Servin’ up summer Civics

New course requirement offered for the summer

State legislation is impacting students’ class schedules with more requirements and less room for electives. Due to new state mandates, Jones now has more required courses for graduation: computer science and civics.

The honors civics class, one of the new state mandated course requirements, will examine the structure and the foundation of systems of government in the United States as well as a focus on the role of citizens in the political process.

“[The civics requirement] is something that the state of Illinois believes is important for every student to learn about in high school,” said law teacher Emlyn Ricketts. “We all have a responsibility not just to vote but to know who is running for office and research their platforms, understand the process of how it works, and let our voices be heard. That’s one of the fundamentals of being American.”

Students can choose to enroll in an AP version of civics with AP US Government and Politics, however, particularly for those in the CTE program, this requirement with the computer science requirement does not leave a lot of room in people’s schedules for electives. This imposes a problem, and as a result, Ricketts will teach a civics course offered in the summer so students do not have to take it during the school year.

“I wanted to make sure everyone had the opportunity to still have room in their schedule to fulfill all their other requirements as well as take their own electives,” said Ricketts. “There is no better time to see civics in action than summer in Chicago.”

Originally, Ricketts proposed an alternative to the civics class in order to alleviate the effect it leaves on what classes students are required to take but Chicago Public Schools said the idea did not meet the civics requirements.

“One of the law classes at Jones shares a lot of the same content with the civics course and Ms. Ricketts proposed for students to be able to take just the law class instead,” said assistant principal Therese Plunkett. “CPS requires its students to take the civics course on its own though.”

Students that enrolled in the summer honors civics class took the their class schedules into consideration when they signed up to dedicate a large portion of their summer to school work.

“I’m going to be taking AP Biology next year, and with having to fulfill the civics requirement and the computer science requirement on top of the regular P.E. classes and all the other four years of required classes, it’s just convenient for me to get civics out of the way so I can have more time to take classes that I want to take,” said Sophia Botello ‘20, who is in the CTE program. “I took Math II over the summer last year, so it’s what I’m used to doing”.