Ninth Grade

The transition to high school is a critical time in the life of students. Each of the high schools offer students programs and activities to help ease the transition so that it is as smooth as possible. Students and parents should research the transition programs available at their upcoming high school.


As students enter ninth grade and throughout the high school years, describing the typical course sequences that students complete becomes more difficult because of the vast number of opportunities available to students. Ninth grade students can expect to enroll in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, health and PE and elective courses. To learn more about the courses available to high school students read our secondary curriculum guides.

Ninth-grade students continue to work with their school counselor on their academic and career plan (ACP) to help guide course and program selections throughout their high school years. Learn More

At the discretion of their parents and guardians, ninth-grade students may also participate in Family Life Education (FLE), a state-endorsed program that includes age-appropriate instruction in family living and community relationships as well as how to cope with peer pressure and the stresses of modern living. Learn More

Planning Ahead

What you should know about:

  • Using the Academic and Career Plan as a map to the future
    To make the most of the opportunities available in high school and help prepare students for their chosen area of interest, a series of course sequences have been identified that map on to various career clusters. The course sequences are meant to serve as a guide for scheduling courses that support students� future endeavors. Students will continue to work with their school counselors to review and update their four-year academic and career plan (ACP) for high school that includes graduation requirements for each diploma option. A student�s ACP is reviewed and updated on a regular basis to reflect the needs and interests of the student based on the diploma option. Learn More
  • Pursuing a specific area of student through an Academy, Advanced Academic, or Specialty Program
    For students interested in attending a high school academy or advanced academic program, the 10th grade year is the last year of entry into these programs. The school division offers eight different academy and advanced academic programs that provide students with skills and experience aligned with specific career areas such as legal studies; health sciences; visual and performing arts; global studies and world languages; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); and technology, as well as entrepreneurship and business. Current ninth-grade students who wish to pursue this option should reach out to the academy of interest to discuss possible options prior to January, when applications are typically due. Learn More

    The 10th-grade year also offers students a variety of options for expanding their academic horizons beyond the core content areas into more specialized and technical courses available at the Advanced Technology Center and the Virginia Beach Technical and Career Education Center. Students may also take advantage of a wide variety of technical and career education courses offered at their home school. Whether a student chooses a center or home school path, these courses provide students with the opportunity to gain important workplace readiness and industry certifications. Career and technical education courses allow students to extend their learning by providing students with co-curricular clubs, job shadowing, internship, or cooperative work experiences.

    In addition, students in grades nine through 12 are eligible to attend the Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia. Students must complete an application and audition for the intensive programs in dance, music, musical theatre, theatre and visual arts. The applications are available from the school all year and are typically due in December with the adjudication process taking place in January. Students take academic classes at their regular high schools in the morning and attend the Governor�s School for the Arts for three hours every afternoon during the regular school year. For each year they attend, students may earn three credits. Learn More
  • Enrolling in online courses
    Throughout the high school years, students have the option of enrolling in an online course to fulfill credit requirements. Online courses are available over the summer for a fee or during the regular school year free of charge. Taking an online course can potentially create more space in a student�s schedule and can be a great way to practice time management skills. All online courses address the same content as their traditional face-to-face versions but are delivered over the internet through a learning management system. This requires daily access to a computer and a high-speed internet connection. Learn More
  • Earning college credit through Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment courses
    Each of the high schools offer advanced courses through the Advanced Placement program and Dual Enrollment courses. These opportunities may result in students earning college credit while in high school depending on exam or course performance. The Advanced Placement Program is administered through the College Board and provides students access to college level courses. These courses are delivered at the students� home school and may also be available through Virtual Virginia, the Virginia Department of Education�s online program. In the Dual Enrollment Program, students may take courses that allow them to meet requirements for high school graduation while at the same time earning college credit through Tidewater Community College. Learn More
  • Participating in the Naval Junior Reserve Officers� Training Corps (NJROTC)
    The school division offers NJROTC programs and naval science as an elective course at several of our high schools for students in grades 9 through 12. The program emphasizes self-discipline, citizenship, patriotism, followership, leadership, and orientation in Naval subjects. Each NJROTC unit has its own organizational structure that is operated by student cadets and supervised by certified Naval Science instructors. Students successfully completing two to four years of the program may enter the military at an advanced enlisted pay grade. Opportunities for being accepted in the various service academies and earning ROTC scholarships are enhanced by participation in the NJROTC program. Students enrolled at a school that does not offer the program may be eligible to enroll in the program at another high school as a special NJROTC cadet. Learn More