Students will have the opportunity for higher level learning much closer to home.
Biology students in Dodi Gaines’ Cambridge AICE class at Seabreeze will be delving into their first lab assignment the first day of school.
“In the past I have gone over rules and guidelines the first day,” Gaines, the Cambridge AICE coordinator, said.
Cambridge AICE, Advanced International Certificate of Education, are college-level classes for high school students, developed by Cambridge Assessment, a non-profit, non-teaching department of the University of Cambridge in England.
“Our superintendent (James Russell) learned about this and presented it to the principals,” Gaines said. “Mr.(Joe) Rawlings immediately said he wanted to do it.”
The diploma program allows Seabreeze students to participate in higher level study without having to transfer to Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange. Students who graduate from the program automatically receive the highest Bright Futures Scholarship and will graduate with college level credits.
Initially, Gaines said they expected to have two classes and 50 students in the first year.
“We had 120 applicants and were only able to accept 80 students because of space and teacher resources,” Gaines said. “I really didn’t like having to turn anyone away.”
The program was immediately expanded to four classes.
The AICE students he already been active in a summer barbecue meet and greet, where Rawlings challenged them to meet five new people in their class, and the Badges and Board Shorts fundraiser with the money raised shared by the Ormond Beach Police Department and AICE.
“We wanted to get as many of the students together, before school starts, to let them get to know each other,” Gaines said. “I already have a great core group of parents and I am excited to have our community partners.”
The fundraiser will provide T-shirts and a weekly magazine subscription for the students. Additional funds will be used to take field trips, including visiting college campuses.
“We want them to be able to visit different colleges every year so they have an idea when the time comes,” Gaines said. “This year we are going to Stetson and ERAU.”
Gaines’ science room has also been rearranged to allow the students to get as much out of the new program as possible. Instead of rows of desks stretched across the room, there are mini-pods of four desks facing each other to encourage communication and interaction between the students.
“I am going to like watching the kids grow and watching them become the successes I know they can be.”