Academic Changes for the 2019-20 School Year » December 2018 Update

December 2018 Update

Message from Principal Spillman:

Since November's announcement of our decision to no longer use the New York State Regents program as the foundation for the academic program at SJCI, our faculty and leadership team have been working collaboratively on the next steps in this transition. As we continue our move forward, we want to update all of you on our work so that you have some insights about the conversations we are currently having.
  • We quickly recognized that significant time is needed for our faculty members to work together collaboratively on planning and development related to our new academic program. To that end, we have added two new Faculty Professional Development days to our school calendar in 2019: Friday, February 1 and Friday, June 7. On these two days, students will not report to school, so that our teachers can use the days for meaningful professional development work. Please adjust your own family calendars accordingly so that you can make note of this change.
  • Most of the current work on our post-Regents academic program is being driven forward by two specific groups: our individual academic departments and our Teaching and Learning Committee. Each academic department is currently engaging in discussions about the course landscape at a post-Regents St. Joe's. I can't tell you how exciting it is to talk with them and hear their ideas for our new curriculum. It has clearly been energizing for them to envision new possibilities in the classroom. I am confident that these changes will be similarly energizing for our students, who will find many new course options and unique academic programs available to them over the course of their academic careers at St. Joe's.

The Teaching and Learning Committee is specifically focusing their efforts on ways that we can transform the process of teaching and learning that takes place in our classrooms each day, so that we can better engage and support our students while continuing to do what St. Joe's has always done well - helping students to develop the skills needed for success in college and beyond.
The work of this committee will provide the foundation for our teachers and classrooms at a post-Regents St. Joe's, specifically by helping to ensure that all students are challenged to think critically, creatively and collaboratively in all subjects across the curriculum. With support and ongoing professional development, we expect that our classrooms will continue to evolve to meet the ever changing needs of our students.
  • Later this school year, our work will start to transition toward examining what student assessment will look like at a post-Regents St. Joe's. While at times students will certainly continue to take exams similar to the Regents exams they are currently taking, we are also excited to envision new possibilities for assessing student learning in ways that are more consistent with what is happening at the college and university level. Our research in this area shows that, more and more often, college students are being asked to demonstrate their learning through a wide variety of assessments, beyond the traditional written exam. We expect the same will eventually be true at St. Joe's, opening up new possibilities for both our teachers and students.