Course Offerings & Selection

Student playing the violin

North’s Counseling Department builds each and every student’s schedule by hand. Larger schools often use computer programs to build students’ schedules, but we find that only by hand building schedules will our students receive the courses necessary to further their academic growth.

All students at North will take 4 years of math, 4 years of English/Literature, 3 years of science, 3 years of social studies, one additional year of science or social studies, two years of a foreign language and one year each of P.E. and fine art.

In addition to these core subject areas, North offers Elective Pathways to help guide students’ elective course selections. Students needing additional support in their literacy and math skills will take smaller, highly focused reading and/or math intervention classes in addition to their English and math courses.

Incoming 9th graders

Incoming 9th graders select their courses in April/May of their 8th grade year.

Parents/Guardians of incoming 9th graders will have several opportunities to review student course selections and make any updates.

Incoming 9th graders will be invited with their parents to a virtual orientation event in April, or early May, 2021, to select courses.

In the meantime, we encourage you to view NHS Courses Offered 2021-2022 to see North High’s offerings. Students typically take 4 core academic course (English, Science, Math, Social Studies), an integrated Physical Education and Health course (1 semester), a Freshmen Seminar course (1 semester) and two electives of their choice.

10-12th Graders

Current North High students select their courses for the following year in early March in their Learning Communities. Because these decisions will impact their options following graduation, we highly encourage families and mentors to support students in this process. Students have already met with their Learning Community mentors and counselors to understand the DPS and North High graduation requirements. In addition, all returning students will be required to select an Elective Pathway.

North prides itself on ensuring every student is college and career ready upon graduation. We offer over 40 rigorous academic Advanced Placement, Honors and college level classes in core subjects, plus a multitude of elective options in world languages, technology, art, music, drama, and physical education.

For more information on the courses offered at North, please visit the course catalog. Type the name of the course in the search bar, then click the course name for a complete description.

North High School’s Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses are a rigorous choice that strengthens students’ transcripts for college applications and can provide college credit.


The Honors program prepares students to take Advanced Placement classes. Deeper content exploration, rigorous expectations and like-minded classmates characterize honors classes. Honors classes are offered in the following subjects.

  • English I & II*
  • Integrated Math (Combined Algebra and Geometry) II & III
  • Geography*
  • US History*
  • Biology*
  • Chemistry
  • French III & IV
  • Spanish III & IV

*Embedded Honors: Students will not have a separate class but work will be differentiated within the course for students depending on if they want to earn regular or honors credit. Students in these courses will decide during the first two weeks of the semester which version of the course they will work throughout the year. This will ensure that ALL students are able to access honors-level course work.

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement classes are challenging college-level courses offered in high school. Each AP course is developed by a committee composed of college faculty and AP teachers, and covers the breadth of information, skills, and assignments found in the corresponding college course. AP courses are taught by highly qualified high school teachers. North offers 18 AP classes in 2019-20 with two classes being open to qualified freshmen.

The AP Examinations are administered each year in May and represent the culmination of college-level work in a given discipline in a secondary school setting. Rigorously developed by committees of college and AP high school faculty, the AP Exams test students’ ability to perform at a college level. Most four-year colleges in the United States and colleges in more than 60 other countries give students credit, advanced placement in college courses, or both on the basis of AP Exam scores.

Our students’ AP scores are climbing at a rapid rate. The percentage of total North AP students receiving a passing score of 3+ went from 51% in 2018 to 60% in 2019, an 18% increase. The total number of AP exams taken has nearly doubled in the past five years, from 212 to 415. 23% of North students took at least one AP exam in 2019.

North’s students outperformed the national average in the following 6 AP tests administered in 2019: 2D Drawing, Biology, Computer Science Principles, English Literature, Human Geography and Spanish Literature.

In 2018-19, the North High Student Board of Education (SBOE) team, teachers and counselors targeted the issue of increasing racial diversity in Advanced Placement (AP) courses at North. View the SBOE presentation.

Students in AP classes can expect the following:

  • To delve deeper into content
  • Student will engage in intense, upper-level discussions
  • Classrooms are engaged in collaborative problem-solving
  • The courses will prepare students to succeed in college by sharpening writing and reading skills
  • The rigor of AP will help students practice discipline and time management

The following 18 AP classes are offered in 2019-2020:

  • Biology
  • Calculus AB
  • Calculus BC
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science Principles (available to qualified 9th graders)
  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Government
  • Human Geography (available to qualified 9th graders)
  • Music Theory
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Spanish Language
  • Spanish Literature
  • Studio Art (2D Art, 2D Drawing & 3D)
  • U.S. History
Concurrent Enrollment

North offers concurrent enrollment classes to help students earn college credit while attending North. North partners with Metro State University, Community College of Denver, and University of Colorado Denver – CU Succeed​ in offering college courses to our students. North also concurrent enrollment at CEC Middle College and Emily Griffith Technical College. Watch a video about concurrent enrollment at Emily Griffith Technical College.

Students are able to take college classes and earn college credit while still in high school, all paid for by Denver Public Schools.

Under the provisions of the Concurrent Enrollment Programs Act, college-ready students at any grade may take courses through post-secondary institutions and apply credit earned toward high school graduation as well as receive college credit.

Denver Public Schools will pay the tuition for up to two courses per academic term. Costs for books, fees, and transportation will not be paid. If a student fails the course(s), he or she or his or her parent/guardian will be required to reimburse the district for the cost of tuition.

Students interested in Concurrent Enrollment must see their school counselor for paperwork and information regarding the enrollment process. Students must begin the process at least 60 days prior to the term in which they wish to take classes. Denver Public Schools covers the tuition costs of these courses.

Through CU Succeed, UCD professors come to North and teach several courses like Communications, Sociology and Criminal Justice. Additionally, several North High teachers are CCD adjunct faculty and teach courses such as Spanish 112 and 211 and College Algebra.

ASCENT or College First Program

The ASCENT or College First Program allows students who meet the specifications to take a full year of tuition-free college credit the year following their senior high school year. Students must submit an Intent to Participate application to their counselor during registration of their senior year and have completed 12 college credit hours by the end of their senior year. Approved students can remain enrolled in high school their 5th year, but attend full time at the college.


Elective Pathways allow North High School students to dive into areas of study and establish a depth of knowledge and proficiency in a particular subject area. Rather than jumping from one area of study to another, our students gain a deep understanding while they delve deeper into their elective content, eventually mastering curriculum. An Elective Pathway provides students with rigorous curricula connected with focused, hands-on, relevant learning that prepares them for higher education and the workforce.

Students can select a variety of pathways at North. Elective Pathways include: Musical Arts, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Digital Media/Technology, World Languages, JROTC, Physical Education, and CEC Career and Tech Ed. Learn more about Elective Pathways.


North established a Gifted and Talented team in August, 2019. This team consists of diverse teachers and staff who work in collaboration with North’s identified and prospective GT and Highly GT students. This team will ensure that every GT and HGT student has an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) in place and will collaborate to provide the best opportunities for all students including GT and HGT students.