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The Student News Site of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

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The Student News Site of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

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Ava Thomas
English teacher Holly Van Tassel addresses the Cambridge Program during an after school SAC Meeting on Oct. 4. This program – which teachers are looking to implement into the school – along with the issues of dress code and test scores were brought up by teachers and parents during the meeting.

SAC meets on Oct. 4 to discuss funding and programs for the coming school year

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s School Advisory Council met on Oct. 4 in the media center to discuss topics regarding school budgets and new programs with parents and teachers.

This month’s meeting was led by English teacher Holly Van Tassel-Schuster and Dr. Jacob Abraham, along with Principal Michelle Kefford.

SAC meets monthly, except in instances such as November in which there are many breaks over the course of the month. A board of teachers and parents, as well as a student representative, discuss financial matters and communicate their questions and ideas.

The main events that were covered in this session included budgets, test scores and a new college credit program called the Cambridge Program.

Budget cuts throughout the district have led to many changes throughout the school. For instance, many teaching positions have been absorbed to compensate for the cuts.

“We were able to thankfully eliminate [positions] without having to compromise anybody’s jobs,” Kefford said. “So we had five positions that I eliminated. These positions were not currently occupied. […] We also reduced 27 additional periods that we did not need or we were able to cut out to make up the remaining balance. So we are balanced now.”

The positions and periods removed did not affect teachers’ jobs. Some students’ schedules, however, may have been altogether changed to accommodate these removals. This was due to a combination of budget cuts as well as a lack of students due to recent rezoning.

The SAC board members also have many goals this year as far as test scores.

“So with our AP English students, we want to move from an 86% pass rate to a 90%. That includes our AP Language, our AP Literature, and our AP capstone classes,” Van Tassel said. “And going into those AP science courses, we are hoping to increase our pass rate from 73% to 75%.”

To do so will take a lot of time, and a lot of funding. Thus, the board has allotted funds from CTE to support these endeavors.

The board also proposed a new college credit system called the Cambridge Program. It is similar to AP classes in that it allows for students to achieve credit for college, but it entails much more than that. Students who complete 7 tests over the course of at least 3 years are able to receive a separate diploma for their credit.

If implemented, the Cambridge system would begin in the 2024-2025 school year. Sophomores and freshmen in that year would be able to graduate with their diploma. While the rising juniors and seniors would not be able to do the same, they can still take those classes for college credit.

The system is far less demanding than AP classes, and will be more appealing to those who are not ready or are not equipped to handle that rigor.

“I think that, you know, the more I looked into it, it’s also going to hit those kids that are honors students, those high performing honors students who really have an interest in certain forces and certain areas,” former AP Human Geography teacher Carla Verba said. “And now they’re going to be able to get college credit for that by taking the classes and passing that exam so they can potentially earn that college credit.”

The application fee for the program is approximately $1800. This has been approved and set aside for the program’s eventual use.

The SAC will meet again in December. They will not meet in November due to the amount of days that are already off.

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About the Contributor
Ava Thomas, Multimedia Editor
Ava Thomas is a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She plays guitar on the weekends and is an officer of Marjory's Garden Club and TV Club.
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