By LINDSAY LANDSBERG
There is a growing trend at Jericho High School in which students enroll in math and science classes two grade levels above their age group. This phenomenon is referred to as double acceleration.
In order to double accelerate, many Jericho students take classes over the summer at the Windsor School in Flushing, which offers classes that give students the option to repeat a course or advance in a subject. Students can take any Regents-level course in math or science. In order to receive credit for the course, a student must end the program by taking the Regents exam required by New York State, and according to the Jericho School Board’s policy, obtain a mastery score of at least 85.
By completing a summer course at the Windsor School or any other accredited summer school program and receiving an appropriate score on the Regents exam, a student may skip the full year course at Jericho. However, all courses must be pre-approved by the Jericho High School administration in order to be considered for acceleration.
Students who double accelerate choose to do so for a variety of reasons.
“I think for me personally, double advanced classes are too easy and I’d like even more difficult classes,” freshman Ishin S., who decided to double accelerate because he wanted a more challenging course load, said.
Another freshman, Brendon K., didn’t have the option to choose double acceleration or not, saying, “My parents made me take double accelerated classes and it definitely wasn’t my choice.
Some faculty and pupils feel that students can benefit immensely from being in double accelerated classes. Sophomore Marisa B. believes that students should be encouraged to take double accelerated classes if they choose to do so. She said, “As long as they are trying very hard and not being disruptive to the rest of the class, I think it’s totally okay.”
Another advantage of allowing students to take advanced classes is the opportunity for the younger students to help the older students with the subject matter. Chemistry teacher Jeanette Valentino believes that all students can benefit from the heterogeneous classes with double accelerated students. She said, “I think that it’s a good learning experience to work with people of different readiness levels.”
According to Principal Joan Rosenberg, double acceleration has been around for over a decade.
“This started 10-12 years ago and has been escalating ever since,” she said.
Jericho used to have separate classes by grade level, but years ago, the board decided to modify that policy and combine different levels.
Rosenberg added, “The integration is positive for everybody. Some students are pushed to do and perform better, and it helps the younger kids see that they can help other students as well.”
Some Jericho students dislike being in classes with students who are double accelerated. Junior Jamie S. feels that in her classes with these students, teachers tend to move at a quicker pace. She said, “There should be separate classes for students who move at a quicker level, so students who aren’t in accelerated classes don’t feel so overwhelmed.”
There can be issues that arise in double accelerated courses.
“There is an unequal balance of knowledge, which makes it difficult for teachers to teach to different levels,” sophomore Emma J. said.
Sophomore Olivia S. believes that some students who are advanced aren’t mature enough to handle the classes. She said, “Since they’re young, they’re a little disruptive and tend to constantly interrupt the class.”
Rosenberg explained that Jericho High School used to offer triple accelerated courses, but then the board passed a policy that prohibits students from triple accelerating.
According to Rosenberg, the number of students who choose to double accelerate is increasing every year, and the Jericho High School community continues to adapt to this trend.
—Lindsay Landsberg is a student at Jericho High School.