A pilot program at Deer Park Junior High will pair ambitious students with community leaders and mentors who can give real-world insights to careers, hobbies and other interests.
Dr. Tiffany Regan, DPJH principal, presented an overview of the proposed curriculum to the Deer Park Rotary Club Wednesday. The program, known as BIG RED – Building Innovation Growth and Rigor through Enrichment at DPJH, focuses on the strength, nature and needs of the gifted and advanced academic population of the school, Regan said.
BIG RED is made up of advanced-level, advanced-technology mini-courses that encompass each six-week grading period. Students will be able to choose their courses from a catalog, similar to course selection in high school and college.
"The courses interest-driven and are an in depth study of relevant issues including opportunities to apply what they have learned into real world experiences," said Regan. "We are hoping professionals in our community will give our students in-school and out-of-school opportunities in a professional environment."
By building these relationships in the community, Regan said teachers in the BIG RED program hope to get professional expertise and critiques for the students' coursework. She said the program needs volunteers to assist with various aspects of BIG RED.
Volunteers who teach in BIG RED will take an adjunct status and be screened and subject to the Deer Park ISD policy regarding volunteers.
DPJH eighth graders enrolled in algebra, geometry and integrated physics and chemistry will automatically be enrolled in BIG RED, Regan said. Students will still be scheduled to take their four-core courses – language arts (or its PAP course), social studies, algebra/geometry and IPC. Students will also have two elective courses including their athletics period, music/fine arts, technology, robotics, family/consumer sciences, etc. BIG RED will count as a third elective, giving its students a seven-period day.
Regan said BIG RED will not only challenge students' minds in present-day course work, but give them the opportunity to focus on skills designed to prepare them for the global world by producing professional-level products, projects and presentations that will be evaluated by experts in the field.