A survey indicates that most Somerville High School students want to attend a four-year college, according to the guidance director for the school district.
Carolyn Richards, the head of guidance and testing, told School Committee members in a recent presentation that out of 273 current juniors surveyed, 75 percent said they hoped to attend a four-year college; 9 percent hoped to attend a two-year college; 5 percent wanted to enroll in another post-secondary program; 5 percent hoped to join the military; and 3 percent wanted to join the workforce after graduating.
She also noted that 84 percent of all graduates from the Class of 2009 are pursuing some kind of higher education.
"That is remarkable for a comprehensive, integrated urban high-school," Richards said, adding that each department at Somerville High is developing a college readiness strategy.
In the English Department, that includes having students read "SAT score-raising, vocabulary-rich novels like "Head Over Heels" and "The Ring of McAllister," according to Richards' PowerPoint presentation to the committee.
English classes also will collaborate with the Social Studies Department on research papers.
Social Studies initiatives include assigning excerpts from what the department deems "college-level books," such as a chapter from "King Leopold's Ghost," an account - grisly, in places - of the Belgian colonization of the Congo. World History students are currently reading the chapter.
On the numbers side, Math Department changes include offering geometry to freshmen to allow more students to take pre-calculus and calculus.
Meanwhile in the Science Department, the curriculum includes new engineering and biotech courses for students planning to major in these fields.
In addition, Somerville is one of 20 school districts working with the state Educational Finance Authority in a pilot program to develop career and college plans for students.
"It's a massive undertaking," Richards said.