By Denise Dick
More advanced-placement and dual-credit opportunities will be available to city school students next year.
Creating credit flexibility and expanding advanced placement and dual credit are strategies included in the academic recovery plan adopted earlier this year by the Youngstown City School Academic Distress Commission. The state-appointed commission was created in 2010 to help guide the district out of academic strife.
The plan lays out steps and strategies aimed at improvement.
“We’re offering a full slate of AP classes and College in High School classes for students to select from,” said Doug Hiscox, deputy superintendent of academic affairs.
Students at both East High School and the Chaney campus have signed up.
College in High School, offered through Youngstown State University, allows students to earn college credit in some high-school courses. Students must meet certain criteria to enroll, and the teachers must be approved by YSU.
Two years ago, East offered several AP courses, but as the teachers certified to teach those classes left the district, those offerings dwindled to just one chemistry class last year. Eleven students took the class.
To offer more courses, more teachers had to get certified.
The academic plan also calls for more technology.
“Classroom instruction at the high school must include the use of technology beyond using whiteboards as electronic worksheets,” it says.
Beginning this school year, all high-school classrooms will use the free Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Courseware website.
Hiscox said the district has the equipment and plans to embed the MIT program into the curriculum beginning in the upcoming school year.
“It’s a supplement to what we teach” and not a stand-alone program, he said.
It’s a Web-based publication of MIT course content.
Some professional development will be needed to prepare for the program, and Hiscox expects it to be used primarily in math and science courses in seventh through 12th grades with particular concentration in ninth and 10th grades.
“It’s very rigorous and requires a certain skill level to do the work and to understand it,” the deputy administrator said.