The vision of the IDEA secondary program is for every student at IDEA to graduate from high school ready to succeed in college.
The primary goal of our college-readiness efforts is for every student to enter their first year of college without the need for remedial courses in any content area. We focus on this aspect of college readiness because research shows that students who take remedial courses in college take longer to graduate and thus they pay more for college. In addition, they have a lower likelihood of graduating at all.
The secondary goal of college-readiness is for students to be prepared to fully participate and be successful in college-level courses. We strive to accomplish goal in two ways: by giving students the chance to experience rigorous and challenging material in high school and by giving them the opportunity to gain college-credit through dual-enrollment, AP, or IB courses. Each of our core content areas are extremely rigorous at all levels and aligned with these goals in mind.
IDEA’s English/Language Arts curriculum is project-based. Each day’s lesson teaches a new skill needed to be successful on one of the two quarterly projects. The IDEA English classroom is one where students want to participate because each lesson and project are highly engaging and rigorous. Students in grades 6 through 12 learn strategies and techniques that prepare them to succeed on both state and national exams as well as meet the increasing expectations from middle school to high school to college.
IDEA’s Humanities curriculum is designed to teach students a variety of reading, writing, and critical thinking skills they will use throughout high school, college, and beyond, including graduate school and their professional careers. Students master state standards in a variety of social science disciplines, such as world cultures, geography, history (Texas, United States, and World), government, and economics. While mastering these standards, students read primary documents, conduct research, and write analytical and research essays. Upon graduation, students not only have a strong grasp of various social studies themes and concepts, but also a core set of skills they can apply in college and beyond.
IDEA’s Math curriculum is designed to create students ready for college-level math courses without the need for any remediation classes. Students master state mathematics standards in pre-algebra through pre-calculus and study college-level math courses through the AP or IB program. While mastering these standards, students develop various math proficiencies: understanding, computing, applying, reasoning, and engaging. Focusing on these math proficiencies prepares students for rigorous math instruction in college and beyond.
IDEA’s Science curriculum is designed to teach students a variety of critical thinking skills they will use throughout their secondary and post-secondary careers. Students will master state standards in a variety of science disciplines, including life science, earth science, biology, chemistry, and physics. While mastering these standards, students perform laboratory experiments, read, write, and solve problems. Upon graduation, students not only have a strong grasp of basic science knowledge, but also a core set of skills they can apply in college and beyond.
IDEA’s Spanish curriculum is designed to teach students a variety of Spanish skills they will use throughout their secondary and post-secondary careers. Students master state and national standards focusing on the four major skills: reading, speaking, listening, and writing. While mastering these standards, students learn to answer document-based questions that integrate the four basic skills, write analytical essays, and initiate and maintain conversations. By the time they graduate from IDEA, students have taken and passed at least one of the AP Spanish exams, enabling them earn college credit and acquire concepts and skills they can apply in college and beyond.
Importance of AP
Stand Out in College Admissions
College application season can be an anxious time for students and their families. Even for those students who have worked hard throughout high school and done their best, many aren’t sure if they have acquired the academic skills and experiences that colleges are looking for.
By taking AP courses, high school students signal two things to college admissions officers. First, students demonstrate that they’ve undertaken the most rigorous classes their high school has to offer. Second, students show that they have what it takes to succeed in an undergraduate environment. In the increasingly competitive admissions process, taking AP courses is a good way that students can differentiate themselves from other applicants.
Importantly, AP courses offer college admissions officers a consistent measure of course rigor across high schools, districts, states, and countries—because all AP teachers, no matter where they’re teaching, have to provide a curriculum that meets college standards. So when admissions officers see “AP” on students’ transcripts, they have a good understanding of what those students experienced in a particular class and how well the course prepared the students for the increased challenges of college.
Earn College Credits, Reduce the Cost of College
As college costs grow each year, the prospect of higher education becomes more daunting for many high school students. By completing an AP course and scoring well on the related AP exam, students can reduce their college expenses. Currently more than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the country offer college credit, advanced placement, or both, for qualifying AP exam scores. These credits can potentially save students and their families thousands of dollars in college tuition, fees, and textbook costs. These savings can make the difference between being able to afford college or not.
You can see specific colleges’ guidelines on accepting AP scores for credit and placement by searching our AP Credit Policy database. This resource shows how many credits your AP scores will earn you and which courses you may be able to place out of at your future college.
Skip Introductory Classes
If you know which major you want to pursue in college, taking an AP course related to that major and earning a qualifying score on the AP exam can help you gain advanced placement out of introductory courses. As a result, you can possibly place out of crowded required courses, and move directly into upper-level classes where you can focus on topics that interest you the most.
Even if you take an AP exam unrelated to your major—or if you’re not sure what you want to major in—AP courses can often help you place out of your colleges’ general education requirements. With this additional time on your class schedule, you can earn a minor or even a second major, take exciting electives, or pursue additional topics of interest.
Following are links to helpful information about AP courses.