Steamboat Springs Hayden High School will offer an Advanced Placement course for juniors and seniors for the first time next year as the school begins a transition toward more AP offerings.
Principal Troy Zabel said the school will pilot an English Composition and Literature course for the first time next year. The AP courses eventually could replace the courses offered through Colorado Northwestern Community College.
"We're slowly transitioning what our course offerings are over a two- to three-year period," Zabel said.
Science teacher Dean Massey said his department may expand its courses to include an AP biology course in the next few years.
"AP's a little better suited for the high school environment," he said. "Overall, we're stepping up the rigor of the studies, stepping up the criteria."
Zabel said because this is the first time the school will offer an AP course, the administrators aren't sure exactly how well it will work.
"We don't know. We think it will be a better option, but we don't know for absolutely positive," he said.
The school also will offer a new honors English course for juniors after the successful introduction of a sophomore honors biology course this school year, he said.
On the other side of the spectrum of difficulty, the school also will introduce a new freshman "math academy" for struggling students.
"We'll have an assessment piece, and our math team at the high school will meet with the math team at the middle school for specific recommendations" about which students will be steered toward the course, Zabel said.
The academy will not replace the freshman math class but will be an extra course to put students on track.
Hayden High School also will replace a college calculus course next year with a college algebra course and replace a CNCC pre-calculus course with a high school-level course. Those changes primarily are because the school does not have enough students to sustain those courses each year.
The school also offers online courses through Colorado Online Learning, with up to 40 students per semester. Students at the school are enrolled in personal finance, world history, music theory and other courses, he said.
Students at Soroco High School are offered the same online courses with an additional course with A-Plus computer technician certification planned for next school year.
"It's not set in stone yet," principal Dennis Alt said. "It's something we offered the year before last but couldn't offer last year because of staff changes."
Technology Director Shane Antyr will teach the course, likely in collaboration with other technology directors in the district. Alt said the course may be taught through video-conferencing, to allow students and teachers in Hayden and Steamboat Springs to participate.
"It's pretty intensive. If you have A-Plus certification, you can pretty much go to work directly," he said.
The school also will add a pre-calculus and pre-algebra course next year as a fourth-year math class.
"Students need a fourth-year math offering, and we wanted to give a college-ready type of class," he said.