Curriculum Changes For Shawnee Heights

Kortney Michel, Taylor Lincoln

Enrollment for next year begins the first week of February, and with it more curriculum  changes impacting students. Within the last decade, the math department changed course offerings, and science has completed a similar process of changing course titles and restructuring how science is taught at SHHS. Recent state and federal education standards have made the process confusing for students as faculty and staff work to adhere to these new rules.

Students are now required to take Science A one semester. They can follow up with one of two options: completing a semester of Science B, or completing a year of chemistry. In the 2016-2017 school year, Science A was added to the required classes for the science curriculum. New federal and state standards brought about the change. The Next Generation Science Standards, stated Kansas high schools must incorporate physical, earth and life science topics into their curriculum for all students.

The new Science A class is focused on earth science. Students wouldn’t experience any earth science before they graduated if they took biology, chemistry and physics, a traditional path for many students up until this point.  

Chemistry is required for the Kansas Scholars Curriculum. Chemistry or physics is required to attend one of the six Kansas Regents Universities which include University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Wichita State University, Fort Hays State University, Pittsburg State University, and Emporia State University.

Science B is not required to take, but it may help boost the confidence of those students who may lack skills in science or math. A student might take Science A and B their sophomore year and chemistry their junior year. By adding in the Science B section, the students will get an introduction of what they will be learning in chemistry with physical science standards along with a few earth standards embedded in.  

“I recommend taking Science A and chemistry your sophomore year over Science A and B,” principal, Mr. West said. “Taking Science B can benefit students because it allows the student to get a better baseline of skills.”

Science A and B share similar names although they are not fully related, which leads to confusion for some students. One is required of all students, while the other is mainly for students who need to get a better baseline of skills before entering into chemistry. In fact, all students are required to take biology and Science A, followed by at least one and a half additional credits in science before they graduate.

About seven to eight years ago, the curriculum for mathematics also changed. Before the curriculum change, students would take algebra l for a year, geometry the next, and then algebra ll the year after that. Now, students must take integrated math one, two, and three. By changing the curriculum, the students were able to learn algebra and geometry at the same time.

“After taking a whole year off of algebra I students forgot what they had learned. We would spend the whole first semester of algebra ll catching up and relearning the material from algebra l.” Coach Brad Nicks said.