As the semester comes to a close, underclassmen are looking ahead and beginning to choose their courses for next year. There will be more selections available to them this year due to the recent changes made to course offerings in nearly every department.
12th grade college prep English will be split into two semesters. Seniors will take a writing course in the first semester, while in the second they can choose to take Modern Literature, British Literature or Speech.
“I think [the change] is a big benefit,” said John Gates, head of the English department. “They will be doing more writing in the fall and they will have more options in the spring that will suit what they are interested in.”
Next year’s seniors will have more choices in math courses. College prep math survey will be eliminated in favor of three semester-long college prep classes: Algebra III, Trigonometry and Statistics.
“We’re just really trying to give our students some options as far as making choices for their future and taking courses that are really focused on their future,” said math department head Shane Thomas.
As far as social studies, World Cultures will be separated into two semester-long courses which will focus on the Eastern and Western hemispheres.
“We like the semesterization because it can change the class dynamic, which can be a benefit to all,” said head of the social studies department Anita Lukridge. “It will also help the teachers better teach the material and become a little bit more of an expert in the areas in which they are teaching.”
Additionally, American Cultures 1 will no longer be offered. Next year, both freshmen and sophomores will be taking American Cultures 2 or AP United States History.
“We are looking at opening up the senior year so that all social studies requirements can be fulfilled by the junior year,” said Lukridge.
The elective Classical Studies will also be added to the department. It will be offered to juniors and seniors and cover ancient Rome and Greece.
One new science course that will be offered is AP Physics 2. It will serve as a continuation of AP Physics 1 and cover topics such as thermodynamics, optics, nuclear physics, electricity and magnetism.
“It offers topics that have not been covered here before so if any students are interested in these topics, they can now pursue that,” said physics teacher Kelly Light.
The language department will be offering an honors-level Spanish II course alongside the existing Spanish II class. Previously, only third and fourth level language classes were weighted honors.
“I think the biggest benefit will be that students who really want to learn and are serious about it are going to be able to advance, while kids who don’t really care about it can take the regular course and also have a less stressful environment,” said Spanish teacher Waldemor Plichta. “It only makes sense.”
One new elective that will be available is Architectural Design Level 2, which will build upon topics covered in Architectural Design 1 while exploring new topics.
“The biggest overall benefit is that it’s giving kids who want to go to college to be an architect a larger and broader experience of what an architect does,” said Architectural Design teacher Jim Oplinger.
Another new elective is a lifeguarding course that will allow students to become certified in lifeguarding by the AHA.
“[The course] will allow students who are interested in becoming a lifeguard for summer employment the opportunity to do so during their school day, so when summer comes they are already certified,” said Angela Springborn, who will teach the course.