Science Department introduces new program

The Science Department recently approved significant changes to what science classes will be available for high school students. Rather than having four years of individual subjects (Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics), there will be three years of college prep science that will include topics from all four subjects.

      “I think students are going to really like the new program we are rolling out,” Marine Biology and Anatomy and Physiology teacher Jon-Paul Ewing said.

      The new science program will focus more heavily on “skills and practices” rather than memorization and will encourage students to “think more like scientists,” Ewing said. The changes will be implemented during the next three years and current high school students will not be affected.

       The program aims to make science classes better reflect NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), a program which has been adopted by California. The integration of the classes ensures all students will receive instruction in all four domains of science, as this would “allow us to best meet the new NGSS expectations,” Ewing said.

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Ag teacher Justin Pickard

       While the college prep track is vastly changed, AP courses will remain the same. All three standard AP courses (AP Chemistry, AP Biology, and AP Physics) will remain intact and be available to Juniors and Seniors. In addition, upper level science courses (Marine Biology, GEO, Robotics, Engineering Design, and Anatomy) will remain available to students.

In addition, the agricultural department has expansions planned. Agricultural department head Justin Pickard said that there are six agricultural science classes planned for next year, including two general agricultural science classes and six specifically for either horticulture or animal science (three for each type). Pickard said that the new courses would allow agricultural sciences to “have their own identity” and to better “meet student need.”

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