This article is an broad overview of the Learner Handbook, otherwise called "The Learner Success Guide". The Learner Success Guide and other documents, may be downloaded for your use, on the right side of this page.
Types of Learners at Orion
Full time – Full time learners are those learners who are attending only Orion High School in grades 6-12 or who have returned to high school as adults, and who are either on the annual or monthly tuition plan(s).
Recovery learners – these learners come from an Orion High School approved program, such as the Southern Dreams Partnership program in Mississippi. Learners through this partnership must enter through the program designated in their particular state.
Part-Time Credit Transfer - Credit transfer learners (learners who are taking courses at Orion, to transfer back to another school, pay 300.00 per course, or 225.00 per 1/2 credit (for credit recovery). College Board Advanced Placement Courses are $500.00, and require a two-three month commitment. Courses start on the first day of the month, and end on the last day of the second month. Upon completion, the credit (official transcript) is mailed to the student's high school.
Summer School Credit Transfer Learner - Orion High School offers summer school for credit transfer learners. Summer school sessions are in June, July, and August respectively. Learners participating in Summer School are bound by the same course taking limits as full-time learners, as well as by the same course requirements as full-time learners. Summer school credit transfer learners may take courses for advancement or recovery at ½ - 1 credit.
Partner School Learners - Learners who are coming from Partner Schools receive a discount on the credit transfer tuition.
Admissions Requirements & Initial Course-taking Limits
- Prospective learners apply to Orion at www.OrionHS.org. Although unofficial transcripts may be uploaded during the admissions process, official transcripts are requested and evaluated against the Orion graduation requirements.
- Once learners are processed and accepted for Admission they must complete the Orion Induction and Orientation Course before beginning their course work. The Orion Induction and Orientation Course is not a graded course; rather, it is a way for learners to understand how to maneuver around Orion, and how digital learning works at Orion.
- Once a learner completes the Orientation and Induction Course, the learner may request one course to begin. This will be the only time that a learner is limited to one course. After that, Orion allows learners to take two courses (maximum) per session. One session is equivalent to two months. Please note that learners are not required to take two courses per session, this is just a maximum.
- Once admitted, and once the Orientation and Induction Course is complete, the learner may begin course work. If the learner begins any day from the 1st day of the month to the 15th day of the month that learner is a considered a starter as of the first day of the current month. If the learner begins any day from the 16th day of the month through the last day of the month, the learner is considered a 1st day of the next month starter. Start time determines end time in accordance with Orion’s sessions. This allows for consistency of start time (1st day of the month), and end time (last day of the second month).
One Orion session is equivalent to two months. For example, a learner starting his or her two courses in January finishes those courses the last day of February, regardless of whether the last day of the month falls on a Saturday or Sunday. New sessions, then begin on the first day of the following month.
Grade reports are available and may be downloaded in the Classroom Center, by the 2nd day of the month. Learners earn the designated credit(s) in courses. Some courses are .5 credit, and some are 1 credit. The learner must earn a grade of at least 70 or better in the course, in order to earn the designated credit.
Final examinations may be given as part of the learner’s grade (see Grading Policy). If a learner is required to take a final examination, then the final examination may count as a substantial portion of the learner’s grade.
6th, 7th, and 8th graders do not earn high school credit, unless they apply for high school credit courses such as Algebra 1. An application is made available through learner Advising, and is only granted if a learner in a lower grade has shown high competency in a subject area.
Advanced Placement Courses
The following enrollment rules are in place as of August 2015, for Orion High School learners desiring to take Orion's AP® Courses:
- Learners taking an AP® Course during any term are only allowed to be enrolled in that AP course only, not any other courses. Because of the complexity, rigor, and expectations in our approved AP® Courses, learners will not be able to take another course during the term. Orion's AP® Courses receive weighted grade at Orion.
- Learners taking an AP® Course should expect to continue the course into the third month; however, during the third month, the learner may pick up the second course, and take that course concurrently with their AP® Course.
- Students from other schools, taking AP® Courses at Orion, should expect that the course will last for three full months, and that Orion's expectations is that the student participate fully in the course outside of the 'regular' school day.
Credit Recovery Courses
Full time learners and credit transfer learners may take credit recovery courses. Credit recovery courses are .5 – 1.0 credit, and are typically in core courses or in other required courses such as Foundations of Personal Fitness, World Languages Courses, Speech Communication, and all core areas. To qualify for a credit recovery course a learner must have previously had instruction in the course and failed the course. All credit recovery courses are set for two months (one session); however, learners may qualify for Early Completion, if all of the credit recovery requirements have been met. In other words, it is possible that credit recovery courses may be finished before the session is finished. If that is the case, the mentor will submit an application on the learner’s behalf – the application is called the Early Completer Form.
