October 05, 2008

Pathways

High School Redesign
With all the talk going on at the NJ Department of Education regarding high school redesign, many NJ high schools are preparing to buckle down and prepare for the vast changes coming from Trenton. In fact, the Commissioner and the Committee have been holding presentations for high school administrators and staff who would like to know about the redesign efforts.

I mentioned in a post a while back about my brief work with The Education Trust. Years later, NJ and 33 other states have joined together with Achieve Inc. to form the American Diploma Project Network. It's a consortium of states whose mission is to remake high schools for the 21st Century student.

Personally, I like the changes coming. I find NJ's plan for end of course exit exams much more relevant and meaningful for students (and schools) than the current testing. I also appreciate the state's push for more Option Two programs and their push to have all NJ high school students take at least one online course.

I attended the October 1 High School Redesign presentation at a Passaic county high school. The special treat that day was that Grant Wiggins presented on behalf of the Commissioner. His focus was on (what else?) schooling by design and other interesting and powerful ideas and calls to action. I found that what the state is pressing is what I am already planning.

Pathways
Currently, the students at my school have a menu of courses to choose from when they prepare their schedules. The courses are good, but the students lack a focus - a direction - when they create their courses of study. The administrators have banded together to formulate something more focused for our kids.

In short, we devised Pathways for our kids. It's nothing novel, but it is with us. One criticism (and a call for change from the faculty) is that our students lack any real academic direction in our school. With a little ingenuity, organization, and careful planning, we aim to construct these Pathways in the 2009-2010 school year.

An essential peice for us is the incorporation of an elective internship for our seniors. Option Two allows schools to devise authentic and non-traditional studies for students. Working with the local Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce, we hope to have a solid network of local professionals with whom we can place our seniors as interns.

The Plan

Arts & Humanities Pathway
Freshman Year Sophomore Year Junior Year Senior Year
English 1 English 2 English 3 English 4*
World History US History 1* US History 2* Physical Education
Math
Math Math Humanities 2
Language Language Language Elective
Physical Education Physical Education Physical Education Internship/Elective
Biology Chemistry Humanities 1 Internship/Elective
Seminar Elective Elective
Internship/Elective
Elective Elective Elective Internship/Elective
Pathway Related Electives:
Advanced Speech & Drama
Art Survey
Band
Chorus
Creative Writing
Drawing & Painting
Graphic Design
Human Behavior 1
Human Behavior 2
Journalism
Legal Issues
Music Theory
Photography 1
SAT Prep Verbal
SAT Prep Math
Speech & Communication
VHS Humanities related courses
Video Production

Math, Science, and Engineering Pathway

Freshman Year Sophomore Year Junior Year Senior Year
English 1 English 2 English 3 English 4*
World History US History 1* US History 2* Physical Education
Biology Chemistry Physics Math
Language Language Language Science Elective
Physical Education Physical Education Physical Education Internship/Elective
Math Math Math Internship/Elective
Seminar Elective Elective Internship/Elective
Elective Elective Elective Internship/Elective
Pathway Related Electives:
Advanced Algebra & Trigonometry
Anthropology
Sociology
Biology AP
Calculus
Calculus AP
Chemistry AP
Computer Science 1
Computer Science 2
Environmental Science
Geo-Physical Science
Physics AP
Pre-Calculus

SAT Prep Verbal
SAT Prep Math
VHS Math and Science courses


Business & Industry Pathway
Freshman Year Sophomore Year Junior Year Senior Year
English 1 English 2) English 3 English 4*
World History US History 1* US History 2* Physical Education
Math Math Math Math
Language Language Language Business Law & Mark.
Physical Education Physical Education Physical Education Internship/Elective
Biology Chemistry Physics Internship/Elective
Seminar Accounting1 Accounting 2 Internship/Elective
Elective Elective Elective Internship/Elective
Pathway Related Electives:
CAD I
CAD II
CIE
Computer Science
Foods
Journalism
Legal Issues
Meal Plan
Tomorrow's Teachers
Satellite Program
SAT Prep Verbal
SAT Prep Math
VHS Business courses
Web Design