Advanced and College Classes

Reach New Heights in Academic Excellence...

LCHS offers students many opportunities to reach new heights in academic excellence through their course selections, including college prep, Advanced Placement, and college credit courses.  Within the last five years, offerings have expanded and more students than ever are taking advantage of these courses.  Whether you are a parent or a student, here are some things that you will want to consider when it comes to these choices:

Top 10 Reasons to Take Advantage of Opportunities for Excellence

Taking advanced courses makes you smarter and helps you learn to handle challenging work, increasing your capacity to succeed in college.  

When students take challenging courses in high school, they have the opportunity to learn how to handle the demands of college in a supportive environment.  They also learn to think at a higher level, handle more work, and push themselves to grow in their abilities.  College studies indicate that students who take college prep, Advanced Placement, and college credit courses while in high school are more successful in college classes after high school.  They perform higher than their college peers; they are more likely to stay in school, and they are more likely to get better grades.    

Taking Advanced Placement and college credit courses at LCHS saves you money.

Did you know that just one college class in high school that is basically free can cost over $1,000 in college?  Wow!  Students who take Advanced Placement and college courses in high school can earn advanced standing and/or college credit that may transfer to their college of choice.  This can result in substantial financial savings.  Taking IWCC courses on or off campus with Lewis Central High School only involves a one-time minimal fee for enrollment.  Basically, the courses are free.  You can’t beat that!  AP courses only involve an exam fee.  Based on a student’s performance on an AP exam, they may be awarded college credit.  IWCC courses typically transfer very well to Iowa colleges and colleges in surrounding states, and AP courses are accepted at many state and national colleges.  Affording college will be easier if students take college-credit courses while in high school.   

Taking advanced courses increases your chances of attaining scholarships and getting into a good college.

Scholarship committees and college admissions committees look more favorably on students who challenge themselves academically.  A perfect GPA is less valuable than proof that a student has engaged in advanced courses and been successful.  This illustrates that, when a student goes to college and takes college courses, they can perform at a high level.   If you want to stand out in scholarship applications and win more dollars or get into the college of your choice, good grades alone won’t get you there.  Take advanced and college credit classes to increase your future success!

Advanced Placement and college credit course grades are weighted.

Lewis Central High School weights Advanced Placement and College Credit courses on student transcripts.  This means that students should not be afraid of taking advanced courses and getting lower grades.  Grades are increased .5 on transcripts to account for the challenge; for example, a B+ normally factors into a GPA as 3.33, but if it is an AP or college credit class, it factors in as 3.83.      

Teachers at LCHS support students to help them be successful in Advanced Placement and college courses.

Teachers at our school allow many opportunities for students to practice new learning without grade penalty.  They provide students with opportunities to revise their work, get feedback, try again, retest, and get better.  They care about not only recruiting students into their courses but also retaining them and producing results.  Teacher grading practices and instruction help students to be successful.   

Advanced Placement and college courses are thought-provoking, interesting, and students who take them really enjoy them.

Students surveyed on the principal’s Student Leadership Committee agreed that these courses are highly engaging.

Taking a full schedule with advanced coursework helps students get into college.

Many students take only a partial schedule in their senior year.  While these students make take off time to complete other work, such as a job, staying at school has many benefits. Taking a full academic schedule helps students get into college.  State schools look at student RAI scores to decide who they admit and who gets scholarship dollars. (This is a Regent Area Index score based on a formula of the number of courses taken in core subject areas and foreign language, ACT scores, and GPA.)  Taking more courses can raise your RAI score.  When students fall short on college admissions requirements, it is often because they haven’t taken more than their high school minimum graduation requirements.

Finding room in your schedule for advanced and college credit courses is easier than you think.

Many of the courses mentioned replace general education requirements at LCHS.  See the Course Handbook and talk to your school counselor if you have questions about this.  In addition, with a minimum of 55 credits required for graduation, students still have plenty of room in their schedule for additional credits for advanced and college coursework.     

With courses in all subject areas and multiple forms of college credit, students have many course options to choose from.

