Waltham Public Schools is dedicated to providing a rigorous and rich curriculum for every student. Each of our academic department directors reviews curriculum, collaborates with other directors, and works with teachers to develop and discover rich curricular opportunities. Read below for information about each department, or visit the WPS Curriculum Website to learn more about our curricular offerings in Waltham Public Schools.
Career Vocational and Technical Education in the Waltham Public Schools includes the areas of Career and Vocational Technical Education, Family and Consumer Science, and Business Education in grades 9-12 and Technology/Engineeering in grades 7-12. We are proud to offer a wide range of programs and courses to meet the varied needs and interests of our students.
Dr. Jennifer Smith, Director of Career Vocational and Technical Education
Mary Jo Vasquezi, Secretary
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Lauren DeLeon, School To Career Coordinator
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CVTE Programs Include:
Automotive Technology - Chapter 74
The automotive mechanic is an important worker in our society. The ability to make a fast and accurate diagnosis of automotive trouble is one of the mechanic’s most valuable skills. It requires good reasoning ability, as well as a complete working knowledge of automobiles. Automotive mechanics earn high salaries while working in a field that is challenging.
The courses available in Business are offered to students in grades nine through twelve to fulfill a variety of student needs and requirements. All of these courses count toward Waltham High School's practical arts graduation requirement.
Carpentry & Cabinetmaking - Chapter 74
Carpenters work with one of America’s greatest natural resources - wood. A good carpenter knows the best type of wood for a given job. Maple, oak, cherry, pine, or mahogany - each has its own unique strength and application from framing a house to building a park bench. Our program concentrates on building skills and working in harmony with others to insure your future success in this high-demand occupation
Career Exploratory - Chapter 74
Are you interested in being a part of Waltham High Schools Career and Technical Education? Do you know you want to work not only with your mind, but with your hands as well, but can’t seem to decide exactly which shop you would like to enroll in? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Career Exploratory is for you! This class gives you insight into each of the shops offered at Waltham High.
Child Care - Chapter 74
Caring for children is one of the fastest growing professions in America. These courses provide students with a basic understanding of the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth of the young child from birth through preschool. Students who are interested in early childhood education, nursing, psychology, etc., would benefit from the material presented in these classes.
Collision Technology - Chapter 74
The auto body specialist faces the challenge of repairing damaged cars, trucks, boats, and airplanes. The ability to take a damaged vehicle and restore it to its original condition provides a great deal of pride and satisfaction. The collision technology program has been designed to help the student obtain marketable skills.
Electrical - Chapter 74
An electrical student will be given a factual interpretation of the electricians’ role in the construction industry, with emphasis on safety procedures and trade practices. The student will acquire an understanding of the skills and knowledge required to specialize as an electrical tradesman and will acquire an understanding of state and local code and related technical data.
Electronics - Chapter 74
The Electronics Technology Program prepares students to enter the diverse and lucrative industry of electronics as a technician by applying scientific principles of electronic devices and circuits leading to practical computer, telecommunications and robotics systems outcomes using state-of-the-art equipment, materials and processes.
Family & Consumer Science
The courses available in Family and Consumer Sciences are offered to students in grades nine through twelve to fulfill a variety of student needs and requirements. All of these courses count toward Waltham High School’s PRACTICAL ARTS graduation requirement.
Graphic Communications - Chapter 74
These classes will expose students to the exciting fields of design and print. Students will use Adobe Creative Suite of software on both Mac and PC to create personal stationary that includes notepads, business cards, and letterhead. The role of design in delivering communications will be discussed and explored. Exposure to the print shop environment and equipment is an exciting part of the course, and allows students the hands-on experience of operating printing and finishing equipment in the production of their designs.
Metal Fabrication - Chapter 74
Metal Fabrication involves the forming, joining, and cutting of metal. Students learn arc welding, resistance welding, brazing, cutting and heat-treating and metallurgy. Cutting techniques learned include gas, arc, Mig, Tig, and pipe welding and plasma and gas cutting. A significant part of instruction takes place on real-world projects in the shop, and involve hands-on, practical experience.
TV Broadcasting - Chapter 74
The Television Broadcasting program at WHS is a Massachusetts DESE Chapter 74 Career and Technical Education program with a great history and tradition of quality student produced programming. Waltham High School has had a television studio since the opening of the existing Waltham High School in 1969. In 2009 the program became certified by the DESE after a rigorous application process.
