Challenging students, not shrinking budgets, the main cause of course changes

Increasing rigor, adding solidity to class numbers, and giving Ames High students more opportunities to excel are the primary causes of several changes that the school administration is making for the coming school year. Beginning this week, students have only 10 days to make any changes they wish to their schedules for next year. Principal McGrory attributes this change to the need for "more solid numbers" during the spring. "Often, they become significantly different over the summer," he said, "and we need solidity, especially with our budget cuts." However, he said, there are "going to be some legitimate exceptions" to the 10-day rule, such as students needing to switch around classes to make room for post-secondary courses or athletes deciding to take a sport late and needing a P.E. exemption. These will be allowed, as usual, all summer. Although budget cuts are a major current event, McGrory stresses that they should not limit course choices at Ames High. "Budget-wise," he said, "courses have not been affected." Notable course changes for next year, he said, are about "making the curriculum more rigorous." These include: * removing all "survey" courses, such as Survey of Biology and Algebra 1A, B, and C. "All students will be expected to work hard," McGrory said. * making Earth Science a required course for all freshmen. If they wish to take Biology as a freshman, they will have to test out of Earth Science before the fall semester begins. * adding an AP option for fourth-year language students. This will not make the course any harder-it will only allow the student to take the AP exam for the language and, if passed, put the AP course on their transcript. Mr. McGrory and the counselors would like students to contact them with any questions or concerns about the curriculum and scheduling changes.