On-line petition at iPetitions, a website dedicated to public petitions.
FAIRGRADE president Louise Epstein thanks School Board members who voted to offer five live honors courses in Fall 2012
ACTION NEEDED on 5 LIVE Honors Courses
and January 26th School Board Meeting Agendas!
The three School Board members who did not vote to put honors on the agendas during the forum were Janie Strauss, Kathy Smith, and Ilryong Moon. During the later televised business meeting, Strauss and Moon switched sides and voted with the majority.
Please contact all School Board members before January 23rd to let them know why students would benefit from having THREE choices (AP, Honors and Standard Level) when they sign up for English in their junior and senior years, and for social studies required classes in their sophomore, junior and senior years.
For current School Board member contact information, click here.
Future updates about the joint FAIRGRADE/Restore Honors Courses efforts will be posted at http://restorehonorscourses.org.
For further information, please contact FAIRGRADE president Louise Epstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLEASE READ BELOW & SIGN the new i-petition at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/restorehonorscourses/
FCPS has been gradually phasing out LIVE high school Honors courses for English and Social Studies/History.
Our community needs FCPS to restore 5 LIVE Honors courses in these subjects so that students can choose between AP, Honors and Standard level courses.
We would like the School Board to look at this important issue to determine if FCPS should offer these important LIVE Honors courses to students for the 2012-2013 school year. To date, FCPS has dismissed the value of these Honors courses, without any substantive data to support their actions.
Your support and involvement in addressing this issue is essential! Please read the facts below and take action.
•Over 60% of FCPS’ graduates will attend 4-year colleges (FCPS Profile).
•"Strength of the curriculum" and "grades in college-prep classes” are the 2 most important factors in college admissions decisions (NACAC-State of College Admissions Report, 2010)
•FCPS no longer offers live honors courses in World History 2 (10th grade), English 11 and US History 11 (11th grade), English 12 and US Government (12th Grade) at AP base high schools;
•College admissions and scholarship opportunities may be negatively impacted when these 5 honors courses are not offered;
•Most high school students are not academically prepared to take 4 or more AP courses in one year;
•FCPS routinely recommends that students take no more than 2 or 3 AP classes per year;
•It is instructional "best practice" to provide a continuum of instructional levels to meet the academic needs of all students;
•Other high-achieving school districts offer three or more levels of classes in these subjects, including honors and AP classes; and
•FCPS currently offers - or has recently offered - these 5 honors courses at various IB high schools and/or at TJHSST, but not at the 16 FCPS AP base high schools;
•Roughly 30% of base high school students fail AP exams in these five subjects. The failure rates are higher for the AP English and AP History/Government courses taken during junior and senior years, when students are trying to juggle more advanced courses with extra-curricular activities and other obligations;
•FCPS School Board Regulation 3201.20 requires "a balanced curriculum so that students at various levels of achievement are able to select appropriate courses to meet individual learning needs."
1. Sign the iPetition on this issue at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/restorehonorscourses/
2. Email School Board members (addresses below) and ask them to restore the following five live Honors courses: World History 2 (10th grade), English 11 and US History (11th grade), English 12 and US Government (12th grade).
3. Email the School Board with your student and parent testimonials about the value of these honors courses and how they differ from the Standard level or AP experience.
4. Forward this email on to as many parents as you know to alert them to this issue and encourage them to get involved.
Thank you for your continued support of FAIRGRADE.
Sully District - Kathy Smith: Kathy.L.Smith@fcps.edu
Braddock District - Tessie Wilson: email@example.com
Springfield District - Elizabeth Bradsher: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lee District - Brad Center: email@example.com
Hunter Mill District – Stu Gibson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Providence District – Patty Reed: email@example.com
Mount Vernon District – Dan Storck: Daniel.Storck@fcps.edu
Dranesville District – Janie Strauss: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mason District – Sandy Evans: email@example.com
At-Large – Tina Hone: Martina.Hone@fcps.edu
At-Large – Ilyrong Moon: ilryong.Moon@fcps.edu
At-Large – Jim Raney: firstname.lastname@example.org
Good News & Bad News on Honors Issue
At last Thursday’s Forum (4.28.11), the School Board agreed to further examine the lack of upper-level honors courses in English and Social Studies at FCPS' AP high schools. (Not including Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology - TJHSST.)
