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Course Catalog

Credit Opportunities and Programs Offered at PHS

Advanced Placement (AP) Classes

The Advanced Placement (AP) program allows students the opportunity to engage in college level courses and possibly earn college credit while attending Portland High School.  At the conclusion of the course, students may take the corresponding AP exam in May, on a date set by the College Board. Students who earn a score of three (3) or higher on the AP exam may be eligible for advanced placement or course credits at many colleges and universities in the United States. Any student who is capable of and wishes to take advanced placement courses is permitted to do so. Note, however, that AP courses require students to make a commitment to meeting individual course requirements, which include, but are not limited to, completing summer work, meeting certain prerequisites for enrollment, and devoting considerable homework time to independent reading, writing and research assignments.

The College Board strongly encourages educators to make equitable access a guiding principle for their AP® programs by giving all willing and academically prepared students the opportunity to participate in AP. We encourage the elimination of barriers that restrict access to AP for students from ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented. Schools should make every effort to ensure that their AP classes reflect the diversity of their student population. The College Board also believes that all students should have access to academically challenging course work before they enroll in AP classes, which can prepare them for AP success. It is only through a commitment to equitable preparation and access that true equity and excellence can be achieved.

AP4ME Program

In addition to the AP classes offered at PHS, students have access to the AP4ME Program.  This online program is run by University of Maine at Presque Isle and is designed to expand the AP subject choices for students. Grades in AP4ME classes are recorded and count toward GPA and class rank and are put on the PHS transcript.

Class Mentor

A class mentor is a student who wants to help in a class that they have already successfully taken. Students will consistently attend the class, be actively engaged for entire class, help check for understanding, provide translation if necessary, engage in possible one to one or group work with other students, help the teacher to explain concepts to class, form relationships with students, follow class norms and procedures and contribute to a creative and welcoming environment. Students can receive volunteer hours or internship credit for this. If students are interested, they can fill out this form  or see their counselor.

Dual Enrollment Courses

Students may earn college credit, at a minimum cost, while taking one of the following high school courses:  Honors Statistics, Honors Calculus, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, and Junior Planning. See your school counselor or teacher for more information. In order to receive college credit, students must sign up on:

Early College Programs

Students may take courses outside of PHS and earn credits toward graduation requirements with prior approval. Early college programs allow high school students to engage in college-level academic work at a local college campus, gain valuable college-preparatory experience, and earn college credit while still in high school.  Students are expected to purchase required books and pay non-tuition fees. Prior approval by the Principal is required if college credits are to be applied toward high school graduation. Each program has different academic eligibility requirements. See your school counselor for more information.

College course grades will appear on the student’s transcript as a letter grade and will NOT be calculated in the student’s GPA. 

Participating programs include:

  • courses at Maine’s Public Universities and Community Colleges
  • Early Scholars Program at St. Joseph's College

Independent Study Courses

Portland High School students may take up to four credits of independent study to be counted as elective credit toward graduation.


* An Independent Study Plan must be approved in advance.

* Students must initiate the process by the add-drop period with their school counselor.

* An Independent Study will be posted as a pass/fail grade.

When a student wishes to earn independent study credits, the following procedure must be followed:

Expectations for the student:

  1. The student must be in good academic standing.
  2. The student will come up with a proposal for an Independent Study, present it to a faculty member and get a teacher’s commitment to work as their advisor for the Independent study.
  3. Along with the teacher, the student will complete the Independent Study application that includes a description of goals and objectives as well as how the work will be evaluated.
  4. The application then needs to be signed by the student, parent, teacher, counselor and cluster coordinator. The application then goes to the school counselor.
  5. The Independent Study should represent a minimum of 45 hours of work from the student. The student will keep a log of activities, research done and general reflection. The log will serve to substantiate the 45 hours spent toward the Independent study.
  6. The student will meet with their advisor on a weekly basis at a mutually convenient time.
  7. Students should have no more than two Independent Studies a year.


Internships are outside-of-school learning experiences that students can pursue to dig deeper in a specific interest or passion they have. There are internships available in many different fields and we can work together to find something that best suits your interests!  Interested students should contact Ms. Levinsky, the ELO Coordinator. She can help students find an internship contact and location. Requirements for earning 1 elective pass/fail credit for an internship include working 45 hours total (typically 2-3 hours per week), meeting with a teacher mentor, and a presentation about what you learned and what you did.  Internships are unpaid. Juniors and seniors may be able to receive a $500 stipend for completing an internship for the 23-24 school year only. Questions about the stipend should be directed to Ms. Sinden, PHS’s JMG specialist.

Teacher Aide Program (no credit)

Juniors and Seniors may serve as an aide for a teacher or department. These programs support student learning and enrollment must be approved by the appropriate teacher, cluster coordinator or office staff, guidance counselor and administrator. Students can receive volunteer hours. A student may serve as an aide for only one teacher per semester/year.