We are excited to announce that we will be adjusting our class schedule in order to make the best use of time during the 2020-2021 school year, allowing students deep and meaningful learning, the opportunity to earn more credits, and the convenience of being able to select in-person or virtual learning by term.
We will implement a block schedule divided into three terms. Each student will take two 3-credit courses each term, totaling six classes (18 credits) in a year.
Additionally, each student will take a 1-credit course during the Mercersburg Intensive, between the fall and winter terms.
Students can designate by term whether they’d like to learn remotely or on-campus. This gives each family maximum flexibility to customize the student experience this year based on preference, travel restrictions, health considerations, comfort level, and finances.
These changes allow students to engage in deep, meaningful learning in classes designed for the experience they have chosen for that term, whether online or in-person.
Each student can take a sixth course in a manageable schedule that doesn’t leave them feeling overloaded. This reimagining of time will result in a more robust academic transcript. Whereas in a typical year, students can earn 15-18 credits, this year students will earn 19.
Students may be able to accelerate their learning. For example, a student could take two courses in their math or language progression in the same year (Spanish II and Spanish III or Geometry and Algebra II). Students could potentially add an elective of interest (history term classes or a series of arts electives). They may be able to finish graduation requirements sooner in a particular discipline. (For example, students may opt to take both chemistry and physics.)
Each term will have nine weeks of uninterrupted instructional time, which is equivalent to what we have delivered in previous years.
The Mercersburg Intensive will add another credit to each student’s transcript. We are also considering another intensive after the winter or spring term, adding opportunities for learning and credit. We will make this decision as we monitor the situation with COVID-19 and consider the best way to maximize learning virtually and on campus.
What is Mercersburg Intensive?
The idea of an intensive course being offered during a time when we planned to go virtual is an exciting one, giving Mercersburg faculty the opportunity to develop relevant, fresh courses for the weeks between the Thanksgiving and winter breaks. All teaching faculty will teach, facilitate, or advise a Mercersburg Intensive course, with the option of leading the course alone or with other members of the faculty and staff. This summer, all faculty have been asked to engage in meaningful professional development related to virtual-learning environments. These new courses give our teachers the opportunity to develop courses specifically designed to be delivered with a virtual component. With everyone participating, we anticipate that 3-6 students will be enrolled in each course, which gives us a chance to work in-depth with a small group of students. The Mercersburg Intensive provides a great opportunity to create courses that fit with the theme of the 2020-2021 school year—“Making a Difference.” Intensives will be offered that give students the opportunity to explore an area of interest to them within a specific topic or theme, like a mini-Springboard or MAPS capstone course.