Curriculum and Instruction / Specialty Programs
  • Specialty Programs Update

    Specialty Programs Update

    Updated: August 27, 2020: The Specialty Programs Admissions committee is in the process of determining the criteria for entrance into High School Specialty programs (for school year 2021-2022) that traditionally use the PSAT for criteria. Information regarding the admissions and application process will be available in October and posted on this website.

    If there are any questions, please contact the program coordinator or Dr. Kia McDaniel at pgcps.teachandlearn@pgcps.org.

     

    High School Specialty Programs: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 2020 

    1. What are the criteria used to determine student admittance into the International Baccalaureate Program?

    Students are admitted into the International Baccalaureate program using the following criteria:

    • Completed application, which includes:
      • Explanation of extracurricular activities
      • Explanation of student service activities
      • Personal statement on one student service activity
      • Essay
    • Submission of student grades in core content courses, including World Languages
    • Three teacher recommendations

    1. What are the criteria used to determine student admittance into the P-TECH Program?

    Students are admitted into P-TECH using the following criteria:

    • Completed application, which includes:
      • Two teacher recommendations
      • A statement of career interest
    • Participation in a P-TECH interview
    • Student socio-economic status is considered as 50% of the student population must receive Free and Reduced Meals
    • Eligible students are entered into a lottery for final selection

    1. What are the criteria used to determine student admittance into the 3D Scholars Program?

    Students are admitted into the 3D Scholars program using the following criteria:

    • Completed application, which includes:
      • Two teacher recommendations
      • Essay
    • PSAT 8/9 score
    • GPA of at least 2.5 in core content courses
    • Eligible students are entered into a lottery for final selection
    1. What are the criteria used to determine student admittance into the Creative and Performing Arts program?

    Students are admitted into the Creative and Performing Arts using the following criteria:

    • Completed online application, which includes:
      • Explanation of previous artistic experience
      • Essay
      • Letters of Recommendation
    • GPA of at least 2.5 in core content courses
    • Audition in the chosen discipline

    1. What are the criteria used to determine student admittance into the Career and Technical Education Programs.

      Students interested in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program must complete an application for selection to participate in Prince George’s County Public Schools CTE two, three, or four year programs.  Some programs are within boundary, however there may be opportunities for students to participate in programs outside their boundary school.

      CTE enrollment criteria include: 
    • A review of previous year MCAP data
    • A minimum of 2.0 grade point average. 
    • Prerequisite courses or specific requirements based on the license or certification pursued

     

    1. What are the criteria used to determine student admittance into the Academy of Health Sciences,  Health Sciences, and Teacher Preparation @ PGCC Program?

                      Students are admitted to the aforementioned programs using the criteria below:

    • Completed application
    • Consideration of the physical location of residence in Prince George’s County; there is a 50% split between students admitted from the northern and southern portions of the county.
    • Student socio-economic status is considered as 50% of the student population must receive Free and Reduced Meals and/or be a first-generation college student (neither parent holds a Bachelor's degree)
    • Academic grades and the PSAT 8/9 test scores (highest possible score of 1440) are used in the following equation to determine a composite score out of 2880;

    PSAT 8/9 Verbal Score + PSAT 8/9 Math Score + [Core Content GPA (360)]

    Maximum Possible Score = 2880

    1. Since there is no application required, what is the criteria used to determine student admittance into the Aerospace Engineering  and Aviation Technology (AEAT) Program and the Science and Technology (S/T) Program?

