At the March meeting of the Greenwood School Board Christy Hesslen and Jason Bridges, who are both Instructional Facilitators with the district, gave a presentation to the board explaining how the curriculum in the high school will be organized to better suit the students.
Currently the high school’s curriculum can be split into four categories.
Traditional Courses: Which are taught by GHS teachers on campus.
WATC Programs: that are taught by University of Arkansas Professors on the UAFS campus for college credit. Students have to travel to Fort Smith either in the morning or the afternoon to participate.
Virtual Arkansas: Where students stay on the high school campus, but report to the Virtual Classroom where they complete online courses under the guidance of a Virtual AR teacher. Greenwood teachers monitor the classroom and track student progress. Some virtual classes will also count as college courses.
Concurrent: Which means students earn high school and college credit at the same time on the high school campus. This college credit transfers to any public university in the state. Classes are a combination of GHS teachers and online classes. Classes include such subjects as: College algebra, college trig, and English comp.
Hesslen and Bridges stated that they have taken the school’s curriculum and broken it down into four career academies. The academies are: The Business academy, the Performance Academy, the Humanities Academy and the STEM Academy. STEM standing for: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Within each of these academies are career pathways which outline the classes a student needs to take which will best serve them in their chosen profession.
The Business Academy includes pathways such as accounting agriculture, automotive, construction tech, graphic design/photography, marketing/finance, media production, medical office assistant, travel/tourism and welding.
The STEM pathways will be: Architectural drafting, computer graphics/software, computer programming, electronics technology, emergency medical responder, nursing, pharmacy, pre-engineering and pre-med.
Humanities pathways include: Broadcast journalism, early childhood education, law/political science, secondary education, social services, world language.
One of the more unique aspects of this program will be the Performance Academy. Pathways in Performance will be: Art, coaching, instrumental music, military, theater and vocal music.
Students will not be locked into any pathway. If a student decides to change pathways they will be able to do so. And since the classes are free it will cost them nothing to make a change. According to Bridges and Hesslen this should cut down on a student changing majors in college which will cost the them money.
"We came across an interesting statistic," said Hesslen. "It said that 80 percent of college students will change their major at least once, but that the average student changes majors three times. This will be a place where they can experiment and try things out," said Hesslen. "It will not be considered a failure if you decide something is not right for you. It is a success."
Bridges stated that the academies and pathways are simply an organizational tool at this point and that they are a work in progress and will be modified as needed. Many of the courses that carry college credit will be restricted to students who scored a 19 or higher on the ACT because they are considered college courses.
"We want our students to leave Greenwood High School either college ready or career ready," said Jason Bridges. "One of the two."