Students at Bexley High School will experience some changes this spring as they begin to schedule their courses for next year.
New state laws and academic standards, including the Common Core English Language Arts and Math standards, are driving changes in Bexley's graduation requirements and course sequencing.
The school will host its curriculum night April 18.
By moving the curriculum event to later in the spring and expecting students to schedule online, "we can have more time with students to make recommendations," said Bexley's secondary schools Principal Harley Williams.
Teachers will be on hand during the curriculum night to talk about their courses and the changes coming up, while several college admissions officers will review their criteria for successful candidates.
One area of change includes a new financial literacy graduation requirement. Starting next year, a new financial literacy/capstone project course will be required for Bexley graduates, in accordance with Ohio law, amended Substitute Senate Bill 311.
"Financial literacy is defined as the ability to read, analyze, manage and communicate about the personal financial conditions that affect material well-being," according to the Ohio Department of Education.
Bexley students can satisfy this requirement by taking an Allied Arts semester-long, half-credit course, Financial Literacy/Capstone, which was piloted at the high school this year. In addition to the personal finance aspect, the course offers an independent study type of experience determined by the student's interests and goals. Seniors who cannot fit the new course into their schedules will have the option through Credit Flex to take an online version.
Also on the horizon are more-rigorous academic standards, including the Common Core as adopted by 45 U.S. states, plus revised Ohio standards in science and social studies to be fully implemented in Bexley's grades K-12, starting in the fall. Bexley teachers are working to make sure students are ready for newly aligned state assessments that begin in 2014-15.
In many cases, the new standards emphasize depth over breadth, meaning students are expected to have greater mastery of content before moving to the next grade level. There is also less "overlap" in standards from year to year.
Ohio also has set new standards in the areas of college and career readiness. These are being addressed, in part, through Bexley High School's Dual Enrollment program, offered for the second year through Columbus State Community College. Under the program, Bexley sophomores, juniors and seniors can earn college credit in specific courses that are taught by teachers with master's (or higher) degrees in their content areas, such as physics, art history, English and some language courses.
To be eligible, students must first earn a successful "college-ready" score of 18/English and 22/Math on the ACT or the corresponding score on the Compass test; have a 3.0 GPA; and pay the discounted rate of $25 per credit hour, with one class typically offering three college credit hours.
With some exceptions, college credit transfers to any Ohio public college or university.
Bexley students must take a couple of extra steps before spring break if they want to be eligible for Dual Enrollment courses. They must first register at Columbus State to get a ID student number (http://www.cscc.edu/admissions/apply.shtml and select the "Create Account" tab). They must also sign up in the high school office to take the free Compass Test.