          Admission requirements include:

    • Prior year grades in core classes (English, Math, Science, Social Studies) from all four quarters/all trimesters, and first quarter/trimester grades in core classes from the current year are used to determine a Core Content GPA.
    • PSAT 8/9 test scores-the combined total score from the Evidence Based Reading and Math sections of the test.
    • Using the above criteria, AEAT and each S&T coordinator will select students to fill the number of available seats. Each program has a maximum number of students to be admitted each academic year.
    1. Why are PSAT 8/9 scores used for admission to  some High School Specialty Programs?
      • The PSAT 8/9 is the first in the suite of College Board assessments that students will take throughout high school. This assessment is used as part of eligibility to High School Specialty Programs because the PSAT 8/9 measures the skills and knowledge (at the level of content and skill appropriate for eighth grades) that research shows are the most important for success in college and career.
      • For further information, visit the College Board site at https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-8-9.
      • It is recommended that students create a College Board account to view their test scores online.
    1. How is core content grade point average calculated for high school specialty programs that only require these courses?
      • The student GPA is calculated from grades in the core classes of English, Math,

                Science, and Social Studies.

    • Grades are taken from all four quarters or trimesters of the prior academic year, and from the first quarter or trimester of the current year.
    • Final grades and grades from elective courses are not used in the calculation.

    1. How are the core Content GPA and PSAT 8/9 scores used to calculate a student’s overall composite score to determine student admittance into the Aerospace Engineering  and Aviation Technology (AEAT) Program and the Science and Technology (S/T) Program?
    • Academic grades and the PSAT 8/9 test scores (highest possible score of 1440) are used in the following equation to determine a composite score out of 2880;

    PSAT 8/9 Verbal Score + PSAT 8/9 Math Score + [Core Content GPA (360)]

    Maximum Possible Score = 2880

    1. How are student grades from private schools converted to a core content GPA?
      • Student grades will be converted using the PGCPS Grading Policy.

                            A: 90-100    B: 89-80    C: 79-70    D: 69-60    E: 59 and below

               For example, a student who earned a grade of 89.6% at a private school falls in the category of A according to the private school’s grading scale. However, an 89% according to the PGCPS Grading Policy falls under a letter grade of B.  The PGCPS Grading Policy will supersede grading policies from private or home schools. There will be no exceptions to this rule.

    • In the evaluation process for high school specialty programs, grades are not weighted. This includes honors and accelerated academic courses.
    1.  How can students prepare for the PSAT 8/9?
      • The PSAT 8/9 (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) is designed to measure the ability to understand and process the elements of reading, writing, and mathematics, and to reflect the work students are doing in the classroom.
      • The PSAT 8/9 has two main categories, Evidence Based Reading and Writing and Math.
      • Khan Academy has partnered with College Board to make test practice easy and personal. Visit www.khanacademy.org/sat and set up an account for your child to access practice activities.  Students should use a non-PGCPS email account to sign up.

    1.   What programs consider my child’s PSAT 8/9 score as a part of their application?
    • The PSAT 8/9 is factored into eligibility for all programs except International Baccalaureate, Visual and Performing Arts and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programs.

    1.    How does my child’s PSAT 8/9 score impact their eligibility for the S/T and AEAT programs?
    • The PSAT 8/9 score is 50% of the composite score used to determine program eligibility. Students who take the PSAT 8/9 see grade-level benchmarks on their score reports. Grade-level benchmarks indicate whether students are on track for college and career readiness. They are based on expected student growth toward SAT benchmarks at each grade. Students who score within the green category for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math have higher chances of eligibility for Specialty Programs. Please see the table below for PSAT 8/9 benchmarks determined by the College Board:

    8th Grade Section Score Ranges

    120–720 Point Scale

     

    Red

    Yellow

    Green

    Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

    120-360

    370-380

    390-720

    Math

    120-400

    410-420

    430-720

     

    9th Grade Section Score Ranges

    120–720 Point Scale

     

    Red

    Yellow

    Green

    Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

    120-380

    390-400

    410-720

    Math

    120-420

    430-440

    450-720


    1. Are siblings guaranteed acceptance/admission into high school specialty  programs? The Aerospace Engineering and Aviation
       Technology Programs?
    • No, Prince George’s County Public Schools does not offer sibling priority to any high school specialty programs.
    1.    How can I determine which programs and locations are available for my child for high school?
    • Use the following web address: http://www1.pgcps.org/schools/. Click on School Finder, type in your street name, and click submit.  Examine the results to identify the high school specialty programs available for your address.  Please make sure you are using the address listed in SchoolMax to determine your child’s program location.   

