PatchChat Live Now: School Board Reopens Honors Discussion

Join us at noon Friday for a discussion with school board member, community advocates about Fairfax County honors course offerings

The Fairfax County School Board will revisit its position next week on high-level class offerings — — so any changes made can be implemented before the 2012-2013 course catalog is printed.

Dan Storck (Mount Vernon) asked the school board to reconsider its elimination of some 11th and 12th grade English and Social Studies honors courses this month so the system could implement any curriculum changes in time for the fall semester.

"This directly affects students ... it's incumbent upon us to address it at the earliest possible opportunity,"  member Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield) said at the board's meeting last Thursday.

Over the past several years, the school system has phased out honors courses in certain subjects where AP or IB courses are also available, because the two curriclums were almost identical, Peter Noonan, assistant superintendent of instructional services, told Patch this summer.

In those subjects, students must choose between general education or college-level AP courses.

Since then, several parent groups -- including Fairgrade and Restore Honors -- have rallied around restoring honors classes in those subjects, to give students three choices: Advanced Placement, Honors and General Education.

The board is scheduled to take a vote on restoring those courses at its Jan. 26 meeting, though it could be pushed back to a later date.

Join us at noon Friday for a live chat with School Board Member Ryan McElveen (At-large), Fairgrade representative Louise Epstein and Restore Honors member Kate Van Dyck about the issue. Can't make the chat? Leave questions in the comments or sent them to to erica.hendry at patch.com.

To read more on the honors issue, click here.

Previous Live Chats:

betsy zolper January 20, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Please bring back honors classes in 10th, 11th and 12th grade. It would benefit students of all academic levels. It is very frustrating for a motivated student, who is taking several AP classes, to take a non-honors English class in 11th or 12th grade. Unfortunately in my daughter's 12th grade English class many of the students were not engaged, slept through class and did not turn in homework. This was not a good learning environment. Another issue is with 10th grade AP World History which supplants Honors History. Most peoples' experience with AP World is not positive. It covers too much material and at our school required over 10 hours of homework a week to be successful. Although my daughter took the class and received an 'A' she felt that the work required far outweighed the benefits she received from the class since they rushed from pre-history to the Cold War and beyond. Reinstating 10th grade honors history would be so positive. I have a ninth grade son who enjoys history and is currently in an honors class. After observing the amount of time and effort required by my daughter for World History AP I am certain that my son would find it overwhelming but without an honor's option he could not continue to study history at an elevated level. There are many students whose educational experience would be improved by Honor's classes and Honor's classes could give the reluctant student the confidence and preparation to jump to an AP class in 11th or 12th grade.


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