• Cumberland Valley offers a wide variety of coursework that MAY or MAY NOT be relevant to each student’s post-secondary path; care must be taken to ensure a well-rounded experience. Students should begin to think about potential career clusters as early as middle school and begin to schedule the appropriate coursework in 9th grade. Students who have not identified specific fields of interest are usually best served by completing the Science Core sequence in order to ensure that they acquire diverse understandings and skill sets.
  • The Science Core offerings have been sequenced with respect to their cognitive demands and notable prerequisites, as well as the need to create a well-rounded curriculum experience. Since the fields of science overlap considerably, experts in one field must maintain a working understanding of the other disciplines. Regardless of college or career aspirations, in order to be a responsible citizen and steward of the environment, each Cumberland Valley High School student in the class of 2022 and beyond must experience each of the major scientific discipline (Earth Processes, Biology, Chemistry...and hopefully physics)

CORE COURSES: Feature Analysis

Science courses differ from one another not only in their subject matter, but also in the cognitive rigor involved, and are therefore typically sequenced in the order below; this allows the curriculum to set up not only a foundation of knowledge to build upon, but also to progress according to a child’s cognitive development, especially as it relates to confidence in mathematical situations.

It is also important to note that the Pennsylvania Department of Education requires that students demonstrate their proficiency on a Biology Keystone Exam, which is administered during the spring of the year in which Biology is taken. Proficiency on this exam is a graduation requirement, and consequently students should ensure that they are well-prepared to undertake their Biology course; for many students, this will mean taking the course during 10th grade, and after a year of high school level coursework in Earth & Environmental science.



  • Electives are intended to enhance, rather than replace the Science Core sequence courses. Electives pathways have been identified and diagrammed in conjunction with the Science Core in order to provide students the opportunity to prepare for advanced study in a field, or simply to try something new. Care has been given to provide students with opportunities to experience specialized electives at appropriate times throughout their Core sequence; interested students should review the Elective Pathways below to plan for additions both in and out of the Science Department.
  • Most students will find the greatest success by taking Biology in 10th grade; however, some students may begin the sequence in Biology and replace the traditional 9th grade course with AP Environmental Science during their 11th grade year. This accelerated  route allows students who intend to pursue numerous AP offerings an opportunity to begin each course a year early, allowing room for AP courses thereafter. Using this sequence, students will have the opportunity to begin AP coursework as early as 10th grade; however, students should only take this route if they able to take at Algebra II during their freshman year.
  • Students who are interested in pursuing a career in science should enhance their classroom experiences by completing science fair projects each year. Additional opportunities and competitions for students are noted on Science Competitions page of the website.
  • Internships and summer opportunities may also be available within a specific field of interest.
  • Curriculum clusters are identified below in order to help students plan an interdisciplinary experience in a specific field of study.
  • Students should keep in mind that most careers in science require graduate degrees earned after college; consequently, successful entry into a professional science career is determined more by college transcripts than those earned in high school. In order to pave the way for success in college coursework, students should consider building their confidence in math and sciences that otherwise might not interest them; college science degrees always contain at least a few chemistry and physics courses, and many of today's careers exist in an environmental context. Click HERE to check them out!

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