Kaneland school board makes changes to high school curriculum

Career and Technical Education proposes new courses at Oct. 28 board meeting

SUGAR GROVE – Kaneland High School’s curriculum committee brought some course adoptions and name change information to the Kaneland District’s Board of Education during a meeting on Oct. 28.

The committee, which is an interdisciplinary team of administrators and teachers, is responsible for reviewing curriculum proposals, considering their impact on students and the school as a whole and making recommendations for the administration and board to consider.

The Career and Technical Education department has proposed three new courses for the 2020-2021 school year, including AP Computer Science, Introduction to Agriculture I and Introduction to Agriculture II.

“What we were finding was a lot of the information and curriculum covered in AP Computer Science were things that were being covered in Computer Science I and Computer Science II,” said Patrick Raleigh, director of education services 6-12 for Kaneland. “AP Computer Science is more commonly accepted at the college level so those kids that go through and take that AP test, that is more accepted… So the curriculum offered is a little bit different, but we’re not cutting anything out.”

As for the two proposed agriculture courses, the goal is to advance student understanding in a growing field of study through math and science concepts, which are aligned to the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Standards in addition to Common Core Math and Next Generation Science Standards.

“We have a pretty popular horticultural program,” Raleigh said. “This would be another pathway students would have the opportunity to take.”

In addition, three course name changes were shared to align with state mandates and prerequisite needs.

Applications in Agriculture-Animal Science would change to Animal Science, College Algebra would become Introduction to STEM Math and Transitions to College Math would know be known as Transitions to Algebra II.

The simplistic Animal Science name would align to the Illinois State Board of Education’s adoption of the course and future coding for it at the state level would be aligned to the updated name.

Introduction to STEM Math would align to The Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act, which requires Kaneland to have a course to further ready its students for college.

Transitions to Algebra II, as simple as it sounds, better aligns with the expectations of the course. It’s not intended to be a college-level course, but is intended to prepare students for Algebra II.

Prerequisite changes to AP Physics I and AP Geography were also pitched to the board.

The proposed change for Physics would require students to have completed Algebra II and a full year of Physics or to have completed Algebra II while having a B- or better average in previous math and science classes.

The change for Geography would rely on teacher recommendation for a class that’s intended to be an introduction to AP level courses. Raleigh explained that most students who take this course are freshmen so the previous perquisite, which asked for GPA and teacher recommendation, couldn’t include the GPA since freshmen haven’t earned one until later into their first school year.

The board didn’t make any final decisions during the meeting. Those are expected when they meet again on Nov. 11.