Class of 2007 and 2008 are selecting preferences for next year
This year's current eighth grade class has already selected one of the five high schools in the Downcounty Consortium (DCC) to attend next year as of last month. Current Blair ninth graders were sent a survey during the week of January 4 regarding which academies the students preferred.
As of December 12, eighth graders ranked the five DCC high schools (Blair, Albert Einstein, Wheaton, John F. Kennedy and Northwood) in order of preference. In the first week of February, the students will receive a letter informing them of which high schools they can attend. Upon registering in February for the 2004-2005 school year, students will select ninth grade courses, and there will be a space on the registration form for eighth graders to mark their preference for an academy. However, students will not be required to declare an academy at this point. Instead, the information will help the administration to "plan for the future," says Susan Ragan, Academy Coordinator. By June of this year at the latest, she expects to know the percent of underclassmen who will be participating in each academy program.
Ragan says the academies are "never binding." In the spring of each year, students can transfer into a different high school in the DCC or into a different academy within the same high school. The current ninth graders are the only students who cannot change high schools for their sophomore year in the academies unless they complete the general countywide transfer application.
This year's current ninth graders filled out a survey marking their top academy preferences at Blair from the following five choices: Media Literacy, Entrepreneurship, Human Service Professions, International Studies and Science, Math, and Technology. According to Ragan, the survey does not bind students to a specific academy but instead allows for teachers and counselors to inform them of which introductory classes to take in tenth grade in order to begin completing the classes mandatory to receive the academy certificate. This year's current sophomore and junior class can take academy classes next school year but will not work towards the certificate. Ragan adds that tenth grade is when the academy courses officially begin and that in ninth grade, there are no specific courses required of the individual academies. Connections is the only mandatory freshman class for students in the DCC.
Ragan says the academy courses are "definitely ready for the current ninth graders." The curricula for the five Blair academy programs have been developed and necessary materials for the classes have been bought in preparation. Even so, there is still some uncertainty over the amount of students who will participate in each academy. "I expect at the beginning there will be a varying of percents," says Ragan, "and then they will level out and reach equilibrium." She predicts it will take a few years for the "academies' reputations to be made" and for consistent numbers to be reached.
For more information about the DCC and the academy courses, contact Susan Ragan at 301-649-2880, or go to the DCC website.
Allison Elvove. Allison Elvove was a Co-Editor-in-Chief of Silver Chips Online during the 2004-2005 school year. She wrote more than 70 articles while on the staff and supervised 40 student journalists, editing articles on a daily basis. During her time as editor, Silver Chips Online won the … More »