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Non-House Courses

In addition to our Thematic Studies (House) Course, students at SES also take a variety of core and elective courses to round out their learning and graduation requirements. Many of these Non-House Courses are year long classes. We value relationships at SES and, in almost all cases, students have the same teacher and student cohort in each of their non-house courses for the year. This allows students and teachers to get to know one another in a deep and meaningful way to support learning.  

Students spend half their day, every day, in their Thematic Studies course (House), where they earn three credits (language arts, social studies, and environmental studies) through an integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum. The other half of their day is spent participating in two 88-minute periods, called blocks, in non-house courses that meet every other day. The school days are designated as Sky and Earth to help keep track of the every other day schedule. Below are examples of possible student schedules. 

example of student schedule with AM house course
Image of example student schedule with PM House class

Though students have some choice in the non-house courses in which they enroll at SES, there are both district and state requirements that must be considered when registering to ensure progress towards graduation. 

To be eligible for graduation, a student must have earned a total of 66 credits (minimum) in grades 9 through 12. Many students accumulate far more than the minimum number of credits during their high school studies. All students are encouraged to select more than the minimum of required courses in order to take advantage of the broad scope of course offerings.

The School of Environmental Studies is on a trimester system with a four block school day; each trimester is 12 weeks long. For each course taken and passed, students earn 1 credit. For example, if a student in grade 11 takes (and passes) 7 courses each trimester, he/she will have earned 21 credits toward graduation: 7 credits x 3 trimesters = 21 credits earned that year.

Please note that some courses (such as Thematic Studies (House) and Career Development) meet for more than one class period and are worth more than one credit. The number of courses taken each year will depend upon student individual needs and interests. In no instance shall a student be enrolled for fewer than 6 credits each trimester.

District 196 Graduation Requirements


To fulfill graduation requirements, all students in District 196 must earn three years (nine (9) trimester credits) of math during high school This includes a course in Algebra 2 or its equivalent, and an Algebra 1 course by the end of 8th grade. Computer programming and computer lab credits do NOT count toward the mathematics graduation requirement. At SES there are a variety of mathematics course available to fulfill this requirement including: 

  • Algebra 2 (including both Concepts and Honors options)
  • Pre-Calculus (including an Honors option)
  • CAPS (College Algebra, Probability, and Statistics)
  • AP Calculus
  • AP Statistics


To fulfill graduation requirements, all students in District 196 must earn three years (nine (9) trimester credits) of science, including one year of biology; one year of chemistry or physics, and one year of a science elective (typically completed through 9th grade Physical/Earth Science) during high school. Student in District 196 enroll in Biology during their 10th grade year, thus the science requirement remaining during the final two years of high school is to complete one year of chemistry or physics. This requirement can be fulfilled at SES by taking ONE of the following full-year courses:

  • Chemistry/Honors Chemistry
  • Physics/Honors Physics
  • Physics Foundations

Physical Education

To fulfill graduation requirements, all students in District 196 must earn four (4) trimester credits in Physical Education and two (2) trimester credits in Health. Students at SES can earn Physical Education credits through a variety of Intensive Theme courses and ALL Field Studies. Please visit the Intensive Theme page where you can sort all courses to view those that provide a Physical Education credit and those that provide a Wellness credit. 


To fulfill graduation requirements, all students in District 196 must earn one (1) trimester credit in the arts. Students at SES can earn this credit through multiple courses offered within the visual arts content area of non-house courses. Additionally, there are Art and Photography courses offered during intensive theme that will fulfill this requirement. 

Below are all the Non-House Courses Available to SES Students. You may filter by a variety of categories as well as by content area. To see descriptions, please click on individual courses.

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