Some full-time learners who fail an Orion course, may enter into credit recovery; however, the learner must access the advisor, and in most cases, the learner will be required to pay for the credit recovery course (if the learner is not on a tuition contract – i.e. has paid a specially approved tuition rate at Orion High School).
Grade Acceptance Policy
Orion High School will accept grades and credits as they are, from sending institutions. For example, if a sending school awards credit with a grade of “D” or “D+”, or “D- “, Orion will place the grade and credit as is, on Orion High School’s transcript. Transcripts are evaluated against Orion High School’s requirements for graduation, and against Orion High School’s list of approved courses. If there is an F on the transcript with 0 credit, then it is entered as such.
The Orion Registrar will contact high schools in order to formally request transcripts; however, students are encouraged to request an “informal” transcript copy in order to expedite the enrollment process.
Half-Credits in the Traditional Setting
Often times, learners come to Orion High School at what would be the ½ way point in their traditional school calendar (December or January). In many instances, the sending school will have awarded ½ credits since those traditional dates are typically end-of-semester dates in the traditional school. Where ½ credits have been earned in core courses, Orion recommends, in most cases, that the learner re-take those courses, since Orion’s terms are two-months long; however, learners may take ½ credit courses (designated as A – first semester or B – second semester), in lieu of taking the course from the beginning.
OHS Assignment and Final Course Grading Scale
Orion High School uses a grading system that tops out at an A+ and ends at C-. Any grade below a 70 is a failing grade. The Grade Point Average is calculated on the transcript only, and uses the values denoted below.
The Orion High School Grading System is as follows:
Grade Point Value on Transcript
69 and Below
*Note that Orion High School does not award D grades, but does accept those grades, if credit has been awarded at another accredited school. If that is the case, then grade point value is awarded as shown in the table.
How GPA is Calculated
For each course, the numerical grade (given above) is multiplied by the number of credit hours. This gives the grade points for the course. The grade points are totaled across all courses on the transcript and divided by the total number of credit hours on the transcript to give the GPA.
For example, given a transcript with these courses:
English, B+, 1.00
Algebra, A, 1.00
PE, B, 0.50
The GPA would be calculated as follows:
English grade points = 3.33 * 1.00 = 3.33
Algebra grade points = 4.00 * 1.00 = 4.00
PE grade points = 3.00 * 0.50 = 1.50
Total grade points = 3.33 + 4.00 + 1.50 = 8.83
Total credit hours = 1.00 + 1.00 + 0.50 = 2.50
GPA = 8.83 / 2.50 = 3.53
The GPA calculated on your transcript is a weighted GPA. This means that courses marked as Honors, Dual Enrollment, or Advanced Placement (AP) receive an extra "weight." Though this can result in a GPA that is higher than 4.0, most colleges accept and even prefer weighted GPAs.
The weighted GPA is calculated this way: Advanced Placement (AP) courses receive an extra 2 grade points. Honors and Dual Enrollment courses receive an extra 1 grade point. So, when the grade points are calculated for a single course, you would have to add 2 to that course if its marked as AP, for example.
That would result in a higher, weighted GPA. Note above, however, that Orion High School’s highest grade point awarded is 4.33
Advance Education - Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Orion is accredited by the Association of Christian Teachers and Schools and by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS/CASI). Orion is committed to ongoing continuous quality improvement using the Accreditation Standards as the bar and the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence as the vehicle.
Although Orion gives automatic credit for students coming from other accredited schools, Orion High School will (after review and verification of regional accreditation and/or other acceptable standards-based documents) accept transfer credits from home school, public school, and private school.
Official Orion Transcripts bear both the Orion High School Seal as well as the ACTS Seal.
Texas Private Schools Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC)
TEPSAC does not award accreditation to school, so the name is somewhat of a misnomer. What is called the TEPSAC Commission is made up of directors whose accreditation agencies are approved by Texas, and award accreditation to schools. Advance Education, for example, is a member of the TEPSAC Commission.
Once a school is accredited by a recognized agency, TEPSAC then recognizes the school, and places the school’s name on their list of ‘accredited schools’. In Texas, TEPSAC also works with the Texas Education Agency to provide a school identifier for each accredited private school. Orion’s, for example, is 165-181-001.
