General Course Information
New York State has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), referred to as the New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS). The adoption of these new standards has not changed what we teach but how we teach. Today’s science classes look very different from science classes historically. While teacher directed instruction is still critical, students will be expected to participate in hands-on, discovery-based learning that will require them to work through scenarios, ask questions, construct explanations, plan and carry out investigations, collect data, make claims supported by evidence, engage in scientific argumentation, model complex systems, identify patterns, determine cause and effect, and describe phenomena. Students will be responsible for their learning. Teachers are responsible for setting up the environment that will allow them to learn successfully.
Failure is part of the NGSS; not failure in terms of grades, though this may occur, but more importantly, the willingness to try something that may or may not work, analyze the results and try again. Students are extremely uncomfortable with this. Your support in encouraging our young people to try without an initial guarantee of success is paramount to creating an atmosphere for REAL science learning.
Students are placed into science courses each year based upon a number of factors. Grades in the child’s current science courses are certainly considered, as they are a good indicator of success. Grades in other relevant courses, especially math are also considered. Grades are not the only indicator of success; student behaviors like note taking, attending extra help, and classroom participation and willingness to try new things also contribute to the teacher’s recommendation for courses. Please contact your child’s teacher if you wish to discuss the recommendation.
Students who are not recommended to take an Advanced Placement (AP) course are permitted to self select into one course per year. Should you and your child decide to take this route, your child must:
- Obtain a form from the guidance counselor that you, your child, your child’s counselor, and the science department head will sign.
- Meet with the department chair to discuss the choice.
- Submit a completed self select form to guidance.
*** Please be aware that any student who needs to change courses after the beginning of the year may be required to change their schedule, often significantly; this can include both a change in periods and a change in teacher(s). This possibility should be weighed in the decision to self select into any course.
Meetings Per Cycle:
- All lab science courses meet 3 periods per 2 day cycle.
- Science Electives meet 1 period per day.