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H-F school board makes curriculum changes with upgrades and new courses

The District 233 school board made Homewood-Flossmoor High School curriculum changes by adding or giving more academic credit to 15 courses. The changes will benefit students at all levels starting in the 2019-2020 school year.
Nancy Spaniak, director of curriculum, instruction and professional development, gave her recommendations to the board at the Dec. 18 meeting.  She outlined several new courses that are being added; six that will change in grade weighting from honors to AP/IB (Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate); two that will move from college prep to honors because of their rigor; and a weighted pass-credit is being instituted for two courses. The board unanimously approved the changes.
Project Lead the Way’s Digital Electronics and Civil Engineering and Architecture courses are switching from honors to AP because it requires students to use math skills equivalent to those taught in an AP/IB math course.
Automotive Electrical 1 and Engine Performance & Automotive Management in the Applied Academics program will be upgraded from college prep to honors because of their academic rigor. Spaniak also provided the board with information that students who successfully complete these courses may earn dual credit from Prairie State College and are ready for immediate in-field job placement.
The changes include giving credit for freshman and sophomore Intervention For Success seminars designed to give special assistance to students struggling academically and socially/emotionally. The program has been offered since 2011, but students never earned credit. With the change, students will be able to earn a grade of “pass” and 0.5 credit hours.
Spaniak outlined new courses for the board:
  • IB Mandarin is the culmination of the World Language curriculum. Since adding Chinese in 2015, H-F has built a program that now has every level, including Mandarin 5. 
  • Foundations for AP English and Social Science for juniors and seniors. The course is designed for first-time AP students to help them develop the reading, writing and study skills necessary for success in the AP social science and English courses. 
  • African-American Literature, an elective for juniors and seniors to engage in the analysis of African-American literacy and culture.
  • AP Seminar for sophomores, juniors and seniors will create stronger alignment between sophomore English and AP Language & Composition and expose students to college-level rigors. 
  • IB Psychology HL 1 will give IB students more flexibility in their course offerings. Honors Psychology for juniors and seniors will help create a bridge between the AP and college prep levels and offer students college level-like skills in a step format.
  • Creative Writing 2 will help alleviate overloaded classes of Creative Writing, an elective course that currently may be repeated.
  • IB Math SL: Calculus will give IB students a way to strengthen their math skills from freshman year through this final course as a senior.
  • Quantitative Literacy & Statistics is designed for seniors who will attend college or a community college but are not intending to be a science, technology, engineering or math major. 

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