Welcome to another year in your son’s life here in Ateneo. Allow me to provide a picture of the academic area during these transition years in the K-12 reform.
As a Jesuit school, we follow the IPP or the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm as our way of proceeding. In everything we do, we start by knowing the context of the people involved in order to provide appropriate experiences. Providing a deeper understanding of the matter is valued in our school so that relevant actions will be done once learning occurs. Looking back and evaluating the whole experience is as relevant as the other parts of the process.
As we journey towards an Enhanced Basic Education Curriculum, one of our top considerations is your sons’ context. When the school started transitioning to the new structure in 2013, they completed grade 6 and was about to proceed to the next level with several changes which included the age requirements, hence, the labels of levels. The school was also conscious of the adjustments they went through when they entered the Junior High School in June 2013 and the High School last year.
With these conditions in mind, we have been offering for the past two years a curriculum that will prepare them for Senior High School. You may have noticed that some lessons which used to be taken-up in the higher levels are now discussed in Grade 8, 9 or 10. This shows that the transition curriculum is not a simple renaming of levels. We reviewed the topics from Prep to 4th Year High School in order to identify which of these can be appropriately assigned to a certain level such that we will be able to enhance our whole curriculum.
Rest assured that we are putting in structures to assist and guide them in their journey. For instance, teachers have been consistently implementing classroom routines in order to instill in them the discipline needed to learn. Furthermore, we have been emphasizing the importance of note-taking and doing their homework. An important part of their experience in school is consulting their subject teachers to clarify some lessons and seek further guidance. Some subjects offer Study Hall in order to provide a common time for students of the same level to be given supplementary materials and additional assistance.
Their experience in school does not stop with their lessons and their requirements. We also guide them to monitor their performance through the progress report form in some subjects. Teachers also provide feedback to parents through the performance report form and or during PTCs.
The school puts premium on having a deeper understanding of a matter. Hence, reflecting on the experiences is a vital part of the learning process. Activities that develop the higher order thinking skills are put in place in the programs of all subjects. Furthermore, critical thinking and problem solving are emphasized. More importantly, values integration and applications in real life are highlighted in the lessons. More specifically, we ensure the 5Cs are reflected in the programs and students are guided to think of how they can use what they’ve learned for the country.
Given all the opportunities given to your sons, we hope that they can perform well in the different assessment given in school and accomplish the projects that will hopefully present venues for real-life applications. Beyond their requirements in school, we hope that they will make use of what they’ve learned in school to make intelligent and informed decisions in various situations.
Although we know that results of education can be best seen in the future, we can evaluate how well the students have performed through their grades. Please note that effort marks are also given in all subjects since we value their hard work and dedication. All available data about students are then considered in the Dialogue on Student Formation after the first term and during the deliberations before the end of the school year.
As we look forward to the next step in their journey, I want to share that aside from our actual lessons, we provide other programs to prepare them for the SHS. Please note that since they will move on to a new program they will be graduating at the end of the school year and the ceremony is scheduled on March 30. As a consequence, they will have an earlier exam schedule in the third term together with the Grade 12 students.
It has been presented in school and the news that the revised structure in basic education aims to provide a venue to prepare high school students better for whatever field they want to pursue after they graduate. We have verified through various surveys our initial assumption that most of our students, if not all, plan to go to college. Because of this, the university decided to offer the Academic Track for our senior high school. Under the academic track, we will have 4 strands:
(1) Accountancy, Business and Management,
(2) Humanities and Social Sciences,
(3) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and
(4) General Academic.
Grades 11 and 12 will be under the Senior High School and although most teachers will come from the high school, we will involve some teachers from the Loyola Schools as experts. Such structure will allow us to teach topics that were taken-up in college using the pedagogy for basic education. Due to the types of courses offered, a semestral grading system will be implemented in the SHS.
All students will take up the core subjects. There are courses on English, Filipino, Math, Science, Art, Media and Information Literacy, and AP. CLE will integrate Catholic teachings with lessons in psychology and philosophy.
All students will also take the contextualized subjects. However, the design of each course will be aligned with the specializations of each strand.
Since SHS allows students to develop their knowledge and skills within a specific area, specialized courses will be offered per strand.
I would like to end with these ignatian values. Yes, magis is important to us. That is why we provide challenging and relevant experiences in school.
However, we should not forget that we care for your sons. We are concerned with their success too. Therefore we provide the needed scaffolding and interventions for them.
Lastly, our ultimate goal is to form each of our students into a person who will be a transforming difference in our society, in our world.