It’s hard to believe that the end of the year is just around the corner! It feels like we are flying on an asteroid. What a ride we’ve been on this year!
Last week, we had our first American curriculum compliance visit from the KHDA. As you may recall from a previous post, in 2012 only 11 of the 30 “American” schools were accredited with a nationally-recognized American school association. At UAS, we are proud to be a member of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. That organization is recognized by the KHDA and so UAS was already in the top 11 schools before this program began. As of September 2017, all American schools must be compliant with the KHDA regulations set out here. I strongly urge everyone to read this document!
When I arrived at UAS, much of this work had already begun. Even before I joined the school, Mr. Torris invited me to contribute to this document, posted on our website, which defines the balance between an IB and American School. This philosophy meets action in the Academics section of the website, found here.
On Tuesday, our KHDA visit was amazing. Of the 17 areas, every one was addressed in kind. We have been working with teachers, counselors and representatives from student government to implement these changes.
IMPORTANT! – These changes only apply to Grade 9’s!
Here is a list of things we needed to address for the incoming Grade 9’s:
- When the Class of 2021 students are in Grade 11 and 12, those who are not taking the IB will no longer be sitting in IB classes, the school will create a range of American courses instead. We are very excited about the possibilities of this! AP classes! Photography! Film! We can do so much!
- Slight adjustment in conversions of our GPA’s to reflect KHDA standards.
- Slight adjustment of our reporting system to include either a letter grade or a percentage.
- Currently, many of our courses would only qualify as half credits because they are not 120 hours. In order to achieve the 120 hours now required for a credit, a course needs three, 70 minute periods per week.
The only real change to high school is that we need to move to a 70 minute period. The day is long as it is, and so we had a difficult decision to make with our Homeroom program. Next year, instead of having homeroom, students will get an advisory period every Tuesday. This also means subjects like TOK will be placed entirely inside the timetable and we will not be using Homeroom time to “make up” missed hours.
By not having a Homeroom every day, we have more down time for students. Students will get an additional 25 minutes of instruction per day, and an additional 35 minutes of breaks for kids. By having a one hour lunch we will be running clubs and sports during lunch. It’s exciting to think of the possibilities!
What about the IB?
The IB is not going anywhere (and nor am I)! UAS is founded on the IB, and I am an IB practitioner. I will only work in IB schools and UAS will always be an IB school. This year, we are projecting to have 5 students achieve over 40 points. Our IB results are very important to the school and we are committed to continually improving them. Our target is to raise our IB average from 30 points over the last 5 years to 34 in the next 5.
In fact, next year we are going to become more of an IB school. Last week Mr. Torris blogged about the excitement of collaborative planning on Tuesdays.
We Want To Hear From YOU!
So… with all this information in mind, I cordially invite parents to attend the High School Principal’s Coffee on Thursday at 8:00 AM in the Secondary Library.
Prior to attending this meeting, you may wish to review the Program of Study.