Each academic department has a faculty chair who serves as the academic leader responsible for promoting excellence in teaching and learning. As a subject area specialist, the chair leads the department in curricular reviews to vertically and horizontally align curriculum in grades 4 through 12. Department chairs are responsible for developing new courses and staying on the leading edge of content and pedagogy within the discipline. As lead teachers, department chairs guide department faculty in department goals, planning, and discussions, and provide professional development opportunities that reflect promising practices in instruction within each discipline. All student assessment data, both local and nationally normed, is reviewed by the department chairs in an effort to ameliorate weaknesses and celebrate strengths. Decisions about acceleration, typically in the form of honors and Advanced Placement courses, are made by department chairs.