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Wednesday, February 1, 2017


MCC Registration Closes on February 3

Students enrolled in MCC courses at EOS have until February 3 to register for dual (EOS and MCC) credits.  Instructions for on-line registration have been provided via Guidance Matters. 

To date, several students still have not registered for these FREE courses.  Teachers and counselors have reminded students to register for these free credits.  And the Guidance Office has identified students who are enrolled in these courses at EOS but have not yet registered with MCC.  The identified students and their parents received an email on Monday (January 30) urging them to register.

Please remind students to complete this registration process by February 3.  MCC will NOT accept registration forms submitted after this date. 

Students should contact their counselors if they need more information.

2017-18 Course Selections Process Begins

Power School Portal  Opens This Week

The initial stage of the 2017-18 course selection process has begun.  Students are encouraged to select courses through the Power School portal now.  Current ninth-graders have actually already (tentatively) selected their courses with the help of counselors  by way of English 9 classes.

This first step in the process allows EOSHS to pour the foundation for the eventual construction of the 2017-18 master schedule.  Note that students will have several opportunities to make changes on their list of selections in the months ahead.  You should also note that counselors will discuss course selections and confirm choices during their  individual meetings with students and their parents/guardians that are currently taking place.

Keep in mind, too, that four-year plans of study for various post secondary options are available in Naviance.  Click on the "Courses" tab for the plans as well as to access the full list of course descriptions in the curriculum.

Mailing Senior Transcripts

 (Mid-Year School Reports) 

Seniors applying to colleges know that their first semester grades are typically required by college admissions offices.  Mid-year school reports that show only first semester grades will be mailed electronically to colleges when these grades became permanent after a final audit this week.  Thus, colleges to which students submitted applications should receive these reports in the next week.

Registration for AP Exams Begins on Monday, March 6

Students interested in taking AP exams must register for them in the Guidance Office.  Registration begins on Monday, March 7th and concludes on Friday, March 24th. Scheduled during the first two weeks of May, these three-hour exams are offered in a variety of subject areas.  The registration fee is $20 (cash or checks made payable to EO Smith) per exam, with the balance of $73 paid (total cost for each exam is $93) on the day of each exam.  For more information go to AP Central.

Dual Enrollment Courses Available at EOSHS

EOSHS has, arguably, the most extensive array of dual enrollment courses in Connecticut.  These courses are available to students as both high school and college courses (thus, the "dual" designation).  So students enrolled in these courses earn high school credits while simultaneously earning college credits as well.  EOSHS offers these courses through UConn, ECSU, and MCC.  

For course descriptions, go to your Naviance Family Connections page and click on the "Courses" tab.  The list is below.

UConn Early College Experience Courses

AD English (UC ENGL 1010)
AD Biology (UC BIOL 1107)
AD Biology (UC BIOL 1108)
AD Biotechnology (UC PLSC 3230) 
AD Latin 4 (UC CAMS 3102)
AD Latin 5 (UC CAMS 3102)
AD Microeconomics (UC ECON 1201)
AD Macroeconomics (UC ECON 1202)
AD French 5 (UC FREN 3250 and 3268)
AD German 5 (UC GERM 3233 and 3255)
AD World Civilizations (UC HIST 1300)
AD Modern European History (UC HIST 1400)
AD US History (UC HIST 1501and 1502)
AD Individual & Family Development (UC HDFS 1070)
AD Latin America Studies (UC LAMS 1190)
Discrete Math (UC MATH 1030Q)
AD Calculus (UC MATH 1131Q and 1132Q)
AD Physics Engineering (UC PHYS 1401Q and PHYS 1402Q)
AD Physics (UC PHYS 1201Q and 1202Q)
AD Spanish 5 (UC SPAN 3178 and 3179)
AD Statistics (UC STAT 1100Q)

ECSU Courses

ECSU Human Biology (BIO 202/203)
ECSU Math for Liberal Arts (MAT 135)
ECSU Calculus A (MAT 243)

MCC Courses

Accounting 1A (MCC ACC 115)
Human Anatomy & Physiology A (MCC BIO 115)
Intro to Criminal Justice (MCC CJS 101)
Video Productions 1 & 2 (MCC COM 240)
Allied Health (MCC HLT 103)
Tech-Prep Culinary Arts (MCC HSP 101)
Quantitative Literacy (MCC MAT 109)
Algebra 3 and Trigonometry (MCC MAT 138)
Foundations for College Success (MCC SD 111)
English 12A (MCC ENGL 101)
Personal Finance (MCC BFN 111)

In addition to these dual enrollment courses listed above, EOSHS also offers AP Studio Art, AP Chemistry, AP French 4, AP German 4, AP Spanish 4, AP Psychology and AP Computer Science.  Earning satisfactory scores on the AP exams in these courses (as determined by each college and university) may translate into college credits as well.

