Updates on K-12 Reform for Parents of AGS and AHS students, from the Vice President for Basic Education  

January 01, 2013
Father Tony Pabayo, SJ

21 September 2012

TO:                The Parents of the Ateneo Grade School and Ateneo High School Students
FROM:          Fr. Anthony C. Pabayo, SJ
                      Vice President for Basic Education
SUBJECT:   Updates on K-12 Reform for the Ateneo de Manila

The Philippines is presently in the midst of discussions and initial steps towards the K-12 reform. For most schools in the country, this reform will serve to increase the current 10 years in basic education to 12 years to enable our schools to be on par with other schools outside the country. For the Ateneo de Manila, however, where we already have 12 years of basic education, K-12 is more about curriculum reform rather than the number of years. For us, it is the enhancement of the present curriculum that we deem most important.

I am pleased to present to you the steps that are being undertaken in connection with the K-12 reform at the Ateneo de Manila. Important considerations in the preparation of the K-12 implementation plan include the following:

     1.    At present, we have 12 years of Basic Education (Prep + 7 years elementary + 4
            years high school). The Prep students are 6 years old; students are 16-18 years old
            when they graduate from high school. In general, our Ateneo High School students
            are university-bound after graduating from secondary education;

     2.    The Ateneo de Manila Grade School and High School have been benchmarking with
             Singapore schools for many years now. We have used the Singapore curriculum as
             reference in addition to the Dep Ed K-12 curriculum and readiness standards
             provided by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the preparation of our
             K-12 enhanced curriculum. The Ateneo de Manila Basic Education units and the
             Loyola Schools have also been discussing the course offerings for Grades 11 and 12.

Given these important considerations, we are implementing a K-12 program that consists of the following provisions:

     1.    The re-labeling of the current levels (Prep to 4th year high school) as Grades 1 to 12
             and the adoption of enhanced curricula based on these new labels. In more specific

               a.    the new Grade 1 level will have the characteristics (e.g. daily school time
                       duration, subject offerings, etc.) of the current Grade 1 level;

               b.    the Grade 8 level will offer a program that includes traditional 1st year high
                       school content in the different subject areas;

               c.    the Grade 12 level will offer a program that includes Ateneo de Manila 1st year
                       college matter specifically in subjects that are taught from elementary to
                       college (e.g., English, Filipino, Math and Science).

While an enhanced Grades 1-12 curriculum has been drafted, transition provisions will be prepared to ensure the smooth move from one level to the next specifically for the cohorts of students who are currently enrolled with us.

     2.    This school year, we shall have the usual graduations at the Grade 7 and 4th year
             High School levels. However, next school year 2013-2014, the plan is to have
             graduation ceremonies for the following batches of students: Grades 6, 7, and Grade
             8 as well as 4th year High School.

The current Grade 6 students will proceed next year to a level that will be labeled Grade 8 and where a transitory Grade 8 curriculum will be offered. They will not have to take an entrance examination for Grade 8. These students will graduate from Grade 8, after fulfilling all the requirements in that level, at the end of SY 2013-2014 and proceed to Grade 9.

     3.    While we have decided not to offer a Kindergarten level for 5-year old students in
              school year 2013-2014, we remain open to the possibility of offering a Kindergarten
              level in the future.

The Ateneo de Manila will exert every effort to make this reform work and to use this as a vehicle to strive for higher levels of excellence for the sake of the young people entrusted to our care. Please be assured that the school will be careful about an effective transition process toward the reform we wish to attain. We know that we can count on your prayers and support as we embark on this challenging phase in the Ateneo de Manila Basic Ed. May God bless you and your families always!

In Christ,

Anthony C. Pabayo, SJ