Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tuscaloosa City Schools Seek More Flexibility on Courses

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tuscaloosa City Schools Seek More Flexibility on Courses

Article excerpt

Officials with the Alabama Department of Education and Tuscaloosa City Schools have come to the conclusion that one-size-fits-all public education doesn't work for every student.

In an attempt to make education more individualized, the city school system in the past two years has implemented initiatives such as customized four-year academic plans for every student and a range of career academies that students at Central High and the Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy can choose to enroll in.

Now the system wants to take individualized education a step further.

In mid-March, system officials will submit an "innovation zone/ flexibility application" to the state department of education asking for a waiver on four Alabama Administrative Codes -- rules that state school systems must follow -- so students won't have to take certain required classes if they're already involved in other classes or activities that have the same subject matter.

"One of the state code requirements is that students have to take Algebra 1, geometry and Algebra 2 or trigonometry with one math elective," said Elisabeth Davis, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. "We have some classes at TCTA that have the geometry standards already in them.

"We're asking that the state waive geometry for students who are taking TCTA classes with

geometry in them."

The specific classes that the system is initially asking the department of education to give students credit for are:

- Project Lead the Way in place of physics, geometry and physical education.

- Drafting in place of geometry.

- Electrical technology in place of geometry, algebra I and physical science.

- Mechatronics/robotics in place of physics.

- Health science in place of health and life science.

- Emergency/fire/medical services in place of health, life science and physical education life.

- Automotive technology in place of chemistry and physics.

- Information technology and computer science principals can replace foreign language.

Davis said the system is also seeking to allow students to gain credit for other classes such as P.E. and music if they're involved in pre-approved extracurricular activities such as intensive athletic training or music lessons. …

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