New course options for high school students and clearly defined maps of course progression from grades 6 through 12 are highlights of the proposed Course Handbooks for New Richmond Middle and High Schools.
The Board of Education held the first reading of the handbooks during the Dec. 21 meeting. The Board could adopt the handbooks during its regular monthly meeting in January.
Superintendent Tracey Miller complimented Principals Court Lilly and Robert Burnside along with the high school and middle school department leads for their collaboration and for delivering handbooks in December.
Mr. Lilly noted that last year was the first time the middle school has put together a handbook. It was a good document but was minimal, he said. This year’s version has some clerical changes along with a few more significant updates.
The first big change is the addition of language defining academic acceleration. This is something that wasn’t really spelled out for students who are working above grade level, Mr. Lilly said. The handbook now outlines how students can be accelerated in a specific subject or an entire grade level.
Another significant change is the addition of flow charts that illustrate the seven-year academic progression for students grades 6 through 12. The flow charts were developed by the high school and middle school department leads.
A few updates were made to the middle school health curriculum, Mr. Llilly said. Also, details about athletic eligibility were removed from the academic handbooks for middle and high school and will be placed in the athletic handbook.
The high school handbook includes the academic flow charts described by Mr. Lilly as well as nine new proposed courses of study, and the possibility of being eligible for a class by teacher/staff recommendation.
The theme of this handbook for the upcoming school year is making sure we’re providing equitable access for all students, Mr. Burnside said. By making courses available to students who meet the prerequisites or have a teacher recommendation, the high school is embracing this theme, he said.
It doesn’t mean that prerequisites are being removed, it’s just recognizing that students mature and develop differently, Mr. Burnside added.
The new proposed courses are: Horror in Literature, AP US History, Mathematical Modeling and Reasoning, Music in Literature, Conceptual Mathematics, Public Speaking II, Robotics and Drones IV, Video Game Design, and Writer’s Craft.
No new staff will be hired to teach the courses. Adequate student interest and fully vetted courses of study will need to be in place, along with Board approval, before any of the proposed courses are implemented, Mr. Burnside said.