By Ben Shapiro, News Editor With more than 150 course offerings, Conestoga provides a wide selection of classes, co-curriculars and ensembles in which its students can enroll. Every year, the school’s administration reevaluates its Program of Studies, a catalog of every course Conestoga offers, and makes changes for the next academic year. For the 2023-24...
By Ben Shapiro, News Editor
With more than 150 course offerings, Conestoga provides a wide selection of classes, co-curriculars and ensembles in which its students can enroll. Every year, the school’s administration reevaluates its Program of Studies, a catalog of every course Conestoga offers, and makes changes for the next academic year.
For the 2023-24 school year, Conestoga will pilot four new courses: Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry, Comparative Literature: Coming of Age and Community, Comparative Literature: Science Fiction and Dystopia, and App Development 2. Additionally, in accordance with state regulations, Conestoga will offer a more robust dual enrollment program with Drexel University next year.
The semester-long Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry course is the science department’s sole addition next year. According to chemistry teacher Dr. Derrick Wood, the class is three years in the making. He noted that the process to build a course from the ground up takes careful consideration.
“It takes some time to talk with the administrators about what the strategic plan is for the district, what’s the plan here at Conestoga, what types of course offerings we have and where the needs (are),” Wood said.
Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry will be offered at the accelerated and honors levels. It is designed for students who want to continue their education in chemistry either without or after taking the AP course. It will be heavily lab-based and the first true physical science course offered at Conestoga.
Junior Samantha Meaney is currently hoping to pursue a career in either medical research or pharmaceuticals post-college. She is planning on taking Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry next year and is excited to do so as it will allow her to take a third year of chemistry — after taking AP Chemistry 1 and 2 in her sophomore and junior years, respectively.
“It (AP Chemistry 2) is my favorite class; I’m super interested in it,” Meaney said. “So, being able to continue chemistry next year is something I really want to do.”
Along with its science counterpart, the English department will also see changes in its course offerings next year. However, in addition to simply adding new courses, it is changing its graduation requirements for students, as well.
Starting next school year, students must take one credit in either Comparative Literature or AP Literature and Composition during 12th grade.
Accompanying this change, the English department will offer two special topic courses in comparative literature: Coming of Age and Community, and Science Fiction and Dystopia. They will both be offered at the accelerated and honors levels.
Assistant Principal Dr. Matthew Sterenczak is excited to hear students’ responses to the new courses. He noted that the best gauge of student interest in a course is seeing how many people take it.
“We always want to hear feedback. Actually, the feedback is who enrolls for those courses,” Sterenczak said.
Students will see two additional differences in the 2023-24 Program of Studies. The class previously titled Coding: Games, Apps and the Arts will now be Coding and the App Development course will become a two-part series with the addition of App Development 2.
Wood agrees with Sterenczak’s sentiment about student feedback. He finds that by simply asking his students what they are interested in, he is able to scale the popularity of a potential course.
“Student interest is definitely a key part of (proposing a new course). Whenever we have the idea, we go to our students and we ask, ‘Hey is this something you’d be interested in?’” Wood said. “We do a lot of informal poling with our classes at the different levels.”
Ben Shapiro can be reached at [email protected].
© 2022 Spoke.News. All rights reserved.