Students can take college prep, Advanced Placement, and college classes at LCHS, on IWCC’s campus, and online.  Courses are offered in English, math, science, social studies, and career and technical areas.  Students should consider their future career paths, their talents and interests, and their future college’s requirements, to help tailor their schedule and course selections to fit their needs.

Counselors and teachers have a wealth of information available to parents and students about both the benefits of these courses and what is involved . . . all you have to do is ask.

Did you know that LCHS has a Fast Forward! initiative at our school?  We value and care about preparing students for college.  Counselors and teachers are able to support students in thinking about and planning for their future.  Selecting coursework that helps students explore their career interests and prepare for college is important to us.  We are ready and willing to answer your questions and help you!  

Parents and Students Play a Key Role in Academic Success

There are numerous reasons to take advantage of all the amazing courses that LCHS has to offer.  Parents and students play an important role in taking advantage of these courses and succeeding in them.  Here are some tips to help ensure your success in these opportunities:


*College prep, Advanced Placement, and college credit courses will require more work.

Register for classes that fit your interests, talents, and career goals. High school is a great time to start preparing for your future!

*Don’t take on too many things at once.  Make sure you have time to devote to your classes, your commitments, and being a kid.   

*Have a growth mindset.  Know that these courses will stretch you in new ways and will not always be easy.  Challenge is a good thing.  If you want to increase your talents, knowledge and skills, you have to be willing to take on challenges with confidence.  

*You may not know the answer right away or get something 100 percent on your first attempt, but with work, you will get better.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions!  

*Teachers and students in these courses will help you be successful.  They are your best resources.


Support your students in challenging courses by encouraging them and asking them to share with you the work that they are proud of.  Celebrate those achievements.  Ask them to share with you assignments or learning that challenged them.  Let them know that those challenges will increase their abilities and to keep trying.

Make sure that your child has balance in their schedule and time to devote to these courses to be successful.  Sometimes students can take on too much; whether that be with a lot of activities, too many challenging course selections, etc., students may need help with time management.   

*Help your child find a quiet place to study.

*Help your child make time to be a kid and de-stress.

*Support your child by encouraging them to seek help from the teacher when needed.

*Know that perfect grades aren’t as important as teaching your child to face challenges and grow and learn. Learning matters most.  Praise effort!

*Encourage your child to take advantage of challenging coursework that aligns with their interests, talents, and career goals.

What courses are available?

Lewis Central High School offers students opportunities to take numerous advanced, advanced placement, and college-credit courses.  

Current selections include the following:

Advanced courses for college prep

Pre-AP English

College Readiness

This course prepares students through John Baylor ACT prep to help students attain a higher ACT score and improve their chances of scholarships and college admissions.

Advanced Placement courses with college credit offered through an end of course exam.

AP Literature and Composition

AP Language and Composition

AP Statistics

AP Biology

AP World History

There are also online AP offerings as well.

Other Forms of College Credit:


In order to assist students and their parents or guardians in making knowledgeable decisions regarding participation in the CES program, the following guidelines are presented:

1. Students must be high school juniors and seniors, or freshmen and sophomores identified in PowerSchool as gifted and talented, to be eligible.  Any students anticipating enrollment in a post-secondary course under this act must complete and submit an application form with the intent to enroll in said course for the ensuing school year.  Summer school courses are not included in the program.

2. Students may enroll in any participating institution of higher learning under the control of the State Board of Regents, an area school, or an accredited private institution as defined in Section 261.0 subsection 5 of the Iowa Code.

3. Grades earned in courses taken from other institutions, such as IWCC, will be recorded on the transcript and be included when computing grade point averages.

4. Payment will be made by the Lewis Central School District to the post-secondary institution for tuition, textbooks, materials and fees upon successful completion of the course.  Students will be required to purchase equipment, which becomes the property of the students.

5. Parents or guardians will be required to furnish transportation to and from the eligible post-secondary institution.

6. Support services in the form of counseling will be available to students at Lewis Central as well as the post-secondary institution.  These services will include academic, social, and emotional counseling related to participation under this act.

7. The administration reserves the right to determine acceptability of courses as provided under this act and requires students to seek prior approval before enrolling in such courses.

