High School students study a college preparatory curriculum that enables them to learn confidently and become self-advocates for their own learning. Classes are small and students have the opportunity to ask many questions and use strategies such as assistive technology. Our school year is divided into two semesters, each 18 weeks long, separated by a mini-mester in early January where students explore a variety of elective course.
The Howard School reports GPA on a standard 4.0 scale, but neither ranks students nor weights courses. Students must receive a grade of 70 or above in order to pass a course. Required courses not passed must be retaken in order to fulfill graduation requirements. Grades received in failed courses are averaged into the student’s GPA. The Howard School’s grading scale is synchronized with that of area schools and with the Georgia Student Finance Commission scale per determining eligibility for the HOPE scholarship.
To graduate, a student must accrue a total of 23 Carnegie Units as follows:
Foreign Language (of the same language)
Social Studies (Including Government and Economics & Personal Finance)
Courses of rigor:
+ Algebra 2
+ Spanish 2, 3, 4
+ American Sign Language 2, 3
+ Constitutional Theory
+ College Readiness Math
As a designated testing center, the ACT is offered several times a year on Howard’s campus, given over multiple days. We administer the ACTAspire during the spring of 9th and 10th grade years and a Practice ACT test in October of the student’s 11th grade year. The College and Next Steps Counselor, High School Principal, and/ or School Psychologist are available to review scores on these tests and to make recommendations to students in regards to testing, accommodations, tutoring, and next steps. Juniors typically take the ACT for the first time in the spring. Seniors may apply to take one or the other test once or twice in the fall. Students may take these tests at other schools on other ACT testing dates, but these sites may not offer the same accommodations as are provided at The Howard School.
The school provides testing with all the accommodations for which the student has been officially approved (e.g., extended time, audio presentation of the test questions, computer for word processing, extra-large answer blocks). Approval for accommodations is a process that commences in the student’s 11th grade year and is at the discretion of the ACT board. In order to receive accommodations, it is necessary that the student have a current psychoeducational assessment (within the past three years) that specifically states the diagnosis, plus recommended school and test accommodations. In addition, a student must have written documentation at school that lists these accommodations for at least four months prior to making the application for accommodations. The Howard School will assist with the process of applying to the ACT board for accommodations.
The English program in the High School follows a course of four years of study of reading and writing of both classical and modern literature. Vocabulary instruction takes place through teaching unfamiliar vocabulary words in the context of reading expository texts and literature, as well as through direct teaching of a selected list of high frequency words (Tier II words) that can be used in many contexts. Writing instruction focuses on the five-paragraph essay, creative writing, and research paper writing using the six plus one writing traits. Students use the POWER process (planning, organizing, writing, editing, and revising) and take an active role in editing their own work, as well as reflecting on their progress in writing.
Beginning in sophomore year, High School students have the opportunity to study two or three years of Spanish or American Sign Language (ASL), which were both chosen for usefulness and learnability. The underpinning of teaching foreign language at Howard is based on sound principles that foster the Five C’s of the National Standards for Foreign Language: Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.
Students must complete 4 units of mathematics while in high school at The Howard School. Those 4 units include Algebra 1, Geometry, Advanced Algebra, and one other course beyond Advanced Algebra. Mathematics of Finance, College Readiness Mathematics, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus are available for junior and senior years, respectively, depending on the academic record and the skill level of the student. Throughout the four years of mathematics, student explore different ways to strategize and solve problems. Mathematical development is enhanced with the use of manipulatives and a variety of representations. Classes provide consistent feedback along with the use of e-learning and learning through games. Accommodations and support are available at a variety of levels depending on the needs of the student.
Students at Howard learn science through an inquirybased approach where students actively participate in doing science, and not just learning about science. The students take Biology and Physical Science during their freshman and sophomore years, and Environmental Science during their junior year. Senior year, students take either take Chemistry or Earth and Space Science. Throughout the four years of science, students work towards becoming engaged citizens as they incorporate scientific thinking skills, the language of science, and engineering practices.
Social Studies helps students understand the events that shape the world around them. The curriculum gives students the chance to take an in-depth look at World History, U.S. History, Constitutional Theory, U.S. Government, and Economics. Students are introduced to critical historical and social concepts to foster a global mindset.
By understanding styles of art throughout history and learning about techniques from the masters, the High School art classes contemplate, discuss, and create art in a variety of media. Beyond these elements, we use art to delve into deeper questions such as: What is it that makes us think and solve problems creatively? What will motivate us to work hard? How can we focus on interesting problems to solve?
Drama is experiential based, which enables the student to gain a beginning understanding of the theatrical arts. Acting terminology, dramatic theory, and methods of analysis are introduced through participatory warm ups, theatre games, pair work, structured improvisations and the performance of scripted scenes. The year culminates in a full production at our annual Evening of the Arts in the spring.
In Physical Education (PE), students learn that fitness training provides enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and social interaction. Fitness training can enhance physical tasks that are performed in daily activities, such as work and play, and they can be adapted to the needs and life-styles of anyone. Grading is based on preparedness, participation, and behavior, as well as an end of the semester practical.
In Health, students study topics related to their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Class discussions about tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drug use help students to understand the consequences of using these substances.
All students will complete the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP) that is required by the state to obtain a driver’s license as a minor.
In Film Studies, students gain a deep understanding of the visual and auditory language that is used by directors, actors, and crew members to create the artistic and dramatic elements of film.
In High School, the music classes commit fully to performance-based instruction. Students rehearse and perform as an ensemble, focusing on drums, guitar, piano, and vocals. Songs from both popular and standard genres are used as vehicles for musical learning. The classes have several performance opportunities, including the annual Evening of the Arts, the Battle of the Bands, and Graduation.
Our Journalism electives are hands-on courses that introduce real-world job experiences in the areas of conceptualizing, creating, and publishing. Students in Journalism learn business skills, marketing, sales, and customer relations, as well as time-management, creative, teamwork, and technical skills.