Program of Studies brings curriculum changes

Program+of+Studies+brings+curriculum+changes

When students flip through the new Program of Studies in the upcoming weeks, they will find that three new courses have been added to the curriculum: Personal Fitness; App Development; and Ethics, Inquiry and Discourse. 

Personal Fitness, a semester-long physical education course, will combine the fundamentals of strength training, aerobic training and overall fitness training. The aim of this class, which is the first physical education elective course to be added within the past few years, is to emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle and fitness program. 

According to Health and Physical Education Department Chair Mr. Jones, Personal Fitness was introduced to address each individual’s needs and provide them with benefits such as improved self-confidence, reduced stress and better sleep.

“The positive effects of exercise have been proven by many research articles, including the Harvard School of Public Health Study of College Health Behaviors,” Jones said. “Students should expect to experience more energy during the day, elevated mood, and reduced stress.  In addition to a heightened attention span and a sharper memory– leading to increase in cognitive function—all this while enjoying a  fun break during the school day.”

On the more sedentary side of things, App Development will be introduced as a new semester-long computer science course, focusing on the app development process. Although ’Stoga already offers the course Coding: Games, Apps and the Arts, which incorporates designing a simple gaming app, App Development will solely focus on each student producing a fully functional app for Android, iOS or web application. 

“After taking the course, the students will be able to build their own application and be able to deploy the app on different platforms, including a website, android, iOS, or as a standalone PC or Mac application,” computer science teacher Edward Sharick said. “They’ll understand all the different aspects that go into app development and will be able to create their own in the future. I’m really excited for the course.” 

As an adviser for the Ethics Bowl team, philosophy teacher John Koenig is looking forward to seeing how the new Ethics, Inquiry and Discourse class will play out in the upcoming school year. The course, a social studies elective, will be semester-long and discussion-based. Using commercials, speeches and artwork, students will learn about different methods of persuasion and how to develop their own arguments in the study of ethics. 

“I think there is a lot of value that can be taken from this course. Ethical questions can be at the center of people’s lives, and it is important (for students) to be able to formulate arguments to answer those questions and feel confident in their answers,” Koenig said. 

Assistant principal Anthony Dilella is confident that the process that goes into creating new classes will ensure positive student experiences.

“We are always looking for ways to enhance our already impressive Program of Studies. Each course above will benefit students by providing relevant, up-to-date information in their respective field. Teachers use student feedback when creating classes as their guide and research current best practices to create the course,” Dilella said.

Along with these additions to the curriculum, the district will make Language and Composition a required course for juniors beginning in the 2021-2022 school year. Besides these new courses, however, course selection will proceed much the same it always has, and final course selection cards will be collected on Feb. 20 and 21.