8. The IWCC deadline for registering for fall CES classes is the last day of Trimester 3, while the deadline for registering for spring CES classes is December 15.



Students enrolling in an Iowa Western Community College class with a minimum ACT enrollment score must provide documentation of the qualifying score prior to enrolling in the course.

COLLEGE EARLY START courses are college credit courses that students take at IWCC on the college campus or online.  Concurrent Enrollment classes are college credit courses offered and taken at LCHS.  Lewis Central students who are eligible are able to take courses from both of these options.

Concurrent Enrollment classes must be taken for college credit through Iowa Western Community College.  Those Iowa Western Community College courses offered on our campus are listed on the following pages.



LCHS Course Name

(# of HS credits)


Course Title


Course #

College Credits

Transfer Equivalent

Test Scores - Requirements


IWCC English Composition I


Composition I




Gen Ed – Rhetoric or Composition/Writing

Proficient on Iowa Assessments and

ACT English 18

Focuses on the rhetorical modes and the written expression of ideas.  Students learn strategies to generate ideas, to revise for focus and organization and to edit for sentence structure, diction, and grammatical correctness.  Paragraphs and essays involve literary analysis, informal personal writing, and formal expository writing.

IWCC English Composition II


Composition II




Gen Ed – Rhetoric or Composition/Writing

A grade of “C” or better in Composition I

Composition II follows Composition I with advanced readings and practice in different kinds of writing, including exposition, argumentation, and critical analysis.  The course includes library research and culminates in the presentation of a term paper.

IWCC Multicultural Literature


Multicultural Literature




Gen Ed



Proficient on Iowa Assessments

Explores, through a variety of literary types, the cultural and ethnic voices that are an undeniable part of modern American life. Students read, discuss, and critique materials by authors representing a wide range of ethnic, racial, and other culturally diverse groups.





Public Speaking





Proficient on Iowa Assessments

Analyzes the fundamentals of oral communication, including lectures, readings, and applications of the six principal aspects of public speaking:  the speaker, the audience, thought and content, organization, language, and delivery.

IWCC Strategies for Academic Success

Strategies for Academic Success

SDV 114


Gen Ed

Junior and accepted into Pottawattamie Promise

This course will help prepare students for success in high school and post-secondary education. This course is a requirement for those students who earn the Pottawattamie Promise Promise Scholarship.


Principles of

Accounting I

Principles of

Accounting I






Gen Ed

Proficient on Iowa Assessments and Accounting I A and B

Accounting fundamentals using the balance sheet approach and branches into journals, ledgers, financial statements and the accrual method of accounting

IWCC U.S. History Since 1877


U.S. History Since 1877





Proficient on Iowa Assessments

Deals with the historical development of America from the end of the Reconstruction to the contemporary period.  Topics include industrialization of America in the late 19th century, end of the frontier, Gilded Age, Progressive Era, World War I, Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World War II, and the contemporary period featuring the Vietnam War and Watergate.

Precalculus A


IWCC Precalculus







Proficient on Iowa Assessments  and

ACT Math 21

An intensive review of College Algebra and Trigonometry that prepares students for Calculus I.  Topics include functions, logarithms, systems of equations, matrices, polynomials, conic sections, trigonometric functions, graphs, identities, equations, complex numbers, and polar coordinates.

Calculus A and

IWCC Calculus


Calculus I





Completion of Precalculus (C or better) or ACT Math 27

Topics include limits, derivatives, extrema, concavity, curve sketching, and antidifferentiation.  Applications includes rates, maxima, and minima.

IWCC Statistics






Proficient on Iowa Assessments, 1st- and 2nd-year Algebra, and 1st-year Geometry

Statistics introduces descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics include the binomial, normal, student-t and chi-square distributions, descriptive measures, probability, hypothesis testing, estimation and linear regression.

IWCC Intro to



Introduction to





Career & Tech or


Proficient on Iowa Assessments

Consists of hands-on introduction to microcomputer hardware, operating systems, and application software.  Students enter, modify, and manipulate data with word processing, presentation, and database programs.  Students should be familiar with the standard keyboard.