FAIRGRADE and the advocacy group Restore Honors Courses (RHC) are promoting a countywide effort to have FCPS provide these valuable upper-level honors courses in order to meet the educational needs of ALL students.
Superintendent Dale, School Board Chairman Kathy Smith, and other School Board members are choosing to “play semantics" rather than address this substantive educational concern parents have raised.
Our school system deserves a more transparent discussion.
Importantly, their public responses:
1. Fail to acknowledge the lack of upper-level honors courses in English and Social Studies at the AP high schools;
2. Fail to address the negative impact this may have on the educational needs of FCPS students; and
3. Fail to admit that the curriculum for these 5 upper-level honors courses already exists in FCPS' IB high schools and/or TJHSST.
The following are examples of what FCPS representatives are saying:
1. Supt. Dale publicly stated: "There are no plans to eliminate any course offerings in our high schools."
• FACT: There are "no plans" because FCPS has already phased out these courses at the AP high schools. Most recently this year, the Dept. of Instructional Services eliminated World History & Geography 2 Honors for Fall 2011.
2. Supt. Dale stated, “The courses don’t currently exist and haven’t for years in some cases, or in others, never existed," and,
3. Chairman Kathy Smith stated: “An inaccuracy is being circulated about a 'restoration of five honors courses.' The truth is that three of the courses mentioned (English Honors 12, US/VA History Honors, and VA/US Government Honors) never existed, so it is quite misleading to suggest they have been eliminated,” and,
4. School Board Member Jane Strauss stated: “First, there never were honors courses for English 12, U.S. History and Government. So an honors level would have to be written, approved and staffed."
• FACT: As noted above, these 5 upper-level honors-weighted courses ARE currently offered at non-AP high schools. For example, US VA Government Honors (course #244507) and World History & Geography 2 Honors (course #222136) are offered at several FCPS IB high schools including Annandale HS, Robinson Secondary, and Mount Vernon HS. Honors-weighted versions of US/VA History, English 11 & English 12 are offered at TJHSST.
Finally, FAIRGRADE inadvertently omitted two School Board members - Jane Strauss and Sandy Evans - from the distribution list. Our apologies for this oversight. Here is a complete list.
We will continue to monitor this issue closely and keep you apprised of any new developments. Please continue forwarding your emails to us.
RESTORATION OF HONORS COURSES
Countywide concerns among parents and students are growing because this is harmful to student achievement and college admissions opportunities. To date, the Fairfax County Council of PTAs and the following high schools are examining this issue: West Potomac, Woodson, McLean, South County, Westfield & Langley.
FAIRGRADE values a rigorous curriculum that meets the needs of ALL students. We believe the elimination of these honors courses warrants the School Board's immediate corrective action to ensure a quality education for all FCPS students.
1. Surrounding school districts such as Montgomery, Howard, and Loudoun Counties provide these 5 valuable upper-levels honors courses. FCPS should provide the same quality of education for its students.
2. Approximately 70+ percent of FCPS' graduates continue on to 4-year colleges/universities. Therefore, rigorous course options – including honors courses - are critically important for college-level readiness, college admissions and scholarship opportunities.
3. Not all students can or want to take multiple AP courses each year. The honors alternative is a critical option for many FCPS students, especially when FCPS routinely recommends that students take no more than 2-3 AP courses per year.
4. FCPS already has the curriculum developed for these upper-level honors courses, some of which are still offered at select IB schools and/or Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology. Therefore, no curriculum development costs would be required to make them available at the 18 AP base high schools.
5. Offering these honors courses need not require additional staffing costs.
• Epstein & Center: Key players in successful FAIRGRADE vote
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• FG President in Connection Newspaper Re: Honors Courses
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• YouTube Links to Speakers in Support of FAIRGRADE