Committee looks at new courses at QHS, QAVTC

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 19, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Mar. 20, 2019 8:40 am

QUINCY -- Quincy High School wants to add three new courses for the 2019-20 school year, while Quincy Area Vocational Technical Center wants to revitalize its electronics curriculum to engage students in new technology.

QAVTC Director Kaleb Smith told the Curriculum Committee on Monday that the Electronics and Robotics Technology course will be more robotics-based than the existing electronics course and could provide a way to bring back the school district's robotics team.

"A lot of students are interested in robotics," Smith said.

Plans call for offering an introductory class this coming school year, then offer Electronics and Robotics I and II in the 2020-21 year.

A new course proposed at QHS as part of transitional math, Quantitative Literacy and Statistics, is designed to help students succeed at John Wood Community College and community colleges statewide.

According to JWCC, only 23 percent of students placed in remedial college class go on to earn a degree, so the college met with the area high schools that feed into its classes to discuss creating a transition math class designed to increase the number of high school graduates placed into a college-level math course without the need for remediation.

"What our hope is this course will find students who are seniors who completed Algebra II and were not very successful," Assistant Principal Sarah Gass said.

If students earn a C or higher in the new course, Gass said they can enroll in a college-level math course without the need for remediation at John Wood and any community college in the state.

Plans call for piloting the class in the 2019-20 school year.

Two other new semester courses, both offered online, focus on SAT preparation and online learning and digital citizenship.

The SAT course, offered through Edgenuity, provides a "personalized learning plan to dive into what each student needs help with," Gass said, while the online learning course will highlight study skills to be productive online learners.

Committee members recommended the School Board adopt the new courses.

QHS also plans to add online versions of three existing courses -- Consumer Education, Applications of Computers and Health -- to provide students more flexibility in their class schedule.

The courses will continue to be offered in the classroom, but students also can take the online versions in a before-school or ninth hour setting "outside the school day," Gass said, and possibly on Wednesday nights.

While students will do the coursework with little supervision online, "we'd like to require tests be in class with someone watching over assessments being done," Gass said.

Also Monday, committee members reviewed the student growth report for winter 2018-19 and Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP, scores.

Periodically reviewing the scores helps the committee see if "something needs to be looked at more closely so that we can adjust instruction, provide more supplement opportunities or may be do supplemental materials to address the areas," QPS Director of Student Services Carol Frericks said.