The Better Business Bureau
Orion High School is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Although accreditation means something completely different than it does through educational agencies, BBB accreditation means that the organization meets criteria for conducting business.
Other Memberships and Affiliations
Orion High School is a member of the International North American Council for Online Learning.
The National Honor Society
The Warrior Chapter of the National Honor Society at Orion High School is affiliated with the official NHS, which is under the auspices of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Orion’s Chapter conducts its’ business in accordance with the by-laws established by the national organization of NHS.
College Board® Advance Placement®
Orion High School's Advanced Placement® Courses are approved by the College Board. Only courses with syllabi approved by the College Board are listed in the Orion High School Course Catalog, found in the Classroom Center. See additional stipulations for AP® Courses, found in the FAQs and in the tuition area.
Students who transfer from another school where credit was not earned, must register to take credit recovery courses. In the event that a credit recovery course was not passed, learners may then opt to take Credit by Examination at Orion High School.
Once admitted to credit by examination, the examination may be taken once. Ample time is provided to study the course modules, in order to be prepared for the examination. Examinations are proctored by Orion High School, and must be taken during a specified time.
Orion High School requires 26* credits for graduation. Orion’s policy is that credit by examination may only be used for a total of 3 credits maximum.
Students who transfer to Orion High School from any school whose accreditation has been terminated, may complete the requirements at Orion High School. Orion High School’s 26* credits must be met. If the student already has 24 credits, then Orion’s policy is that the prospective student must complete six courses at Orion in order to qualify for an Orion High School diploma. (Diploma Eligibility).
Because Orion High School participates in Texas approved examinations, Orion utilizes End Of course Examinations (where applicable) for credit by examination, and some locally developed assessments as well. CBEs are scheduled and proctored on Orion’s TeamViewer App, and the learner must be on voice over internet protocol (VOI) and camera throughout the duration of the examination, unless an approve local proctor has been designated.
Orion’s ongoing commitment to meet the standards for accreditation requires that learners who wish to earn a diploma from Orion High School, must take 25% of the courses required for graduation, at Orion High School. This means that 6 courses must be taken at Orion High School, in order to be eligible for a diploma from our institution. Please see the Graduation Requirements/Diploma Eligibility further in this document.
Orion High School works with multiple agencies toward dropout prevention with the goal of graduation. With these agencies, Orion has state-specific requirements for eligibility. Please contact Orion, or local designees in those states for Diploma Eligibility requirements.
Learners should plan for and take the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, or ACT, at least prior to taking the last set of courses at Orion High School. When registering for any of the above College Board Examinations, learners should place the Orion High School Code – 444731. Registration occurs online at The College Board’s website. When a learner uses the OHS Code for registration, OHS receives a copy of the results. Orion uses results to help document whether or not any course revisions need to be made.
SAT Calendar can be found at: http://sat.collegeboard.com/register/sat-dates
ACT Calendar can be found at: http://www.actstudent.org/regist/dates.html
PSAT Calendar can be found at: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/reg/dates.html
State Standardized Testing
Although Orion’s courses are not specifically intended to prepare students for state exit examinations, students will be amply prepared to do so, if they wish. Orion High School participates in the Texas assessment system. Learners who may be returning to public school in Texas, should contact the Advisor for assessment scheduling.
Orion High School’s Chapter of the National Honor Society
Learners who earn Honor Roll status for three terms in a row will be invited to be inducted into the Orion High School Warrior Chapter of the National Honor Society. Members of the OHS NHS Chapter are bound by the organization’s by-laws including the upkeep of scholarship, character, and service. Once a learner becomes a member of the OHS NHS, the learner will have NHS listed as a course on the learner’s main course page.
The Honor Roll is published in the Orion High School Newsletter, “Weekly Warrior!” To be considered on the A Honor Roll, a student must have earned A’s in all courses. To be considered for the A-B Honor Roll, a student must earn a combination of A’s and B’s. A C in any course will eliminate a student. (The Honor Roll is Published in, “Weekly Warrior”).
Classification of Learners
Learners are classified upon entry, and then are re-classified upon meeting the credit criteria below. Graduation planners reflect the course requirements for each grade level, and those planners are updated upon reclassification.
Accumulating Credit at Orion High School
Credits are awarded upon completion of each OHS course. Course completion occurs at the end of each Orion Session (information above). All grades, including the final grade for the course, are based upon the Orion High School Grading Policy. Transcripts are updated upon course completion.
Upon completion of Courses, learners may print their Report Cards. Report Cards are available in the Classroom Center. Report Cards are for personal records only, and may not be used for any other purpose other than personal records.
