Grade 8 Parent- SHS Course Selection Information

This letter was sent home via email on 3/26/2018

Parents of Grade 8 Swampscott Middle School Students

Course Selection Information night is this Thursday, March 29th from 6:30PM-715pm. We will discuss everything below including the override process. As grade 9 students, students are able to select one elective and one alternate, the process only takes them about 3 minutes in Aspen.


  1. First, families should look through the program of studies on the SHS website under resources- families. Students in grade 9 have a limited selection of electives.
  2. There are 7 periods available for students to take courses during the school year (quarter, semester, or year long courses).
    1. The grade 9 schedule is automatically filled with 5 Full Year courses- their core course recommendations for Math, English, Science, History, and World Language. Some students receiving special education services will have another full-year course called Task Management. You can view these in the Aspen Portal.
    2. The other two blocks are divided into a combination of full year or semester based courses. Grade 9 students are automatically scheduled for 2-3 of the following graduation requirements:
  • Contemporary Adolescent Issues (Health) a quarter class
  • Foundation for Lifelong Fitness (Physical Education) a semester class that all freshmen take during first semester only
  • Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) a semester class
  • Computer Applications – a semester class
    1. Freshmen typically get one semester elective or two quarter electives. The number of electives increases as students move along at SHS. By senior year you have the option of 2 full year electives or 4 semester electives or a combination of semester, year, and quarter electives.
    2. Students who choose band or chorus will be scheduled for it as a 6th full year class. These two courses run at the same time as they often rehearse together for performances. This will be considered their elective and they will not have to choose any other electives as those will be filled by graduation requirements.
    3. The deadline to choose an elective and a back-up is Friday, April 7. It does not matter if you choose your elective on April 2 or 3 or 7, just that you get it done. All schedules are processed according to year of graduation, not by first come first served


If you cannot make Thursday evening, the presentation will be on our website on the course selection page will be added to this site by Monday, April 2. We will also include instructions on how to select courses in Aspen.

The Override Process/Course Placement Review
We encourage the students to have a conversation with their SMS teacher first.

The grade 8 teachers know what to expect at SHS. They have learned the students’ work habits, skill set, and they think carefully about where students will experience the most success and get the most of out of their education at SHS before they recommend a level. If the student does not agree with the teacher’s course level recommendation, after carefully discussing the implications with parents, students may initiate the placement review process. If students override and are in a class that is too challenging and they cannot keep up with the work, a low grade (sometimes failing) is the result. We cannot guarantee the student can move into another level mid year. It depends on space and schedule limitations.

Students must fill out a course placement form to override a course. This form will be available in the SMS main office and is due in the main office at SMS on or before April 12.