By: Sarah Hudes, Rafeea Tamboli, and Aashika Mehta
The 2017-2018 school year included many changes to school policies and curricula, including the introduction of new classes such as AP Microeconomics as well as the implementation of policies like the updated library pass system. The 2018-2019 school year is going to be no different, as major changes in the math curriculum are introduced and new science, music, and technology classes will be implemented in the upcoming years.
Perhaps the largest change for the next academic school stems from the math department. WW-P will no longer provide a geometry course to incoming freshmen. Instead, the sequence in which math courses will be offered will be as follows: Algebra I, Algebra II, and then geometry. Essentially, the math curriculum for freshmen and sophomores will be switched. “[This] means that next year, we won’t have any sections of geometry in the building,” said Lee Riley, head of guidance at High School North. The exception will be for incoming freshmen who pass Algebra 2 via Option ii and opt to take geometry instead. Incoming ninth graders who completed an Algebra I course in eighth grade will proceed to take Algebra II or Advanced Algebra II Honors. Students who took geometry this year will still take Algebra II next year. “Next year, we will have 25 sections of some version of Algebra II so we’ll have a lot of teachers who [are currently] teaching geometry that will be teaching advanced Algebra II… Half of the building will be taking the same math course which will be different and, obviously, only last for one year,” said Riley.
In addition, two new classes will be making their debut in the 2018-2019 school year: Music Technology and AP Environmental Science. The new music course, open to any student grades 9-12, allows students to create their own music using computers, MIDI keyboards and other instruments. AP Environmental Science will provide students with another science course choice. “I would definitely be interested in taking this class because students usually go straight to biology, chemistry, or physics and this provides an alternative. With North’s competitive environment, making environmental science an AP course would attract more students,” said junior Vidushi Vashist.
Other course changes pertain to the expansion of class curriculums. North’s Graphic Computer Applications course will be moved from the art department to the engineering department and renamed Graphic Engineering. “[The class] focuses more on 2D and 3D engineering projects. Kids are not only going to be able to design things, but they’re also going to be able to actually print objects using 3D printers,” says Riley. Additionally, the Fashion Strategies class has been renamed Creative Design and will include a broader scope of topics such as “art principles, design elements, color harmonies, textiles and construction, as well as design history, in both the fashion and interior design worlds,” (Program of Studies).
Non-academic policies were also implemented at North. At the beginning of the school year, High School North’s administration changed the school’s alcohol policies, largely affecting clubs or sports engaging in overnight trips. Previously, students would face repercussions such as an out-of-school suspension, police notification, or a thirty calendar day suspension of school activities should the student the be under the influence of alcohol. This year the policy was altered so that students now face consequences they be in the presence of alcohol. Although this measure was embedded into school policy to combat underage drinking, it left students expressing their disagreement. “Instead of making one overarching rule, [administration] should take it case by case. The new rule could really negatively impact students’ futures if they got caught and weren’t even drinking,” said Junior Tara Gideon.
North seems to be taking a leap forward in academic achievement for the 2017-2018 school year, attempting to make the best decisions for all those who strive to broaden their horizons in STEM and humanity courses. As scheduling season for the upcoming school year dawns upon students, the guidance department is working hard to make the changes within curriculums known to students via the annual scheduling preview week presentations and having an up-to-date list of classes offered by High School North.