Site council discusses curriculum changes, graduation requirements

by | March 17, 2014 | in News | No Comments

The site council members are discussing whether or not social psych will have more value for ninth grade students, and the implications it will have on curriculum.

“Every year there is always a discussion about graduation requirements,” site council member and math teacher Doyle O’Reagan said. “This year there is a conversation about social psych, which students take sophomore year, and perhaps making it a required course freshman year.”

While nothing is set in stone, O’Reagan said that with the potential switch, the level of conversation and concepts discussed within social psych are also subject to change. Currently site council is looking into whether social psych will be more beneficial to freshmen or sophomores.

“The site council is currently discussing the pros and cons of the switch,” junior Amanda Champion said. “The idea is that if students have a class where they get to know their fellow classmates it will help create a community for the rest of high school.”

Champion personally would like to keep the schedule the way it is because the transition would limit elective options for incoming freshman. She also believes that there is a significant maturity increase from freshman to sophomore year and the switch could possibly take away some of the value the class currently holds. However, there are students in support of making this change.

“I’d rather get social psych done with freshman year because you have more elective options sophomore year,” junior Garret Keating said. “Also social psych would be more helpful as a freshman because it prepares you for high school as a more introductory class kind of like YEds.”

Like Keating, sophomore Teddy Staley says that having social pysch as a freshman would be more beneficial to students. Staley believes that while taking the class at a younger age would not be radically different, it would still better prepare students for the high school years to come.

“Sophomore year, people are more experienced and have more knowledge on the topics that are discussed,” Staley said. “Freshman would benefit from learning more about the topics on the itinerary rather than having it be review for sophomores.”

Staley also said that having social psych as a sophomore created schedule conflicts which made it hard for him to take all the classes that he wanted. However, if social psych becomes a required semester class for freshman, there is still a need to build a backup course that students can take during their second semester.

“There’s a thought that maybe the world cultures class should be a semester class that is required,” world cultures teacher Janine Sohn said. “That would mean there would no longer be a one year long world cultures class.”

Sohn says that one of the possible rationales behind making world cultures a required class is that the community wants an emphasis on the students being more aware of the issue of global citizenry.

“I don’t think world cultures should be mandatory as the second semester course, rather having computers mandatory freshman year would be a much better line up,” Staley said.

While these ideas are being discussed, Sohn said that no definite initiatives toward change have been made. Different elective options are still being explored, and the adjustments to the curriculum still have to go through department chairs, committees, etc. before any alterations can be instilled.

“I don’t think this would be something that happens in the fall 2014, but perhaps fall 2015. It’s still early in the conversation and there’s a lot of hoops it has to go through before it’s going to happen,” O’Reagan said.