The 2017-2018 edition of the Upper School course catalog has been published. The course catalog has undergone major revisions this year. As we move from a semester to a trimester system, new courses have been incorporated into the catalog in each department.
The English department has undergone the most significant change. British literature will move to the 10th grade year to better link them with the 10th grade Western Civilization course and to enhance some interdisciplinary work. The Academic Research Project (ARC) will return to a one-marking-period project and will occur during the fall trimester. After completing the ARC, students will need to choose from the electives being offered to complete their graduation requirements for English in their junior and senior years. Advanced Placement English literature will still be taught as a yearlong senior course.
Some of the elective offerings will be cross departmental. We will designate what credit the course will fulfill. For example, art history will fulfill an art credit, but if a student would like it to count as a history credit, they will need to make a request before the first day of school. Some of the visual and performing arts classes have been broken into trimester electives as well. For example, the fall trimester of photography will be black and white photography, the winter trimester will be digital photography, and the spring trimester will be the science of photography. In performing arts, guitar will be offered fall trimester, modern music ensemble during winter, and rock orchestra during spring. I suspect both parents/guardians and students will be excited to see all of the course offerings for next year.
From this point forward, each trimester course will count as one credit. For a new ninth grader that will mean he/she will need 70.5 credits to graduate. We took the current number of electives and multiplied by three. We have not decided if we will transfer previously earned semester grades to a trimester system or whether we will have a graduated system for the next three years. I will be training faculty on course registration in the near future. We will take assembly time to discuss the changes with students. The course catalog will be the major focus of my next Upper School Parent Association meeting. I suspect there may be a hiccup or a stubbed toe as we implement the new system, but it will better serve all students at CWA.