By Tina Smith, Science Department Chair & BTI Director

Carlmont High School will remove AS Chemistry from our course offerings starting in the 2016-2017 school year. This decision was made thoughtfully by our administration and Chemistry teachers with input from the entire science department. The goal of this realignment is to provide a course pathway that is best for our students and to continue offering an engaging and meaningful science curriculum.

Removing AS Chemistry puts Chemistry in line with the Biology and Physics pathways. Neither Biology nor Physics offers AS level courses. All of our science pathways will have an entry level course that prepares students for the aligned AP course the following year.

chemistry_1200x1051CHS will continue to offer Chemistry and Chemistry for Biotechnology. The Chemistry for Biotechnology course (BT Chem) is offered to students that have completed Biotechnology 1-2 (BT 1-2). All other students may take Chemistry, after completing Biology. These courses are all college prep and UC Lab credit “D” approved.

New NGSS standards necessitate a change in the scope and sequence of all science classes. Chemistry teachers are currently working on arranging concepts for all Chemistry students that meet the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). All science courses will be making a shift to NGSS standards in the 2016-2017 school year.  For more information on NGSS visit nextgenscience.org/california.

While Chemistry teachers work on the new NGSS standards, they will also look at what concepts and skills are essential for students wishing to continue on to AP Chemistry. Carlmont has a strong, hands-on science program. We work towards student achievement at all levels. We continue to work towards meeting that goal and aligning with NGSS standards. The focus of NGSS standards is more on the processes of Chemistry and less on memorization of concepts. This is a similar approach to the way the Common Core standards have been addressed for Math and English. All AP classes experienced a similar paradigm shift a few years ago. This movement of eliminating AS Chemistry puts all of our science classes more in alignment.

Removing AS Chemistry does not negatively affect students’ college acceptance opportunities. One of the criteria Universities look at when reviewing applications is the rigor of a student’s schedule compared to their peers at that same school. Because AS Chemistry will no longer be an option for any Carlmont student, there will be no impact when colleges are reviewing student coursework.

Carlmont considers the best interest of all students when evaluating and making changes to our education programs in each department. The standardization of Chemistry increases academic rigor while increasing access to AP science classes for all students.