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December 19, 2014 Published in Schools

Alexandria City Public Schools Adds 22 More Courses To Its Curriculum

ACPS logoLast night the Alexandria City School Board approved adding 22 new courses to expand high school and middle school offerings for the 2015-16 academic year. Five are high school courses, one is an addition for middle school and 16 are new online courses.

In addition, the school board approved adding honors courses for the 2016-17 school year. The number and subject areas of the courses will be recommended by Alexandria City Public Schools staff.

"I am delighted that we are expanding the courses that we are able to offer our students. We are looking at what they want to study and trying to accommodate them wherever possible," said Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley.

Beginning in September 2015, T. C. Williams High School will offer Virginia and U.S. Government – We the People; STEM Explorations III; Dual Enrollment Urban Alliance Internship/College Success Skills; AP Advanced Topics in German Language and Culture VI; and AP Advanced Topics in French Language and Culture VI. One of these courses, Virginia and U.S. Government, was previously offered, but was not listed in the course catalog. Only one of these courses, STEM Explorations III, requires additional staffing.

The remainder of the new classes will be offered online. They include two courses in World History and Geography; AP Human Geography; Art History; AP Calculus; and Probability and Statistics. There will also be classes in Online Learning and Digital Citizenship; Credit Recovery Algebra; Personal Finance; and Literacy and Comprehension.

Five high school classes have been discontinued for the upcoming school year. All except one of these have not been offered for the previous two or three years. Dual Enrollment Calculus with Analytic Geometry was dropped because of low enrollment numbers. A total of 28 online courses will be discontinued because of changes in Virginia legislation. Under this legislation, some of the courses that were previously offered can no longer be offered.

The Program of Studies was put together over a two-month period, during which a committee of administrators and guidance staff from each of the middle and high schools analyzed every course to assess its value. Its purpose is to provide families with a list of course offerings, along with course requirements and expectations. It also defines graduation requirements and outlines supports offered to students.

The committee focused its work in two areas: providing families with a comprehensive list of course options offered by ACPS and ensuring that all students have an opportunity to explore a wide range of course offerings.

Committee members worked with various departments in each school to solicit recommendations for course revisions, additions and deletions that incorporate trends in student interest and demand, as well as ensure that the division is meeting new and revised course and graduation requirements from the Virginia Department of Education.

During October and November, the Honors Review Committee reviewed the 2014-15 Program of Studies and made content, language and course recommendations. They brainstormed individual and collective ideas about the current ACPS honors program and areas in need of enhancement or modification. The majority of their recommendations were accepted.

The Program of Studies will be published on the ACPS website and printed in hard copy for distribution to students, parents, guardians and school staff by the end of January 2015. This will allow staff and students plenty of time to begin to plan for each student's course registration for the 2015-16 school year.

The Program of Studies will be heavily promoted in fifth through twelfth grades. The course registration process begins Feb. 3.

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