Honor Roll Certificates can now be printed from the Learner Home Page when you have a grade of 80 or above.
Learner Historical Grades are kept on file at Orion’s Offices. Final transcripts may only be requested online by logging in and going to the Orion Learner Center. Official transcripts ordered through the Learner Center are mailed directly to colleges and universities.
Transcripts are mailed via United States mail, and are sent the next business day after the request. Expedited services are available through the Transcript Request form in the Learner Center.
Texas Record Exchange (TREx)
Orion High School transfers records to and from via the Texas Records Exchange. That transfer of records includes a transfer to colleges and universities in Texas and other states as well. Learners who are entering college must complete a Records Request found in the Learner Center.
Orion High School requires learners in Texas to create user credentials at ApplyTexas.org. ApplyTexas is a one-stop application for colleges and universities in Texas. Once a learner has applied to a college or university, the learner must then access the Learner Center and request a record. Please note, that those records will be sent via TREx.
Learners who are out of state must create credentials at the Common Application and follow the request procedures listed above.
Learners Entering Private Technical Schools/Universities
At no time should learners present a copy of a transcript or a copy of a diploma to private technical schools and/or universities, as proof of graduation. All records must be requested through the Orion Registrar. Learners entering into these types of schools must provide the school with the Orion High School phone number so that Orion can provide a specific records request application to that institution.
OHS Support Services
OHS advisors are here to assist you with your choice of courses, and to ensure that you are following the correct sequence of courses for graduation from OHS.
Orion Advising Services assist learners through their studies by providing assistance for learner's questions. Advisors help learners understand and plan for life after graduation.
How does advising work, you ask? Advising can happen any time during the month; however, there is a formal week that is designated for advising. The 20th - 27th day of each month is designated as Advising Week. Here are some of the reasons you will want to meet with your adviser:
- Your adviser may tell you to file an extension if you are falling behind in your course; (you should have done this by the 20th)
- Your adviser will recommend your next course or courses for the term
- Your adviser will advise you on when to apply for graduation
- Your adviser will help you with SAT or ACT registration
- Your adviser will assist you with leave of absence
- Your adviser will help you keep your graduation planner updated
- Your adviser will help you formulate a plan of action if you have an extension
- Your adviser will help you communicate with your mentor(s)
- Your adviser will be an additional advocate/mentor for you at Orion
Technology support services assist learners who need Orion Tech Help services. These services include e-mail support, phone support, and live online chat support. Orion High School Technology Support Services only assists with Orion specific issues, such as the TeamViewer Application, and downloading and using Firefox. There is a self-help portal in the Learner Center, so that learners may utilize those features.
Transferring Credit to Orion High School
Once a student is enrolled at Orion High School as a full-time learner, credit may be transferred to Orion High School in cases such as (and others):
- Personal Fitness/Health taken through a local swimming, dance studio, etc.
- Community Based – band, theater, etc.
The courses must be part of the learner’s graduation plan, and transfer of credit fee of 100.00 per half credit must be paid prior. Orion will seek out additional information before finalizing credit award (for example, the course must meet the criteria in Orion’s course guide).
The Learner Center
The Learner Center contains a vast amount of information and support for Orion Learners:
- Learner Forms – Request for Extension, Graduation request, Leave of Absence
- Learner Records – Individual Graduation Plans and/or Transcripts
- Plan My Future – College Board area; Apply Texas area; My Plan area;
- My OHS Account – Pay tuition/fees
- OHS Social Area – Social Center for Learners and Mentors
Learners may self-refer or may be referred to a certified counselor at Orion. Upon referral, Orion will connect the learner with a counselor for needs other than course/academic needs.
Continuous Enrollment Policy and Leave of Absence
Orion learners must maintain contact with mentors at all times in order to have sufficient time for course completion. Learners are entitled to two approved one-month leaves of absence per academic year. Orion’s academic year begins September 1 and ends on August 30. Learners desiring to take one month of leave must apply at least one month in advance of the expected leave. For example, if a learner desires to take the month of July off, then the learner must apply for leave no later than the first week of June. Application for Leave of Absence is found in the OHS Learner Center.
When leave is approved, the learner will be required to log in during the regular course request window (20th-27th) to request the next course. Please note: Learners who are on an approved Leave of Absence may request one course upon return from leave.
