Policy, campus AP advocates deter students from CC classes

Senior+Ashley+Blake+serves+as+a+teacher%E2%80%99s+aide+for+Amy+Shishido%E2%80%99s+third+period+AVID+class.+Blake+believes+students+enrolled+in+courses+at+Sierra+College+earn+the+ability+to+include+electives+in+their+schedule%2C+like+TA+periods.
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Policy, campus AP advocates deter students from CC classes

Senior Ashley Blake serves as a teacher’s aide for Amy Shishido’s third period AVID class. Blake believes students enrolled in courses at Sierra College earn the ability to include electives in their schedule, like TA periods.

Senior Ashley Blake serves as a teacher’s aide for Amy Shishido’s third period AVID class. Blake believes students enrolled in courses at Sierra College earn the ability to include electives in their schedule, like TA periods.

CAM MEDRANO/EYE OF THE TIGER

Senior Ashley Blake serves as a teacher’s aide for Amy Shishido’s third period AVID class. Blake believes students enrolled in courses at Sierra College earn the ability to include electives in their schedule, like TA periods.

CAM MEDRANO/EYE OF THE TIGER

CAM MEDRANO/EYE OF THE TIGER

Senior Ashley Blake serves as a teacher’s aide for Amy Shishido’s third period AVID class. Blake believes students enrolled in courses at Sierra College earn the ability to include electives in their schedule, like TA periods.

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Recent alterations of RJUHSD’s grading policies and frequent on-site advocation of AP classes over other course selection options aims to deter students from enrolling in college courses outside of the school district over classes available on-campus.

RJUHSD superintendent of curriculum Jess Borjon plays a large role in overseeing and observing how classes within the district come together and develop in ways that benefit students. According to Borjon, it is more difficult to assess knowledge gained from observations of an off-campus class due to limited exposure, making it difficult to determine the level of rigour and variation between each class.

“All places vary in what classes offered – instructional practice, regularity of assignments, actual assessment practice,” Borjon said. “For me, it really was that variety or broad range of how one institution might vary from another that I felt like it was very difficult if not impossible to try to look at all outside institutions in the same way.”

Borjon believes classes taken by students on campus grounds are typically much simpler to evaluate through both regular assessments and AP exams, and outside parties, such as college board.
“The internal mechanism to assess what a teacher’s doing in district is pretty straightforward,” Borjon said. “It’s homegrown, its our own teachers, it’s our own curriculum, so I think we can validate it that way.”

Roseville High School principal David Byrd believes students choose to enroll in courses outside of RJUHSD due to their curiosity in classes not offered on site or as an attempt to “accelerate their learning” and increase their GPA. Byrd hopes recent actions taken by the district will lead students away from the idea of taking classes off-campus as part of their GPA boost, even if it may discourage certain students from taking college classes.

“I think district-wide we’re moving in this direction,” Byrd said. “We feel like compared to all the other reasons to take a college class, that particular idea isn’t setting you up for success [and] we’re trying to be consistent with what we want to accomplish with what we think the spirit of education is.”

Senior Ashley Blake is currently enrolled in her seventh college course at Sierra College. Before she began taking college classes, Blake held on to what she later found was a misconception that students could only take classes that fulfilled their prerequisites.

“It takes a little bit of research on your own to figure out what you can and cannot do,” Blake said. “I feel like academic enrichment should be something more, ‘it’s a possibility, it’s an option for you.’”

Though she hadn’t been informed of the possibility through the school, Blake found that she enjoyed taking multiple classes on a college campus and appreciated that she had found this opportunity.

“I think the school wants people to stay on campus,” Blake said. “I think they want to keep people in the AP classes that we have here, and they’re great and well, but there are other options.”
RHS counselor Philomena Crone believes the familiarity of the RHS staff and campus makes students more likely to succeed in AP.

“We know our teachers here, we all have a common goal to prepare students; we’re able to work with them directly,” Crone said. “When students go away, we’re not able to give them support to reach their full potential or to reach the top of the class.”

Senior Chloe Lavalleur first learned that she could take college courses through several of her friends’ recommendations.

“I’m not sure if the counselors were informing us that that was an option yet,” Lavalleur said.

Before taking her first college class, Lavalleur felt overwhelmed by an intimidating reputation college courses held. She later found that she preferred the curriculum and standards of a college course over both AP, honors and regular classes taught in high school. Additionally, Lavalleur disliked the lack of a proper support system and the information to smoothly integrate into taking classes at a college.

“There’s this sort of mindset that AP is like a miracle ‘solve all problems’ for kids preparing to go to college,” Lavalleur said. “[I] think we should be supporting kids to get out and have real world experience in college as opposed to AP here.”