District 202 committee said in a school board meeting Monday night that the district should adopt an orientation day for incoming high school freshmen and allow more students to enroll in AP classes.
The committee, which comprises community members, teachers, students and administrators selected by the superintendent, submits recommendations to the school board annually. The recommendations of this “School Improvement Team,” founded in 1994, aim to improve the district’s schools.
Among this year’s recommendations is a “freshmen-only day,” a half-day program meant to ease incoming freshmen into the high school system. Students would spend the day running through their class schedule, learning how the bell schedule and the cafeteria work and familiarizing themselves with the layout of the school.
The committee also recommended that the school allow students to take Advanced Placement classes even if teachers do not advise that they do. Currently, teachers must refer students before they can enroll in such classes.
“This recommendation has a huge promise here at ETHS,” Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said, explaining that it would “open gateways” for students wanting to take more challenging courses.
Whether or not students perform well in AP classes or AP tests, studies show the classes more effectively prepare students for college than normal high school classes, he said.
Board Member Deborah Graham suggested that the board look into adding more AP Classes to the curriculum. When the school offered AP Psychology, she said, many students who had never before taken an AP class tried to enroll.
These two recommendations as well as the others the committee made are rudimentary, the committee said.
“Our recommendations are concepts and ideas,” said Tyrone Nelson, a committee member who presented the recommendations. “We are not charged with specific, detailed agendas.”
The superintendent is tasked with developing the committee’s ideas and report back to the board.
Nevertheless, board members Gretchen Livingston and Rachel Hayman suggested that the committee propose time frames and more details for future recommendations.
To see all of the recommendations of the School Improvement Committee, see page 12 of Monday’s meeting packet.