by Maxwell Kozlov
After decades of the current course level names, Curriculum I and Curriculum II, the well-established nomenclature will be replaced with a controversial alternative next year.
The course level names for this school and South will change to Advanced College Prep for Curriculum I and College Prep for Curriculum II.
The change comes after the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) denied eligibility status to 11 of South’s Curriculum II courses, according to principal Jennifer Price.
South principal Joel Stembridge said, “The NCAA’s explanation is that the Curriculum II courses in question do not cover as much material as our Curriculum I courses.”
Stembridge said that the district tried to explain to the NCAA “that our Curriculum II courses are on par with other schools’ standard courses and that our graduates with Curriculum II backgrounds are well-prepared for college, which essentially is the entire purpose of the NCAA’s eligibility program—to ensure that college athletes are academically prepared for college––but to no avail.”
Price said, “We were never cited by the NCAA, but since we are a district, we should have consistent names. And who’s to say they wouldn’t cite this school next?”
She also said that she believes that the content of the courses are at a high level, and the name better suits the college-preparatory material of the courses.
Additionally, many surrounding districts have a similar system, and Price said it made more sense to be consistent with other schools. Wellesley and Weston, for example, have the same curriculum level names this school will have.
While Price said that courses themselves will not be affected, some students still have critical opinions of the new names.
Senior Zane Clark said, “It creates an expectation that everyone goes on to college. Why would you take those courses if you’re not planning to go to college?”
Other students were more optimistic. Senior Juliet Roll said, “If the majority of students go to college, I think there’s little harm in doing this.”
History teacher Susan Wilkins presented an opinion about the potential repercussions of the change.
She said that she worries that it is “more important to clearly communicate” to others the “substance of our curriculum levels,” but that there will be “immediate benefits for students applying for scholarships,” and eventually the curriculum level names “will become familiar and comfortable to us all.”
Despite the sudden alteration, not all of the faculty shared the same sentiment on the changes. Many faculty members thought that “accelerated” was a better alternative to “advanced,” according to Price.
“It is clear that both this school and South are comfortable changing our current Curriculum II classes to College Prep,” said Price, in an email to the faculty earlier this year. “The issue remains what to call our current Curriculum I classes.”
Price announced the decision to go with “Advanced College Prep,” as she, along with Stembridge, assistant superintendent of secondary education and special programs Cynthia Bergan, and some department heads thought that “accelerated does not define our current Curriculum I classes, especially in departments that do not feel that their Curriculum I classes go faster,” said Price in the email.
Stembridge said, “I and others have been uncomfortable with the names of our curriculum levels for some time. If nothing else, why did the levels not start at one, then two for the middle level?”
Sophomore Ashley Brogan, an opponent of the changes, said, “I think saying Curriculum I is ‘advanced’ demeans Curriculum II classes.”
Even though a large reason that the names were changed was due to the NCAA and South’s Curriculum II courses, Bergan “clearly articulated” to Price that South and this school need to have the same curriculum level names in a two-high school district.
South had already adopted these changes earlier this year, according to Price.
Stembridge said that the students have accepted the changes “very seamlessly, and with appeal.”
He also said that students and teachers like the new names because they describe what the classes are for rather than just saying Curriculum I or II.