More advanced placement courses being added in Seneca Valley

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More rigorous courses are being added to the Seneca Valley School District curriculum for the next school year.

Assistant superintendent Matthew McKinley, who outlined the changes Monday night, said among the biggest will be the increased grade point weight given to advanced placement courses. Mr. McKinley said advanced placement courses will be weighted at 0.35 -- up from 0.25.

The district previously has not weighted the more rigorous advanced placement courses any higher than its college-in-high-school courses, which will remain weighted at 0.25, he said.

"We think potentially weight is a motivator for a lot of students," Mr. McKinley said.

In the 2013-2014 school year, the district will offer 21 advanced placement courses. New to the curriculum next school year will be advanced placement world history for grade 10 and advanced placement studio art 2-D and drawing for grades 11 and 12.

Mr. McKinley said more advanced placement courses will be offered in the Seneca Valley Cyber School, including U.S. history, calculus, biology and Spanish.

He said more than 40 percent of district students take advanced placement courses.

The district also plans to drop speech and physics from its graduation requirements, Mr. McKinley said.

Speech still will be offered, he said, but administrators believe it should not be required because students get enough public speaking experience in other courses.

The physics requirement is being changed to allow students to take any science, technology, engineering or mathematics course in its place. They had been required to take physics in their junior year.

School board members must vote formally on these policies three times to make them official, but district spokeswoman Linda Andreassi said the new courses will be offered when scheduling for 2013-14 begins next week.

Mr. McKinley said the district will also emphasize the career pathways program this year. The district website can be used as a planning tool to help students select electives that pertain to their career goals, he said.

School board members are expected to begin implementing the changes at Monday's meeting.

education - neigh_north

Laure Cioffi, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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