Class Load

Six academic subjects and physical education is considered a normal load for PTHS students.  In order to graduate, a student must earn twenty-six credits and pass all Constitution exams.  Administrative approval must be granted for a student to take an overload of classes.


Students can select from a wide variety of areas of study. Over one hundred course offerings are available in the following departments:

Advanced Placement

AP is a program of college-level courses and exams for secondary school students. Over 90 percent of the colleges that most AP candidates have attended give credit and/or advanced placement to students whose AP exam grades are considered acceptable. Advantages of taking AP classes are students may earn college credit without leaving home, can pursue advanced academic work, and stay among their peers. Advanced Placement courses are not weighted when calculating GPA.  AP courses are offered in

  • Studio Art
  • Biology
  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Music Theory
  • Spanish
  • Statistics
  • US History


Honors courses are available in English. The English department offers a 4-year sequence culminating in AP English. Honors classes are denoted with an (H) behind the course name. Honors courses are not weighted when calculating GPA.

Dual Credit

PTHS seniors can enroll in one course each semester through the Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE)/dual credit program at Heartland Community College. Each course is taught by a HCC professor at Pontiac High School. Students may receive dual credit upon satisfactory completion of the course. Students enroll as a HCC student, pay HCC tuition, and purchase required textbooks. Assessment in Reading and English is required prior to enrollment in an ACE class. Students are exempt from the Reading placement test if their ACT Reading subscore is 21 or higher; students are exempt from the English placement test if their ACT English subscore is 21 or higher. The State of Illinois provides grants through the ACE program. Students earning a “C” or better at midterm are reimbursed $50. Due to the uncertainty of state funding, the ACE program may be altered at any time. Grades earned in these courses are used when calculating GPA.

Other Credit

A student may earn up to 2 credits toward high school graduation from any approved and accredited community college, an approved correspondence program, the Illinois High School, and/or other accredited high school programs. This coursework is in addition to, not in place of, the 6 academic subjects in the student’s regular day. Prior to enrolling, students must have administrator/counselor approval. Graduation credit will be awarded upon successful completion of these courses; however, no GPA credit will be calculated. Payment of any tuition/cost for this coursework is the responsibility of the student. Students taking a course through an approved community college must successfully complete at least a 2 semester hour course to receive a 1/2 credit towards fulfilling their high school graduation requirements.