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Frequently Asked Questions

Counselors are always happy to answer any questions that students or parents might have. Below are some of the most common ones, so you might find the information that you're looking for here:

What is the role of a school counselor at LAHS?

Please visit the About Us section for a description of school counseling at LAHS

When can a student see their counselor?

Please visit the main Counseling page for details

How do I get up-to-date counseling information?

Please see the Helpful Resources section for more information

How can a student or parent reschedule a counseling appointment?

Students and parents can reschedule counseling appointments by contacting the Counseling Secretary, Mayté Vallado by email or by phone (650-960-8811 x2034).

My student is struggling in one or more courses. What can I do to help?

Grades, assignments, and attendance can be monitored online by parents and students on SIS. This is the best way to be informed of a student's progress throughout the school year.
If a student is struggling, discuss the issue directly with them. What does the student think is the problem? Identifying areas for improvement (such as homework completion or test preparation) can help tremendously to improve grades and comprehension of the course material.
If the student needs help in specific areas or cannot identify specific difficulties in the class, it is important to contact the teacher directly. We encourage students to try this on their own first, in order to build skills of self-advocacy and independence. If this does not improve the situation, parents can contact teachers by email or voicemail. Contact information for teachers can be found on SIS or on the Staff Directory page of the school website. Teachers are an invaluable resource in helping students achieve growth and success in their subject matter.
If these steps have not helped the student to be more successful, please contact the student's counselor to discuss other suggestions or options for support.

What are the deadlines for adding or dropping a class?

Students may add a new course up until the end of the third week of the semester. Level transfers can only take place prior to the end of the sixth week of the semester. Students who drop a course after six weeks from the start of the semester will receive a "W" ("withdraw" mark) on their transcript.
The corresponding dates would be:
  • Add a new class: up until the end of the 3rd week of the current semester
  • Level change (up or down): up until the end of the 6th week of the current semester
  • Drop a class without a W: up until the end of the 6th week of the current semester 

What are the "A-G" approved courses and why are they important?

Courses designated as 'A-G approved' are those that count toward fulfilling the 'A-G' subject reqirements for the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems. They are denoted on the LAHS transcript with a 'p' next to the course title. All students are encouraged to attempt completion of the 'A-G' requirements in order to have as many college options as possible when they graduate. This set of requirements is in line with the eligibility requirements of many private colleges and out-of-state public universities.

What's the difference between College-prep, Honors, and AP courses?

  • College-prep courses are high school level courses that meet admission requirements for college and prepare students for college level work. 
  • Honors courses are still high school level but move through material at an accelerated pace, have more homework and higher teacher expectations, and require a higher level of independence and self-advocacy. 
  • AP courses are college level, requiring an even greater amount of work and commitment. All AP courses have a corresponding AP exam given in May, which enrolled students are expected to take. High scores on AP exams may allow students to enter college with college credit.
We encourage all students to challenge themselves with rigorous coursework, though it is important to plan a balanced course load that allows for extracurricular activities, family time, social life, and sufficient sleep and self care. Counselors can help students decide which courses are appropriate.

When do courses need to be repeated? What are the options?

If a student earns an F in a course required to graduate, the course must be repeated (or a different course that fulfills the same requirement must be taken if available). A grade of D- is considered passing for graduation, but colleges generally do not accept D's for admission. Students who plan to apply to four-year colleges should repeat D/F grades in courses that will be evaluated by colleges for admission.  
Students can make up certain courses in MVLA Summer School or through MVLA Adult Education. When a student earns a D/F grade, that original grade will always remain on the transcript. However, if the student repeats the course within the district, the credits from the original low grade will be "zeroed out" on the transcript, which removes the value of the low grade from the GPA. The grade and credits from the repeated course will then be factored into the GPA in place of the original. In some cases students can make up courses outside of the district, but the original credits will not be zeroed out. Students should see their counselor for more specific information.

Can students request specific teachers?

Students may not request specific teachers. Classes and teachers are assigned randomly by the school computer system.

What do the different GPAs on the LAHS transcript mean?

MVLA calculates GPA in a variety of ways, which are used for different purposes:
  • Total (cumulative) GPA: Includes every single credit earned by the student in grades 9-12. 
  • Academic 9-12 GPA: Includes all coursework in grades 9-12 except PE, athletics, T.A., and a few other non-academic courses. 
  • Academic 10-12 GPA: Includes all coursework in grades 10-12 except PE, athletics, T.A., and a few other non-academic courses. 
  • Weighted GPA: Calculated using the weighted value of Honors and AP courses (i.e. A = 5, B = 4, etc).
  • Unweighted GPA: Calculated using the standard value of all grades on a 4.0 GPA scale, regardless of Honors or AP designation.
No single GPA on the LAHS transcript is used by all universities for admission. Each college has its own practice for evaluating transcripts and GPA. 

What science course do incoming 9th graders register for in the fall?

MVLA is an open-access district and the students may elect what science course they can take based on the offerings for 9th grade. 
  • Students will not be placed in or recommended for science based on math level. The course handbooks, forms, and website info should not include a math "recommendation" for science course selection
  • Students need to refer to the school handbook to make an informed decision about what science course to take. Both schools included a comparison chart of the options in the handbook
  • At LAHS, the 9th grade science offerings are Biology CP, Biology Honors or Environmental Science CP

Do 9th grade classes and grades count for college?

Grades and coursework from 9th grade are always important for college. Many colleges factor 9th grade courses into the GPA that they use to evaluate applicants for admission and scholarships. However, even if a school does not use 9th grade in the GPA (such as UC and CSU), they will still take into account the rigor of the curriculum and the student's performance in those courses, just as they will for grades 10-12. Ninth grade coursework must be completed with grades of C or higher to meet minimum college eligibility requirements.

Can I take classes at a community college or institution other than LAHS?

If you are interested in taking a course outside of the MVLA school district, please read the information and follow the instructions HERE.

What is the difference between SAT and ACT?

The SAT and ACT are two different standardized tests used in the college admission process, typically taken in 11th and/or 12th grade. Most colleges require students to take one of these as part of their admissions process.  Generally colleges do not have a preference, unless specifically stated. Students may choose to take one or try both. Some students find that they do better on one test than on the other, while others find that they score about the same on both. The tests differ in their approach, scoring system, number and type of sections, and content covered. Numerous books and test preparation courses are available to help students prepare. Visit the College & Career Center or the College Board (SAT) and ACT websites for more information.  There are also a growing number of colleges and universities that are test-optional, meaning students can choose whether they submit SAT/ ACT scores as part of their application. maintains an updated list of these schools.