Two Years of College in Four Years of High School
October 7, 2019
Taft’s Humanitas Program is new this year with students taking their Pierce College courses in the newly reopened R-Building on Taft’s campus. Starting as young as 14, these students are discovering how the things learned in school connect to each other and the outside world. In this revised program, students are taking 4 Taft courses and 2 Pierce courses each semester. Most courses are a year-long, with the exception of classes like Health and College and Career Readiness that the students take their freshman year. Through the 4 years, the students will have had 4 English courses, 4 Math courses, 3 Science courses, 3 History/ Social Science courses, and first-year college courses. Of course, they will still have time for sports and electives of their choosing, and they will always be a member of the Taft community, just like every other program on campus. Before joining the program, students must meet requirements for the Humanitas program to be a good fit. Requirements such as a GPA in middle school of 2.5 – 3.2, standards met on the SBAC, and a willingness to work in small groups and be collaborative. Upon speaking to seniors currently in the Humanitas program, they are bummed they weren’t provided the same opportunities but are thrilled for the incoming classes, and the future growth of the program that guided them through 4 years of high school.
Michelle Lugardo, a senior, saying “ Yes, having college credits by the time you leave high school would have helped me go straight to a [university]”. With the College Promise, the first two years of junior college are now free to LAUSD students, but in the Humanitas program they will be taking those two free years, and spreading them over their entire high school experience, and forgoing the junior college experience for a direct route to a 4 year university, transferring as a junior!
When asked about the academics, most said it was just the right amount of challenge for them. As well as relevant in the real world by jumping between subjects taught and the world. Going on to find interest in fields these students anticipated they would hate, like chemistry. They have created bonds with their small classes of 25 and the teachers in the program. Starting high school and ending high school with the head of the English Department, Andrea Godsey, as their teacher, students know they have an adult they can trust on campus. Going through high school with the same people in your core classes as a cohort sounds like making new friends can be difficult. However, with sports, electives, clubs, school functions, and coming from different middle schools, your friend groups tend to grow quite rapidly as time passes. The Humanitas Interdisciplinary Pierce Program is a different way of approaching a high school experience to strive for higher education.