More classes, more options and more student interest. More may be better.
The Garden Grove Unified School District is rolling out new and expanded education in the 2013-2014 school year in grades 7 through 12, and Kelly McAmis, director of 7-12 Instructions Services, is very excited.
“We are slightly competitive here [GGUSD]. . . and we are above the state in our data and we beat the county [in students meeting A-G requirements],” said McAmis at Tuesday’s school board trustee meeting.
“A-G” refers to college-approved high school coursework including history/social science, English, mathematics, laboratory science, a language other than English, visual or performing arts and a college prep elective.
In 2012, GGUSD rated 49.6 percent success in student A-G, while the 2011 numbers where 40.3 percent for California and 43 percent for the county.
By having an increased success rate in overall student A-G attainment, there are now doors opening for curriculum to expand in math, English, social science, science and “World Languages.”
There will be companion classes for English Language learners at every intermediate school in the district, something that McAmis said will help learning language consistency and application while keeping students current in other subjects.
There will also be classes for native English speakers who are below proficiency to help get them on track in their grade level.
Finally, for English, there will be additional enrichment coursework for students who are above their grade level.
Math as well will have more support and expansion for those who need it.
There will be math companion courses for students who need acceleration and enrichment to get them to their grade level.
For those who are ahead there may be a new pre-advanced placement “pathway” courses to transition them into high school levels of proficiency and testing.
“Pathway” classes are still in the pilot phase of education assessment, meaning that they are being tested out at one school to see viability on a larger scale. Doig and McGarvin Intermediate are the test sites this year to determine coursework success.
The “AP-pathway” style coursework will also show up in the social sciences and science classes for intermediate school students
“This is differentiated instruction for advanced learners in history and science and will use College Board and AP multiple choice and writing assignments,” said McAmis.
“We have to train teachers to be the most effective in giving them [the students] a parallel experience to what they would experience in high school.”
Vietnamese will be introduced for the first time at the 7-8 level as soon as the teacher certification process is finished. There will also be a Spanish language heritage class offered at more schools starting in fall.
In 9-12 grades, Spanish and Spanish Heritage classes will be taught at all high schools.
“This is big, we have our first graduating class of seniors to be recognized by the state of California as bi-literate,” said McAmis.
Vietnamese is currently offered at three schools, La Quinta, Bolsa Grande and Garden Grove High Schools and pending teacher certification will expand further to more campuses.
French will be taught at all high schools except Garden Grove High School. Latin will be taught only at Garden Grove High School and German will be taught only at Pacifica.
There will be an expansion to Advanced Placement classes at the high school level to prepare students for collegiate level analytical writing, reading and research.
GGUSD has seen a massive jump in AP class interest since 2000, when there was 2,051 students district wide enrolled and only 81 classes available. In 2012, 6,824 students enrolled in 233 classes.Board members were happy hearing about jump in participation not only in AP courses but in overall high school graduation preparedness.
It was said by staff that even though not 100 percent of graduating students enroll in college, that they are able to successfully test to the end of high school shows an improvement in education.
“It’s not always about going to the UC or the CSU. It’s about having options.What I tried to teach my kids to do, is to do the things that you need to, in order to give yourself as many choices as possible. We are giving twice as many students that choice as we were six years ago,” said board member Bob Harden.