Lewis Central High School and Iowa Western Community College have entered into an agreement whereby high school students are given the opportunity to earn college credits in the following areas:  Career and Technical Education (CTE).  Specific details are provided within the curricular listings of the Business, Family and Consumer Science, Technology and Engineering  departments.

Project Lead the Way

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) classes offered on campus are listed in the following pages and MAY be awarded college credit through the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.  College credit is awarded through successful passing of an end of the course exam and by completing required paperwork.   Please consult with your school counselor if you have any questions.

LCHS Course Name

(# of HS Credits)







PLTW Introduction to

Engineering Design



Project Lead the Way CTE or A&S credit

(dependent on test score)

Teaches students to use a problem-solving model to improve existing products and invent new ones.  Using three-dimensional modeling software, students communicate the details of the products.  Emphasis is placed on analyzing potential solutions and communicating ideas to others.

PLTW Principles of Engineering



Project Lead the Way CTE or A&S credit

(dependent on test score)

Explores the wide variety of careers in engineering and technology as well as various technology systems and manufacturing processes.  Students learn how engineers and technicians use math, science, and technology in an engineering problem-solving process to benefit people.  The course also addresses concerns about social and political consequences of technological change.

PLTW Digital Electronics



Project Lead the Way CTE or A&S credit

(dependent on test score)

This course in applied logic encompasses the application of electronic circuits and devices.  Students use computer simulation software to design and test digital circuitry prior to the actual construction of circuits and devices.

PLTW Computer Integrated Manufacturing



Project Lead the Way CTE or A&S credit

(dependent on test score)

Expands prior three dimensional modeling skills.  Students use automation, control systems, sensing devices, computer programming, and robotics to efficiently mass produce products.  Trouble-shooting is emphasized throughout this course.

PLTW Civil Engineering and




Project Lead the Way CTE or A&S credit

(dependent on test score)

Provides an overview of these engineering areas, emphasizing the interrelationship and mutual dependence of both fields.  Students use state-of-the-art software to solve real-world problems and apply knowledge to hands-on projects.  By the end of the course, students are able to give a complete presentation to the client, including three-dimensional renderings of buildings and improvements, zoning and ordinance constraints, infrastructure requirements, and other essential project plans.

PLTW Computer Science Essentials



Project Lead the Way CTE or A&S credit

(dependent on test score

Computer Science Essentials exposes students to a diverse set of computational thinking concepts, fundamentals, and tools, allowing them to gain understanding and build confidence. Students use visual, blockbased programming and seamlessly transition to text-based programming with languages such as Python® to create apps and develop websites, and learn how to make computers work together to put their design into practice. They apply computational thinking practices, build their vocabulary, and collaborate just as computing professionals do to create products that address topics and problems important to them.

PLTW Computer Science Principles



Project Lead the Way CTE or A&S credit

(dependent on test score)

Using Python® as a primary tool and incorporating multiple platforms and languages for computation, this course aims to develop computational thinking, generate excitement about career paths that utilize computing, and introduce professional tools that foster creativity and collaboration. While this course can be a student’s first in computer science, students without prior computing experience are encouraged to start with Introduction to Computer Science. Computer Science Principles helps students develop programming expertise and explore the workings of the Internet. Projects and problems include app development, visualization of data, cybersecurity, and simulation. PLTW is recognized by the College Board as an endorsed provider of curriculum and professional development for AP® Computer Science Principles (AP CSP). This endorsement affirms that all components of PLTW CSP’s offerings are aligned to the AP Curriculum Framework standards and the AP CSP assessment.

PLTW Engineering Design

and Development




A capstone course where teams of students spend the year solving problems of their own choosing.  The teams apply principles developed in the four preceding PLTW courses and are guided by a community mentor.  They brainstorm possibilities, research current patents and regulations, construct a working model, test the model in real-life situations (or simulation), document their designs, and present and defend the design to a panel of experts.

Additional Course Options/Formats:


Summer school (online) courses are offered at Lewis Central High School each year for credit recovery.  Information regarding these options is available in the School Counseling Office.


Online learning opportunities provide a variety of courses for high school credit.  This includes, but is not limited to, IOAPA and Odyssey.  IOAPA course grades will count as a part of a student’s GPA the same as a course taken on site at the high school, while Odyssey classes are pass/fail only.


