Biology will mark the return of college-credit classes to Wellington High School, where no Advanced Placement courses have been offered for a decade.
World history and government will soon follow, said district superintendent Ed Weber.
AP courses offer college-level curriculum and testing and can save parents a bundle if converted to credits at college and universities. Some public high schools offer a wide range of accelerated classes, such as macro- and micro-economics, physics, 3-D design, and calculus.
“We’ll be using the Springboard Curriculum for grades six through 12, which prepares students for the AP classes,” Weber said. “It’s a curriculum for all kids. Then they’ll have the option to move toward technical education, AP, or even both. To some degree, we really want to support students in following a college and career pathway.”
After a three-year cycle, Wellington will have a larger portfolio of AP courses. In five years, Weber hopes to have all students enrolled in at least one AP course during their high school career.
With technical education, Weber and the district aim to help students who don’t necessarily want to attend college straight out of high school, or even at all.
The initiative will begin by offering an expansion of computer science classes, which could include coding, and eventually move into training for health care and biomedical careers.
“Computer science and biomedical classes are of interest to us due to student feedback,” said Weber. “Students going into the workforce with good computer skills and a coding background gives them a leg up on a wide array of career opportunities. It can open a door to high-paying jobs that don’t require a college education.
“If you go the biomedical route, you can still go to college to become a doctor or nurse,” he said. “But you can also make the choice to forego college and become an STNA. You’re ready to become a phlebotomist or work in patient admitting. You have an opportunity to be employed in a growing career field.”
While the expansion of technical and vocational courses at WHS would appear to be in response to the growing number of students leaving the district for the Lorain County JVS, Weber said his primary motivation is improving options for kids still in the Wellington Schools.
WHS enrollment has dropped from 475 in 2012 to 389 this year. The JVS allowed freshmen to openly enroll for the first time this year, which helped push the number of full-time students leaving Wellington to 93, up from a five-year average of 63.
“We’re not going to go head-to-head or compete with the JVS. They’re our partners in this,” Weber said. “For some families, JVS is the right choice. We just want to make sure we’re offering choices that are also good opportunities for our students. We want them to be prepared for anything that comes their way, whether that means college or a job. We want to support our students who are doing well at the JVS.”
As of March 1, 120 former Wellington students have openly enrolled in other surrounding districts such as Keystone, Firelands, New London, and Black River.
Weber maintained the expansion of curriculum is meant primarily to help existing Wellington students, but said he hopes some who’ve left will take notice of the new options available.
“We want to provide the best possible environment for our own kids above all else,” he said. “At the same time, we’re hoping kids who used to be here, or are being home-schooled or enrolled in online classrooms see that Wellington is worth another look.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.