CVU Provides a New Course for Aspiring Artists

Ms. Haley Vespa

The Chittenden South Supervisory Board once again gives their support to students’ creative and flexible pathways for learning by signing off on a new course, allowing the freedom for students to excel in their individual artistic passions.

Beginning in 2019, the CVU Art Department has been given the go-ahead to provide a new course for all types of art media, according to Jen Bickel-Hayes, a CVU Nichols House Guidance Counselor.

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Studio Block is offered during second block on red days and is taught by Jason Fearon, an art teacher of four years at CVU. Three of the four art rooms are available for use during that time. “I think we were really lucky, it just happens that the photography room and the ceramics room are open at the same time. Having all three of the spaces is really fantastic!” said Fearon. He explained that the class is designed to give students the freedom to work on independent projects based on their personal artistic goals, not goals set by the instructor.

Students should understand that this is not only open to those enrolled, but for any CVU artists in need of a space to work. “I also like that students are coming into the class who aren’t assigned to the class, but are using it as a time to be in a room where they can ask a teacher questions and that teacher isn’t going anywhere, that I’m dedicated to helping them. I hope that also grows!” Fearon assured. He sees the value in providing space for student learning without whole class instruction involved.

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AP Classes: a Necessity for the College-Driven

Mr. Samuel Knox

With college on the seniors’ minds, everyone is wondering if their SAT scores are high enough, if their GPA is up to par, and whether or not their essay says what they intend it to. However, one thing that students tend to put in the back of their mind is the number of Advanced Placement (AP) classes they have taken and how they will have performed in those classes.

At Champlain Valley Union High School there are 10 AP classes offered: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Calculus, Statistics, U.S. Government and Politics, Studio Art, Music Theory, Human Geography, and English. All of these classes are yearlong and the demand for enrollment is high. For classes such as Human Geography and Government, it takes as many as three blocks to fill the demand, and even then there are many students stuck on the waiting list. Although it is great that so many students are interested in these classes, it is quite upsetting for many to hear that CVU cannot meet their demands– all students should have access to these critical college-level classes.

The big question is why are students so intent on taking these classes? Ben Wetzell, a CVU junior taking two APs, explained it perfectly. “When I went and toured at Tufts [University], they said that you should definitely be taking AP classes! For them, it is an indicator of your work ethic.” Bay Foley-Cox, a senior who has taken a total of five APs, elaborated on this idea, “In a world where attending college in incredibly important, students in high school should gain some exposure to what it is like to take a college course. I think AP classes encompass a lot of the values in terms of education that we treasure at CVU. Also, every single admissions session I have attended has said that they are looking for a difficult class load and a good performance in those classes.” Wetzell and Foley-Cox have captured the very reason APs exist: to give students the opportunity to experience college level work before attending college. This is something that colleges love to see as it gives them a sense of how students deal with average high school courses as well more challenges ones.

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A Force in Motion: The CVU Science Curriculum Will Evolve Next Year

Mssrs. Isaac Cleveland and Earl Fletcher

HINESBURG, VT – The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), after being adopted by the Vermont Department of Education in June of 2013, are completely changing CVU’s science curriculum to allow their students to have more well-rounded skills in science.  The NGSS is completely altering how students learn and use their science skills.

According to Katherine Riley, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, students will be getting “two solid years of science curriculum where they will be practicing their skills for the upper level science classes.” NGSS educates students through skill-based learning targets, allowing them to be knowledgeable in the general science topics needed for life.

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Physics in action. Image by Isaac Cleveland

CVU started altering their curriculum in the Fall of the 2015/16 for the incoming freshman class. Integrated Environmental Science has replaced Freshman Core science and Integrated Biology has been introduced as a required class for this year’s Sophomores. One of the reasons for making the new Integrated Biology a required course was that, according to Katherine Riley, “Teachers couldn’t have the students long enough to really get an in-depth look at human bio.” With the new system for Freshman and Sophomores, students “can go into more depth” and they “get better general skills.”

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