Learners who are on monthly tuition: Learners who are on monthly tuition may not use the leave of absence policy to withdraw from Orion. In other words, learners may not use the continuous enrollment policy to take time off, then withdraw. If a learner is anticipating withdrawal, that must occur BEFORE LOA is requested, therefore making it a withdrawal, not a leave of absence. Monthly tuition is due and payable at the end of the second month of leave. Learners who choose to withdraw after the second month of leave will be charged the next month's tuition, and records will be withheld until that is paid. If there are extenuating circumstances, a learner must communicate those circumstances to Orion with a direct call and conversation.
Learners taking additional time may have it approved; however, there will be a reinstatement fee applied in order to continue with the next set of courses. The reinstatement fee is $300.00
General and Course Suspension
Learners who have lost contact with mentors for three days in a row will be suspended from course(s). If a learner is suspended from the course, the learner will be able to log in, but will not be able to access course(s). If that occurs, the learner must contact Dr. Gallegos immediately. Once contact is reinstated between the learner and the mentor, then the learner may resume the course. On the second (or more) time, then the learner may be withdrawn from the course.
Learner’s whose tuition is delinquent are subject to suspension from Orion High School, if the tuition is substantially delinquent. Suspension does not negate the contractual obligation to make payment.
Graduation and Commencement Ceremony
The Orion High School Chapter of the National Honor Society hosts the OHS Commencement Ceremony. The Commencement Ceremony is held during late summer of each year. To receive a high school diploma from Orion High School, a student must successfully complete the required number of credits. Learners who have graduated effective any time prior to July, may participate in the ceremony. Commencement Ceremonies have been held in Midland, Texas; Kingsland, Georgia; Mississippi (location determined yearly). Additional locations may be added. Note that during years where replies have determined a low turnout, there will not be a graduation ceremony held.
Learners who have completed all requirements for graduation become Candidates for Graduation on the first day of the month following the completion of their last session. For example, a learner who completes all requirements by the last day of March becomes a Candidate for Graduation on April 1. Candidates are approved on the first day of the month. Upon approval, diplomas are mailed to the learner’s mailing address. (Learners must verify mailing address prior to having the diploma mailed). A copy of the learner’s final transcript will accompany the diploma.
A Graduation Exit meeting is held for each candidate. That meeting is scheduled prior to the 27th day of the month preceding eligibility for graduation. At that exit meeting, learners must demonstrate that they have created user accounts at ApplyTexas and/or the Common Application, and have applied for higher education (if applicable). The learner and adviser review the final transcript, and verify that all requirements have been met. At the end of the meeting, the learner submits the Graduation Request Form, and is apprised of the final steps and timelines for delivery of official documents. The learner is provided with an exit survey form, and completes that after the Exit meeting ends.
Graduation Regalia: Cap, Gown, Stole, and Honors Chords
Graduation Regalia (cap, gown, stole, tassel) may be purchased in the Orion Learner Center, by clicking on the Orion Store link. Learners who have qualified for the Honor Roll any time during their stay at Orion HS my purchase the Honors Package. Learners who are members of the OHS National Honor Society may also purchase regalia in the store. Note that learners are not required to purchase regalia, but may want to do so as keepsakes.
CONTENT AREA REQUIREMENTS
ADVANCED PLACEMENT SUBSTITUTIONS (WHEN APPROVED BY COLLEGE BOARD)
ALLOWED COURSES FOR ADDITIONAL CREDIT
ARE HONORS COURSES AVAILABLE?
4 credits in English–ELAI, II, III,one credit in any authorized English course (your adviser will assist)**
Learners whose first language is not English may substitute ESOL English 1 and ESOL English 2 for English I and II
AP Language and Composition
AP Literature and Composition
AP Courses are weighted grade
Learners may earn the fourth credit through:
Modern Fiction; Modern Film; Research and Technical Writing (any other course in the Catalogue, listed in the English requirements)
Yes. Honors Courses for weighted grade in English I, II, III, IV, and Research and Technical Writing
4 credits in Mathematics–Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, one creditin any authorized mathcourse (your adviser will assist)**
AP Calculus AB
AP Calculus BC
Learners may earn the fourth credit through Math Models; Statistics; Engineering Mathematics; Personal Financial Literacy
4 credits in Science–
IPC or Chemistry or Physics
PLUS two creditsin any authorized science course (your adviser will assist)**
AP Physics C
The additional two credits may come from: Marine Biology; Astronomy; Engineering; Entomology; Any other courses in the Orion Course Catalogue
Yes. Honors courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering
4 credits in Social Studies–
World Geography, World HISTORY, U.S. HISTORY, U.S. Government (.5credit), Economics (.5 credit)
AP Micro Economics
AP Macro Economics
AP US History
AP European History
Sociology may substitute with approval.
