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Info About the 2018-19 Secondary Course Catalog for Madison City Schools

The 2018-19 curriculum for Madison City high schools and middle schools has been approved, clearing the way for course registration to begin.
The MCS Board of Education adopted the curriculum following a review by Chief Academic Officer Dr. Heather Donaldson.
Visit the Instruction page to access the middle and high school curriculum catalogs and find other information you need to register.

The catalogs offer an array of courses that give students plenty of options within a rigorous curriculum framework. At both levels of secondary, instructional leaders went to great lengths to identify preferences through student and teacher surveys and align the courses to high-demand career fields and college courses of study.

High School Highlights
Madison City Schools continues to be a leader in the number of AP courses offered (30), and there are also ample honors classes to select from.  The high school curriculum again offers dual enrollment courses and the increasingly popular “Options Open,” which provides Zero Block, Fifth Block, Blended and Online course options.
The popularity of this flexible scheduling option is supported by data. Since its rollout in 2015-16, the number of seats in Options Open has risen from 531 to 1,073 this year. Three years ago as the district proposed this opportunity to transcend the barriers of traditional school, we wondered how successful it would be. The enrollment in Options Open shows what a viable option it continues to be for our students.

Other features in the high school curriculum:

* Course additions include accounting, PLTW Digital Electronics, and an 11th grade integrated Modern U.S. History and AP Language class.
Digital Electronics fits nicely into Superintendent Parker’s goal to provide more opportunities for students to explore “new collar” jobs. It introduces students to digital circuits found in video games, digital cameras and other equipment and is a pathway to engineering and technology careers. We have applied for a $35,000 grant to offset the $60,000 cost of Digital Electronics.
The integrated 11th grade Modern U.S. History and AP English Language course stems from a recent site visit to Fairfax County schools. This course will challenge students to refine their language awareness and also consider the ways that literature reflects American politics and the human experience.
New also this year to the high school catalog is a modified Cybersecurity program.  We are also excited to offer Accounting to the lineup. This positions us to add a career tech Finance Academy when coupled with other related courses we offer such as Business Technology Applications and Career Preparedness.

Middle School Highlights
The middle school curriculum is more dynamic than ever this year.
Adding 6th grade into the middle schools created an enrollment density that broadened the number of courses we could offer. Planning the middle school curriculum was done with much thought with plenty of input from the 6thGrade Transition Team.
One of the highlights in the middle school lineup is a Survey of World Languages class geared for 6th grade but open to 7th. This will be a year-long course broken into 9-week sessions each on Latin, German, French and Mandarin Chinese. Sixth grade students must take at least one 9-weeks of a language but they may elect to take the full year-long course. MCS currently offers Spanish in several grades of elementary school, with the ultimate goal of expanding it to cover Pre-K through 5th grade. The World Language offering would allow them to explore something new and provide a catalyst for Mr. Parker’s 2018-28 Vision plan to have all graduates bi-lingual.
An Innovative Exploration class is geared for students who receive gifted services. The middle school catalog also offers an Introduction to Visual Arts, and a Creative Writing II course.

One of the most exciting middle school additions is in the area of theater and fine arts. A big piece that had been missing was Theatrical Production. Two new Theater Classes are now offered in middle school: An Introduction to Theater geared for 6th grade, and Advanced Theater that would ultimately lead to a minimum of one major theatrical production a year whether that be a musical or play. 

Four additional STEM courses are being offered for 2018-19 in middle school: Design and Modeling, formerly embedded in Robotics but now its own which will lead to better creativity and innovation; Energy and the Environment which explores sustainable energy solutions; a strengthened Greenpower Racing class; and Magic of Electrons. The electrons course focuses on electricity with students diving into basic circuitry design. 

One of the drivers of moving 6th grade into the middle schools was expanding the number of electives they have to help them better refine interests and strengths. The middle school course catalog offers 24 electives for 6thgrade.  The middle schools will continue the 5-block (75 minutes each) format with 6th graders required to take a year-round English/language arts, a year-round math, and a semester of science and social studies, which leaves two blocks of electives around a 9-week PE requirement and 9-week Survey of World Language requirement. One highlight of the core classes is the plan to add advanced classes for Language Arts and Math, with Math going an extra step with an Honors Math 6 in addition to an Honors Math 6/Math Team Class.

The District is very proud to include 24 elective options for rising 6th grade students with choices such as introduction to chess and competition chess, scholars bowl, intro to public speaking, beginning band, creative writing, digital communications, visual arts, various PE options and more.

There are a lot more exciting things to share, much of which can be gleaned from some curriculum meetings scheduled at the middle and high schools.
Check with schools for the schedule.

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