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Curriculum, programs undergo change

Stereotypically awkward junior high students stare in awe at the mighty high schoolers as they stride confidently through the halls. High school students stand on pedestals, barely noticing the existence of the entire junior high department.

What happens when these opposite factions come face to face?

For campus administrators, the hope is that the union of some junior high and high schoolers will be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Starting in the fall of ?05, the curriculums for the junior and senior high schools will undergo unification.

?We believe that ?assessment drives instruction,?? Tim Wilkins, superintendent, said. ?Our plan is to reach the point where we can better match our programs to each student?s individual need.?

Under the new plan, high school classes will be opened to junior highers, and some formerly junior high-only teachers will teach lower-division high school courses. For example, an eighth-grader could choose to take Spanish I, while her English teacher would also be teaching sophomore English.

This design is being implemented in hopes of broadening the options for all students on campus.

?A school of our size has limited resources,? Wilkins said. ?Our new plan will allow us to maximize the use of our faculty, as well as our course offerings.?

Administrators envision a school where each student has their class schedule tailored closely to their individual needs.

?We want to provide more challenging, upper level classes for our brightest students,? Wilkins said. ?We also want to provide some ?scaffolding? and structure for kids on the lower end of the spectrum, while making sure that the kids in the middle aren?t lost. We hope to have more options like these with the new curriculum.?

It is important to note that the high school and junior high will remain separate entities.

?We are simply reorganizing grades, not combining them,? Wilkins said. ?Our overall program will be from grades 7-12, but there will still be a very distinct high school and a very distinct junior high.?

For high schoolers envisioning their halls flooded with junior highers, high school Principal Gary Schultz offers some reassurance:

?High schoolers will only be seeing junior highers a little more than they do now,? Schultz said. ?It is our hope that, within this brief span of interaction, the high schoolers will serve as good models for their younger counterparts.?

Other changes will include a later lunch time for the high school and a restructuring of class periods.

For more information on the curriculum changes, contact Principal Schultz at 299-1695, ext. 127.

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