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Off Campus Courses (Non PAUSD)

If you are considering whether to take a course off-campus, you have come to the right place! There are a variety of reasons why a student may want to take a course outside of PAUSD. Our hope is that you are looking to take courses off-campus for personal enrichment and not just for a grade on a transcript. Please read through the FAQ below and follow the appropriate steps as outlined. 

Procedural Questions

1. I am interested in taking a course off-campus, what is the procedure? 

  • Whether a student is taking the course for personal enrichment or to be transferred onto the PAUSD transcript, the following procedures must be followed BEFORE a student starts a course: 

    • Determine whether the institution is accredited (WASC or otherwise). For any course taken off-campus, it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the course is taken through an accredited institution and will be accepted by colleges – even if approval is given by the Assistant Principal of Counseling and Student Services.

    • Have a conversation with your Teacher Advisor or School Counselor about your four-year plan. 

2. Once I have completed the above, what do I do next? 

  • Complete our Gunn Off Campus Request Form (This form is for Summer 2022-Spring 2023). Prior approval for summer 2022 off-campus courses will end on June 25, 2022. 

  • This form will generate a notice to your Counselor and Assistant Principal of Counseling for approval. 

  • Follow-up communication will be emailed to you with an explanation of the next steps, as needed. 

  • Please allow for a one week (5 school days) processing time of all requests. 

3. What if I need to get a signature on a specific form from the institution with which I am taking the approved course? 

  • Each institution has its own approval process.  

  • We are able to e-sign forms when sent directly to the AP of Counseling from the institution. 

  • We are unable to give a “wet signature” on PDFs sent through email. 

4. I successfully completed my off-campus course! What do I do now? 

  • If approval was granted for transfer to the PAUSD transcript, the student must send an official transcript to their high school upon completion of the course. If the official transcript is not sent, the course will not go on the PAUSD transcript. You can have the official transcript emailed to our Gunn Registrar: osmith@pausd.org

    • If you are a senior, you need to make sure your transcript is sent immediately following completion of the course to give our registrar enough time to add it to your transcript (before it is sent to colleges). 

    • Please note, if the school/program is unable to send an official transcript, we are unable to put the course on the PAUSD transcript. 

  • If requested by colleges, students must send an official transcript from each institution at which they took courses during their high school career. 

  • For the 2022-23 school year: Please note courses will be approved for Fall 2022 starting August 2nd. Please allow sufficient time for requests to be processed - waiting until the day before is not recommended. 

5. I am an incoming Freshman and want to take a course off-campus before 9th grade. 

  • PAUSD does not sign off or pre-approve incoming 9th graders to take courses off-campus prior to the commencement of their high school career. This includes community college courses. 

6. If I have already started or completed a course off-campus and want to get approval for transfer onto the transcript can I do so? 

  • All approvals for coursework to be transferred to the PAUSD transcript must be completed before an off-campus course starts. Should we approve a course and later find out the approval occurred after the class started, the course will not be transferred onto the PAUSD transcript. 

Department Specifics for Off-Campus Courses 

1. When can I start taking courses off-campus? 

  • All graduation requirements must be completed before a course can be taken off-campus in that subject area. For example: 

    • CTE/PE/VAPA: Students must take all PE, CTE, and VAPA graduation requirements on campus, but can elect to take additional courses in these subject areas off-campus for elective credit only. 

    • History/Social Science: Economics must be taken on campus or during PAUSD summer school. Rising seniors will have priority registration for PAUSD summer school. While students may be approved to take an elective (such as AP Psychology, Psychology, or Sociology) off-campus, it will not count towards a student’s social studies elective credit and the student must then take a different class on campus senior year to fulfill the graduation requirement. 

    • Living Skills must be taken on campus or during PAUSD summer school. Rising seniors will have priority registration for PAUSD summer school. 

    • Math: Students need to complete through Algebra 2 (or equivalent) on campus before being approved to take math courses off-campus. 

    • Science: Students must complete Biology and one physical science course (Chemistry or Physics) on campus before being approved to take science courses off-campus. 

    • World Language: Students must complete level II of a language on campus before approval is given for language courses off-campus. Exceptions to this are Stanford Chinese School, Palo Alto Chinese School. Note: Students may request to take languages we do not offer at Gunn off-campus. They must take them at a WASC accredited institution and must submit for pre-approval. 

    • While off-campus English and History/Social Science courses will not be counted towards the four-year graduation requirement, students can enroll in other English and History/Social Science courses off-campus before they complete their 4 required years at PAUSD. Students must choose classes that will not overlap with the curriculum taught in the graduation requirements taken on campus. 

    • All classes taken off campus will count towards elective credits only and not towards the PAUSD graduation requirement. There are exceptions to this for students repeating a course - please see below.

  • Please note: a course can only show up on your transcript one time. For example, if you elect to take Psychology at a local community college, you will be unable to take Psychology or AP Psychology at your PAUSD school and will need to take a different H/SS elective course to meet PAUSD graduation requirements. There are exceptions to this for students repeating a course - please see below. 

