High School

Grades 9 - 12

American High School Diploma

The American High School Diploma is awarded to students who successfully complete their high school education at Pinewood. Students are required to complete a minimum of 22 credits in high school, Grades 9-12, in order to obtain the American Diploma. The strong majority of Pinewood students graduate with more than the minimum credit requirement.

Graduation requirements for all options are consistent with the goals of the school, the requirements for admission to higher education institutions, and the Carnegie Unit system. Pinewood grants its diploma only to students who have successfully completed all graduation requirements. The GPA is calculated on a 5.0 scale for AP and IBDP courses and a 4.0 scale for all other courses as follows:


Transfer students have their official transcripts reviewed for credit approvals. A minimum of 10 credits for students transferring to Pinewood in Grade 11 and 5 credits for students transferring to Pinewood in Grade 12 must be earned.

The Advanced Placement® Program

The Advanced Placement (AP) Program is recognized and respected worldwide for the academic rigor of its curricula and high standards of its assessments; it is a system widely embraced by both American and European universities to assess and acknowledge students’ academic proficiency.

The AP Program helps students connect with university opportunities globally. It consists of university-level courses taken in high school, with its end-of-course assessment being externally developed and scored by university faculty and experienced AP teachers.

The main advantage of the AP Program is that it helps students stand out on university applications. All AP Exam scores show colleges that the students are serious about their education, willing to take on a challenge, and have completed college-level work already in high school. By taking these courses, students can also gain a deeper understanding of subjects they are passionate about and challenge themselves academically.

AP classes are more challenging and stimulating than regular ones; they take more time and require more work. Students must expect an increased reading load and longer or more frequent writing assignments in most of these classes. AP courses require energetic, involved, and motivated students. 

The content of an AP course is more sophisticated than that in a typical high school course because students are preparing for AP exams and college courses. Students should practice analyzing content, drawing comparisons, and reasoning through problems. They must be able to read perceptively and independently. Additionally, students need to be proficient in writing clear, concise essays. Students who are not skilled in these areas must be even more highly motivated to make up for deficiencies, at the same time that they are taking more rigorous courses. The keys to success are motivation, self-discipline, and academic preparation.  

The AP exams are given every year in May. Scores are released in July. They range from 1 (no recommendation) to 5 (extremely qualified). Each college determines the scores to be accepted for credit, and most will consider a score of at least 3. This table shows the recommendation that each AP score offers about how qualified you are to receive college credit and placement if you earn that score. It also shows the equivalent college course grade for each score.

The AP Capstone Diploma, offered by the College Board, is a program that aims to provide students with a unique and challenging educational experience, fostering skills that are highly valuable in college and future careers. It emphasizes inquiry, research, collaboration, and communication, preparing students for the rigors of higher education and beyond. It consists of two mandatory courses: AP Seminar and AP Research.

To earn the AP Capstone Diploma, students must successfully complete both AP Seminar and AP Research, as well as four additional AP courses of their choosing.

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher on the AP Seminar and AP Research exams, as well as on four additional AP exams, receive the AP Capstone Diploma.

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher on the AP Seminar and AP Research exams but do not complete the additional AP courses receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.

AP Seminar is an interdisciplinary class focusing on critical thinking and research skills. Students engage with various texts to explore complex topics from multiple perspectives. The course includes team projects and presentations, where students collaborate to analyze specific issues and communicate their findings. Additionally, students complete an individual written argument, showcasing their ability to construct well-reasoned arguments supported by evidence. The culmination involves an end-of-course exam assessing their understanding of the covered skills and content. 

AP Research builds on the foundation established in AP Seminar. It centers around a year-long independent research project, allowing students to delve deeply into a topic of their choosing. The culmination is an academic thesis (4000-5000 words) that outlines the research question, methodology, findings, and conclusions. In addition to the written component, students are required to present and defend their research to peers and evaluators, honing their communication skills. Emphasizing critical inquiry, AP Research simulates a college-level research experience and prepares students for academic challenges in higher education. Scores, ranging from 1 to 5, are based on the quality of the thesis, the presentation and defense, and a written exam. 

Why Choose AP?

 In 2023 alone, AP exams were taken by 2,869,418 students in 23,071 secondary schools in the United States and abroad. The number of students outside the U.S. taking AP has grown 85% since 2013, while the number of exams taken has more than doubled (+103%).

In addition to almost all universities in the U.S. and Canada, over 4,000 universities in more than 60 countries use AP Exam scores for admissions, course credits, and/or advanced placement.

Research shows that AP students are more likely to succeed in college: Students who earned a 3 or higher on an AP Exam earned higher first-year and fourth-year GPAs in college than non-AP students of similar abilities and backgrounds. 

AP courses are designed as introductory-level university experiences, based on a learner-centric, rigorous methodology.

AP courses allow the flexibility to integrate with the American High School Diploma and standards.

What AP Stands For

Advanced Placement (AP) principles aim to uphold teachers’ expertise, ensure comprehension of required course content, and provide students with academic challenges while allowing independent thinking. Key points include:

AP emphasizes clear expectations, publicly sharing course frameworks and sample assessments to prevent confusion.

AP courses foster independent thinking through an unwavering focus on evidence and the scientific method.

AP respects intellectual freedom, removing the AP designation if a school bans required topics, ensuring inclusion in the AP Course Ledger for colleges and universities.

AP promotes analysis of diverse perspectives, with no points awarded for agreement. Students aren’t required to feel a certain way; instead, courses develop skills in source assessment and independent thinking.

AP encourages an open-minded approach to diverse histories and cultures, grounded in primary sources for student evaluation.

AP classrooms foster diversity, respect, and a culture of respectful debate, discouraging personal attacks.