Finally, Marketing is offered to students in a manner that prepares them to take the CLEP exam for college credits.  For more information about CLEP, click here.  

PE Department Offers Options in 2017-18

The Physical Education Department will offer a series of "selectives" in 2017-18 to 10th and 11th graders.  In addition to PE 10-11, students may select from the options listed below;

Team Sports: Students will try a variety of team sports in a more competitive setting,
Yoga: Students will have an opportunity to practice yoga and mindfulness   
Ultimate Frisbee/Racquet Sports: Students will learn the skills and strategy of ultimate frisbee as well as racquet sports (tennis, badminton, pickleball, eclipse ball). 
Sports Performance: Students will be able to develop and execute their own workout plan.  
Adventure PE: Students will use team building to accomplish challenges and in some cases low ropes course obstacles (a field trip may be included to a high ropes course park). 
Circuit Training: A more basic introduction to fitness using everything from kickboxing to weight training as a basis for developing strength and stamina.
Aerobic Dance: Students will be able to develop and execute their own dance routines as well. 
Lifetime Fitness: (golf, archery, backyard games etc..)

Students should consult with their current PE teachers for more information and contact their counselors to inform them of their choices. 

What Does It Mean to Be Educated?

What does it mean to be "educated"?  And how is one who is considered to be "educated" different from one who is "uneducated"?  Even if you gave scant attention to the recent elections, you would most certainly have heard pollsters place voters in one or the other category.  Is it really the case that one is either educated  - or not?   On what basis?

It seems like most of us have our own ideas about what should be taught in school, how it should be taught, and what kids should know and be able to demonstrate (skills) at the end of grade 12 (or 14 or 16.. or even 20, for that matter).   That most everyone has been schooled in some form or fashion during the first two or three decades of their lives provides an experience from which to form their views.  And there is no shortage of opinions on this issue.  As much disagreement as there may be when you listen to anyone who's ever weighed in, though, you eventually reach the conclusion that this much we do know - school is a good place for kids to be.  And there's this much we don't know - what kids should learn (and how they should learn it) by the time their tickets are punched for life-after-high-school. 

What we do know is that piles of data collected in recent years show the value of education in terms of how much money you've banked, whether you dine on Taco Bell or Bell & Evans, if you remember to vote and care to show up at the polls, and if you choose to volunteer or are forced to live in fear..of the next crisis - health, financial, or otherwise - that eventually puts you in deep and paralyzing debt.  If schools function to prepare students for productive work and active citizenship, then we know they are.   So, we can safely conclude that a relationship exists between higher education and higher income, etc.  But do we know what it really means to be an educated human being?  And do we really know what we should expect a high school graduate to know and be able to demonstrate at graduation in 2020? 

It often becomes heated because both questions tend to be politically charged.  Why?  Here's why - the answers reflect value judgments that often clash among competing interest groups.  What does it mean to be an educated person?  What is it that they know (ideas, knowledge) and are able to do (read, write, quantify, think critically) that earns them this status?  What skills do they possess (even "have in hand" as in hands-on skills)?  Is this "knowledge" different today than it may have been, say, a decade ago?  Two decades ago?  (Check out "What Does It Mean to Be Educated?" in "For Reading" to the right of this page).

Well, this much we know - we seem not to know.  High schools and colleges can't seem to agree. They can't agree among themselves within groups or even what the other should do.  Which group knows for sure?  Or put another way, who's more educated on this issue?  Is this a multiple choice question with one right answer? Or is there more than just one?

Even a cursory review of graduation requirements at three colleges, never mind the three thousand or so more out there, will reveal pretty significant differences in what students are expected to know.  St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland (and Santa Fe, New Mexico), a highly respected (in academia) but little known (by the mainstream population) college, requires all students to complete the exact same curriculum - reading the same books and taking the same courses (with a little wiggle room in what it calls "preceptorials").  The school promotes itself as the ideal liberal arts institution and assigns students many of the "Great Books" chosen by a panel of faculty members and students (changed periodically).  So, students are expected to know the same curriculum.  Brown University in Providence, RI, on the other hand, is the yogi master in higher education. The school offers total flexibility in its "open curriculum", giving students the freedom to choose ANY courses they wish as long as the credits bend in a way that match the number of credits prescribed for an "individualized"  degree.  And all the other schools fall somewhere along the continuum that begins with St. John's College at one point and ends with Brown at the other.  UConn is one of these "tweeners", a hybrid of sorts that requires students to choose from a menu of courses that's organized kind of like food groups.  Students are free to choose items as long as they select from each of the four "tables" (content areas) on the way to their "main course" of studies.  Know that it resembles a Sunday brunch - lots of items from which to choose and plenty to digest. But you'll probably discover that your plate looks much different from others' at your seating arrangement - unless you're sitting with someone who's selected the same major.  And if it is much different, does it matter?   Is the college experience essentially the same for both?  Or is one more educated than another?

