kitchen table math, the sequel: High School Quest

Thursday, March 5, 2009

High School Quest

In a comment somewhere, Catherine asked for an update about our high school quest.
My son has chosen the Middle Years IB program in the district. His classes will include:
  • Intro to Literature
  • Geometry
  • World Geography/History
  • Spanish 1 (He chose this, he's had 2 yrs of Latin)
  • Biology
  • Health/PE combined-semestertotal
He also chose:
  • Theater (instead of art or music) -semester
  • Geospace (Astronomy & Geology)
  • Team PE -semester
  • Business Economics - semester
No study hall. (unless you count the PE classes)

I've had to put aside John Taylor Gatto's Weapons of Mass Instruction, to read Robert Fried's The Game of School. Somebody tell me these books have a happy ending!

Instead of homeschooling the boy, we're providing value-added instruction. Last night we watched Religulous and that provided plenty of opportunity for discussion.

An update on our charter school's expansion into high school:

A final proposal was submitted to the school board and they agreed to send it on to the district. The original goal was to give the school a science/math focus.

There was an interesting discussion at the Information Night or "reveal" night for parents. The proposed coursework for 9th - 12th grade would require:
  • 4 yrs math
  • 4 yrs science
  • 3 years foreign language

In the local district, students are required to take 2 years of each. Some parents at the "reveal" night thought that the curriculum would be too boring and rigorous. I pointed out that the local colleges: CSU, UNC & CU Boulder required 3 years of each subject to be admitted (UNC only requires 2 yrs of a language), and ivy league schools were in line with what the charter school would be requiring, hence the name "Liberty Preparatory Academy".

The budget proposes offering 40 new courses with only 8 new teachers. Here's how the math track would look... Currently students take the following math courses:
  • Pre-algebra (may test out) 7th grade
  • Algebra 7th or 8th And a few 9th graders)
  • Geometry 8th or 9th
  • Algebra 2 9th
Proposed courses beyond 9th grade are:
  • Pre-Calculus
  • AP Calculus
  • Discrete Math -semester
  • Personal Finance -semester
  • Discrete Math -semester

Taking my younger son as an example, here is what his math options would look like:
  • 7th grade - Algebra
  • 8th grade - Geometry
  • 9th grade - Algebra 2
  • 10th grade - Pre-Calculus
  • 11th grade - AP Calculus
  • 12th grade - 2 semester courses. of course he can always take these in 11th grade as electives. To continue in math, he'd have to go to the local community college.
Also at the Information Night, the social committee presented how fun the new high school was going to be. "I mean, we all loved high school because it was so much fun!" she gushed. I'm not exaggerating when I say she used the word"fun" 13 times in her presentation. There was also concern and discussion about the Character Foundation Stones, the hoity-toity name of the school and the dress code.

Overall, there was a lot of interest in the proposal with close to 200 families asking for more information.

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