Senior Student Development
Graduation is a happy occasion because of the many efforts, most notably those of the seniors and their parents. What they have accomplished in Thirteen years of schooling is directly attributable to their combined dedication and hard work.
For seniors, their last year in high school is a memorable time. A seventeen-year-old undergoes a remarkable experience during the senior year. It is a time of fruition as well as dramatic change.
Seniors spend a great deal of time stretching their wings. The sense of independence that emerged in the junior year grows more certain this year. Many seniors become leaders at school - in the classroom, on the playing fields, in clubs, groups, and activities, and in student government. As a result, their busy schedules often make them strangers at home.
Though they may see less of their family, family relationships tend to improve because maturing seventeen-year-olds are more tolerant of others including their parents and siblings. In fact, some sibling relationships give evidence of genuine friendship developing between brothers and sisters.
Nevertheless, tensions do develop during this year students are required to make critical decisions about their futures. They ask, "Am I going to college?" Students question themselves whether they should work for a year or go directly to school, live at home, move into their own apartment or enlist? The decision creates stress for the family.
Because there is also a greater tolerance of differences among seniors, the cliquish groups of tenth and eleventh grade often begin to fade. The senior moves more comfortably among different types of people and may strike up friendships with people he/she would not have given a second thought to two years before.
Intellectually, many seniors are performing as well as many adults. They hold jobs which require decision-making, problem-solving, and working productively with other people, customer and co-worker alike. Scholastic performance will reach new heights. Levels of achievement may amaze even the seniors themselves.
The demands of the curriculum may be less than the previous year because most seniors will have completed the lion's share of graduation requirements and credits. Nevertheless, two dangers are still present. Distracted by demands of activities and socializing, seniors may neglect schoolwork in favor of more attractive, less rigorous undertakings. Secondly, and often later in the year, the dreaded senioritis virus attacks, occasionally in epidemic proportions.
By the senior year the core requirements are reduced to a few classes. Beyond that, seniors pursue a course of study that best matches their plans for the future. The paths they have been defining and clarifying since entering high school are becoming clearer and better established.
Students in English IV continue their emphasis on reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Vocabulary development, including word analysis fluency and usage, continues to be emphasized. The focus is on preparation for national and state standardized tests as well as for post-secondary experiences. Study of literature revolves around significant classical and contemporary World and British literature such as Oedipus the King, Mac Beth, Frankenstein, and 1984. Reading comprehension and analysis of patterns, arguments and positions advanced will be the focus of study. Students also read functional material such as magazines, newspapers and on-line information.
In writing, students will demonstrate an awareness of audience and purpose and will include examples of argumentation and persuasion, literary analysis (both fiction and non-fiction), a reflective personal essay, and a research paper. Emphasis is placed on coherent and focused writing that conveys a well-defined perspective and tightly-reasoned argument. Incorporated into writing units is the study of grammar, usage, and mechanics of language.
Students will use listening and speaking skills as they analyze various media and make oral and multi-media presentations. Students will study speech and multi-media strategies through analysis of current and historical communication in order to produce presentations of their own.
Courses in Economics and American Government fulfill the social science requirement for the seniors. The government course is designed to give students a practical working knowledge of the American political and legal systems. The course emphasizes the role of significant historical documents, especially the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and their influence on the structure and function of all levels of government within the U.S. It also examines problems in national, state, and local government through this historical perspective.
The economics course introduces the theory and practice of economics. Units on national output, business organizations, the role of government, taxation, labor practices, and economic problems like inflation acquaint students with the forces at work in our economy. Meanwhile units in consumer economics, like personal investment and insurance, supply practical information about the everyday economics of the individual. The course requires students to participate in a number of projects which actively involve them in learning about the economic world. Such projects include hypothetical buying and trading of stocks, forming and managing small businesses, and budgeting household finances.
The rest of the senior's academic schedule depends upon individually chosen paths. A path may emphasize advanced courses in mathematics and science like calculus and physics. It may focus in greater depth on the humanities which might be reflected in a class schedule with a fourth or fifth year foreign language class, a course in contemporary issues, one in psychology, or another in art history. A senior could also focus on business and technical education by taking computerized accounting, business math, and advanced architectural design.
Many seniors will take advantage of opportunities to pursue programs beyond the high school curriculum. They may choose one of the vocational program opportunities offered through the Regional Occupational Program. Such opportunities offer technical training for entry into the job market after graduation. These include courses in the health professions, in the business world, in computers and other technical fields. Students may also choose to take classes at one of the local community colleges while they are still completing high school.
Seniors spend a great deal of time stretching their wings... as a result, their busy schedules often make them strangers at home.
In June, seniors will walk across the stage to receive a diploma that reflects thirteen years of work and growth. Graduation is a happy occasion because of many efforts, most notably those of the seniors and their parents. What they have accomplished in thirteen years of schooling is directly attributable to their combined dedication and hard work.
Seniors will have spent most of their lives learning to work, which means learning to be an adult in our society. Becoming a productive worker calls for many of the same qualities as being an involved citizen and a contributing family member.
Seniors should leave school prepared for the next step in their development. They should possess a core body of knowledge and basic skills that serve as the foundation for all other learning. They should have the tools to speak effectively and articulately, to write clearly and concisely, to identify and define problems, to solve those problems, and to make thoughtful, well-reasoned decisions.