So, think about it - is it a stretch to say that one college produces more educated graduates than another?  Or one major more than another?   Do we really know?  What's more, do we even know what these graduates know (more on this below)?  Or is it simply the degree in hand that confers the label "educated" upon them?

And what about high schools?  What should students really know and be able to demonstrate when their date of manufacture is stamped at graduation?  The CT State Department of Education (CSDE) provides broad requirements for high schools in the state to follow (which are supposed to change in the near future), but local school districts usually add their own ingredients to the mix - presumably because they know what students are expected to know and be able to demonstrate.  But even within high schools there are differences in department requirements - some are more specific than others.  

Confusing?  Everyone seems to have their own ideas about what students should really know (and, of course, be able to do), but there doesn't seem to be much agreement.  It's little wonder, then, why many colleges still cling to the SAT or ACT requirement in order to evaluate readiness for success in higher education (for those who now make it optional, there are other reasons for this than simply thinking they agree that the test is flawed - one major reason is that it drives up applications)?  However "invalid" the test may be, it's at least a measure that may be applied to all students (who choose to take it) regardless of the schools they attend or even courses of studies they take within their respective schools.  And there's still another test for some students to "pass" - the Accuplacer has received its fair share of attention in recent years as more students opt for community colleges.  If you don't know, the Accuplacer is a placement test designed to accurately place students in English and math courses (see more about this below).  Both tests - the SAT/ACT and Accuplacer - are intended to measure what students know and are able to do.  

There are all sorts of discussions about common assessments and a common curriculum that should be set in stone for all high schools throughout the country to follow.   Even colleges have argued about this as the federal government not long ago put pressure on them to put in place some kind of assessment that measures growth over the duration of a college experience (click on the link to learn more about the Collegiate Learning Assessment).  All that exists now to measure the "value" of colleges are SAT scores, acceptance rates, and yield rates on those accepted - all measures of entering students and not of those graduating from the colleges.  Moreover, the college loan debt crisis has been an albatross for many college graduates as it holds them back from becoming financially independent full-scale adults.  The federal government has recently intervened with its College Scorecard, a measure that considers average earnings of graduates from specific colleges.  But this is a flawed metric, never mind that it measures educational value strictly in monetary terms.

What's more, high schools and colleges don't agree with each other on what a student should know at the time in their lives when they become eligible to vote.  Of the seventy percent of high school graduates who go on to some form of higher education, less than half actually complete a four-year degree (that's about 28% of the population).  And many take more than four years to do it.  For those who choose (or have no choice but to go to) community colleges, about forty percent don't meet the benchmarks on placement tests (Accuplacer) and are placed in not-yet-ready-for-prime-time remedial courses that cost lots of money but are worth nothing in terms of college credits.  For the vast majority of these students, college ends before they officially ever get there.  Click here for a recent report on this issue.

​If you listen to the experts, there's a growing divide between those who have and those who wish they had.  The middle is disappearing.  Where's this taking us?

Let's acknowledge that a four-year degree is not for every high school graduate - nor should it have to be.  But some form of higher education needs to be, especially in a changing economy that's beginning to take on an hour-glass shape, one in which there will be plenty of jobs available that require professional degrees and plenty that we'll always need - plumbers, electricians, automotive technicians - that will still require certification and requisite skills as evidenced by performance on entrance exams required for admission to certification programs (click here for more on this).   If the numbers tell a story, about 3 out of every 10 students aren't going there.  And, of those who are, some aren't able to enroll in "ready-for-prime-time" courses because...well, you know why.  This leaves too many kids academically adrift, and they're not even in college.

So, we know that school is a good place to be for students.  We know, too, that there is significant variance in what's expected among and between secondary schools and institutions of higher education.  It also appears that some of this variance leads to problems for kids when they sit for placement tests.  And we know that high school graduates need to move on to some form of meaningful educational experience if they have any chance at meaningful employment in their adult lives.  If they don't, then they wind up in that category call "uneducated" - not much different from those labeled "dropouts".    So, if Common Core is not the answer (and it appears that it isn't), then we need to at least find common ground on what high school graduates should know and be able to do in order for them to be prepared for what's next - to have a realistic chance at being considered among the  "educated". 

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