Questions

How will this look on a transcript?
This will appear just like any other set of classes, only the method of learning approach is different.

What is the 9th grade program?
Our 2012-2013 9th graders will be experiencing a "new and improved" CDAT (always improving!).  They will take 4 credits in 3 hours:  Science, Language Arts, Digital Media and P.E./Health.  Yes, P.E./Health!   We did Math in 2011-2012, but so many of our students wanted to do Science projects, we made the switch!

How can a student take 4 credits in 3 hours?
First, don't think typical high school lecture.  Think of it like work: do you have one hour for emails, then one hour for spreadsheet work, then one hour to write a report?  Now throw in a college-like twist:  you attend scheduled classes, but not in an assembly line process.  Add this change: if you learn better in small group or lecture format, choose that way!  If you learn better by reading then discussion, choose that way!  Beyond teaching subject matter, we will help students learn "how they learn", and how to plan.  Finally, think about "blending" the subjects:  using some type of digital technology to demonstrate their science, and using their research, reading and writing in the explanation of their digital expression, we are creating more efficient use of the student's time.  Less redundancy, more reinforcement.

What about standard testing?
We want standard testing, because it helps us to evaluate ourselves against the larger student body.  For example, Science might have common testing every 6 weeks.  We will make sure our students are covering the same standards in those 6 weeks, but in their most efficient and effective ways, not ours.  If they learn best by sharing a white board with a study group, awesome!  We'll make sure it's effective for them, and encourage it.  We've done well so far with this method, and think we can improve even further.

What results do you have?  Does it work?
During our first year, we had a group of almost 30 students.  They included a few gifted/honors students, but mostly "college prep" students you'd see in a more typical class.  Well, our EOCT scores proved it out:  almost 60% of our students EXCEEDED on the exam, compared to only 10% of a college-prep comparison group.  In fact, we were scored almost the same as a comparison Pre-AP/Honors group!  All students in our group were self-selected, and represented wide-diversity in all aspects: gender, race, economics.  Our testing has gone really well since!

What is available for 10th grade students?
In 2012-2013, 10th grade students will have a combined Science - World Literature - Technology 3-hour block, which creates great efficiencies by itself.  One written assignment can be used for both.  However, they will also be taking one technology class of their choice, including Music Technology, Video Broadcasting, Animation, Programming, Engineering, and more.  They will apply their technology to their subject, and also partner with other "specialists" to create a project.  For example, a Music Tech and Programming student could make a video game for a certain topic, with music and symbolism that is relevant. 

What is available for 11th grade students?
Our leading class, 11th grade students will have their own lab this year, and we will be combining US History - Language Arts - Technology.  These students will be pushed to create a product that will generate real money, and possibly attract real investors!  They will also be learning Math in a "flipped environment", to make the most of their time.

How will they be evaluated?
Students will expected to create plans, benchmark goals and final products for projects they choose that address the AKS/standards necessary for completion of each course. They will measured against the AKS and their plans, but we will also utilize standard GCPS testing such as EOCT and other testing to validate our progress and results.

Is there enough room in their schedule for this?
Now that P.E./Health is part of 9th grade, this actually creates one more slot available for our students.  One challenge we have seen is for students who want to also take a performing arts class like Band, Drama, etc., in addition to a foreign language.  This can be a tough choice, and we wish we could fit everyone.  However, our mission is to get kids ready for the creative digital world of engineering, entertainment, and more.  

Why is Lanier trying this program?
A great deal of research now points to improved academic results from student ownership and authentic work. Additionally, the world of Digital Media is growing at a rapid pace, with a particular emphasis in Georgia. This program combines the interests of the students, a proven project-based learning approach, and a target industry of the local economy. We believe this program will be a positive option for many (not all) of our students.

How do students sign up for this program?
Students can elect to choose this program during the Elective Fair at their middle school, or during Elective registration at the high school.  Because this includes core classes, middle school teachers can elect to place students in CDAT.
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