     How and when will I receive notification about entrance into the High School Specialty Programs?

    • Parents are notified of their student’s eligibility for High School Specialty programs via written communication from PGCPS by March 20, 2020.
    • Written communication will be sent to the address listed in SchoolMax or on the application for non-PGCPS students.
    1. If my child is not granted admission into a high school specialty program as a 9th grader, will there be another opportunity for my child to apply?
      • Several programs accept students for a limited number of spots as tenth graders: for example, Aerospace Engineering and Aviation Technology (AEAT), International Baccalaureate, Science and Technology and Visual and Performing Arts.
    1.  Can my child be accepted into more than one program?
      • Yes, students may be eligible for admission into one or more programs, but may only accept one offer of admission. 
    1. How many students are eligible for each program?
      • The chart below shows the number of seats available for each program. After the first set of students accept or decline their seat, each program then pulls from the waitlist.

    9th grade seats offered

    10th grade seats offered

    3D Scholars: Charles Flowers High School

    50

    n/a

    Academy of Health Sciences at PGCC: Health Sciences

    100

    n/a

    Academy of Health Sciences at PGCC: Teacher Preparation

    75

    n/a

    Aerospace Engineering and Aviation Technology: DuVal High School

    150

    varies

    Career and Technical Education

    varies

    varies

    International Baccalaureate: 60 seats at each site

    • Central High School
    • Frederick Douglass High School
    • Laurel High School
    • Parkdale High School
    • Suitland High School

    300

    varies

    Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech): Frederick Douglass High School

    60

    n/a

    Science and Technology: Eleanor Roosevelt High School

    250

    varies

    Science and Technology: Charles H. Flowers High School

    150

    varies

    Science and Technology: Oxon Hill High School

    150

    varies

    Visual and Performing Arts: Northwestern High School

    180

    varies

    Visual and Performing Arts: Suitland High School

    200

    varies

    1. What are the next steps after my child receives a letter in the mail or via email the indicates they are on a program waitlist for a High School Specialty program?
      • After receiving a letter of eligibility, complete the online form provided in the acceptance letter for all eligible programs. Attend the Open House(s) for all eligible programs, and register for the program of choice by the registration deadline. Please note that your student’s seat in the program is not secure until after registration has been completed at the high school program of choice. Program seats may be subject to forfeiture if registration is not completed by the assigned date.
    1.   What are the next steps if my child is on a program waiting list?
      • After receiving your letter indicating that your scholar is waitlisted, complete the online form(s) provided in the letter. Attend the Open House(s) for all programs the student is waitlisted for. The Program Coordinator or designee will make contact using the contact information that you provide on the online form if and when space becomes available.
      • As students who have been marked eligible for multiple programs, choose the program they will attend, additional seats may become available. As seats open, coordinators will contact parents or guardians on the waitlist to offer a seat in the program.
    1.   How are cut scores determined for the AEAT and S/T Programs?
      • Cut scores for Aerospace Engineering and Aviation Technology and the Science and Technology programs are determined by the performance of students in the applicant pool, and the number of seats available for the incoming freshman class.
      • To provide a hypothetical example, the following details will show how a cut score is determined:
        • A Science and Technology center is accepting 150 students into the freshman class for the 2019-2020 school year. There are 500 students in the application pool. The highest score for the student in the first space on the list is 2572.80. The student in the 150th spot on the list has a score of 2381.6.  The 150th spot is where the list of accepted students will close.
        • The established cut score for this particular Science and Technology Program center will stand at 2381.6. Another 50 students will be added to the waitlist for this Science and Technology center. The waitlist score will begin at 2381.5, and close with the score of the student in the 50th space down the list.