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    Joined: Nov 2023
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    My child was accepted into a high school science magnet program and is in his first year with a group of hard-working and smart kids. But it is decidedly not a gifted education. Although some specialty courses are interesting (if not challenging), the core courses (honors level) are quite boring. English and foreign language are especially boring (he's not reading books or writing despite being in an honors level course). He finishes work in class and has nothing to do for 30 minutes each class period (2 hours per day total). The science and math courses are a bit better, and that was the main draw to the school. He intermittently talks with me about how he wishes his classes were more engaging and challenging. He says he does not want to change schools because of his friends he's made, so I'm trying to figure out what to do. His guidance counselor says to do more extracurricular activities, which doesn't get at the in-class problem. He says his AP social studies class is better than the others because he has to put in a little effort. He is going to take 3 AP courses next year (math at school, social studies at school, and computer programming on his own). I'd appreciate any ideas.

    1. What can be done about giving him something meaningful to do for English? I've thought of reading through some classic novels/plays/poetry with him at home, but I don't really want to analyze literature, and I'm probably not great at it. He could at least read these books while waiting around in class during the day.

    2. His Spanish teacher recently suggested that he skip Spanish 3 honors and proceed to AP Spanish language next year. Maybe that will help with that class (but he will also run out of foreign language class options before graduating if he does this). He is used to taking 2 foreign language classes per year at his old school. He took Latin independently last summer, but said it was unpleasant to do independently because he wasn't in class with others speaking the language.

    3. Any ideas for things he could do in-class in his extra time more generally? He has his laptop that he can use quietly when he finishes work early.

    4. Any suggestions for advocating for him - I'm not sure what can be done with the curriculum in a public school, but any ideas are welcome.

    Thanks so much!

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    Hmm... He could skip to AP English Literature and also AP English Language for challenging English classes. He could also take AP Spanish Literature after AP Spanish Language. He could do AOPs alcumus in-class or code for fun. I have no suggestions about advocating as I am not a parent but rather a teenage education system nerd, lol.

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    thx1138 Offline OP
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    Dartmouth College announced this morning that it would again require applicants to submit standardized test scores, starting next year. It's a significant development because other selective colleges are now deciding whether to do so.

    https://archive.is/kkiJJ#selection-4495.219-4495.225

    SAT correlates with IQ.

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    greenthumbs,

    In addition to taking more of the AP classes available at school, you might also inquire about VHS (Virtual High School) or similar courses, which many schools offer, and which can expand the AP offerings. Or asynchronous online dual enrollment classes, often available from two- or four-year state colleges at low or no cost, depending on your state and district. They won't completely address his complaints, since they are online classes, and thus won't have all the benefits of learning with in-person peers, as well as not getting him out of boring classes, but since they are asynchronous (not self-paced), it might be a way of giving him something moderately interesting to do in his down time in class (especially if teachers are aware and consenting).

    With regard to advocating, you already have the world languages teacher's recommendation to skip, which will support the need for finding additional challenging curriculum prior to the end of high school. Not knowing what curricular offerings the school has, it's difficult to say what they might be able to do in-house for English, but you should be aware that there are additional AP English syllabi. One of the AP language arts sequences I've seen is AP Seminar (grade 10), AP language (grade 11), AP literature (grade 12) (or the 2nd and 3rd in the reverse order). If the school offers AP seminar next year, that might address some of his needs, as there is a fair amount of reading and writing expected, as well as discussion and often some group writing/presentation.

    And fwiw, I read independently through most of my high school non-STEM classes--but usually not with my teacher's formal consent! (Actually, I read through quite a few of my university classes too...not necessarily recommending that.)


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    Thanks for the ideas. Unfortunately, the school stopped offering AP English courses and switched to AICE. My children have not taken AICE courses, but I heard a principal (who leads an AICE school) describe them as "an easier way to get college credit than taking AP courses." We definitely don't need easier. Haha.

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    Originally Posted by greenthumbs
    Thanks for the ideas. Unfortunately, the school stopped offering AP English courses and switched to AICE. My children have not taken AICE courses, but I heard a principal (who leads an AICE school) describe them as "an easier way to get college credit than taking AP courses." We definitely don't need easier. Haha.

    I read online and aice is more rigorous than honors, so while it's not ap or ib, it may be a step up from what he will do in honors.

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    thx1138 Offline OP
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    Math Wars return to S.F. school district amid lawsuit and new Stanford study on algebra

    https://archive.is/2023.03.22-032437/https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/sfusd-algebra-math-wars-stanford-study-17851567.php


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