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Stuyvesant Students Get a Taste of College After School

October 18th, 2004

By Jin-ji Kim
The time is 4:20 P.M. Classes are over, extracurricular activities are in full swing, and the hallways are full of mementos of another busy day at Stuy. However, in room 339, there is a class in progress. This is social studies teacher Debra Plafker’s American Women’s Movements class, one of the numerous City College of New York (CCNY) classes that are now offered at Stuyvesant.

Such after-school courses are the result of both academic and economic cooperation between CCNY and Stuy. Together, they have presented the student body with a wide variety of college-level instruction, complete with college credits.

The CCNY classes began a couple of years ago with a partnership between the faculty of CCNY and Assistant Principal of Mathematics Daniel Jaye. “I envisioned some time back a concept where Stuyvesant can be an auxiliary campus of CCNY, offering students options to take a wide variety of college courses for credits, tuition-free,” Jaye said.

As an alumnus of CCNY himself and a good friend of the various faculty members of the college, Jaye was able to quickly make this plan a reality. CCNY classes enabled students to earn up to 2,000 college credits in math and science courses by last June.

This year, in light of the recent budget cuts in New York City public schools, CCNY classes have been further expanded. According to Jaye, the list of courses available includes Advanced Euclidean Geometry, Mathematics of Financial Markets, Physical Chemistry, American Women’s Movements, Forensics, Stage Craft, Acting, Playwriting, and Journalism. “[Stuyvesant and CCNY] expanded our partnership to include certain courses to supplement those that had been traditionally offered in public schools,” said Jaye.

In addition to variety, classes are filled with plenty of academic content. “This is a real college class with real college level material,” said Plafker. “Students must commit themselves to at least 3 hours of homework each night.” Nonetheless, Plafker mentioned that the work pays off because students become involved with certain subjects that they never would have been able to come across in their regular classes.

“The uniqueness of these classes lies in their narrow focus and consequent deeper understanding. In my Women’s Movement class, my 29 students and I get to spend more time upon expanding on regular history curriculum concerning women’s movement in America from 1500 to present,” she said.

Junior Sho Uemura felt that his Advanced Euclidean Geometry course offered “more eclectic topics and concepts.” However, he believed the CCNY courses were also comparable to the college-level material covered in the AP classes offered in school.

In addition, students taking the CCNY classes will be awarded college credits for the completion of each course. Successful completion requires a passing grade on the final exam. The three credits earned for each course are approximately equivalent to $2,100 worth of classes in college and accepted throughout the colleges of the City University of New York and most of those of the State University of New York.

Jaye, however, warned students against taking the courses purely for college credit. “We do not want students simply for credit-bearing status, but we want students who are passionate about learning.”

Several such interested students found the registration process inadequate. News of the CCNY programs traveled through word of mouth, teacher recommendations, and e-mails to select students. According to students, the recruitment period for the classes was also too brief. In response, Jaye said, “the qualifications are very demanding, for we targeted our students based on the college-level guidelines.”

Starting in February, when the spring courses are due to begin, Anthropology, Psychology, and Engineering are expected to be added to the CCNY program. Additionally, the programming office plans to include applications on Stuy’s online programming system.

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