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December 3, 2006

One Small Step in the Right Direction at West HS ...

In light of recent events regarding curriculum and other issues in our high schools, there has been a small step in the right direction at West HS. Superintendent Rainwater announced at our 11/29 MUAE meeting that he has been in discussion with West HS Principal Ed Holmes about providing West 9th and 10th graders who are advanced in language arts the opportunity to skip over English 9 and/or English 10. Advanced placement decisions will be based on grades, teacher recommendation, writing samples, WKCE scores, and ACT/SAT scores. Details will be worked out by Mr. Holmes, the West English Department and District TAG staff.

This small -- but important -- change brings West more in line with Memorial, the only other high school that has a core English 9 curriculum delivered in completely heterogeneous classes. Every year, four or five academically advanced Memorial freshmen are allowed to go into English 10 -- specifically, English 10 Honors. (FYI: Unlike West, Memorial has honors classes in 10th grade; as well, 10th graders can take some of Memorial's 17 AP classes.) East and LaFollette, of course, have two or three levels of ability/interest-grouped classes for freshman (and sophomore) English -- called regular, advanced and TAG at East and regular and advanced at LaFollette -- and will continue to have them for at least the next two years.

If you are the parent of a West area 8th or 9th grader who is advanced and highly motivated in English, you might want to consider having your student take either the ACT or SAT through the Midwest Academic Talent Search (MATS) in order to support a request for single subject acceleration. There is still time to register for the MATS online:

IMPORTANT NOTE: As I see it, this development does not in any way mean we should slow down our lobbying efforts vis a vis the BOE and Administration to get them to make West more like the other high schools -- in terms of course offerings and other oportunities for academically advanced students -- during the two years of the high school redesign study introduced by Superintendent Rainwater at the 11/27 BOE meeting.

Posted by Laurie Frost at December 3, 2006 1:29 PM
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