Students at Downers Grove North and South high schools could have several new classes to choose from next year—including advanced accounting and engineering courses.
Administrators from both schools were on hand at the Community High School District 99 workshop meeting Monday night to present curriculum proposals for the 2013-14 school year.
The district analyzes its existing curriculum every year, gathering input from teachers, parents and students on courses that should be added, removed or modified, according to Superintendent Mark McDonald.
This year, District 99 officials are recommending eight new courses, as well as name changes for several existing classes.
"All of these courses go through a relatively rigorous vetting process, beginning with classroom teachers and department heads," McDonald said. "Every course that we're bringing forward is one that we believe should be included in our curriculum. These are courses we believe we have the resources to support and afford."
In the Science Department, officials have recommended Advanced Placement Physics C: Mechanics. The year-long course would be an elective for senior students, designed to meet the objectives of a first semester college mechanics course, according to Pete Theis, associate principal for curriculum and instruction at North High.
The course would specifically benefit students who do not have a background in calculus, but are interested in taking advanced physics. Throughout the year, students will be taught the requisite amount of calculus to be successful in the course, Theis said.
In English, officials are recommending the addition of English IV: Writing for Broadcast Expression, a writing-intensive course that would incorporate the use of radio and television production methods. The semester class would be an English elective offered to seniors, officials said.
One of the more innovative ideas to come from the Career and Technical Education Department is a new program called "Project Lead the Way," which prepares students to become leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
"This has been embraced throughout the country as a way to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter college in areas of (STEM), which would then hopefully increase the number of people who move into careers in those particular industries," Theis said. "This is one way to offer exposure to students at an earlier age, and get them better prepared to take these kinds of courses when they get to college."
As part of Project Lead the Way, school officials are recommending two courses: Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering.
Introduction to Engineering Design would be a year-long elective open to all students, and would replace Technology Education, Theis said. The course would expose students to the design process, research and analysis, and engineering standards.
Principles of Engineering would be a year-long elective for sophomore, junior and senior students. The course is designed to be a second-level course in the Project Lead the Way program, Theis said.
Another recommended course for the 2013-14 school year is Honors Accounting, a class school officials have been looking into for three years, said Gina Ziccardi, associate principal for curriculum and instruction at South High.
The year-long class will be offered to sophomores, juniors and seniors, Ziccardi said.
The last three course proposals were all from the Math Department: College Algebra 300, a senior elective designed to prepare students for college-level pre-calculus; Math 1, a class for freshmen and sophomores that will apply Common Core math practices; and Foundations for Math 1, a course for freshmen who have not completed an eighth-grade math course based on Common Core standards.
School officials are also recommending the following name changes for the sake of clarity, accuracy and student placement:Department Current Course Title Proposed Title English Strategies for Academic Success (SAS) Strategies for Academic Success I English Advanced Strategies for Academic Success Strategies for Academic Success II and III Career and Technical Education Fashion Workshop 1 Fashion Construction 1 Career and Technical Education Fashion Workshop 2 Fashion Construction 2 Career and Technical Education Fashion Workshop 3 Fashion Construction 3
The school board will vote on the new courses during its Dec. 17 business meeting, McDonald said.
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