For years, Shaker Junior High School has offered enriched programs in 7th grade English, math, and science. Students enrolled in these enriched programs moved on to either an enriched or an accelerated program in grade 8. For example, students enrolled in math 7E would typically take Regents Algebra in grade 8; science 7E students would typically take Regents Earth Science in grade 8; and English 7E students would take English 8E. The two Regents offerings earn high school credit, as those courses are the same as the courses offered in 9th grade. Some people may have heard that the Junior High is eliminating these programs. In fact, these preparatory 7th grade classes aren’t going away; instead, the program enrollments are being expanded so that all 7th graders will have the opportunity for accelerated and/or enriched classes in grade 8. Students who would have been enrolled in an E class in past years will continue to have the same rigorous preparation and acceleration opportunities in the new program format.
Our program is constantly evolving, and we continually look to find ways to challenge and support all of our students. Research clearly indicates that all students benefit from acceleration opportunities. Additionally, for students to pursue various career pathways and elective opportunities in high school, time needs to be made available to them, time which is best provided by acceleration while in junior high school. As such, Shaker Junior High will be enrolling all 7th grade students in a newly designed pre-algebra grade 7 math class. Now that we have had the Common Core in place for years, we believe that we can offer all students a rigorous pre-Algebra course so that they not only meet state standards but exceed them. Support programs are in place for students who may struggle with the increased demands, but the new course means that all students will have the opportunity for accelerated Regents Algebra in grade 8.
In the area of science, all 7th grade students will be enrolled in a science 7 program that includes topics from both life and physical science, a departure from past years. This will enable all students the opportunity for enrollment in either Regents Earth Science or Regents Biology in grade 8. (Regents Biology will be offered for the first time beginning this fall.) Similarly, 7th graders will be enrolled in a new Literature and Writing 7 English class and all will have the opportunity for enrollment in Enriched English 8.
An overview of the research behind the changes and of the expanded program opportunities will be provided in the Shaker Junior High assembly room beginning at 6:30 on Wednesday, April 12. We hope you will join us to hear the why and the what of an exciting new direction for our students.