2. I would like to jump a lane in Math or a level in World Language. May I take a course off-campus during the summer to advance to the next level of the Math or World Language sequence? 

  • The first step is to speak with the department IL (Math or World Language). IL’s will inform you of next steps, that will best meet your individual situation and request. 

  • We have found that “bridge” courses offered in the summer (specifically for Math) have not yielded successful results for students the next year. Learning a year's worth of curriculum in 3-6 weeks will not solidify your understanding of topics in math or world language. These are cumulative subjects that require students to have mastered the previous material to be successful in future classes. 

PAUSD Trasncript & GPA Questions 

1. I need to include a PAUSD (unofficial) transcript with my off-campus course registration. How do I do that? 

  • There are two options for obtaining an unofficial transcript: 

    • One: You now have access to an unofficial transcript through Infinite Campus. If you need assistance, please contact your School Counselor during the school year.

    • Two: Request an (unofficial/view only) transcript through Parchment. Note that there is a processing time for transcripts to be approved, therefore be sure you leave enough time for that to happen. (We recommend around one week lead time.) Option two can be used during the school year and summer months when school is not in session. 

2. I need to obtain an official transcript. How do I do that? 

3. How many off-campus courses can I take at a time? 

  • Students can earn up to 80 credits a year. Each semester class in PAUSD counts as 5 credits. This means 8 year-long high school courses would add up to 80 credits. 

  • Students can be approved for up to 2 courses to be taken off-campus in the summer. 

  • College-level courses count for double credits on the PAUSD transcript - see below for more information. 

  • Summer, Fall, and Spring are considered a “calendar year” and are used to calculate 80 credits. 

  • Students must take at least 5 courses on campus to continue to be enrolled in PAUSD. 

4. How many off-campus courses will show up on my PAUSD transcript? 

  • Students can transfer up to 40 units of pre-approved off-campus course-work onto their PAUSD transcript. Coursework that is not pre-approved will not transfer onto the PAUSD transcript. 

5. Will my off-campus Spring 2020 courses show up on my PAUSD transcript? 

  • Off-campus Spring 2020 courses will not show up on the PAUSD transcript. Please provide colleges with a separate transcript sent directly from the institution. 

6. If I take a community college, Honors or AP course off-campus, how will that be calculated into my GPA? Will I get an extra point to boost my GPA? 

    The following policies have been determined by the PAUSD Board of Education: 

  • Community college courses count for double credits on the high school transcript. That means a 4 credit community college class will show up as 8 credits on the PAUSD transcript.

    • Please be aware that any courses taken at a community college are college-level courses and the start of a permanent college transcript that must be included when applying to colleges—whether or not they appear on the PAUSD transcript. 

    • Community college courses taken off-campus will be counted on a 4.0 scale and will not be a weighted grade.  

  • Community college courses taken on a PAUSD campus during the school year (official dual enrollment courses offered through PAUSD) will receive a weighted grade, not double credits. Dual enrollment courses offered at Gunn during the 2021-22 school year include Early Childhood Development, Sports Medicine, AAR, and Theater/Stage Tech (advanced sections). Please see course catalog for more information.

  • Honors classes taken off campus will not receive a weighted grade when transferred onto the PAUSD transcript. 

  • AP courses that have been approved by the college board and UC will receive a weighted grade when transferred onto the PAUSD transcript. 

7. If I earned a D or F in a course, may I retake it? What is the process for this? 

  • The only time you can retake a course is if you earned a D or F the first time. 

  • If you are seeking to replace a D or F on your PAUSD transcript, you must make sure the class you retake has the same exact name as the one in which you earned the D or F. Please follow the same process described above for obtaining prior approval to retake the course off campus. 

  • While your D/F will remain on your transcript for the first course, once you retake the course only the final grade will be included in your overall GPA. 

Off-campus Options

1. Do you have a list of approved institutions? 

  • Courses taken off-campus must be taken through an accredited (WASC or otherwise) institution. It is up to the student to determine which institutions are accredited and PAUSD does not recommend or endorse any particular one. 

2. Can you please help me with the registration process at other institutions - I don’t understand their system?

  • Unfortunately, there are so many different registration procedures outside PAUSD that we are unable to assist you. Please contact the specific institution with questions you may have. 

  • If you are retaking a course in which you earned a D or F and need help finding a replacement course, please contact your School Counselor. 

3. Why is it so hard to get into a community college course? 

  • Community colleges prioritize enrollment for students who have graduated high school (or who are in their middle college program). Many high school students get waitlisted. 

  • Community colleges are very strict with their prerequisites. We will be unable to provide you more than your requested transcript in order to prove you have met the prerequisites. 

  • You will be unable to take more than 10 units at some local community colleges.  We will not sign any petitions in regards to PAUSD students requesting to take more units.