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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 87-minute periods, called blocks. These Non-House Courses fit into two categories: Earth-Sky Courses and Career Development Courses. Additionally, student can take elective courses, not offered at SES, at their Home High School, which is either AVHS, EHS, EVHS, RHS, based on district boundaries. Students that do not live within the ISD 196 boundaries will be randomly assigned to one of the four high schools. 

Earth-Sky Courses

These courses meet for 87-minutes EVERY OTHER day and each successful trimester earns one credit towards graduation.  They are referred to as Earth-Sky Courses because the school days at SES are designated as Earth Days and Sky Days to help keep track of the every other day schedule. Courses taken in this category include those required for graduation as well as elective courses.

The example schedules show how an SES student's schedule may be laid out with a morning house or with an afternoon house. 

Earth_Sky schedule with AM House
Earth_Sky schedule with PM House

Career Development Courses

These courses meet for 87-minutes EVERY day and are therefore worth two credits per trimester, rather than the single credit earned by an Earth-Sky course. These courses are open to students at SES and throughout district 196. At SES we host Career Development Courses in the areas of Animal Sciences, Forensic Science, Medical and Health Care: Certified Nursing Assistant, and Music Production.

District 196 Career Development Program

The example schedules show how an SES student's schedule may be laid out when enrolled in a Career Development Course.

Earth_Sky schedule with PM career development and AM house
Earth_Sky Schedule with AM career development course and afternoon house

Home High School Courses

These courses meet for 45-50 minutes EVERY day at one of the four 9-12 district high schools - AVHS, EHS, EVHS, RHS - and each successful trimester earns one credit towards graduation. 

Students choosing to take one of these courses - such as band, choir, or Japanese - are responsible for providing their own transportation to the other high school during the school day to attend the class. They will be given a short study hall and drive time in their schedule and we will do our best to help create student carpools for those needing transportation. 

Earth-Sky schedule with morning house and a home high school class
Earth-Sky Schedule with a first hour home high school class and afternoon house

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 AP 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/AP Physics 1
  • Physics Foundations

Physical Education

To fulfill graduation requirements, all students in District 196 must earn four (4) trimester credits in Physical Education, one (1) trimester credit in Safety Education, and two (2) trimester credits in Health. Students at SES can earn Physical Education credits through a variety of Intensive Theme courses and most 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 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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