School Board Approves Updated Program of Studies

The School Board voted 5-0 to approve Londonderry High School’s Program of Studies for the 2016-2017 school year.

“At the high school level, a student’s academic journey really begins by navigating an online fluid program of studies that will challenge and engage them as learners. We build our master schedule and a number of sections entirely off student requests; and our staff, particularly in the Guidance Department, works closely with them during that process,” Principal Jason Parent told the Board at its Dec. 8 meeting.

Parent noted the descriptions for courses to be offered as part of next year’s curriculum are available online.

Last year, the high school received over 20,000 course requests – of those, 97 percent were granted.

Updates to the 2016-2017 Program of Studies include new requirements in the State’s minimum standards for mathematics and technology, new course proposals and a number of description updates, Parent said.

“Our administrative focus continues to be reaching our ongoing goal of improving curriculum and instruction to ensure students are college and career ready,” Parent said. “Our teachers have a real passion for their subject area and our students are exposed to 21st century learning skills where they take ownership of their learning.”

In compliance with the New Hampshire Board of Education minimum standards, all courses earning high school grades and credits will be completely competency based, and students are required to have “math experience” every year in high school.

“There was a movement at the State level to require four years of math and they had to pull back because some of the schools in the North Country and smaller schools did not have the staff, nor could they find enough math teachers to provide four years of math,” Superintendent Nate Greenberg told the Board in explaining the requirement to have “a math experience” every year of high school. “We’re very fortunate with the number of students we have to have four traditional math courses. Since the State is moving towards a competency based system, the compromise was if you can identify courses in schools that have enough of the math competencies, we’ll allow that to count as the fourth year math experience.”

“We have identified courses that will meet the fourth math experience, starting with the Class of 2019,” Director of Guidance Maureen O’Dea said, noting 92 percent of the school’s seniors are already taking a fourth math class. “We have also identified courses that will meet the information and communication technology CTE (Career and Technical Education) requirement; and starting in 2019, students can also meet the criteria by creating a portfolio. All students must have demonstrated 21st century skills by graduation.”

On the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) side, several courses have been realigned and different levels have been added, and college preparatory Business Management has been added to the school’s dual enrollment program, through which students can earn both high school and college credit.

The high school is also planning to increase its Advanced Placement (AP) offerings in the Humanities, including the addition of AP Comparative Government and Politics, which will replace Political Science.

Curriculum Coordinator Kim Lindley-Soucy said the high school also plans to open AP United States History, a senior elective, to sophomores to satisfy their history requirement.

Parent noted the program features 11 courses that align with Southern New Hampshire course syllabi, including AP French, AP Spanish, AP Statistics, Music Theory, College Prep Biology through Biotechnology, and Advanced Drawing.

Additionally, the high school has 17 Running Start courses in the Community College of New Hampshire system, with just under 200 students who seek dual credit; as well as 13 AP courses in which 464 students have the opportunity to earn college credit, be exempt from general education requirements or earn advanced placement in college.

“In addition to honors and college prep classes, we give students a wide range of options in their studies,” Parent said. “These courses, in addition to honors and college prep introduction, give our students a wide range of options in their studies.”

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter