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posted: 10/22/2012 10:42 PM

Dist. 300 adds high school math, science and languages courses

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Community Unit District 300 will enhance the high school catalog in the 2013-2014 school year, adding math, computer science and language courses.

In a report to the school board Monday night, Associate Superintendent for High School Teaching and Learning Ben Churchill laid out the district's plan to offer Advanced Placement courses in calculus, statistics and computer science, as well as a fourth-year math applications course for students who traditionally struggle in math.

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The computer science component is designed to expose possible career opportunities for students in robotics and computer science.

In addition, the district will add an introductory instruments course and an additional course for native Spanish speakers.

"In terms of math, science and technology, we have been trying to meet the needs of our highest achieving students while at the same time providing some additional support for students who traditionally perhaps have struggled with mathematics," Churchill said. "We know very well that for success in college and for success in a variety of careers, taking a fourth year of math in high school is really essential."

Churchill said one-third of students who enroll in Elgin Community College take a developmental math course, often because students do not take a math course in their senior year of high school. District 300 and several other local school districts worked with ECC on developing a math course to prepare students for college.

The Advanced Placement Computer Science course is a high-interest area for students, Churchill said. The credits will not count toward graduation requirements, though the course is offered in the math department, Churchill said.

The beginning instrument methods course is aimed at high school students who may not have been ready or interested in learning an instrument at the elementary school.

"It is never too late to learn an instrument," Churchill said.

Lastly, the district will provide native Spanish speakers a bridge to the Advanced Placement Spanish course. Churchill said many students speak Spanish at home but do not have a formal education in the language. The additional course will give them the opportunity to get more fully involved with literature in a supported setting.

Board members said the AP courses, like Statistics, would save students time and money when they enter college.

"It is nice that you are putting that at the high school level because whether you go into nursing or something else, everything requires stats," board member Chris Stanton said.

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