Yes. Honors courses in World Geography, World History, US History, US Government, Economics
2 credits in Languages Other Than English
6 or 8* credits in electives - Any electives from the Orion HS Course Catalog
Culminating Project – The Senior Project*
Total Number of Credits
Upon acceptance/admission to Orion High School, a learner is provided with the OHS Graduation Planner. The OHS Graduation Planner lists all courses that have been approved for transfer to OHS. The Learner’s individual OHS Graduation Planner lists all courses that are still required at OHS. The Learner’s Individual OHS Graduation Planner is found in the OHS Learner Center under the link, ‘Graduation Planner’.
Distinguished Level of Achievement
Learners may graduate Orion High School with a designation called Distinguished Level of Achievement. A learner who earns this distinction, must meet the following criteria:
- Complete all of the requirements from the 26 credit Graduation Plan;
- Complete a comprehensive Senior Project
- Take and complete at least one AP Course
- Must have entered Orion High School before beginning the Senior level
The Distinguished Level of Achievement is the highest honor bestowed on a graduate of Orion High School.
Learners may earn endorsements in one or more of the following areas. Endorsements signify that a learner has content knowledge in one or more areas of interest or technical knowledge. Learners may pre-determine the desired endorsement area, during the planning meeting prior to the sophomore or junior level. Unless otherwise approved retroactively (learners who started on the 26-credit plan prior to 1/1/2017), learners may not be approved as meeting the requirements for the endorsement, if they have not declared in that meeting. Final endorsements are determined during the final graduation planning meeting with the adviser. The following endorsement areas are offered at Orion:
Arts and Humanities Endorsements
There are four areas of endorsement that may be earned in the Arts and Humanities:
- Arts and Humanities Social Studies Endorsement - To earn a Social Studies endorsement, learners must earn 1 additional credit in Social Studies (in addition to the four required credits from the Graduation Plan). The fifth credit may come from AP™ Courses in the Social Studies/Humanities (as approved by the College Board), Sociology, Psychology, Bible Humanities, Introduction to Criminal Justice, and other approved courses found in the Course Catalog.
- Arts and Humanities English Endorsement - To earn an English endorsement, learners must earn an additional four credits in approved English Language Arts course. The four credits may come from AP™ Courses in the English Language Arts area (as approved by the College Board), Research and Technical Writing, Creative Writing, Practical Writing, Grammar and Composition, Independent Study in Journalism, Photojournalism, Independent Study in Speech, Modern Film, Modern Fiction, and other approved courses found in the Course Catalog.
- Arts and Humanities World Languages Endorsement - To earn a World Languages Endorsement, learners must take three levels of the same language, plus two levels of a different language (for a total of 5 World Languages credits). In lieu of the 3 and 2, some courses have five levels, therefore, a learner may opt for five levels (credits) in the same language.
- Arts and Humanities Fine Arts Endorsement - To earn a Fine Arts Endorsement, learners must take 3 credits in the Fine Arts. The three credits may come from Arts 1 - An Introduction, Art 2 Photography, Art 3 Photography, Music Appreciation, Community Based Fine Art (Participation in the local community Theater, Symphony, or other similar organization).
Business and Industry Career Clusters
There are six career clusters (under Business and Industry), in which learners may earn an endorsement.
- Career Cluster: AV, Technology and Communications - In order to earn a Business and Industry endorsement in this career cluster, learners must take three credits that come from Graphic Design and Illustrations, Professional Communications, or Video Game Design 1, 2, or 3, and other approved courses found in the Course Catalog.
- Career Cluster: Business Management and Administration - In order to earn a Business and Industry endorsement in this career cluster, learners must take three credits that come from Principles of Business, Marketing, and Finance, Touch System Data Entry, Business Information Management 1, and other approved courses found in the Course Catalog.
- Career Cluster: Health Sciences - In order to earn a Business and Industry endorsement in this career cluster, learners must take three credits that come from Medical Terminology, Anatomy & Physiology, Pharmacy Technician 1, 2, or 3, Practicum in Health Science, and other approved courses found in the Course Catalog.
- Career Cluster: Human Services - In order to earn a Business and Industry endorsement in this cluster, learners must take three credits that come from Principles of Human Services, Child Development, Practicum in Human Services, and other approved courses found in the Course Catalog.
- Career Cluster: Information Technology - In order to earn a Business and Industry endorsement in this career cluster, learners must take three credits that come from Principles of Information Technology, Computer Maintenance, Computer Programming, Digital and Interactive Media, Web Technologies, and other approved courses found in the Course Catalog.
