Two Steps We Are Taking Toward Ensuring College and Career Readiness

The following is an excerpt from our weekly Parent eNews.  This week our Principal, Jason Gianotti, focused on two of the steps we are taking to ensure all of our students are on track towards college and career readiness.


Our goal at Athena High School is to ensure each student that walks through our doors is being prepared and equipped for success in college and careers in the 21stcentury. Graduation alone is no longer enough for our students.  We need to ensure that every student graduates from our school, college and career ready. Everything we do is oriented towards advancing this objective. This week I want to highlight two exciting and important shifts we are currently undergoing at Athena that you should be aware of as a parent or guardian.  Both of these shifts are intended to ensure that all of our students are growing towards college and career readiness.

We are Implementing the Common Core State Standards: You have probably heard by now that the curriculum in New York State is changing.  The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted by schools across our state and nation.  At Athena we are working hard to change the way we teach the essential skills required for college and career readiness.  Students are working on skills such as the following:

  • reading texts closely
  • making evidence based claims
  • using research to deepen understanding
  • building evidence based arguments

These essential skills are being implemented deeply in your son or daughter’s English Language Arts class.  However, the exciting part of this shift is that students are learning to leverage these critical skills across all content areas.  As a staff we are learning more about each of these skills and collaboratively developing our understanding of how these skills can be integrated into the fabric of what our students learn in each course they take. The CCSS is radically changing how our students learn. Click on this link to view short videos with more information on the CCSS and how they are impacting your son or daughter.

Every Student Taking a Stretch Course: A second shift we are undertaking this year is asking every single student at Athena High School to identify a stretch course during the course request process that they will take next year.  One way to ensure that your son or daughter is college and career ready is to have them take the most challenging courses they can possibly enroll in. This will mean different things for different students.  All upperclass students (Juniors and Seniors) are going to be asked to consider taking at least one AP or Dual Credit course.  We believe that all students headed towards a high school diploma should enroll in at least one of these kinds of classes to prepare them for success after high school. For underclass students (Freshman and Sophomores) this may mean selecting a Pre-AP course or a challenging elective course in the areas of technology, art, or business. It may mean taking an extra math or science to really challenge each student to reach their full potential.  We are committed to supporting each student at Athena High School as they undertake this challenge and ask that you as parents and guardians support this effort at home by encouraging your son or daughter to take at least one stretch course and persevere when it gets difficult.

Together we are shaping the future for our students.  The workforce in the 21st century looks markedly different than the one that awaited us upon our high school graduation.  The shifts discussed in this message represent two steps towards adjusting and strengthening our ability to ensure that our students emerge from high school ready to tackle the challenges that await them in the future. Together we can, and will, do this.

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