Honors for All

Honors for All
Posted on 07/13/2016

                                                   Humanities Honors for All Plan

Summary of the Plan

Garfield serves a wide variety of learners. Often the assumption is that the honors courses are
populated with students who are all at the same level. But in reality, there is a wide array of
learning needs in honors classes, including ELL and special education students. Consequently, an
honors course demands as much differentiation as any other.

In the same vein, many regular education classes serve a wide range of learners. Some students opt
for these classes because they don’t believe they can meet the challenge or because they have never
had the opportunity to excel. There is very little upward movement to honors classes from the
general ed track. However, we see general ed students on a daily basis and know they are capable of
meeting high expectations.

This split between regular ed and honors results in de facto racial segregation in our classrooms,
and in this system, all of our students miss out on the value of engaging with diverse

With support from the Garfield staff and administration, we are developing an integrated,
all­ honors ninth grade humanities curriculum to provide opportunities to provide a better education
for all students.


We will be preparing all students for advanced classes in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. The
curriculum will not be “watered down” or modified in such a way that students are at a disadvantage
in later years.

The curriculum will focus on developing a safe and highly engaging collaborative classroom climate,
one that fosters critical thinking and academic growth. We will deepen and increase the rigor of
the curriculum, challenging students to develop, practice, and master a wide range of skills.

This means we will be very deliberate about providing multiple access points to the curriculum,
such as (but not limited to) scaffolding readings, finding ways to engage reluctant learners,
providing student choice when appropriate, implementing project based learning, and asking students
to develop a wide range of products to show their learning.


We have secured the assistance of Dr. Sheila Valencia, a literacy specialist and researcher at the
UW School of
Education to consult with us differentiation and to help us develop reading support strategies.

Teachers will be attending a three ­day training on a technique called complex instruction, which
helps teachers develop meaningful group activities that are focused on constructivist theories of

We will continue to research best practices in developing meaningful curriculum for all learners
and will contact other experts to assist us as the need arises.

Our administration is committed to supporting our desire to collaborate so that we can make this
change beneficial for all learners.


Our main goal is to create a richer honors curriculum that engages and benefits all ability levels.
Studies over the past thirty years that note the detrimental effects of ability­ level tracking are
an indicator of the institutionalized racism that plagues our school system and adds to the
opportunity gap.

A recent study found Seattle Public Schools has the fifth widest achievement gap of all school
districts in the country. This is unacceptable, especially when research supports the benefits of
blending of students in heterogeneous classrooms.

One study out of Teachers College Columbia reports, “Researchers have documented that students’
exposure to other students who are different from themselves and the novel ideas and challenges
that such exposure brings leads to improved cognitive skills, including critical thinking and
problem solving.”

Similarly, Beth Rubin's article, "Tracking and De-tracking" (2006), states, "A number of recent
studies have found positive results for [targeted, honors­for­all] detracking and the heterogeneous
grouping that it creates (Cooper, 1996; Klingner, Vaughn, & Schumm, 1998; Mehan & Hubbard, 1999;
Mehan, Hubbard, & Villanueva, 1994; Rothenberg, McDermott, & Martin, 1998)."

For more information please click here for the Honors for All FAQ.

9th grade parents are encouraged to take the following survey as we would like your feedback about the honors for all humanities program starting this fall at GHS.

GHS 9th Grade Parent Survey-



Resources teachers are using to help them plan include (but are not limited to) the following:
● Detracking for Excellence and Equity by Carol Corbett Burris and Delia T. Garrity
● On the Same Track by Carol Corbett Burris
● Working for Equity in Heterogeneous Classrooms, Elizabeth G. Cohen and Rachel A. Lotan, eds
● Designing Groupwork: Strategies for the Heterogeneous Classroom by Elizabeth Cohen
● Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum, Grades 9­12 by
Carol Ann
● Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom by Thomas Armstrong
● Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice by Howard Gardner
● Teaching English by Design by Peter Smagorinsky
● Strategic Reading by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm
● Academic Language for English Language Learners and Struggling Readers by Yvonne S. Freeman and
David E. Freeman
● Deeper Reading by Kelly Gallagher
● Scaffolding the Academic Success of Adolescent English Language Learners by Aida Walqui and Leo
van Lier
● Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
● Social Studies for Secondary Schools: Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach by Alan J. Singer

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