- Career Cluster: English - In order to earn a Business and Industry endorsement in this career cluster, learners must take three credits that come from Advanced Broadcast Journalism, Advanced Journalism 1, Advanced Journalism 2, and other approved courses found in the Course Catalog.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Endorsements
There are four endorsements areas, under STEM, in which learners may earn an endorsement.
- STEM Engineering Endorsement- In order to earn a STEM Engineering Endorsement, learners must take Engineering 1 2 and 3, and other approved courses found in the Course Catalog.
- STEM Technology Endorsement - In order to earn a STEM Technology Endorsement, learners must take three credits that come from Computer Science 1, 3-D Modeling and Animation, Digital Video and Audio Design, Web Design, Independent Study in Technology Applications, and other approved courses found in the Course Catalog.
- STEM Mathematics Endorsement- In order to earn a STEM Mathematics Endorsement, learners must take three additional mathematics credits that come from AP™ Mathematics Courses (when approved by the College Board), Pre-Calculus, Math Models, Calculus, Statistics, and other approved courses found in the Course Catalog.
- STEM Science Endorsement - In order to earn a STEM Science Endorsement, learners must take two additional science courses that come from AP™ Science Courses (when approved by the College Board), Astronomy, Entomology, Anatomy & Physiology, Marine Biology, and other approved courses found in the Course Catalog.
The Senior Project
Learners who are attempting to earn Distinguished Level of Achievement or who opt to take the Senior Project as the last two credits be required to complete a Senior Project. The Senior Project is a course that is led by an Orion mentor, and by the CEO. During the first month of the Senior Project course, learners must select a project that will accomplish any of the following:
- Complete a research paper in MLA format, that is in an area of high interest to the learner. The research paper may be about a social topic, historical topic, statistical project, or any other type of topic, approved by the mentors.
- Complete a local community service project, with the goal of enhancing the local community. Some examples might be: participating in a local community theater; working a minimum of 40 hours in a homeless shelter/community shelter; working to improve a local church organization, or any other type of local service. The learner will document the work, and will begin with a stated purpose for the project. The leaner will present a documented (pictures, videos, interview with others) project at a time set aside for that presentation. Affected community members will be invited to the presentation. The presentation will occur at any time during the sixth, seventh, or eighth week of the Senior Project Course.
- Develop a website that will of service to an organization locally, or otherwise.
- Participate in an internship in a local business. A minimum of 80 hours must be completed as hands-on work in the business, and the business owner must participate in the culminating presentation.
- Creation of a product that would, if mass-produced, provide a service to others in the grater society.
- Any other project that will meet the goal of providing the learner with an enhanced opportunity for communication and participation in the greater community.
Minimum Graduation Plan
Learners who meet the following criteria may opt to follow the Minimum Graduation Plan at Orion High School:
- The learner has taken at least 5 courses at Orion High School, and has not been successful in passing those courses; or
- The learner has been a dropout of high school (traditional) prior to the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year;
- The learner dropped out of high school, and is entering Orion High School as an adult learner.
Please note that learners who come in to Orion High School are required to take a minimum of six courses, regardless of how many credits are on the high school transcript. The required courses to meet the minimum plan are below:
Total Credits in Subject Area
English Language Arts
One additional authorized English course
One additional authorized math credit
Integrated Physics and Chemistry (IPC) OR Physics
One additional authorized science credit
World Geography OR World History
US Government (.5)
Foundations of Personal Fitness or Acceptable Alternative per catalog
Any from catalogue
In order to qualify for acceptance into the minimum requirements, the learner must first complete or attempt to complete the minimum number of credits for eligibility OR meet the dropout recovery criteria from the list above. The learner will be required to sign an Opt-In agreement that signifies that he or she understands that the Minimum Plan may not meet automatic entrance requirements into colleges and universities. The learner will then be placed onto the plan, and the Graduation Planner will reflect the required courses needed to satisfy the requirements from the plan, above.
Please note, that if a learner applies for admission, meets the requirements for entry into the Minim Plan, and has the correct number of credits in the correct content areas, above, the learner must still take a minimum of six courses to qualify for diploma eligibility at Orion High School. In summary, we will not simply award a high school diploma upon entrance, all learners must still comply with the Diploma Eligibility Policy at Orion High School.
