New classes at North

The deadline for scheduling changes may have passed, but with the end of the year approaching, many students still aren’t sure what to take next fall. This year conversations are especially interesting due to the inception of some unique new classes. If you’re out of the loop, don’t worry: here’s the scoop on the Program of Studies’ new offerings for the 2015-2016 school year
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Principles of Engineering
This five-credit course, offered to students in all grade levels, is the first component of the newly developed engineering department in WW-P high schools, and it is meant to cover a wide variety of engineering areas, such as electrical, mechanical, and structural engineering (which includes robotics). “The engineering class has been made to meet not only the need but also the interest that we see in the workforce and among career opportunities beyond high school,” school counselor Lee Riley said. “Engineering is a growing field, and there are many different facets to it, so the administration wanted to offer something in that area and tap into a really exploding area of work and study.” More than 70 students have signed up for the course thus far, and there are expected to be three sections. At the time of publication, no decisions regarding the teacher of the course have been made.

Multicultural Studies
In this class, the curriculum will center around the study of numerous world cultures with a focus on the overarching ideas of culture. Students will investigate and analyze the contributions of each cultural group, ranging from Islanders to Native Americans. “In an ever-increasingly diverse society in America, it’s more important that we gain an increased understanding of that diversity, and that’s essentially the goal of the course,” said Joseph Bossio, who is expected to be the course’s teacher next year.  “We’re not trying to promote one way or another; it’s about gaining an understanding of why certain groups of society think the way they think, but more importantly finding that, although there are differences in beliefs, structures, and traditions, we have a lot more in common as well. I think that’s the most important thing to discover in this course.” Multicultural Studies has been in the works for the past few years, but previously an insufficient number of students signed up for the course; next year, Bossio will teach at least one, and possibly two, sections. Because the course hasn’t run in more than 13 years, district administrators are still in the process of finding appropriate course material and possible textbooks, and the course will certainly have a focus on current cultural events.

Financial Literacy
Over the past five years, WW-P high schools haven’t offered a 2.5-credit course in the area of financial literacy; however, the district has now remedied the issue with the creation of this in-school course. Previously available solely through Option ii, the half-year Financial Literacy course teaches students the concepts and skills involved in both personal finance and money management, ranging from topics like savings and investments to college and career planning. Interestingly, the class takes place during the student’s study hall period. “The convenience of being able to take it out of study hall was added so that students that are taking music classes, arts classes, or computer science classes during all four years would have the opportunity to fulfill graduation requirements without giving up their primary area of interest,” Riley said.

LA IV / LA IV Honors
Following the removal of the semester language arts classes, this new option for high school seniors has been added to the Program of Studies. LA IV and LA IV Honors aim to aid students with preparation for the world beyond high school and to allow for demonstration of comprehension and communication skills previously cultivated. Students will explore complex literary texts in both fiction and nonfiction genres, some of which will be drawn from texts originally studied in the semester courses. “We are working to combat the ‘senioritis’ issue by making the courses applicable to students’ lives,” said Language Arts Supervisor Cathy Reilly. “We are planning to include a project component in the course. This will be guided by student choice, something that is important to them. It should relate to an area they wish to pursue after high school.  Students will be given the opportunity to explore and choose from various mediums for their projects and consider their target audiences.” The courses are designed around the Common Core State Standards, a set of benchmarks for high school students, and the department also plans to gather information from college professors, admissions officers, and other high schools to ensure a successful curriculum. The department is also looking to incorporate suggestions from North’s current juniors and seniors, so they have created a survey for students to provide input. The department is also looking to incorporate suggestions from North’s current juniors and seniors, so they have created a survey for students to provide input.

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