Saturday, December 22, 2007


Plainfield teachers and administrators, usually the ones who hand out report cards, got a few grades of their own this week. And former students gave them straight As.

Plainfield High School Principal Scott Olinger invited about a dozen 2007 graduates to a round-table discussion to find out whether these college freshmen feel they were well prepared for higher education."If we want the feedback from our students, we have to ask for it and then not be afraid to hear it," he said.

The students and high school department heads talked curriculum, workload, new trends in online college classes and course offerings that form a foundation for post-secondary education.
"I'd have to say we were better prepared than most," said Samantha Jennings, a student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. "I see some of the others struggling and wishing they had taken AP (advanced placement) and honors classes. Those really help a lot."

Angela Vaccari, now studying communications at Butler University, said, "I felt very prepared. (College) is very challenging and hectic, but I find it is manageable with the study and writing skills that we'd learned."

Several of the students said college classes have required far more writing, such as research papers and reports, creative writing and opinions, than high school classes.

Plainfield's curriculum, which includes writing assignments in every class, proved valuable to building that essential skill in college. Several students said the high school could require more writing.

Plainfield parents and students can follow their grades and other progress through the Internet, which the students said is important practice for college.
College instructors make extensive use of online systems to assign homework, administer tests and grades.

Samantha DeRoo, valedictorian of the 2007 class, said some of her classes at Purdue University may have up to 500 students in large lecture sessions. "The classes aren't so difficult but it is more on you" to get the assignments done and to prepare for tests, classes and laboratory sessions.

College isn't all about classes. Campus life and the freedom it affords has been one of the biggest transitions compared to living at home with parents' curfews, several students said, particularly when facing deadlines to complete homework assignments.

Tell us what you think! Is CSIHSIS preparing you for college? What are we doing well? What can we do better?


legofurby said...

Yes and no. For starters, the Kaplan course through the school helps a lot. Certificates handed out with report cards also do make students want to do well and get recognition. More AP classes, quicker paced lessons, no tolerance late policies, and heavier workloads are the only ways to prepare students more for college.

Liana said...

It'd be best if teachers incorporated more college level projects into regular, and advanced placement classes on a daily basis. That way, by the time college rolls around we'd be used to a more demanding workload.

Aimee Horowitz said...

I do agree with Teresa that recognition certainly encourages and provides students with incentives to do well. Advanced Placement courses also prepare students for college. However, so do all of the other courses you are taking. For example, writing multiple drafts of essays, doing research papers,publishing on a blog and commenting on your fellow students comments,and working collaboraitvely with others to prepare and present a project are all common course requirements in college. Heavier workloads do not necessarily mean the assignments or the work produced will be of high quality. I firmly believe students' preparedness for college is about learning to manage their time and about producing quality work whether it is in an Advanced Placement Course or any other course. That being said, we will work to offer additional Advanced Placement courses as our school continues to grow. I also think that schools, whether they are colleges or high schools, must meet all of their students' learning needs and be tolerant of other circumstances that can sometimes hinder students from completing work in a timely manner. Blanket no tolerance policies regarding late work are extreme and do not make allowances for extenuating circumstances.If schools are trying to develop tolerant people, than schools themselves must be tolerant of the needs of their students while preparing them for college and beyond.