In an effort to improve academic offerings and increase student opportunities, (BHS) is making multiple changes to their curriculum and graduation requirements.
The AP Program will be expanded, CAPT competency requirements will be raised and students will be required to complete more credits to graduate. Additionally, incoming freshmen will benefit from the new technology initiative, which will provide each student with an iPad 2 loaded with all necessary textbooks as well as training in how to effectively use the technology.
BHS Principal Bryan Luizzi and met with parents on March 24, to address concerns and discuss the upcoming changes. Bivona began the meeting by stating that incoming freshman will not be leveled up into honors level classes, as initially proposed and approved of by the (BOE).
“People felt rushed about this change,” said Bivona.
“We needed to take a step back.”
In a special meeting on March 23, the BOE decided to keep the academic level courses for incoming freshman students for the 2011-2012 school year. Leveling up is a major change that the school will work toward, according to Bivona, along with the goal of “raising the rigor and insuring our students are successful.”
The changes to the AP (Advanced Placement) Program include the addition of five new course offerings and the elimination of the application process to enroll.
“If they feel they can handle that level of work, we want to open that opportunity,” said Luizzi.
“We want every student to have a college level course experience.”
CAPT Competency Requirements will be increased in literacy, mathematics, science and social studies from a three (proficient) to a four (goal).
“Proficient is really not a high enough standard,” said Luizzi.
The school will continue to provide support for students who do not meet goal by junior year. Currently, 75% -80% of students reach goal in sophomore year.
“I don’t believe a student will ever not graduate due to this change,” said Luizzi.
Credit requirements will also be increased from 23.5 credits to 26 credits, effective for the class of 2015. All students will be required to increase the number of courses carried beginning in the 2011-2012 school year. Student in grades nine, 10 and 11 will carry seven courses (up from six) and senior will carry six courses (up from five).
Additional changes planned for the 2011-2012 school year:
- Humanities Program: In the past, the school has offered only one Humanities course, taking the top students from the two eighth grade humanities classes. Two sections will now be offered, beginning in the fall. It will be offered as a one semester elective and will no longer replace student’s required English class. The change will enable students to purse more individualized interests.
- Music Program Revisions: There will be one large band course (combining marching and concert band) for all interested students. They will remove the automatic honors credit from marching band and special chorus and provide multiple pathways for honors credit for students in performing music courses. A new course in digital music technology will be offered and a course sequence will be identified for students interested in a career in music.
- Summer Reading Program: The summer reading program is being redesigned with input from students and faculty. Technology will be used to engage students and the offerings will be flexible to meet student’s the new program will be “more like a book club discussion,” according to Luizzi. It will “gives us ways to connect with kids.”
- Ninth Grade Transition: Student teams will be created for English, Social Studies and Science. There will be as many as four teams, which will enable teacher collaboration and allows for an easier transition. “We want them to find their niche, we want them to excel,” said Luizzi.
See the accompanying PDF files above for additional details about the curriculum changes and technology initiatives.