Brevard Public Schools Consider Course Changes For Middle, High School Students

By  //  July 28, 2017

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changes would start in 2018-2019 school year

Brevard Public Schools could change graduation requirements and offer students more choices of classes at secondary schools starting in 2018-2019 under recommendations heard by the school board July 27.

BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – Brevard Public Schools could change graduation requirements and offer students more choices of classes at secondary schools starting in 2018-2019 under recommendations heard by the school board July 27.

The board also has asked for data that compares the costs and benefits of continuing to have seven-period days instead of six-period days, part of the district’s “Secondary Schools of National Prominence.”

Among the changes recommended by BPS secondary-school leaders:

• Flexibility in the required science sequence. For example: Instead of taking biology, chemistry and then physics – or three years of integrated science – students could take a different rigorous science course such as astronomy or marine biology in their third year.
• Administration the SAT college-entrance exam instead of the ACT to all BPS juniors, with flexibility for other students. The SAT better aligns to BPS preparation materials and state standards. The SAT also costs less: $43 per student versus $55 per student for the ACT.
• A recommended two years of foreign language courses – considered a “gatekeeper” for entrance to Florida’s State University System.
• Addition of fine- and performing-arts classes under the “rigorous course” requirement.
• Elimination of most additional paperwork for counselors.
• Flexible scheduling of parent meetings

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Whether BPS continues with Secondary Schools of National Prominence, the district should keep a deliberate “set of strategies’ to improve student achievement, said Dr. Stephanie Soliven, assistant superintendent for secondary leading and learning. The program costs $9.9 million per year.

For students and families, Brevard’s seven-period day offers more opportunities to participate in career education, fine arts, JROTC or additional college-prep courses – or to recover from failing a course, as about 30 percent of students do.

For Brevard teachers, it requires planning, leading and grading work for six classes per day (with one planning period) instead of five.

A review of BPS’ high school curriculum and schedules began in November 2016 and has included discussion with all guidance counselors and principals.

Next, principals will present the ideas to school advisory councils across the Space Coast. The school board expects to review final recommendations in September.

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