Challenging programs for gifted seniors, eighth graders

Challenging programs for gifted seniors, eighth graders









This year, Sacred Heart High School, Vineland, began two new programs, one a computer course with Cumberland County College for high school seniors desiring to take college-level courses and receive college credit; and an ACES program for eighth-grade Catholic school students, to take math and science at the high school. Above, Sacred Heart seniors Brian Langdon, Jr. and Courtney Fralick sit at their computers for the online course. 




Sacred Heart High School in Vineland has unveiled two new academic initiatives this fall that have students “expanding their academic horizons,” according to Anne Hartman, assistant principal of academics and guidance services.

The school has partnered with Cumberland County College in offering Dual-Enrolled Course Opportunities for Seniors.

As well, Sacred Heart has introduced its ACES (Advanced Courses for Eighth Grade Students) Program, offering high school course work in both math and science to high-achieving eighth grade students.

In its program with Cumberland County College, Sacred Heart High School has allowed “high achieving, academically qualified and educationally motivated” seniors to dual enroll in two online college courses, one each semester, and taught by Cumberland County College professors.

For 40 minutes each day, enrolled students sit at computers in Sacred Heart’s Media Center, monitored by a school faculty member, and use Blackboard technology to listen and watch lectures; join a chat forum for group discussions, and questions to the professor; take quizzes and tests; or hand in project assignments.

The program is for those students who are exceptionally “self-disciplined and motivated,” said school principal Diane Tucker. They will receive two sets of grades: from the Cumberland County College professor at the end of the class; and from Sacred Heart High School, which will be based on the CCC grade, as well as a grade based on in-class work during each quarter, and a paper due at the end of the high school semester under the supervision of a Sacred Heart High School teacher.

With these two courses, one each semester and three credits each, students can earn six college credits.

These courses are in addition to the 11 other dual-credit courses offered by Sacred Heart, taught by teachers that are approved by the colleges the high school partners with in these courses: Cumberland County, Camden County College, and Seton Hall University.

The eight courses currently being offered during the fall semester, considered Introductory Level General Education Courses, and some having sequential courses in the spring semester, are Principles of Science 1; Western Civilization 1; English Composition 1; Introductory Anthropology; Introductory Sociology; Introductory Psychology; Death and Dying; and Music Appreciation.

Three students currently are signed up for the first courses, and Tucker is hopeful that motivated students will take the Accuplacer test in the spring of their junior year, achieve college-level results, and be eligible for the courses.

“It’s a really neat concept,” she said. “The program gives us an opportunity to offer more to our students at a challenging level.”

The school’s new ACES program grew out of the question, “How do we get eighth graders to stay in Catholic schools after graduation?” said Tucker.

Eligible through grades and test scores, five eighth graders at nearby Bishop Schad Regional School walk to Sacred Heart courses just before its second and third periods, and study either Physical Science: An Introduction to Chemistry and Physics, or Algebra 1 Honors.

Learning in a classroom filled with high school students, the eighth graders are given “an educational opportunity to gain advanced standing in mathematics and science when entering high school,” Hartman said.

Sacred Heart is also exploring ways to offer the ACES program to all eighth grade students enrolled in other area Catholic grammar schools for the 2012-13 school year.

In these two programs, the Dual-Enrolled partnership with CCC and the ACES program, Sacred Heart High School is “addressing the academic needs of students, who want to challenge themselves,” said Hartman.

“These classes prepare them for the next step.”

Categories: Catholic School News

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