Enrollment in AP courses is a voluntary choice for parents and students. Course descriptions, crafted by expert committees, are available online. The American Council on Education validates courses, with AP scores widely recognized for college credits.

AP Exam Only Sections

Pinewood also administers AP Exams to students who are not enrolled in a course but fall into the following categories: independent/self-study students, students who attend another school, homeschooled students, and virtual school students. 

Based on student interest, the AP Exam Only sections include but are not limited to courses regularly offered at Pinewood, as well as those of AP French Language and Culture and AP Spanish Language and Culture. AP Exam Only sections carry additional fees.


All Pinewood graduates earn an American High School Diploma accredited by Middle States Association for all of the program options chosen below.

Programs of Study Options

The school offers high school programs of studies designed to prepare students for university matriculation. We offer four rigorous options for our students to pursue:

  • American High School Diploma
  • Greek Diploma Equivalency
  • AP Capstone Diploma
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) PR Diploma Program
Click here to read more about our I.B. Diploma program. Learn more about these options and the school’s graduation requirements in our Program of Studies.

Click here for our high school profile.

Students Must Obtain At Least 4 Credits By The End Of Grade 9 To Advance Into Grade 10.

Students Must Obtain At Least 9 Credits By The End Of Grade 10 To Advance Into Grade 11.

Students Must Obtain At Least 15 Credits By The End Of Grade 11 To Advance Into Grade 12.

Final grades are determined through a combination of the scores earned in both summative assessments and cumulative exams. Students will have passed a course and receive credit for the class if they earn any final grade above an F (59 and below).

For IB courses, a minimum grade of 3 is required for receiving credit for HL courses and a minimum grade of 4 is required for receiving credit for SL courses. ToK requires a minimum grade of D for receiving credit.

Only final grades, not progress report marks or semester scores, are used to calculate a student’s GPA for the year on the transcript.

Requirements for graduation are consistent with the goals of the school, the requirements for admission to higher education institutions, and based on the Carnegie Unit system. Pinewood grants its diploma only to students who have successfully completed all graduation requirements.

Students are required to attend 8 semesters in high school as well as complete a minimum of 22 credits in order to obtain a diploma from Pinewood. The strong majority of Pinewood students graduate with more than the minimum credit requirement.

Transfer students will have their official transcripts reviewed for credit approvals. A minimum of 10 credits for students transferring to Pinewood in Grade 11 and 5 credits for students transferring to Pinewood in Grade 12 must be earned from Pinewood.

The Commencement Ceremony, which is an important feature in american schools, is held for the graduating seniors (Grade 12) at the end of each academic year. On this occasion, the two top-ranking seniors deliver salutatorian and valedictorian addresses on behalf of their classmates, and a guest speaker is invited to address the graduating class. The event is the highlight of a secondary student’s career at Pinewood, and the entire Pinewood community is invited to attend.

If a student has not completed all graduation requirements at the time of the commencement ceremony, the student may participate in the ceremony if an acceptable, timely plan for obtaining the needed credits has been approved beforehand. Under no circumstances will a student be able to receive a Pinewood Diploma if graduation requirements have not been full met.

Greek Diploma Equivalency

The Greek Diploma Equivalency is intended for students who want to receive an equivalency to the Greek Apolytirion.

This requires Greek Language & Literature and Greek History courses each year of high school following the Greek Ministry of Education curriculum. Upon successful completion of the program, students receive a certificate of attendance and a grade transcript which they submit along with their American High School Diploma to the relevant office of the Greek Ministry of Education, which issues the equivalency to the Greek Apolytirion.


In addition to school grades, the HAL (Habits & Attitudes to Learning) rubric identifies many of the dispositions and approaches to learning that students need to develop if they are to cultivate a growth mindset and become independent lifelong learners. It is used by teachers for assigning a habits and attitudes to learning (from Grades 1-7). Students can also use the rubric to self-assess or set personal growth goals.


Click here to learn more about the HAL rubric.

Academic Probation is a temporary status incurred by a student based on their most recent progress report and/or report card. A student will be placed on academic probation if they are not in good academic standing at the end of the quarter or year. Reasons may include the following:

  • The student is currently failing 1 or more classes.
  • The student is at risk of not meeting promotion/graduation criteria.

Parents and students will be informed for this incurred status in an official email from the Secondary Principal or IB DP Coordinator. A meeting will take place between the student and the Secondary Principal or IB DP Coordinator in order to provide guidance to the student for ways of increasing their success in school. This may include suggestions for additional support, supervised study for dormitory students, changes in courses, and/or reorganization of athletic, social, or other extracurricular schedules.

If at the end of the next quarter a student has returned to good academic standing, they will be removed from Academic Probation.

A list of students on academic probation is compiled after each term and shared with teachers in order to more closely follow each student’s progress and provide extra support.

In order to use this option, the student must have written pre-approval by the Secondary Principal and/or IB Coordinator. Only courses offered by schools fully accredited from a recognized accrediting agency in the United States will be allowed. All costs associated with this option are the responsibility of the student. Students must earn passing marks in the summer school course to receive the necessary credit.

Upon receipt of the official transcript from the summer school indicating a passing mark, the student’s transcript will be adjusted accordingly to indicate that summer credit is utilized for a certain class.

Summer school courses must be completed at least 2 weeks before the first day of school in order to count towards advancement to the next grade level.



New students will need to take an online English Placement test. The test is a 30 minute, multiple choice test.
All prospective students for Grades 7-12 are required to demonstrate a specific level of English language proficiency on the scale of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), as determined by the Admissions Test.
Upon admission to Pinewood, students are placed in their respective English Language and Literature groups in accordance with their score in the school’s paper-based Placement Test, which is administered no later than the second day of classes at Pinewood.