Rethinking class levels
I encourage the school district to consider combining some of its class levels. In many classes, there is no need to have separate classrooms for Honors students and Academic students.
The distinctions are often slight. In courses that serve as prerequisites to other courses, students, regardless of the level they take, need to be prepared for the next class.
Many students find themselves in a course level that they find is not the best fit for them, but do not realize they would have been better suited at a different level until after they are a few months into the school year.
Furthermore, many students are on the fringe between levels. Some students may be better suited for Honors when working on one unit of instruction and be better suited for Academic when working on another unit of instruction.
Additionally, by having two Honors/Academic courses rather than one Honors course and one Academic course, there will be more options of when students take classes, thus reducing the number of scheduling conflicts.
With combined levels, teachers would need to tailor instruction to what is best for students’ individual needs. At any given time, the teacher could break the students into two small groups — one for Academic level work and one for Honors level work.
It would be easier for students to move between levels on a continual basis if they are in the same classroom at the same time.
Rajan Doering, Wallingford