OPRF High School has just embarked on its boldest and most foundational effort ever to raise the academic opportunity and performance of Black and Brown students by including all freshmen in a rigorous honors curriculum.

Over its history, this school has watched passively as those students were actively underrepresented in all honors and AP classes. The plan in place, beginning this fall, is to increase the academic rigor of the entire freshmen curriculum, and the academic support available to those freshman, with the goal of moving a notable percentage of our children of color into honors and AP classes in their sophomore, junior and senior years.

This plan has been years in the making with pilot efforts launched already and a carve-out, for now, in the heavily tracked math curriculum. There is also a percentage of students, mainly those with IEPs, who remain in what is euphemistically called the “Transitions” curriculum. That’s certainly reasonable.

Faculty and administrators have worked hard to remake the frosh curriculum while adding more support.

School administrators have also been focused on how to monitor and measure the results of this bold change. Very early measures may come as soon as November. That’s welcome so long as we all accept that, for a change this big, we need to all be on board for the long haul.

This is a major curriculum restructuring. It is certain to need adjustments and corrections as time goes by. It also needs to be given time and room to evolve. This school has a history of impatience with new programs. This is no time for impatience.

Also understand that the measures of success will not likely come on standardized tests, suspect anyhow. The primary measure will be the self-confidence and resilience of Black and Brown students finally given a fair shot at succeeding in more rigorous coursework. And for that to happen these villages need to display our faith and confidence in them.

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