• The CHOICE Program


    CHOICE: An Alternative Option

    Since its inception in 1974, the CHOICE program has provided an alternative learning experience for seventh and eighth-graders. In this smaller-school atmosphere, students and teachers can work together to create a positive, supportive community. CHOICE develops a close-knit community of learners over a two-year period. In addition to its academic focus, the program especially seeks to foster personal growth and development. Group process, community service, and self-governance help students form a sense of community that is special and meaningful. 

    The curriculum includes mathematics, science, Humanities, and CHOICE Studies while students integrate with the main building for world language, quarterly, and PE/music. Lunch is also in the main building in the cafeteria of the student's choosing. In math, students follow the Math 7-2 curriculum in seventh grade which prepares them for the high school level math class in eighth grade. Both Math 8-2 and Math 8-3 classes are taught in CHOICE, however, students recommended for Math 8-1 will need to take math in one of the other houses since that is not offered in CHOICE. Science classes emphasize hands-on laboratory learning and science applications. The two-year program includes life science, earth science, and chemistry with a focus on the garden in year one and the study of the Catherine Road stream in year two. The Humanities program combines the teaching of English and social studies and focuses on historical turning points. Much of the writing process and reading of novels will be done through the lens of history. 

    The CHOICE Studies period is a class unique to Choice that incorporates many different activities and serves several different purposes. Some activities addressed during this period are academic in nature, while others focus on the team aspect of the CHOICE program. There are activities like Electives that are traditional to CHOICE, where students lead the instruction in an area they are passionate about, while other activities are ever-evolving as current events, new trends in education and student interests dictate. As an end-of-year project, students will work in teams to create a documentary film on a topic they are passionate about. This culminates with the annual CHOICE Film Festival in June.

    In early Spring, sixth grade students will hear a presentation about the Choice program and be invited to an open house in the Choice classrooms. There will also be an evening presentation to parents of interested students. Students must complete an application for admission. The overwhelming popularity of the program has necessitated a lottery system for applicants and those accepted will be notified in late May.  Others will be placed on a waitlist and notified if any openings occur. All applications that are complete and on time will be part of the lottery.

    Link to Informational Video


    Important dates for 2024: 
    Monday, April 29 - Presentation to 6th graders
    Wednesday, May 1, 2:45 - 3:20 - Student Open House in Choice classrooms
    Thursday, May 2,  6:00 - 7:00 pm - Parent Information Night 
    Friday, May 10 - Deadline to submit applications via the Google Form linked below


    Application Links:  Students must be signed into their school Gmail account to access the applications.

    Application for 7th grade

    Application for 8th grade:  There is an opening for Choice 8 for the 2024-2025 school year since a student is moving.

    Frequently asked questions:
    1.  If there are more than 24 applicants, how does the lottery work?
    Answer:  All of the applications that are completed by the stated deadline will be included in the lottery.  There has been a lottery process for many years and it is a random selection. The likelihood of a student being accepted depends upon the number of applications received each year. In recent years, there have typically been between fifty and sixty applicants. Since the lottery is random, there is not necessarily an equal distribution by gender or house.
    2.  What happens if I am on the waitlist? 
    Answer:  After the first 24 names are selected in the lottery, several more names are selected for our waitlist.  Rankings on the waitlist will not be released, so please do not inquire about positions on the waitlist.  If someone accepted into Choice informs school personnel that they no longer wish to be part of Choice, the next person on the waitlist will receive an email offering them the position.  There have been some years where no one came off of the waitlist and other years where several students were selected from the waitlist.  Each year is different and there is no way to predict what will happen.
    3.  What is the purpose of the written response portion of the application if the selection process is a random lottery?
    Answer:  The written response provides some sense of purpose to the application process on the part of students.  This component was instituted when the application numbers were rising because it is sometimes human nature to want to "win the prize". Some students who were accepted into the program quickly withdrew because they had just applied to see if they would get accepted and not because they really wanted to be part of the program.  Additionally, the applications and teacher feedback forms for students who are accepted into the program are passed on to the Choice teachers to give them a sense of who their students are and how to best meet their needs.  
    4Is CHOICE more difficult than classes in the main building?
    Answer:   The Humanities course is a model most often found in high school or college, so some may find this challenging in middle school.  The math classes follow the curriculum of the higher levels of math offered in the middle school (Math 7-2 in seventh grade and Math 8-2 and Math 8-3 in eighth grade).  In science class, many learning experiences are designed to happen through student discovery and questioning. Additionally, the course tends to move at a faster pace as students are typically learning how topics in life science, chemistry, and earth science overlap.
    5.  Can I go to CHOICE for just one year?
    Answer:  We want people to understand that CHOICE is a two-year commitment.  However, we certainly do not want anyone to be unhappy with the decision to join CHOICE.  The student and/or parents would need to meet with the principal to explain their decision.  This situation happens extremely rarely, but it is possible that the student may NOT return to their original house.  They will be placed based on balancing numbers across the four houses.
    6.  What if I was accepted and decided over the summer that I would prefer to remain in my original house?
    Answer:  If that decision is made prior to the start of seventh grade, simply email Mrs. Parrott or the house counselor to inform them of your decision.  You will then remain in your original house and your spot will be given to someone on the waitlist.
    7.  What if I go to CHOICE and decide I do not like it?
    Answer:   We would hope that you are applying because there is something about the program that you are attracted to and you are serious about your commitment to the program.  However, we certainly do not want anyone to be unhappy with the decision to enter CHOICE.  The student and/or parents would need to meet with the principal to explain their decision.  This situation happens rarely, but it is possible that the student may NOT return to their original house.  They will be placed based on balancing enrollment across the four houses.
    8.  Can I apply to CHOICE for 8th grade?
    Answer:  This only happens if a 7th grade student leaves the program, creating an opening for 8th grade.  If more students express an interest in entering as an 8th grader than there are openings, then a lottery will be necessary to fill the vacancy.  It should be noted that there may be some curriculum issues for students entering in 8th grade as Humanities and science follow a two-year loop.  If you are interested in applying for your 8th grade year, be sure to check with Mrs. Parrott to determine if these issues apply.
    9.  Do CHOICE students receive more or less homework than in the main building?
    Answer:  Homework load is similar to what one would experience in any other house.
    10.  Who is the House Counselor for CHOICE?
    Answer:  Students will remain with their 6th grade house counselor.
    11.  Where do Choice students eat lunch?
    Answer:  Choice students eat in the cafeteria of their choosing.  This may be with the house they came from or not. We ask that students sign up for their cafeteria each marking period so that we know where to find them if needed.  They do not get to choose on a daily basis.

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