The Newton schools are changing the names of high school course levels to better reflect class expectations, and to be more in line with the names at other area high schools, according to a letter to parents from the principals of Newton North and Newton South.
Starting next fall, Curriculum II courses will be renamed College Prep, and Curriculum I will be renamed Advanced College Prep, similar to the course level names at Wellesley High School. Honors and Advanced Placement level titles will not be changed, according to the letter.
Superintendent David Fleishman said Monday that the name changes do not reflect a change in course curriculum, but instead address a move by the the NCAA last year that excluded students who took some Curriculum II classes from playing on athletic teams their freshman year.
The NCAA, the governing body of college athletics, made the move as part of the national association’s effort to ensure that incoming athletes are academically ready for college, despite the fact that students who took the lower level classes in Newton passed state standardized tests, or that many who have taken Curriculum 2 classes in the past did well in college.
Fleishman said the name change better reflects the fact that students who take these courses are being prepared for college.
The letter says the changes were made after conversations with the faculties at both high schools.
According to the letter from Principal Joel Stembridge at South, and Principal Jennifer Price at North, the change “stems from the fact that our Curriculum II classes represent the foundation of our college preparatory program, and that our other levels advance from this point.”
The principals also write that they, and the teachers at the two schools, believe strongly that the students in the schools’ lower level courses are “held to high expectations and receive rigorous instruction in a way that best meets their educational needs. We’ve designed these classes to prepare students to do well after high school — and indeed our graduates return to tell us we’ve succeeded.”
Ellen Ishkanian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.