Literacy provides the foundation for lifelong learning. The Waltham Public Schools Elementary Reading/ELA curriculum is based on the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. Our curriculum maps target skills in phonics, fluency, comprehension, word study and writing.
Classrooms focus on different types of reading and writing experiences, some of which include; Guided Reading, Literature Circles, Writers' Workshop, Interactive Read Alouds, phonics, and independent reading and writing with use of the Daily Five management system. Each of our elementary schools has a literacy closet with a wide range of multi-level books including various themes and genres. This literacy closet is the core of our Guided Reading and small group instruction.
Each elementary school has licensed reading specialists who support students in need of additional targeted instruction specifically during grade-level intervention blocks. In addition, literacy coaches in each building provide ongoing embedded professional development and support teachers in all aspects of literacy instruction.
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The Fine and Performing Arts department encompasses the music, drama and art programs K-12. The music department offers instruction K-12. Students in grades K-8 receive general music and choral instruction on a weekly basis. This standard based curriculum is designed to meet the state frameworks in music.
Douglas Trudeau, Director of Fine Arts
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Cindy Boudreau, Clerical Paraprofessional
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As stated in the Guiding Principles of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Frameworks,
“Students need to learn about the events, ideas, individuals, groups, ideals, dreams, and limitations that have shaped our country and the world.”
Our diverse curriculum offerings, spanning grades 6 through 12, have been constructed to fulfill this mission. Aligned to DESE's Pathway 1 for History and Social Studies, middle school students study Ancient History, World Geography, and World History I in grades 6 through 8, respectively. At Waltham High School, all students follow a three year progression of coursework including Modern World History, United States History I, and United States History II.
Additionally, beginning in grade 10, students may choose from a diverse group of elective courses that explore topics ranging from local history to economics. History and Social Studies staff members continuously work to update and refine curriculum to meet the changing needs and interests of our diverse student body. In each of our program offerings, History and Social Studies teachers emphasize communication, literacy, and critical thinking skills to prepare all students for college and career readiness.
Derek Vandegrift, Director of History and Social Studies
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Mathematics Department Goals
- Offer high quality math instruction to all students leading to mathematical proficiency. (Mathematical proficiency refers to conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, competence in application, the ability to connect knowledge, and a productive disposition.)
- Establish a student-centered mathematics learning environment with a focus on student understanding. (A student-centered learning environment is one with active learners that includes the use of written and oral communication, real-world connections, cooperative learning strategies, differentiated instruction, multiple forms of feedback, and effective questioning.)
- Use data to improve learning for all students. (Using data refers to the process of developing professional learning communities that look at a variety of different kinds of data including formative and summative assessments, identify the causes of problems seen in the data, and implement research-based instructional improvements.)
Valerie Alfeo, Director of Mathematics
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Physical education is an integral part of the total education process. The adage, "a sound mind in a sound body" is still very appropriate today. Schools are responsible for the total development of the student and must be committed to developing the body as well as the mind. Our mission in physical education is to develop each student to his/her fullest potential for future success in society. Physical education teaches how and why the body moves and promotes the mental and social development of the child through physical activity. Physical education is also committed to providing all students with the knowledge and skills to become healthy and active individuals. By participating regularly in a broad spectrum of activities, students have a channel of learning that allows each of them, regardless of ability, to meet physical challenges, develop essential motor skills, assess individual abilities, appreciate the fun and joy of human movement, and at the same time develop strategies for improvement.
Steve LaForest, Director of Physical Education
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"The mission of the Waltham Public Schools Science and Health department is to provide our diverse student population with a quality standards-based instructional program that enriches scientific knowledge and curiosity and promotes health and well being. We will strive to provide students with the problem-solving skills and exploratory experiences that will inspire and enable them to reach their fullest potential as independent thinkers. We will prepare all students to be lifelong learners who make informed and reasoned decisions and enable them to succeed in our ever-changing society."
