Dr. Heather Donaldson
Chief Academic Officer and Career Tech Director
Madison City Schools
Each year Madison City Schools makes changes to our curricular offerings; this includes changes to existing courses, adding new courses, or removing courses to ensure that we offer a viable curriculum, innovative programs, and experiences that provide the greatest opportunities for our students to excel.
There are not any new middle school courses for the 2023-2024 school year. The focus is on opening Journey Middle School and helping each middle school make the transition.
Journey Middle School will be offering the majority of our existing middle school courses with a few exceptions which include the Discovery Middle School technical theatre class and art interior design class. Journey will offer all of the on-level and advanced core classes to include math team. They will also offer World Languages and physical education classes. An exciting highlight is that Journey will offer 54 elective course offerings to include courses in the fine arts, STEM, and academic areas. We will remove one middle school offering, which is the UAH Finite Math course that is a dual enrollment offering for 8th grade. The course removal is taking place because UAH will no longer provide this course as an 8th grade opportunity. There will be a $10 course fee added for the Innovations/Inquiry Based Learning class to help cover the costs for this project-based learning course.
There will be three new courses offered at our high schools for the 2023-2024 school year.
The first is Personal Finance. Personal Finance is an 18 week course on a 4.0 GPA scale. It will be added to the Finance Academy to provide another concentrator course in this Career Tech Academy course sequence.
The second course is Counseling and Mental Health. This is an 18 week course on a 4.0 GPA scale. Counseling and Mental Health will fall under a new Career Tech Academy called Family Studies and Community Services. This new academy will have three courses in the sequence: Family and Consumer Science, Food and Nutrition, and Counseling and Mental Health.
The final course is AP PreCalculus. This will be in addition to our existing honors PreCalculus course. There will be a $20 course fee along with the AP exam fee. The addition of AP PreCalculus brings the district to 34 AP course offerings.
Students were surveyed about the proposed courses. There were 893 high school students who took the survey. The largest percentage of students indicated an interest in Personal Finance (45%) and Counseling and Mental Health (43%) while 23% of students expressed an interest in AP PreCalculus.
This year, we will also remove a few courses. The first is Law and Society because the state department recently retired this course.
The second course is Child Development. The reason for removing this course ties to the new state College and Career Readiness (CCR) graduation requirement. In order for students to be deemed a Career Tech Completer (which is one way to earn CCR status), students must take three courses in a Career Tech Academy. As of right now, Child Development is an outlier; it does not fit into any of our Career Tech Academies and therefore, does not help any students earn CCR status.
Finally, James Clemens High School is removing Multimedia Design and Multimedia Publications because these courses are basically duplicates of the courses in their Arts A/V Academy. The courses will remain in place at Bob Jones High School.
The state is making several changes to course titles for Career Tech. Below is a list of the course titles affected by these changes; course titles that are being replaced are written in the list below in red text. The course titles are changing per the state, but the content of the courses will not change.
Also with the 2023-2024 school year, the dual enrollment opportunities are expanding. UA Early College and Auburn First are now dual enrollment partners. Students can begin dual enrolling with these universities for the summer of 2023.
Another opportunity being added is with the Academy of Craft Training (ACT). The state is adding this academy in Decatur. Currently, the state has an Academy in Birmingham and Mobile. The goal of the Academy of Craft Training is to help solve the shortage of commercial construction workers. The ACT helps students find a path in commercial construction by connecting them with high quality instruction from industry professionals. The students remain enrolled in their current high school and travel to the ACT to take commercial construction classes. The ACT is a simulated workplace environment; students have to apply for acceptance into the program and can be fired if they do not meet the standards. The programs include NCCER carpentry, electrical, welding, HVAC, and interior/exterior finishes. The programs are offered free of charge. We will begin offering this opportunity to students for the 2023-2024 school year.
The state announced the new College and Career Readiness graduation requirement this year. This requirement will not affect any current high school students. Per the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), implementation of the new CCR graduation requirement will begin with current 7th grade students (graduating Class of 2028). Previously CCR only impacted the high school's A-F report card score.
The graphic below provides the indicators students can attain in order to earn CCR status.
Students can earn CCR status by passing one of the industry credential tests that are offered through our Career Tech Academies (see below for a list of industry credentials).
Students can also earn CCR status through CTE Completer. The graphic below provides details about becoming a CTE Completer. For example, to be a CTE completer, students must take 3 courses in the same Career Tech Academy and earn a C or higher in those courses. The CCR page on the MCS website outlines these guidelines. More information will be available in the near future to help students better understand how they can meet the CCR graduation requirement. Again, this requirement does not start with current high school students, but MCS is putting the pieces in place early to make sure we are prepared.
Schools will be sharing more information about course registration in February. Hard copies of registration packets will be sent home at that time. The registration packets and curriculum catalogs will be available on the district website.
Schools will be offering in-person curriculum fairs and student school visits later this semester. Curriculum fairs will be held in the evenings. Student school visits will be held during the school day for rising 6th and 9th grade students. This year Journey will include 6th through 8th grade students to support their transition and the opening of Journey Middle School.