AP classes are another avenue for students to take advanced coursework and possibly obtain college credit through examination.  AP classes are offered in two formats for students at LCHS.  There are AP courses offered in a traditional format throughout the school day and taught by our teachers.  Additionally, other AP offerings are available online.

IOAPA (Iowa’s Online Advanced Placement Academy)

IOAPA allows students who qualify for AP courses in Lewis Central High School’s Course Description Guide to enroll in online AP courses that Lewis Central High School does not offer or that the student simply cannot fit into his/her academic schedule.  Both semester and year-long courses are offered through this program and include the following:  AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP English Language and Composition, AP Literature and Composition, AP Physics B, AP Statistics, AP Economics, AP Psychology and AP U.S. History.  Lewis Central is given a limited number of registrants and courses available vary from year to year.  Students must meet due dates, which do not necessarily align with trimesters. The fee for dropping after a certain date or not completing the course may be assessed to the the student.

Funds are also available for reimbursement for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch for any AP test offered at Lewis Central High School. Approval of the principal is required.  Questions or more information can be directed to the Advanced Placement Coordinator. Grades for online courses are reported on student transcripts.   


Students MAY obtain college credit or advanced placement in college into higher level courses through taking AP exams.  To search your future college of choice and their AP credit policy, visit the following website:


Students may attempt to test out of a course only if they have principal approval. The general criteria for testing would include students that are within the first three days of a term of their enrollment and have never attempted the course.  To successfully test out of a course, a student must pass the final and/or test-out exam with a score of 80% or better.  With a successful test-out, the student earns credit for the course and a “P” for Pass is entered on the transcript.  

Students may not attempt to pass out of a class that is considered a “lower” level class than one they have taken and passed.  Administrative approval would be required for any exception. Students should contact their school counselor for more information.  Please note that all courses may not be eligible for testing out.


No one pattern of preparation will invariably meet admission requirements at all colleges.  A four-year comprehensive and balanced program in the major academic subjects is strongly advised and will meet most college requirements and/or recommendations.  The regent universities of Iowa have created the Regent Admissions Index (RAI) to help students calculate their admissions decision.  To find out more about RAI, go to to calculate your own admissions index.

RAI poster

Whether you are a parent or a student, here is some important information you need to know about these courses:

Here are the major differences with forms of college credit at LCHS:

IWCC courses ,whether they are on the LCHS campus, on the college campus, or online) offer college credit for successfully passing the class.  Typically grades of C or better transfer; however, A’s and B’s are strongly recommended for transfer. The college classes you take while in high school with IWCC produce a college transcript.  Those grades transfer with the credit.   When you get ready to graduate, make sure to send your IWCC transcript to the college of your choice.

Project Lead the Way courses also offer students college credit through performance on an end of course exam.  Students interested in taking the end of course exam to determine college credit must first perform well in their courses and follow up with their teacher about how to register for testing.  When you get ready to go to college, let admissions know about the college courses that you have taken.

Advanced Placement courses offer students college credit or advanced standing in college through performance on an end of course exam. Students can take Advanced Placement exams in subject areas without taking the course; however, taking the course and/or completing test prep prior to examination is encouraged. Students taking an AP exam can inquire about testing with the AP coordinator and AP teachers. See the AP coordinator about transferring exam scores to your college of choice.

Important note: Parents and students will want to check with their college of choice about transfer of credit and their policies.  You can contact the admissions department of your future college of choice to learn more.  

Want to know more about these opportunities, or how parents can support their children through challenging courses? Check out these resources…

Links to more information about Advanced Placement courses:

Links to more information about the benefits of taking challenging coursework:

Higher GPA or Harder Courses?

Building Your Future: Preparing for Academic Success at Regent Universities in Iowa (U of I, UNI, ISU)

Other important resources you will want to utilize if you have questions or want to learn more:

The school guidance counselors at LCHS

AP and IWCC teachers at LCHS

The AP coordinator

The LCHS TAG strategist

The current Course Handbook with course descriptions

Senior Year Plus Legislation in Iowa, Rules and Guidelines

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