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High school classes revamped for next year

When Park, Woodbury and East Ridge high school students start school next fall, the current four-period day becomes a six-period day with three trimesters. Other changes will come as well including a re-vamped curriculum with the goal of getting all students ready for college when they graduate.

Over the past two years, committees have worked to redesign high schools to offer more intense classes for students who know they are headed for college.

But college readiness, and courses aligned to Minnesota Department of Education standards, will be the doorstep for all students, according to Rick Spicuzza, assistant superintendent for curriculum and assessment, and Gordon Denn, supervisor for teaching and learning for all grade levels. Both facilitated the process.

Revamping for college readiness coincides with preparation for the six-period day and for the inauguration of Park's International Baccalaureate program of studies for juniors and seniors.

In the process, 24 new courses are being offered, 12 eliminated and 95 courses revised and re-written, according to Spicuzza and Denn, who have been updating the District 833 School Board since August.

Classes were eliminated because other classes replaced them and because students were not registering for them, according to Randy Zipf, superintendent for secondary education.

Speech, which has traditionally been a separate course, will be embedded in 10th and 12th-grade English.

Among the new and revamped courses are algebra I, geometry, language composition and human geography.

Orchestra has been extended from middle to high school and Mandarin Chinese will be taught.

Additional science, technology and engineering-focused classes will be offered.

Science, being tested by the state for the second time next year, has been restructured.

Ninth-graders will split the year between physical science and biology. Special education students will take a team-taught physical science class.

In 10th-grade, students will take biology and final exam tests will be used to meet the new state standard. Accelerated students can take chemistry. Biology will be team taught for special education students.

Chemistry for 11th-graders will be two-tiered with accelerated students offered physics, biology or chemistry. Electives for juniors and seniors include anatomy and environmental science, plant and natural disasters.

Seniors will take physics or advanced placement biology, chemistry and physics if they want four years of science.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
(651) 459-7600