05-31-2012, 07:14 PM #1
SWHS Parents & Students - New Honors Classes, June 7th Meeting
For all SWHS parents and students - There will be a meeting at the high school on Thursday, June 7th at 5:30pm, in the media center. Carlene Anderson and Mr. Preast will be there to discuss next year's course offerings and get input from parents. They are adding back the English III Honors, English IV Honors and American History Honors classes. I'm not sure about Government & Economics Honors. If you registered your Junior or Senior student in March, these Honors classes were not offered, but are now. We have to fill these classes to make them happen. If your child signed up for regular English III or AP American Language & Comp, and would rather sign up for English III Honors, this meeting would be the time to do so. Same for American History. Please come to the meeting and get your opinions heard.
The school will be sending out a notice to all parents, via the SNN email list. I'm not sure exactly when, but soon. We are starting to get the word out now so people can plan to be there. There will be further opportunities to sign up for the new honors classes, but doing so at the meeting will ensure that the classes get full and are taught next year. Spread the word as much as you can, but I think the email that Barb sends out should reach most parents.
Most important are the Juniors and Seniors for next year. If you know any rising Juniors or Seniors please let them know about the meeting and the new Honors classes. There are many students that did not have parents with them during registration and signed up for classes based on what the adviser told them in March. Of course, since the Honors classes weren't available, they couldn't sign up for them. Now that they are available, all the students need to know to review their schedule. They might want to change from a regular to Honors class or from an AP class to an Honors class. I know of one student that signed up for 6 AP (too many in my opinion) classes because they didn't want to take any regular classes. Now they have the option of taking Honors History and Honors English along with their other AP classes.
Spread the word!
06-01-2012, 09:41 PM #2
06-07-2012, 02:16 PM #3
I know it's summer, I know everyone is busy, but the biggest criticism of parents (and citizens) of South Walton is that not very many people participate (and very few vote). Supporting the schools by attending meetings and learning about the South Walton schools is a great start.
06-08-2012, 07:40 AM #4
Last night's meeting was a really good start to making SWHS the school it should and can be. The honors class problem seemed to be fixed, and Principal Preast and Carlene Anderson recognized that there was truly a need for 3 levels of classes- regular, honors, and AP, as so many kids fell in the middle and honors classes work best for them. Also, almost all of the honors classes will be taught by AP-trained teachers, so the standards will hopefully be high and the classes more rigorous than just a little extra work.
I left quite optimistic, as this administration is starting to see that it needs to do it's part in pulling the parents in. For so many years, the parents wanted and tried to be involved and help, but were met with constant push back and disinterest. According to Mr. Preast, it is in the new School improvement Plan to include a parent group. Emerald Coast Middle School has a rocking group of parents, who are buzzing like bees and working with and for the school- it really is remarkable the advances they have made. That energy will be hitting the high school like a tidal wave when these families transition to 9th grade, and SWHS knows they need to be ready. Mr. Preast told us about the beefier classes that will be offered to incoming 9th graders- 9th grade was always the very weak link, almost a lost year due to nothing challenging being offered to the 9th graders, and many left to go elsewhere for 10th and above. It took awhile, but the school and WCSD is finally recognizing the problem and seem to be very interested in doing something about it.
The other major discussion was about communication with parents and the community. There is not a PR point person for the district (no funding for the position- maybe the TDC can loan their new one out ha ha). Anyway, there needs to be a concerted effort to get news out about the school- mostly this will help keep the rumor mill at a manageable level. The informal, sit-down-and-talk nature of last night's meeting was also a great way to get everyone in a room and have issues addressed as a group, rather than dealing with individual emails and phone calls. For example, the community keeps hearing about the drug problem at SWHS. Guess what- it is no different than any other school, including privates, religious, and charters (and if you think otherwise, you are deluded). The school suspended 11 kids, the drug dogs are there, but they can't control what happens outside of school (like unsupervised parties, etc.). They can only control what happens on school grounds, and there are plans to beef that up even more.
We left the meeting with plans to meet quarterly in the same round table kind of meeting. Mr. Preast said he sees the value of this. We told Mrs. Anderson that it is important that she has some "face time" with the South Walton parents and community, at regularly scheduled gatherings, not just when problems get out of control.
SWHS is OUR high school, and could become a "destination" high school for our academics if there is enough support from the district, the parents, administration, staff- and this community.
06-08-2012, 06:26 PM #5
Thanks Jenny for writing up a summary of the meeting. I was too tired to do it justice!
For those that are interested in updating their course selections for next year, there will be 2 dates in the next 2 weeks where you can go in and talk with an adviser and sign up for classes. The advisers will be experienced teachers and many of them will be the AP teachers. If you can't make it either of the 2 dates, you will be welcomed to call and make an appointment to register for classes. The school will do its best to make sure everyone is contacted and has an opportunity to review their course selections, but if you don't hear from them, please call.
They are offering a full complement of AP classes for all four grade levels. Freshmen are being offered 2 AP classes and can enroll in the AVID program. The Freshman year can now be challenging instead of the snorefest it used to be. Sophomores have 4 possibilities for AP classes. Juniors have 6 AP classes to choose from and Seniors have 7 AP classes to choose from. There will be a total of 12 AP classes offered! For a school of our size, that is amazing and we all need to appreciate and advertise this great news. The Junior and Senior years at the high school have been very rigorous with the AP offerings in the past. Now the Freshman and Sophomore years will be getting our kids ready and competitive for college too.
As Jenny said, they have also recognized that many of the kids need the Honors classes and can't take all AP classes, so they are making sure to keep the Honors level classes.
This is all great news for the community and especially for our kids as they go to apply to college!
06-21-2012, 08:58 AM #6
It's amazing what happens in an election year! Carlene Anderson, the current Superintendent of WCSD, has been in office for over 7 years and is running for a 3rd term. Too little, too late in my opinion.
06-21-2012, 11:07 AM #7
It's never to late for school improvements. I am glad that there are some optimistic, determined parents, teachers, and staff in this community.
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