Schools ahead of curve with new college prep classes
With admission standards for colleges becoming increasingly more competitive, the Louisiana Department of Education is preparing to implement new requirements in an effort to give high school students the tools they need to have success beyond their secondary education.
The new curriculum requirements will not go into effect until the beginning of the 2008-09 school year, but St. Charles Parish schools have already been analyzing what they will need to meet the new requirements and ensure the transition goes smoothly.
The current curriculum in place requires high school students to complete a minimum of 23 credit hours, three in math, science, and social studies and another four in English. The additional credit hours are gained through health and physical education with the remainder used for electives, St. Charles director of curriculum Rachel Allemand told the Herald Guide.
Beginning in 2008, Allemand said they expect the current LA Core 4 curriculum to replace the standard curriculum, adding one additional credit hour to bring the total required to graduate up to 24.
The ‘Core 4’ refers to math, social studies, science, and English, requiring students to take four years of those main subjects, instead of the traditional three. Electives will be cut to five units, one unit to be used for arts, two in foreign language or speech and students fill out the remaining electives in an academic or technical area of concentration, according to the Louisiana Commission on High School Design.
Students who want to get serious with their education can opt for a degree with a career/technical endorsement or an academic endorsement. Both degrees require a set grade point average and ACT score depending on which route they choose.
“There are certain aspects in the curriculum we’ve been studying and changing over the years,” Allemand said. “They weren’t necessarily in preparation for the upcoming changes, but it’s certainly given us a head start.”
Hahnville and Destrehan High Schools currently offer 50 advance placement course for the college bound, something Assistant Superintendent Felecia Gomez is part of the reason she feels confident that St. Charles students will be ready for the upcoming changes.
“It’s definitely going to be a change for some of our students but we’ve positioned ourselves so our children have a head start,” Gomez said.
That’s something that the St. Charles schools continue to work on heading into the next couple years by supporting programs such as dropout recovery and prevention, credit recovery and remediation. They try to target ninth graders who appear to be falling behind and offer after-school tutoring sessions to ensure students don’t slip through the cracks.
BESE will vote to approve the changes within the next couple of months, Allemand said, but she expects it to be approved and St. Charles students to be prepared.
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The St. Charles Herald-Guide won 18 awards from the Louisiana Press Association for the paper’s work in 2013, including Best Editorial Page and Best Lifestyles Coverage.