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Old 01-09-2010, 07:35 PM
 
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I just sat down and read through the course offerings at various Wake Co. Middle and High schools and I"m very concerned.

Here in NY, my daughter is in 7th grade. She is taking Honors English, US History, Science, and regular 7th grade math, plus PE. She is also taking or will take half year credits in Chorus, band, Technology, Home and Careers, French and Art.

In Wake County, she would be taking English, Social Studies, Science, Math and PE/Health. Then she would also be allowed to take ONE year of chorus or band or language OR two halves of a variety of other things. (I'm generalizing a bit since each school is different)

Now I will grant you that with 9 periods per day of 34 minutes each, her core courses might not be as rigorous. But due to her honors status, she will be taking 3 9th grade classes in 8th grade so she has room for international baccalaureate coursework in HS. So I'm thinking that the students must be pretty well prepared as IB is nothing to sneeze at.

She won't miss some of the electives, but if I tell her she'll have to choose chorus or band or french, she is going to freak out! (she is apparently going to have to take a keyboarding class as an 8th grader) because it looks like the computer tech class she took in 6th grade isn't going to count.)

Anyone have any feed back to share?
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:19 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
10,323 posts, read 18,664,326 times
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That sounds like a question for the school administrators.

Quote:
Originally Posted by librarySue View Post
I just sat down and read through the course offerings at various Wake Co. Middle and High schools and I"m very concerned.

Here in NY, my daughter is in 7th grade. She is taking Honors English, US History, Science, and regular 7th grade math, plus PE. She is also taking or will take half year credits in Chorus, band, Technology, Home and Careers, French and Art.

In Wake County, she would be taking English, Social Studies, Science, Math and PE/Health. Then she would also be allowed to take ONE year of chorus or band or language OR two halves of a variety of other things. (I'm generalizing a bit since each school is different)

Now I will grant you that with 9 periods per day of 34 minutes each, her core courses might not be as rigorous. But due to her honors status, she will be taking 3 9th grade classes in 8th grade so she has room for international baccalaureate coursework in HS. So I'm thinking that the students must be pretty well prepared as IB is nothing to sneeze at.

She won't miss some of the electives, but if I tell her she'll have to choose chorus or band or french, she is going to freak out! (she is apparently going to have to take a keyboarding class as an 8th grader) because it looks like the computer tech class she took in 6th grade isn't going to count.)

Anyone have any feed back to share?
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:54 AM
 
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Thirty-four minutes in class? There must be a lot of homework.

Her current school has some strengths. If you move to Wake County, her school will have different strengths. Maybe you can find programs outside of school for music, language, cooking, or art.

When I was in junior high and high school in California (long ago) I was not able to take all the classes that interested me because I was committed to being in orchestra. It was a decision I had to make - and that kind of decision making is also valuable.
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
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That's pretty much correct for a standard middle school. They use a block schedule here, so you are in class for an hour and a half instad of 34 minutes and traditional middle schools only allow for one, sometimes two electives (two half year electives or one whole year elective). You can get ahead in math and take high school math clourses in the 8th grade.
Your other option is trying to go to a magnet school, where the structure is different and many more electives are offered.
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:30 AM
 
Location: NC
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Block scheduling is only at some schools. My daughter goes to a (non magnet) traditional middle school in Wake Forest. her school doesn't follow the block schedule. They have 8 periods in a day, (incl homeroom and lunch). She takes Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Math, PE/Health, Band (1 yr elective). She has homework in most subjects each night.
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:43 PM
 
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I just figured out...some of her electives are not half the year but a quarter of the year. Makes more sense that way! I still wonder how her school does it all...increased my respect for the music department there. All students in our town are required to take most of those electives. She doesn't have a lot of homework, but she is gifted (not to mention organized and a very fast reader) and frankly most of it comes way to easy for her.

This doesn't bother me as much for my younger daughter who is in 4th grade....she is less...focused. But to have so many choices, then have them taken away...I shared this info with her last night and she agreed. She wont miss technology, or home and careers, etc, but to give up French (I don't think I found any middle school that offered french) and have to choose between chorus and band? It was like asking her to choose which arm to give up. I assured her that we can find afterschool programs but for her the social functions of those activities is critical to her school day success.

