By Kim Tran
Novato High School welcomed the new College and Career Readiness course this year, which replaced Geography. Freshmen will be the first to experience the new course that is taught by Social Studies teachers Josh Rosenberg and Sean Kelsey, as well as Psychology teacher Jennifer Russell.
College and Career Readiness (CCR) is a new course that has been implemented at NHS and San Marin High. CCR is focused on teaching students skills to prepare them for college and careers, in addition to lessons on important life skills such as budgeting and finance. Freshmen are able to explore careers that interest them and gain experience in those careers, according to Russell.
Additionally, the course is oriented toward teaching students how to achieve the goals they set for the future.
“CCR is divided into three sections: the first being who am I, the second being what do I want, and the third being how can I get it,” Kelsey said. “So, what we learn are ways of evaluating our own personalities and where we fit into the world. Then, we learn how to use that understanding of ourselves to pick and direct ourselves in the right path and talk about how to achieve those goals that we set.”
NUSD superintendent Jim Hogeboom described why the district made the switch from Geography to CCR. He believes that both CCR and Geography are important.
“We made this decision because we believe that our students need to be better prepared for college and career, and so the new College and Career Readiness Course goes a long way to help students learn about themselves, different career options, and to prepare a 10 year plan for success,” Hogeboom explained. “We also believe that Social Studies courses such as World History and US History should be incorporating geography there, so it is still being covered in the curriculum.”
One might wonder what it means to be college and career ready. According to Russell, college and career readiness means being prepared for the real world by the time students leave high school.
“College and career ready means that you have all of the classes you need to be able to go into college, if you wanted,” Russell said. “As far as college and career readiness for us, it is where you’re headed and where you want to head or have a direction. You have skills that you can take out of the classroom.”
Social Studies teacher Alex Kinnee believes a Geography class is useful and is disappointed that it is no longer a requirement.
“Although memorizing states and capitals, or countries and capitals may seem like a pain and a waste of time to some, it's not just physical geography that is taught in a Geography class, but also cultural geography,” Kinnee said. “Some of that is still offered through AP Human Geography and accessible via their sophomore and junior history classes, but not to the depths that it could have been addressed in a Geography class. Without Geography offered as a class, I predict that students will struggle more with this.”
Freshmen Bay McDonald believes that CCR is beneficial to her.
“It’s definitely a good resource,” McDonald said. “Some people don’t usually get the right opportunity to know themselves before graduating high school and go into college. They don’t go into a career and decide they hate it.”
Junior Kimberly Collazo agreed with the decision to replace Geography.
“I think it’s a great way for them to prepare. I feel like Geography, it was useful, but this new program can benefit them more,” Collazo said. “I feel like throughout high school people learn Geography anyways in history. It just seems like a class where you can get help if you need it.”
Junior Carmen Riley Mendoza preferred Geography instead of CCR.
“From the sound of it, it looks like it is pretty helpful to someone who’s getting into college, but Geography is also pretty important to learning,” Riley Mendoza said. “I really enjoyed Geography when I took it and it really helped me out a lot. So I guess the course is good and all, I’m kind of sad that they’re taking it instead of Geography.”
Kelsey said the new course is beneficial to both non-college bound and college-bound students alike. He said that this class can contribute to their careers as well.
“I think that we are preparing kids not just for college, but also careers and life after high school in general, whether kids go to college or not,” Kelsey explained. “There’s an equal level just being sort of lost and overwhelmed in the real world and this class can help formulate an idea and real life steps after high school.”
CCR will continued to be offered to freshmen for one semester along with a semester of Health as well. Geography will be incorporated into their sophomore and junior years.