Community High’s New Approach Set
By Kathie Hulik
Students heading for Community High School this fall will find a new organization within the old walls. The forum concept, a base class for all students, has been replaced by a series of component programs.
A component is a separate educational unit within the school, with separate goals, philosophies and curricula. A student in one program may take courses in another. Similarly, a teacher in one component may teach a class in another.
Dean Connie Craft said the purpose of the component is to provide a wider variety of learning situations, respond to student needs more directly, and allow more flexibility for both students and teachers.
THE RESTRUCTURING of Community's program came after the board of education decided Community and the district's other alternative high school, Earthworks, should merge. Because Earthwork's enrollment was declining, the board felt it did not need to be housed in a separate building.
With the addition of Earthworks, Community decided to re-examine its whole program and came up with the component idea. Four components have been developed and a possible fifth is being discussed.
The staff refers to one component as da Vinci, because it is broad curriculum, open to all students from all components. Six "base" teachers will teach courses in science, mathematics, English, business and speech combined with reading.
Within the da Vinci program, language arts will include two literature classes offering reading, writing and an interdisciplinary project; English seminars; and mini labs in basic skills.
Biology, earth science and community ecology will be offered in the science field. The theme of next year's science classes will be oceanography and population analysis.
Mathematics will consist of two traditional classes and two open math labs, the speech class will also offer a reading lab, and there will be several business courses, including typing.
A SECOND COMPONENT, fine arts, with four base teachers, will offer music, voice, dance, drama and art. The music curriculum will include three sections of the jazz ensemble, a music theory class, and chamber orchestra.
A fine arts repertory company (FARCO) will stage joint productions every nine weeks as part of the drama class.
The first production planned is "Once Upon a Mattress," and a spring fine arts festival is also in the works.
Art class will include sculpture, painting, fabrics, jewelry, design, macrame, batik and ceramics.
TRIANGLE IS another component which will concentrate on three areas-life skills, academic competency and career exploration. The eight base teachers' goal is to synthesize educational experiences with outside life learning styles.
The curriculum will include English, social studies, science, math, some business courses and physical education. Students must agree to an assessment test as the basis for their educational plan.
Open labs in the morning covering the academic subjects will be run on a student contract basis. The afternoon will be a series of mini experiences and help in "survival skills" and what is necessary to know to be an independent member of the community.
In triangle, there will be time each week for group decisions, and some "life challenges," things the students have never done before and can experience.
THE EARTHWORKS component will continue under the direction of Alan Schreiber, much as it has in the past, with individual students setting up their curriculum and contracting to meet it.
Tom Johns may develop a component for independent learners and he will continue his deliberate, positive self image program. This consists of three weekends during a semester for a total of 65 hours devoted to personal growth, communication skills, and decision making.
The method for governing the school has not yet been determined. Craft said this is something which will be worked on next year. The community resources experience may not be required, but will continu as a major emphasis, Craft said. The component programs also will continue to draw on persons from the community to take part in the teaching.
Craft said this fall's orientation will be an important part of the new plan. She said present and potential students and their parents are invited to get a preview session and to make a commitment to a component. Craft said the orientation will run before, during and after Labor Day.
For further information, call Community High at 994-2021.
A parent group, discussing ways parent a support organization could most help students, faculty and administration, will meet Aug. 15 at 7:45 p.m. The meeting place is undetermined at present, but interested persons may contact Claire Korn at 769-7471.