Laurel Curriculum

On this page: Class Scheduling, Earning Units, Student Folders, and Self-Attendance/Blogging.

Class Scheduling

A typical Laurel student’s schedule contains a mix of classes between Viroqua High School and Laurel High School.  Students sign up for the Viroqua classes before the previous school year ends (for example, students fill out forms in January 2019 for the 2019-2020 school year; new students sign up for classes as soon as they are accepted).  Those schedules are available about two weeks before school starts.

Laurel classes are scheduled during the first two days of school.  While this is hard to understand in theory, it does work.  It is necessary to know when students are here and which classes they want when in order to complete the Laurel schedule.  Every effort is made to make sure each student is able to have the classes he/she needs and wants.

Earning Units

New Laurel students may take a maximum of four units for their first semester of attendance at Laurel.

If a student has successfully competed previous classes, above minimum requirements, they may submit a written petition to take up to one additional unit.

No student may earn more than five total units in any semester. Any credit earned outside of Laurel (VHS credit) counts towards the total maximum.

Passing a class at a minimum performance level (or earning a “No Pass”) in any class during the previous semester will disqualify a student from petitioning for an extra half or whole unit for the next semester.

Pass/Fail Policy:

Laurel works on a “pass/fail” basis and therefore students are not given a grade point average, a class rank, nor are they eligible to earn grade-based awards, i.e.: National Honor Society. The lead teacher has a very close relationship with each student and would be able and happy to provide information on each student’s performance. A Laurel student earns “units” rather than credits towards his/her graduation. Units are the equivalent of credits earned in a traditional high school.

Pass:  A student may choose at which level he/she wishes to work towards picking standards and requirements for passing a class; Low Pass (equivalent of C or C-) or High Pass (equivalent of B or better).  This decision will be detailed in paperwork filled out for each Laurel class, signed by the student, their parent(s), and the teacher involved with the class, and kept in his/her folder at Laurel. (See Folders for more information.) If all requirements are completed, the student will pass the class.

No Pass:  Students who do not meet the “Low Pass” standards for projects and the minimum standards of attendance/self attendance do not pass the class or receive the unit for that semester’s class. Students have up to three weeks after semester’s end to complete these standards unless granted an extension for extenuating circumstances.

Student Folders

For every Laurel class, the student must pick at which level he/she strives to work towards—Low Pass or High Pass, defining standards and requirements for passing.  This decision will be detailed in paperwork filled out for each Laurel class, signed by the student, his/her parent(s), and the teacher facilitating the class, and kept in his/her completed folder at Laurel.

Low Pass:

Low Pass standards must be clearly and specifically defined in writing before any student begins a class. Low Pass may be self-defined by the student in the first three weeks of the semester, or defined by the facilitator of a particular class. A Low Pass will appear as a Pass on an official Laurel transcript and is understood to be the equivalent of a C/C-.

High Pass:

High Pass is defined as work and responsibilities undertaken by the student that exceed Low Pass standards for a given class. The qualifications and materials for High Pass are determined by the student (or defined by a teacher) and agreed to by his/her parents and Laurel staff, but must include a student evaluation of his/her own work and the corroboration of Laurel staff. A High Pass will appear as a “Pass” on an official Laurel transcript and is understood to be the equivalent of an A or B.


Each student is responsible for maintaining an accessible file of individual work. Each file should include the following for Low and High Pass:

  1.  Clearly defined standards for every Laurel class per semester, stating whether the student will earn a Low or High Pass; updated to reflect any changes during the course of the semester
  1.  ALL semester material that demonstrates completion of any and all standards. Any material (or copy of material) not stored in the class file cannot/will not be counted towards the class.
  1.  The student accounts for his/her own self-attendance (blogging) percentages so that Laurel staff may readily access this information.
  1.  A three-part evaluation of the student’s work in each class. This evaluation will include:
  • Planning/Expectation (first three weeks) – Student will report, in writing, on how he/she envisions his/her semester’s work will proceed and how he/she will meet the “Pass” standards. A student working towards a High Pass will detail what work and responsibilities he/she plans to undertake to surpass these standards. This report will be filed in each student’s folder.
  • Quarter Assessment – Student will assess, in writing, his/her progress and accomplishments at the end of the quarter (halfway mark of the semester). Student must assess both his/her strengths and weaknesses; how he/she has met the goals/expectations for the class or how the goals/expectations have changed; and what he/she plans to accomplish in the second half of the semester. This report is to be completed and filed with the student’s Planning/Expectation evaluation.
  • Final/Semester Assessment– Student will assess his/her progress and accomplishments within three weeks of the of the semester’s end. Student must assess both his/her strengths and weaknesses; how he/she has met the goals/expectations for the class or how the goals/expectations changed; and what he/she would have done differently from the beginning. Final Assessment must explicitly state that the student has earned a High Pass if a High Pass is to be given.

A student may ask a teacher to evaluate his/her work for a High Pass based on the student’s work in class or in the class file (or both). A student must have completed the file and self-evaluations before asking the facilitator. The facilitator evaluation will explicitly state that the student has earned a High Pass OR will include specific suggestions the student needs to accomplish to earn a High Pass.

Ways to earn High Pass:

  1.  Specialization is planning, scheduling, and executing projects or study relating, in some way, to the subject the student is studying. Students are encouraged to follow their interests within the subject material (for example: specializing in engineering study while studying geometry; studying perspective in drawing) or, conversely, bringing something of interest to the subject material (creating art projects based on geometric designs; defining how mathematics relates to music). Specialization material should be included in the student class file.

To qualify as a specialization students should:

Plan and schedule what they hope to accomplish and are encouraged to invite other students to participate.

Define how their specialization project is inter-related to their class.

Evaluate how their project helped their educational experience.

Present their project to the class or school.

  1.  Excellent self-attendance by utilizing the blog as a tool to fully communicate the learning process and articulating an evolving personal involvement in this process.
  1.  Excellent class participation through attendance, preparation, participation, and involvement in class activities, assignments, and discussions.
  1.  Classroom leadership demonstrated through preparing and leading classroom/school activities, leading classroom discussions, etc.
  1.  Tutoring class/individuals, such as assisting other students in their study (mentoring, tutoring, peer editing).
  1.  Specific student initiatives– Any activity associated with a student’s learning experience that brings enrichment to the class/school learning environment.

Self Attendance/Blogging

Students are required to blog 80% of their class time (three of four days) -making an individual attendance record of their Laurel class time on the school blog detailing how they utilized the block time- for every class block taken at Laurel as a condition of passing the class.

Self attendance must be done daily for EACH Laurel study block (independent OR facilitated study). Self attendance not completed on the day of the class block will not count towards the minimum percentages needed to earn Laurel credit.

Self attendance is recorded on the student’s personal blog page. This page is viewable only by the student, his/her parent(s), and Laurel staff.

A student is responsible for self attendance for EVERY day of the academic school year (every day Viroqua High School holds classes during the year). If a student is not at school (illness, vacation, appointment, etc.), he or she is still responsible for self attendance for each of their Laurel study blocks.

Students who, during the semester, fall below 80% self attendance for an independent class or a facilitated class, will be given a warning. Students are allowed two warnings per semester. If a student falls below 80% self attendance for an independent class or a facilitated class a third time during a semester, this student will not pass that class in that semester.

Students are not responsible for self attendance reports for class blocks taken at Viroqua High School.

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