Back to School: What’s new for students in 2015-16?
School starts August 5! As always, the new year will bring some changes to Metro Schools. There will be new faces, new buildings, new policies and more.
So what’s new this year for students in Metro Schools?
1. There are several new academic choices in middle and high schools.
We are proud to offer new and exciting academic programs for students this year. There’s a new foreign language option, new advanced academic offerings and a new way to teach high school level math. This list goes over some of the major changes, but it doesn’t include everything. Individual schools may change and offer their own courses (like Maplewood High School offering Cinema Studies and Global Religion), so call your school if you want to know about those.
High school level math courses – including high school courses taught in middle schools – are changing to an integrated model. What does that mean? This article does a pretty good job of explaining it. This will be a three-year process phasing in one course at a time. It begins in 2015-16 with Integrated Math I replacing Algebra I. That means if your child was expected to take Algebra I this year, he or she will now take Integrated Math I instead. Don’t worry. It teaches all the same concepts and is just as challenging as the old course. It just does it in a different order than before.
Six Metro schools in South Nashville are teaching Arabic this year. There are two separate courses: one designed for beginning speakers interested in learning the language for the first time and another designed for native speakers who want to strengthen their skills or maybe read and write Arabic for the first time. So far these courses are only offered at:
- Antioch High School and Margaret Allen Middle Prep
- Cane Ridge High School and Antioch Middle Prep
- Overton High School and McMurray Middle Prep
Metro Schools now offer six different foreign languages, including some of them offered K-12:
- Spanish, offered K-12
- Mandarin Chinese, offered K-12
- French, offered 7-12
- Latin, offered 7-12
- German, offered 9-12
- Arabic, offered 7-12
More Advanced Academic Options
Adding to an already deep roster of advanced academic choices, students can now choose International Baccalaureate at Antioch High School and Cambridge at Croft Middle Prep. Both programs offer students an internationally developed advanced curriculum that challenges them and pushes them to achieve at higher levels. You can learn more about International Baccalaureate and Cambridge on MNPS.org.
2. Middle school students can ride MTA for free – only if their parents want them to.
Last year, the hugely successful StrIDe program from MTA gave every high school student in Metro Schools the freedom to ride MTA buses for free. This year, the program is expanding to middle school students – but with an important catch.
If you want your child to receive a StrIDe ID badge that gives them free rides on MTA, you must request and complete a permission form. Only students who have signed permission forms may take part in StrIDe. The only way to get a form is to ask for it from your school’s main office or the Customer Service Center.
3. Expect more use of technology this year for all students.
Your child can expect to get more hands on more technology more often this year. Properly integrating technology into classroom instruction has been a major priority for the district because digital learning is the right thing to do. It lets teachers personalize learning for individual students’ needs, gives students valuable experience with the technology they will use in the real world and helps them prepare to take online assessments at the end of the year.
But don’t expect iPads and laptops just for the sake of using technology. It needs to serve a necessary educational purpose. All Metro teachers are trained on how to incorporate the latest educational technology into their lessons.
Have more questions about what your child should expect this school year? Visit Back to School Central to find valuable resources and links to information you need to know. If you still have questions after that, call your school or the Customer Service center for a back to school chat.