Yorkville School Disrict 115 Board of Education members heard from teachers Monday night, Nov. 9, about new dual-credit science courses available to students for the 2021-2022 school year.
In a meeting at Yorkville High School, teachers unveiled details about dual-credit courses in astronomy, geology and computer science that gurantee students college credit through Waubonsee Community College.
The new astronomy and two new geology courses account for three credit-hours each. With an additional lab credit hour for astronomy, students enrolled in both courses could earn up to seven college credit hours
In addition, the district is adding five new computer science courses also provided through Waubonsee. The new sequence could allow tech-savvy high school students to finish certificate degrees in cyber security, computer software development, computer support or website authorization. Next school year's novel computer science courses are as follows: Business & Information Systems, Intro to Programming, Networking Essentials, Web Development, and Information & Technology Project Management.
After the presentation, School Board President Dr. Lynn Burks cited continuing concerns from high-achieving students that the district's hard science courses might not be best preparing them for demanding collegiate science degress.
"A lot of our science curriculum lacks the physics, the calculus and the hard math that is coupled with the science that many high schools offer," Burks said.
In addition, Burks and board member Dr. Garrett Katula stressed that the district needs to provide transparency while students and families consider AP and/or dual-credit courses.
While college credits offered at the high school level might transfer to some in-state public universities, they seldom are transferable to private or out-of-state univerisities and even some large in-state schools.
"There should be some clarity and transparency of what those credits really can do and where they can be used," Katula said. "If you're going to the University of Chicago to study material science, your dual-credit from Waubonsee is probably not going to work there."
In response, Associate Principal of Student Services Megan Martinez said the incoming dual-credit courses plan to give all students an introduction to new natural sciences as well as college-level courses. She added that the district has conversations with individual students about how dual-credits might transfer or apply to a given university and major of study.
"The true reality is that we have a lot of unique needs at Yorkville," Martinez said. "We're trying to broaden our horizons rather than just being in one pocket of chemistry or biology."