High school will tweak students' coursework to grab colleges' eyes
Grandview Heights High School administrators have begun a review of the school's program of studies with a plan to enhance course offerings to better prepare students for college and careers after graduation.
At the Oct. 16 school board meeting, Principal Dawn Sayre and guidance counselor Bryan Stork presented an overview of the work they and college and career counselor Jane O'Shaughnessy have completed so far.
The process began with an audit of the program of studies, Sayre said.
Feedback about what colleges and employers are looking for from students also was sought from university and business representatives during their recent visits to the high school, she said.
In evaluating the high school's course of studies, Sayre said, there also was a review of what top districts that are similar to Grandview both in size and location are doing.
"Colleges don't care how many students we have," she said. "They are looking at (students') transcripts."
The ultimate goals are to develop a program of studies that incorporates a college and career readiness plan and to implement smart schedule planning for students, Sayre said.
Stork, who is beginning his first year at the high school, said his expectations regarding the quality of the school's students have been exceeded.
"I was given a key to a Lamborghini here," he said.
College officials are looking at a number of factors when they review student transcripts, Stork said, including strength of schedule with a rigorous course work that includes AP and dual-enrollment courses.
The strength of a student's coursework "is the first and last thing colleges look at," he said.
It is important that students not only take AP courses but complete AP assessments, he said.
"We have minimum state standards students need (to meet) to graduate," Stork said. "That's not enough for colleges now."
Colleges are looking at students' standardized test scores, including the ACT, SAT and AP, he said.
Students also must participate in community service work.
"Colleges want to know more than what students are doing in academics and athletics," Stork said. "They want to know they are engaged."
Extracurricular activities also are important, he said.
A preliminary set of recommendations for enhancing the curriculum has been developed, Sayre said.
Additional elective courses should be added in social studies, she said.
Ninety-nine percent of the incoming freshmen at Ohio State University had taken four years of social studies courses, Sayre said.
There should be some changes made in course sequencing in social studies and the potential addition of dual-enrollment courses, she said.
In science, current offerings could be streamlined and additional science courses added to the curriculum, Sayre said.
Course offerings in math also could be streamlined, she said.
Honors or dual-enrollment courses could be added as a fourth level of world language classes and AP courses added as a fifth level, Sayre said.
Input now is being sought from high school staffers, and Sayre said she plans to share these suggestions with the school's PTO.
Public input also will be sought by scheduling "community conversations" with parents and other interested community members, she said.