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Accelerated enrollment for new academies

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71 at Collins, SCHS to pursue new course

By Todd Martin

The turnout for the new Accelerated Academy at both Collins and Shelby County high schools has been somewhat staggering.
The administrative staff of both high schools and Shelby County Public Schools sat down Thursday with members of the Board of Education for an informal roundtable discussion to explain the new program.
More than 115 students have met the criteria for the academy and 71 – 44 at Collins and 27 at SCHS – will take on the rigorous schedule starting in two weeks.
The Accelerated Academy was announced last school year as a way to challenge and reward the top achieving high school students in the district.
The course load is bumped to an 8-period day, which includes a zero-hour class that begins at 8:30 a.m.
There is also a dedication to the program that will likely see smaller class sizes than normal, even as it grows. The group of students will remain together throughout the day, unless taking electives.
That means Collins will have two groups of 22 students each, and SCHS will have one class of 27.
The 4-year schedule, which is already set for students, will include up to 15 Advanced Placement courses.
“With that, if they pass their AP tests, the students can earn up to 45 [college] credit hours through AP courses,” said Kerry Fannin, the district’s director of secondary schools. “Plus, we have some dual-credit opportunities through our Project Lead the Way [PLTW] courses, so they will have the opportunity to earn 51 college credit hours.”
Fannin said at the average rate of $317 per credit hour in Kentucky the savings could be more than $15,000.
The course load has an emphasis on science and math courses, but Collins Principal Anthony Hatchell and SCHS Principal Eddie Oakley said there haven’t been questions about creating a schedule that focuses more on humanities or language arts.
“The question I’ve had the most about the course work is what about activities outside the courses, like band and choral?” Hatchell said. “We have assured those parents that the students will be allowed to be full parts of the programs as extra-curricular instead of co-curricular.”
That means that the students would not necessarily take the classes, although there are two elective spots worked into the 4-year schedule, but would be able to compete with the groups and work with them after school as an extra-curricular activity.
Oakley noted another big concern parents have had is setting up support systems for students with such a difficult schedule.
“We have a Talented and Gifted teacher, as does Collins, and she will be available to mentor and council these students,” he said. “A few of the things we’ve talked about have been weekly lunch groups where students can eat with her and discuss their day, week or the program and after-school sessions.
“Another thing is our counselors will be very involved as these students progress through the academy, first helping them get ready for the Young Leaders program, then getting them ready and helping them fill out their applications for the Governor’s Scholars program and then finally helping them find and fill out scholarship forms.”
One point of concern from the board was how this fits into an already full set of duties for teachers and staff.
“I think this is a great program, and I applaud the work, but I want to make sure this isn’t coming at the expense of other programs at our schools,” Board Chair Sam Hinkle said.
Superintendent James Neihof noted that schools have been encouraged to continue AP classes that maybe had been a little short on enrollment, and Hatchell added that all the courses in the Accelerated Academy are available to all the students.
And Neihof noted that the district’s Big Goals still include the Intervention goal, which focuses on students not meeting standards.
“Much more time has been spent on the schedules of the rest of the students this year than has been spent on this schedule,” Oakley added. “We are in no way, nor will we be, putting all our focus on this and not helping the rest of our students.”
Also at the meeting, Neihof reported:
Summer school is still going strong. The schools have not had any drop off in attendance, and success stories are still coming in, he said. “A ninth-grade parent told me this was the first time in her memory that she caught her child under the covers reading after lights out one night,” he said.
The district has started cognitive training, and Neihof said the feedback has been very positive. He noted that the focus of the training is on the College and Career Readiness goals.
The design team for the new Southside Elementary school project is in place, and Neihof said the team has been working with the architects, and they hope to have some “preliminary design work soon.” That will be followed by public workshops designed to get input and feedback on what the community wants in a new school.
Aug. 16 will be the opening day for teachers and staff, with a morning reception held in the gym SCHS.

 

Accelerated Academy schedules

The schedules vary slightly because of the difference between the Project Lead the Way programs at the two high schools, Collins has an engineering program and SCHS has a biomedical program. Each grade begins with a zero-hour class that begins at 7:30 a.m.

 

Collins

Freshman

AP Human Geography

Honors English I

Accelerated Geometry

PLTW Intro to Engineering

AP Biology

AP Biology lab

Foreign Language I

Health & PE

Sophomore

AP Computer Science

Honors English II

Accelerated Algebra II

PLTW Principles of Engineering

PLTW Digital Electronics

AP Government

AP World History

Foreign Language II

Junior

AP Statistics

AP English Language

Accelerated Pre-Calculus

PLTW Civil Engineering & Architecture

Honors Chemistry

AP US History

Foreign Language III or an elective

AP Music/Art

Senior

AP Macro/Micro Economics

AP English Literature

AP Calculus

PLTW Engineering Design & Development

AP Physics

AP Chemistry

AP Physics/AP Chemistry lab

AP Foreign Language or an elective

 

SCHS

Freshman

Honors English I

Accelerated Geometry

ROTC/Health & PE or elective

PLTW Principles of Biomedical Sciences

Algebra 1, Shelby Singers, ROTC, Health & PE, or elective

Foreign Language I

Honors Biology

AP Human Geography

Sophomores

AP Government

Honors English II

Accelerated Algebra II

PLTW Human Body Systems

AP Biology

AP Biology Lab

AP World History

Foreign Language II

Juniors

AP Statistics

AP English Language

Accelerated Pre-Calculus

PLTW Medical Interventions

Honors Chemistry

AP US History

Foreign Language III

AP Music/Art or AP Computer Science

Seniors

AP Macro/Micro Economics or AP Computer Science

AP English Literature

AP Calculus

PLTW Biomedical Innovation

AP Physics

AP Chemistry

AP Physics/AP Chemistry lab

AP Foreign Language