Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I was back at Hunt High School Monday night to hear more about academies. This time it was with my younger child, who will be a freshman next year; her brother will be a senior. My family has followed academy news closely the last few years, but I still have many questions. Unfortunately, they weren't all answered at last night's standing-room only meeting in the school's theater. I had hoped parents and students would be given a chance to ask questions, but there was no question and answer session during the presentations. With such a long program, it wouldn't have been feasible.
I'm hoping when the high schools visit the middle schools, the kids will get the opportunity to ask questions of the teachers and counselors. For instance, if you choose the IB strand, will you have flexibility to take the electives of your choice? Or, vice versa, can you take IB classes if you choose the Visual and Performing Arts Academy, for example? How sure are staff members that future proposed classes will really be offered? Should you choose an academy now, hoping that eventually the classes you're really interested in will materialize? And, God forbid, what will happen if redistricting moves you to another school and another academy?
Monday night's program at Hunt, which was for underclassmen, was a 90-minute breakdown of the academies, strands and classes within the strands. I don't mind admitting that my mind wandered considerably much of the evening. A lot was covered, and much of it did not apply to my children. But I did get a good idea of what will be offered next year. So that's a good thing.
I still have some doubts about the academies. My daugther is certainly worried about what will happen if she doesn't get her first choice of academies. I told her to relax and stop worrying so much. I've tried to assure her that she can choose another academy and still take electives she's interested in. I guess that's right; I never could ask that last night.
I also can't help but wonder if this is all a lot of "sound and fury, signifying nothing." So many kids were already choosing electives their freshmen year and sticking with them throughout their high school career. For instance, some took band or business classes, chorus or ag classes. They were already in a smaller learning community of sorts. They didn't get freaked out because they were afraid they wouldn't be accepted into an academy. They didn't feel the pressure of what is touted as such a big decision in picking an academy. They didn't have to worry so much, and neither did the parents.
I hope it all works out. The kids won't get a second chance at high school.

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