I had selected a list of schools based on scores...now I have to go back through and look based on more than just that! Back to the drawing board!

I do love block scheduling!!!!
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
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If you can get your child into a magnet school, many of them do offer French, band, chorus and many other electives (but are not on block schedules). Check out Martin Middle school, (just an example of one that popped into my head).
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by librarySue View Post
She wont miss technology, or home and careers, etc, but to give up French (I don't think I found any middle school that offered french) and have to choose between chorus and band? It was like asking her to choose which arm to give up. I assured her that we can find afterschool programs but for her the social functions of those activities is critical to her school day success.
I'm actually very surprised that in middle school, she has had the luxury of being in band AND chorus AND French! I know school has changed a lot since I was that age (30 years ago), but we got ONE elective all through Middle School (it was "Junior High" then) here in Wake County. I had lots of classmates who had to give up band to take French when that was finally available in 9th grade, for example. I went to a private school in high school, but even then, it was 10th grade before the required classes left any room for more than language + one fine arts period. I guess this is part of why block scheduling was introduced, but that has its disadvantages too. I know a chorus teacher at a Wake County school and most of the choral competitions are only once per year (spring), so he has to deal with some students who took Chorus in the fall to still allow them to go to the competition and somehow get them as ready as the "spring" kids, etc.

Anyway, if she is moving to a new place, the "social enrichment" she's gotten out of those activities won't be the same anyway, since she's losing all of her old friends. I agree that staying with French is probably the priority, since music activities are easier to find outside school (youth orchestras, church or community choirs, etc). Things will get better when she is in high school, but at least moving to a new place is a "fresh start" and as someone else said, learning that "You can't always get things the way you want" is probably the most valuable life lesson of all, in this case.
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Old 01-10-2010, 02:17 PM
 
Location: under the beautiful Carolina blue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francois View Post
I'm actually very surprised that in middle school, she has had the luxury of being in band AND chorus AND French! I know school has changed a lot since I was that age (30 years ago), but we got ONE elective all through Middle School (it was "Junior High" then) here in Wake County. I had lots of classmates who had to give up band to take French when that was finally available in 9th grade, for example. I went to a private school in high school, but even then, it was 10th grade before the required classes left any room for more than language + one fine arts period. I guess this is part of why block scheduling was introduced, but that has its disadvantages too. I know a chorus teacher at a Wake County school and most of the choral competitions are only once per year (spring), so he has to deal with some students who took Chorus in the fall to still allow them to go to the competition and somehow get them as ready as the "spring" kids, etc.

Anyway, if she is moving to a new place, the "social enrichment" she's gotten out of those activities won't be the same anyway, since she's losing all of her old friends. I agree that staying with French is probably the priority, since music activities are easier to find outside school (youth orchestras, church or community choirs, etc). Things will get better when she is in high school, but at least moving to a new place is a "fresh start" and as someone else said, learning that "You can't always get things the way you want" is probably the most valuable life lesson of all, in this case.
A lot of that stuff isn't elective here in NY. For instance when I was in junior high (also many years ago!) you had to take band, orchestra or chorus AND a language. It's different than down there, but one of the reasons our taxes are so god-awful high. Personally, I would rather pay for some of my child's enrichment myself, whether it's a foreign language or an instrument, than pay it thru taxes. My sister struggled a bit with this when she moved down to NC, but since her taxes are $8000 a year less, she's learned to live with it quite happily! (and she's a teacher and her kids are in honors and gifted programs).
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:13 PM
 
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I recently relocated from LI and agree with pp. My son started high school down here and he was lucky that he already had spanish under his belt. That being said he is also in band and is way ahead in spanish. He is now a sophmore and is in honors spanish and will complete all 6 levels of it by the end of h.s. My other 2 are in middle school and it is true that they picked band right now instead of a language. I am a little disappointed that they can't do both but they are in a great school and are being challenged more than in NY. The schools down here are very open to differentiating, much more than in NY. They do not have block schedules in middle school, but high school does. They feel it is more of the way college is and it prepares them for college by having block scheduling. It was different for my older one but he likes it now. Besides with a heavy honors schedule you only really have 4 classes you have to concentrate on (band is one of them and that lightens his study load.) All in all it is a great area to raise a family and the schools are great.
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