by Samantha Fredberg
Looking forward to next year, students begin the process of selecting courses for the 2016-2017 school year with each department’s new courses added to the Course Catalog.
Almost every department has created new courses, electives, and core classes, for next school year. In total, there are eight new classes in the Course Catalog.
History teacher David Bedar said, “It’s important to think about student interest and teach courses kids would be interested in, and it’s also refreshing to have different offerings. It creates unique opportunities to study new, different, and interesting topics.”
Mid East, Asia, and Latin America Since ‘45
In the history department, the new Mid East, Asia, and Latin America Since ‘45 course will be taught by Bedar, who created the course. The course explains conflict in the Middle East, the development of India and China, Brazil’s success among surrounding countries facing economic and political oppression, and anti-American opinions in these regions. “None of the subjects are covered in other history courses, so it’s a unique chance to study these topics,” Bedar said. The course is available to seniors and meets four times a week.
Novice Spanish I
The world language department is starting a novice Spanish I class for students who did not take Spanish in middle school. “It breaks Spanish I into two years instead of one” according to Spanish teacher Cristina Schulze.
The course will teach students how to engage in basic conversational skills, talk about daily life, and help them transition to novice Spanish II the following year. The course is recommended for beginner Spanish learners and meets four times a week.
Introduction to Computer Science
The math and science departments are jointly offering an Introduction to Computer Science course which meets twice a week and introduces students to the topics covered in the Exploring Computer Science elective, which meets four times a week. Students will learn how to use data, graphic design, robotics, programming, and HTML.
The music department will be starting a Vocal Ensemble course available only to freshmen. According to music teacher Todd Young, the music department will be different from this year because in the past, Concert Choir has been offered for all grades. Now, freshmen will be separated.
Freshman Maddy Ranali said “the switch is a pretty okay idea. I get that there should be freshmen options, but the goal of many sophomores, juniors, and seniors is to be in Jubilee and Family Singers, and many people who don’t get into either one don’t plan on doing Concert Choir again.” The new ensemble will be similar to Concert Choir, and will still meet twice a week for the whole year.
American Musical Theatre
In addition to Vocal Ensemble, the theatre and music departments will be jointly offering a new American Musical Theatre elective for all grades. The course looks unto the history of musical theatre in America, from its origins in vaudeville to the present, and study famous composers. The class will meet twice a week for one semester.
The English department will be offering the most new courses according to English teacher Bradley Jensen. The first course, Dystopian, Apocalyptic, Horror and Sci-Fi Literature is available only to seniors. The course will study texts about worlds that appear to be different from ours, but will find similarities that may be eerie. The class will read novels such as V For Vendetta by Alan Moore, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. The course will meet four periods a week for the full year.
Another new English course, Diverse Perspectives in Literature: Beyond the Single Story, is only available to seniors. Students will examine all forms of literature with authors of varying backgrounds. The authors will tend to provide interesting and different perspectives on themes such as race, social class, sexual identity, justice, and censorship. This course meets four times a week and is a full year class.
The final new course in the English department is not focused around literature, as most English electives are. Through The Lens of Documentary Film gives all grades a chance to study the origins of documentary filmmaking, and how the genre has shaped over the past century. Students will learn about qualities of documentary filmmaking, journalism, ethical and legal issues, and propaganda. In addition to studying branches of documentaries, students will learn how to interview people, edit sound and music, and about film structure. The course meets four times a week for one semester.
Students can choose and request courses until March 17. According to Bedar, students should consider new courses and take advantage of the many opportunities they provide.