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posted: 10/14/2013 8:49 PM

District 214 discusses curriculum, program changes

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Northwest Suburban High School District 214 leaders are discussing possible changes to the district's handbook and curriculum that would give honors credit to students in certain career and technical classes, and alter the district's program for gifted students.

The Talent Development Program -- the district's gifted and talented program -- would become a districtwide network of support for highly achieving and highly motivated students, said Lazaro Lopez, associate superintendent for teaching and learning.

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All students taking Advanced Placement courses during their freshman or sophomore years would be invited to participate, but the program also would be open to all interested students, Lopez said.

Student leaders from the National Honor Society at all of the district's six high schools would be involved in leading the program, Lopez said.

Superintendent David Schuler said the revamped talent development program would be more coherent. Board President Bill Dussling said he was glad there would be more definition for the program.

Other proposed curriculum changes include computer science courses more reflective of the industry, including classes focused on animation, game design and app development, Lopez said.

"We've talked a lot about our responsibility to prepare students for a society that we can't even imagine," said Schuler. "I'm so proud of our staff for being able to provide courses like that."

The proposed curriculum changes are part of an effort to enhance the student experience during and beyond high school, officials said.

"Anything we can do to get our students to think beyond graduation as an endpoint is positive," Schuler said.

Career and technical education courses where students receive certification or dual credit, such as the nursing assistant training program offered through Harper College and Wheeling High School, would now be worth honors credit rather than regular credit.

"I think if they have these opportunities, they are going to be more likely to want to go to school," said school board member Dan Petro.

The changes will be voted on at the board's Oct. 24 meeting.

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