Again, ALL parents, you may not be here yet but believe me, you will care deeply about this when your child gets to high school. But if you are an elementary parent and you shrug now, then when you get there, no fair asking why science in SPS high schools is so limited. Tell the Board you are worried and want a wide variety of science classes available. (Also, ask the Board to not let the district systematically dismantle the BioTech program at Ballard.)
Currently the district is still proposing that all 9th graders take physical science, 10th graders take biology, and then chemistry and physics or a science elective.
These are the issues that schools are facing as result of this proposal:
1) What will happen to students who do not pass the first two classes? Will they simply retake those courses over and over? If so what does this do to upper level science class selection.
2) What about students who are accelerated students, currently only students in the APP program or those who test out of physical science at Ballard will be able to take accelerated science.
3) What happens to successful programs such as the marine science program at Garfield and the Ballard Biotech academy? Will these programs be scrapped?
4) Who will validate a class, by what standards will it be validated, what happens if it is not validated, and who will create and teach credit recovery courses and will this be achieved in the time frame necessary (one year.)
5) What happens to extraordinary courses such as Astronomy, Environmental science, Botany, Genetics, Oceanography, and many others being offered by the district as the definition of “science classes” shrinks. The pressure to get rid of these courses to offer more of the big 4 will result in a narrowing of science choices for all students.
I am including links to district documents as well as the superintendent’s remarks on science alignment released in here recent powerpoint.
Answer from Dr. Goodloe-Johnson: The purpose of alignment and eliminating some courses is intended to ensure that all students have courses that teach rigorous career and college ready standards, thereby supporting all students in their preparation for post-secondary choices.
In science, as in other content areas, we are proposing a sequence of courses that provide foundational content and skills in order to ensure students have the prerequisite knowledge to go more deeply into all sciences. The proposed sequence is physical science (8th grade), biology, chemistry, and physics. This sequence of courses is common in many of the top-performing districts we used to benchmark our curriculum alignment work.
All other science courses may be taken for elective credit and/or teachers may request that a syllabus from alternative courses be validated to demonstrate the course aligns to college and career ready standards so that it may replace one of the courses in the sequence. An example of this would be marine biology validated to demonstrate it teaches the biology standards and can therefore be taken in place of a basic biology course.