Seniors Dan Ferro, Collin Cheung, and Luke Shelvin discuss the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in Advanced Government and Politics class.
Starting this school year, Chaminade High School began offering advanced courses to students. For many years, students had the option to place into advanced language and mathematics classes upon entering Chaminade. Students are now invited to enroll in Advanced Biology, Calculus I and II, European History, Language and Composition, U.S. History, and U.S. Government and Politics based on class performance and teacher recommendations. Chaminade examined areas of student interest and wanted to meet that interest with the richest possible experience.
"We set out to create a program that was in line with Chaminade's philosophy," explained Chaminade Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction Mr. Graham Otton '05. "We want our students to develop curious minds and ask incisive questions by working together."
Forty-nine percent of the senior class is enrolled in at least one advanced course. All Chaminade classes are honors-level, and students are still required to complete four years of study in all the main disciplines: English, foreign language, mathematics, religion, science, and social studies. Therefore, a student may only enroll in two advanced classes each year. Selection is made on a year-to-year basis and students have the option of taking the AP exam for an advanced course.
In Advanced Language and Composition, students complete 10-page research papers after a year of independent study on a topic of their own choosing. Connor Breen '19 is focusing on mental health.
"My classmates and I bounce a lot of ideas off of each other and have lots of in-depth conversations as we work," he said. "It's made me a better writer."
Other advanced courses also encourage the civil discussion of societal issues through project-based and research learning. One project in Advanced U.S. Government and Politics asks students to research and analyze government programs – the benefits, critics, facts, and influences. Students work together on presentations that reinforce the curriculum. With iPad and Apple TV technology in each classroom, their work makes creative use of multimedia and interactivity. While students present their assignments, others can download those presentations on their iPads and ask questions of each other."Sure, I put more into my classwork, but I get a lot more out of it, too," Connor said. "It's an energizing atmosphere."