New courses announced for upcoming school year

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By Trey Phillips, Staff Reporter Every year, students at Conestoga choose the courses they will take next year from the Program of Studies. As students flip through the booklet, they will find various additions and subtractions to the courses offered in the upcoming school year. Many of the changes to the Program of Studies have...

By Trey Phillips, Staff Reporter

Every year, students at Conestoga choose the courses they will take next year from the Program of Studies. As students flip through the booklet, they will find various additions and subtractions to the courses offered in the upcoming school year.

Many of the changes to the Program of Studies have been years in the making, bridging gaps in the curriculum and enabling further discussion. Ancient World History is among these new opportunities, as social studies teacher Greg Hein expands on why he feels Ancient World History is needed in Conestoga.

“For the kid who just loves history, there’s just not a lot of options for you; so many of our electives which are really interesting and great electives are just not focused on history. This is an opportunity (to) dive deeper into history that matters and is meaningful that we don’t get to know that much about,” Hein said. “I’ve had kids in European History every year ask, ‘When are we going to learn about the Greeks, when are we going to learn about the Romans?’ We’re not. It’s a Modern European History class and that was something that you would have learned about in World History but not anymore.”

Ancient World History will be replacing AP European History in the fall to help fill in some of the gaps left by the current World History course taught in ninth grade. On a different note, perhaps the largest change to the Program of Studies over the next few years will be the restructuring of the English Curriculum. Tricia Ebarvia, English department chair, explains a few of the changes students can expect in the coming years.

“The first change that will happen next year is that Language and Composition will be a required course for all juniors to ensure students have a writing-focused course on argument and rhetoric that will prepare them for college,” Ebarvia said. “In the year 2022-23, the English Department’s plan is to offer new courses across the board that would take the current British, Comparative, Writer’s Craft, and create new thematic courses taking elements from each that students would then choose from.”

These latter changes to the English curriculum are not finalized and not currently reflected in this year’s Program of Studies; however, they are anticipated for the 2022-23 school year. In summary, the most visible changes at the present time will be the shift of Language and Composition to a required course, and the replacement of American Literature with American Voices in name only.

More changes outside the English Department will be made, such as a restructuring of how lab periods are oriented in science classrooms to give more flexibility for student’s schedules; and a renaming of “Chanteuse” to “Cantata” in the music department. 

Courses themselves aren’t the only thing changing this year, course selection cards have also gotten a new look with online submissions. Now as opposed to physical cards and teacher signatures, the entire process can be completed from home with many other aspects streamlined, Assistant Principal Anthony Dilella explains.

“Instead of checking off on a card and waiting in line in the main lobby, you’re just going to put the course recommendations into your PowerSchool portal (…) one of the things you’ll notice in my video is that it’s really important that you have a plan in place, that you don’t just go in there blind and start selecting stuff,” Dilella said. 

Further instructions on scheduling can be found through the Conestoga High School Schoology group. Dilella is hopeful that this system yet has made clear that this year students will not only be choosing what courses they take, but how they choose.

“It’s not really about what I’d like to see happen, it’s what do the kids like. If the kids’ feedback to me is they really like this online scheduling system, they really like the online course selection and it works really well; then I’m all about it,” Dilella said. “If they don’t like something, then I’m willing to go back and see how to tweak it and make it better.”

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