The Slice – January 2013

The Slice

Electives Strengthen Core Subject Learning

Rigorous courses in math, science, English and social studies are the core of a high-quality public education. But often, it is the rich array of enrichment programs and electives in the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) that cultivates knowledge and shapes a student’s future path. Enrichment programs such as keyboarding, kinesthetics and farm-to-table cooking help strengthen core subject learning. Music, art, drama, engineering, and creative writing electives uncover new passions and showcase hidden talents. Thanks to generous funding through Partners in Education (PiE), the non-core is core in PAUSD.


Electives Are Core

What is an elective? It’s not easily defined, according to Palo Alto High School (Paly) Principal Phil Winston, since the Palo Alto School District changed its graduation requirements making some former electives like languages, visual and performing arts and career technical education (CTE) into core classes.

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PiE_Middle-TermanStudents_201305IN OUR MIDDLE SCHOOLS

Electives Can Launch Self-Discovery, Even Life Paths

If grade school is about gaining knowledge, middle school is about gaining choice. Beginning in sixth grade, students are introduced to “The Wheel.” Made up of six-week short courses, and common to all three middle schools in the PAUSD, students are exposed over the course of an academic year to a range of 7th and 8th-grade electives for further, more in-depth academic exploration beyond the core.

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Electives Teach Kids More Than Reading, Writing and Arithmetic

You wouldn’t expect a first grader to know long division or a fifth grader to play show and tell, but electives can captivate learners at all levels as evidenced by unique programs at three elementary schools in the Palo Alto Unified School District.
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