All courses offered at Essex Technical High School are college preparatory so that all students are college or career ready. Courses are structured using the following delineations:
These courses are designed to be experienced at the same level as a first semester college course of the same name. They are exceedingly rigorous in both scope and sequence and are the most academically challenging courses offered. The amount of homework and independent research and reading is significantly more than in other courses. Students are expected to take the AP exam in the springtime.
This level is the most academically challenging and it moves at a rigorous pace with nightly homework as well as independent projects. Students in honors courses should possess a strong interest in learning and have a high level of intellectual curiosity. Students are expected to be self-motivated and work well with others. Homework is required to be done on time to ensure participation in daily class discussions.
Accelerated College Preparatory
Accelerated College Preparatory is designed for students preparing for two- and four-year college. The curriculum develops critical skills for college and career readiness and moves at a moderate pace. Students should evidence a solid interest in learning and work well independently and in groups with teacher direction. Students are capable and willing to put time and effort into their assignments. These courses require daily homework, longer term projects, and consistent participation in various class activities.
College Preparatory is designed for college-bound and career-oriented students. The curriculum develops critical skills for college and career readiness and moves at a pace that focuses on content and skills essential to succeed after high school. Students will complete assignments independently and in small groups in a structured class environment and have homework assignments and projects that extend the concepts and skills practiced in class.
Academic Skills Workshop
This course is a requirement for all freshman. It consists of a rotating schedule with a different content focus for each trimester (one trimester each of literacy, mathematics, and science). Students take all three with the same group. Content for the course is based on the Pre-Advanced Placement curriculum called Laying The Foundation (LTF). LTF materials provide students with the deep content knowledge and essential critical thinking skills necessary to meet Standards and to be prepared for college success.
In English, LTF provides lessons that train students to identify relevant textual support for an idea and how to evaluate arguments based on the quality of evidence and the validity of the reasoning. LTF English lessons guide students through the process of connecting a writer’s’ choice of words, phrases, punctuation, and syntax to create the desired meaning within a text.
LTF Mathematics lessons take students beyond the standard skill-based approach to a conceptual understanding of mathematics. By incorporating many concepts into one lesson and by presenting questions in a variety of modalities, students are engaged in interesting activities that require them to think, to reason, and to engage in mathematical inquiry. Students are encouraged to explain their solutions and to verbalize their thinking processes.
In LTF Science, students develop a series of thinking skills. They progress from acquiring facts to being able to analyze and evaluate various pieces of scientific information. The LTF science materials are content-based with an emphasis on laboratory skills and the integration of mathematics, technology, and the graphing calculator into the science classroom.
Academics Overview Presentation
The link below is to the presentation shown at Freshman Parent Orientation on August 23, 2016.
*Photo Courtesy of Peter Vanderwarker
Ms. Mary Alice Murdoch, STEM Director – ext. 3107
As the STEM Director for Essex Technical High School, Mary Alice Murdoch brings more than 20 years of experience as a teacher, instructional support coach, department head, and content director. Mary Alice has worked as a manager in the STEM Department at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and as a K-12 Staff Development Specialist for the Regional Alliance at TERC, Inc. She has provided content and pedagogy training, workshop facilitation, and graduate instruction to teachers for over 15 years, including her current work as a trainer for the National Mathematics and Science Initiatives Laying the Foundation Program.
At Essex Technical High School, Mary Alice directs the teachers and curriculum development for the STEM programs–all Mathematics, Science and Wellness courses, and ensures that STEM-related curricula are aligned to the Common Core and state frameworks. Prior to working at ETHS, Mary Alice was the K-12 Mathematics Director for the Waltham Public Schools; Mathematics Department Head for Swampscott High School; and Mathematics Instructional Support Coach for the Cambridge Public Schools. In addition, she spent 13 years teaching Mathematics and Science at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
Mary Alice Murdoch holds a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from Boston College, an M.A. in Mathematics Education and an M.A. in Science Education from Lesley University, and a C.A.G.S. in Educational Leadership from Salem State University. She is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics Education Network, the North Shore Science Supervisors Association, and the Greater Boston Regional Common Core Advisory Team.
Mr. Thomas O’Toole, Humanities Director – ext. 3311
As the Humanities Director for Essex Technical High School, Tom O’Toole brings more than 25 years of experience as a teacher, counselor, chief reader, ELA lead developer, and content director. Tom served as the ELA Lead Developer for all the MCAS English Language Arts tests for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and as a Director of School Partnerships for Project PACE [Performance Assessment Collaboratives for Education] at the Harvard Graduate School of Education responsible for offering PreK-12 teacher trainings in all content areas through the Massachusetts Performance Assessment Program. He served as Chief Reader for the MCAS ELA Composition Scoring Institutes throughout the state. He has provided content and pedagogy training, workshop facilitation, and graduate instruction to counselors, including his current work with Writing With Colors, a writing development program that benefits students of all ability levels.
At Essex Technical High School, Tom directs the teachers and curriculum and assessment development for the Humanities programs–all English, History and Social Sciences, and Spanish courses, and ensures that Humanities-related curricula are aligned to the respective Massachusetts curriculum frameworks. Prior to working at ETHS, Tom was the 6-12 English Director for the Waltham Public Schools. In addition, Tom taught English and writing at Phillips Andover Academy, Boston College High School, Haverford School, The Holden School, where he also served as a counselor, and at Waltham High School.
Tom O’Toole holds a B.A. in English from Boston College, an M.A.T. in Teaching English from Brown University, and a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. He is a member of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, the National Council of Teachers of English, American Psychological Association, and the Massachusetts Council for Social Studies.
Academic Secretary – Ms. Diane Cedorchuck – ext. 3313