craft which will provide employment in the job market.  Attendance at Steel Center does not guarantee admission to most colleges and universities.