The Science and Health Department grades 6-12 is a rigorous student centered department that prepares students to be college and career ready. Science classes prepare our students for 21st century skills with the use of PASCO probes and Spark units, digital microscopes, Engineering The Future and Freshman Physics classes. For two years in a row we have been awarded 99k and 98k grant through Mass Life Science to purchase equipment that will continue to enhance the way we deliver STEM in our department. Through our Physics First pathway, the Science and Health Department is working diligently to give students the opportunity to participate in hands -on computer based lab and engineering experiences which will promote awareness of and excitement for further STEM education at Waltham High School and beyond. We have introduced robotics equipment, sensors and probes for the freshmen physics program and we are encouraging students to continue with engineering experiences in the CTE program. During the 2014-2015 school year we introduced a new Robotics club that has been very successful. We offer AP courses in Biology, Physics and Chemistry. 43 students took AP Science courses in 2014 with 100% scoring a 3 or better and 54% scoring a 4 or better. Due to our involvement in the districts pre-AP initiative and our attention to increase rigor, 100% of our 9th grade students taking the Physics MCAS scored advanced and proficient. 68% of our students that took the Biology MCAS scored advanced and proficient.
Health Education begins in grade 6. Our grade 6 Health Educators and the School Resource Officers collaborate to implement the GREAT program curriculum. Health Educators teach the necessary skills to build students' knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes about health. Our comprehensive Health education program teaches students about physical, mental, emotional and social health. It motivates students to improve and maintain their health, prevent disease, and reduce risky behaviors. Our Health education instruction helps students learn the skills they will use to make healthy choices throughout their lifetime. Our courses in grades 6-12 aim to result in positive changes in behavior that lower student risks. In addition, Health education promotes learning in other subjects! In response to YRBS data and the new MA state mandates regarding relationships (G.L. c. 71 as amended by sections 60 and 61 of Chapter 256 of the Acts of 2010)which indicate that the topic of safe and healthy relationships with a focus on preventing sexual and domestic violence is a high priority for students; we have developed a new Violence Prevention and Stress Management Health elective at WHS. This 2.5 credit (2 in 1) class will allow students to access the skills, information and resources necessary to help them avoid risky behaviors, manage stress in a healthy way and understand the dangers of a variety of pressing health issues our teens are facing today.
Heather Metallides, Director of Science and Health
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The Waltham English Department in grades 6-12 provides students with a rigorous, skills-based instructional program that prepares students to be both college and career-ready. Our English curriculum is based on Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, and we follow curriculum maps that include targeted skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Our texts, lessons, instructional activities, and resources aim to create confident, competent, critical thinkers in our students, using literature, poetry, and nonfiction selections as a means to this end.
By the time a student graduates from Waltham High School, he or she will have read many of the great authors, including Dickens, Shakespeare, and Shelley, as well as more modern authors, such as Morrison, Capote, and Coelho. Throughout their time at Waltham schools, students will learn a variety of strategies to help them access challenging content, including reading practices, such as annotation skills, and writing practices, such as Writing with Colors, an award-winning instructional strategy for thinking about writing. Middle school teachers have adapted these practices by utilizing the 1:1 initiative as a way to combine reading and writing skills with technology; many have shared their knowledge and successful strategies with other teachers, including high school ELA teachers, who are preparing for the 1:1 initiative. Waltham schools have one of the highest student growth percentiles of schools that share a similar demographic profile in Massachusetts. Ninety percent of Waltham English teachers are trained in pre-Advanced Placement instruction, and we offer both AP English Language and Composition and AP Literature as part of the high school English course program.
Allyson McHugh, Director of English Language Arts 6-12
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Benvenuti! Bienvenue! ¡Bienvenidos! Salve!
World Languages Department Goals:
The WHS World Language Department provides students of Italian, Spanish, French, and Latin the opportunity to develop language and cultural competency in the target language. The goal of studying a world language is to prepare students to understand and to interact with people from diverse cultures. Students become proficient in the target language through speaking, listening, reading, writing and using technology. Our goals are consistent with the standards set forth in the Massachusetts Foreign Languages Curriculum Framework and ACTFL.
WHS students are encouraged to study a world language for their entire four years of their high school career. We expect that students will enhance their proficiency at each level of language and will meet the 21stCentury Learning Expectations within the context of their course of study. We expect students will be able to speak and write effectively, to understand authentic speech and writing, and to respond appropriately to cultural differences. In a global community, it is essential that students are prepared to understand and interact with people from all cultures.
Cynthia Piantedosi, Assistant Director of World Languages
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