Hayden High School increases class offerings

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— With advanced college-credit courses, a reading and writing academy for low-level freshmen, and more time focusing on character development, Hayden High School's increased class options for the 2008-09 school year will provide coursework to help a wide variety of students, Principal Troy Zabel said.

Among the new courses on next year's schedule are honors sophomore biology, Web design, marketing and graphic design, college-level British literature, intermediate algebra, a reading and writing academy for freshmen, and expanded online course offerings.

The biggest change for students will be a 40-minute T.I.G.E.R. course held every Wednesday. In the advisory course, students will continue to receive a printout of their grades and also will work on grade-specific counseling, such as standardized test practices for sophomores and juniors. All grades will focus on goal setting, character education and service learning.

Zabel said the ideas for the courses came from the Curriculum and Offerings Committee and the School Improvement Team.

T.I.G.E.R. - an acronym for trustworthy, industrious, genuine, enthusiastic and respectful - will be more intensive than the current advisory program.

Michelle Henderson, a counselor at the school, said the class will expand career exploration to all grade levels.

"It will allow me to start career exploration at a younger age and hopefully help prepare kids and let them know about all the options out there. You don't have to go to a four-year school, there are a lot of trade schools and vocational schools," she said.

Henderson said the students also will create resumes and fill out scholarship applications.

"It will make sure our students have what they need, whether it's straight to the work setting and they need a resume to start looking for a job, or it's going off to college."

Other course offerings will allow advanced students to progress through the coursework faster and explore issues in more depth.

Dean Massey, the school biology teacher, said the new sophomore honors biology course will be an improvement over last year's pilot program, which was only a section within the usual course. Massey said all students benefit by separating the advanced level into its own class.

"Inevitably when you try to tailor the curriculum, it's the upper-level kids who get left out in some way," he said

The students who are not in the advanced class also benefit from more individual instruction, Massey said.

"Kids who had not been strong class participators, who had been usurped by the high achievers, are now able to participate and be recognized," Massey said. "Kids who had been hiding in the shadows by default or by choice began to blossom. It was neat."

The honors biology course requires students to apply by submitting a short essay on why they want to be in the advanced level and what they could offer the class. The course will cover DNA extractions and complex transformations, as well as more of the history and background of genetics.

"It's so rewarding when you get students who weren't being challenged at the normal level now being taught things they are interested in," Massey said.

Massey said this type of course is offered at most high schools but that it was a first for Hayden.

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