High School Equivalency Testing
Orion High School is a State of Texas authorized testing center for the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET). Learners at Orion High School may opt to take the HiSET at Orion High School’s Testing Center (or another authorized testing center in Texas), if they meet the following criteria:
Eligible students participating in this program must take a minimum of 5 courses at Orion High School, before earning eligibility for entrance into the High School Equivalency Program. At the end of the five courses, the student (and parent if applicable) will meet with the Orion High School adviser in order to review Orion’s Diploma Eligibility Policy, and to determine if entrance into the Program is the best option for the student (in lieu of the Minimum 22 Credits or the Regular 26 Credits). Students and Parents will be advised that a withdrawal from Orion High School will be necessary, once the student seeks out the option. Orion High School will facilitate the HiSET registration procedure, locally (if applicable), and will also assist students in other Texas jurisdictions, to get the students registered, and to the correct approved Testing Center.
Students and/or Parents will be advised that Orion does not issue an Equivalency Certificate; rather, upon successful passing of the sub-tests, the student will receive an Equivalency Certificate administered by and delivered by the State of Texas, through the Texas Education Agency.
Initial qualification requires that the student is at least 16 years of age at the beginning of the school year or semester; at least two school years have elapsed since the student first enrolled in ninth grade; the student has completed fewer than 1/3 of the credits required for graduation under Orion High School’s Graduation Plan, five of which must be earned at Orion High School.
Student’s will participate in core coursework at Orion High School. That core course work will prepare students for the HiSET. Eligible students will register for and take the HiSET at Orion High School’s Testing Center, located at 4500 W. Illinois Ave., at the assigned date and time. Non-local students will be registered to take the HiSET at a local approved testing center. All local HiSET Examinations are administered through Orion High School’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Texas Education Agency and the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
Support Services for HiSET Qualifiers
Students who do not meet the passing standard on one or more assessments on the HiSET, and who have been enrolled at Orion immediately prior to registering for the HiSET will receive additional assistance from an Orion content coach, for a period of one additional month at no cost. After the month has completed, the student may opt for additional coaching, all the way through the last examination.
Students who meet the HiSET requirements may also continue to meet Diploma Eligibility requirements at Orion, if they would like to do so. Successfully meeting the HiSET requirements may serve an immediate purpose for students (job, etc.), but the student may continue to be enrolled in order to continue toward diploma eligibility.
Note that students do not need to be enrolled at Orion High School to register for and take the HiSET; however, those students must meet the State requirements for doing so. Enrolled students must only meet the Orion High School requirements for entry. The Equivalency Certificate is issued by the Texas Education Agency, not by Orion High School, and the Certificate will not have any designation about attending Orion High School.
Please note that Orion High School offers new courses at a rate of at least 1 new course per month. The content areas, below are represented in all of our offering in the catalogue.
English Language Arts and Reading Courses
Personal Fitness and Health
Career Clusters for Endorsements
Business Management Cluster
Human Services Cluster
Information Technology Cluster
Other Practicums Available Through Senior Project Only
A Note About Advanced Placement®
Advanced Placement courses are rigorous, and will require substantial time and effort in order for learners to be amply prepared for the AP examinations. AP examinations are optional, and learners must contact Orion High School in order to participate if desired. Orion recommends that learners taking AP courses take them without additional courses on the schedule. Often, AP courses require an extension into the third month. AP courses are placed on the transcript as such, and have a weighted grade attached to them (above the 4.0 scale).
Course Request Window
Orion High School and Middle School learners may request additional courses during the 20th-27th day of the month, and all learners must comply with the maximum course offerings during the term (see max courses). Courses requested after the 27th will not be approved, in most cases. Requests coming in after the 27th, require a call to be made to the Orion office, in order to discuss extenuating circumstances.
Withdrawal from Orion High School
Learners desiring a withdrawal from Orion High School or Middle School, must complete the withdrawal form. Records will be released only if tuition is not delinquent. See the refund policy for tuition paid annually, for further information.
Course Drop/Withdrawal from Course
Learners desiring to drop a course must do so within the first ten days of enrollment in the course. After the first ten days of the course, an “F” is placed on the official transcript, and that record will be sent to the new school. Leaners who stay at Orion will be required to take the course over in order for the failing grade to be replaced. Please note, that leaners who are on the annual tuition plan (maxed out at 10 credits), and who withdraw form a course after the first ten days – this course will count as one of your ten.
If a learner withdraws within the first 10 days of beginning coursework at Orion, the learner is entitled to full tuition refund. A tuition contract is due and payable if a learner withdraws after beginning the first course, unless there are extenuating circumstances that have occurred that will require Orion to nullify the tuition contract. Those will be discussed on an individual basis.