Academics » Academic Changes for the 2019-20 School Year

Academic Changes for the 2019-20 School Year

Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, St. Joe’s will no longer use the New York State Regents curriculum and assessment system as the foundation for the school’s academic program. This change allows us to create a new academic vision, and a more dynamic and adaptive curriculum. Preparing students for college requires us to provide greater opportunity for collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication.

This decision has been under consideration for several years. A committee of St. Joe’s educators, board members, and local education leaders was dedicated to this issue, evaluating the current curriculum and course offerings, and analyzing the insights revealed during the strategic planning process in 2016.
In addition, President Fulco and Principal Spillman '95 initiated meaningful dialogue with high school leaders across the state who have eliminated the Regents curriculum in their schools. Additionally, they communicated with college personnel to ensure we were clear on any implications for the admissions process. In every conversation, it became more evident that the decision to eliminate Regents would net only positive results for our students and teachers.

How will this look in the 2019-20 school year?
• The work to create a new, innovative curriculum in all discipline areas is already underway, and new courses and other elements indicative of this change will be in place by next September.
• Incoming freshmen and sophomores will not be offered Regents exams.
• Next year’s juniors will be offered the opportunity to take Regents exams to earn the Regents or Advanced Regents diploma.
• During the 2020-21 school year, Regents exams will no longer be offered.

Our incredible faculty is excited and eager for the transition, and we embrace the many important tasks ahead. We are all extremely motivated when we envision our future: new courses of study, more cross-curricular learning opportunities, and a wider variety of assessment tools to measure results. A Teaching and Learning Committee comprised of administrators and teacher-leaders has been formed to lead the transition planning efforts, and important professional development opportunities have been identified.
Here are some initial questions current parents may have as we navigate the transition:
How will student performance be measured?
Student performance will be measured in a number of different ways. In many courses, students will continue to take traditional assessments, similar to the current Regents exams. However, this decision opens up the possibility of introducing a wide variety of assessment tools, including student portfolios, research papers, capstone projects, student presentations, and more.

Will students still take a final exam?
Each class will still have some sort of summative assessment at the end of each term. However, this final assessment may take numerous forms, as outlined above.
Will graduation requirements change?
The SJCI leadership team is working closely with school counselors to determine what changes, if any, will be made to our current graduation requirements. Any new requirements will only impact the incoming Class of 2023, along with all future graduating classes.

What kind of diploma will my son receive?
Your son will receive a St. Joe’s diploma, for having completed the requirements necessary to graduate from our school.

Does this have any impact on the college admissions process?
During the consultation process, we spoke with admissions officers from several colleges and universities, and we consistently heard the same message: this decision has zero impact on the college admissions process for our students.

My son will be a junior in the 2019-20 school year. Does he have to take the Regents?
Students in the Class of 2021 will have the option of taking the required Regents exams during their junior year. Students and families from this class will be given additional information about this option so that they can make the best individual decision for their student.
My son will be a senior in the 2019-20 school year. Will he receive a Regents diploma?
Many students from the Class of 2020 will have already fulfilled the requirements to earn a Regents or Advanced Regents diploma, which will be granted. If a student has not fulfilled all requirements, he and his family will receive additional information about options for completing the requirements in order to make the best individual decision. 
We understand you may have additional questions, so please reach out any time.