Peninsula -- Adding Mandarin Chinese II and American Sign Language II is among the changes to next year's high school program of studies, also known as the Course Description Guide, unanimously approved by the Woodridge Local Board of Education Jan. 8.
Superintendent Walter Davis said teachers and administrators worked hard on the program of studies. "It comes down to the last minute," Davis said. "We really work on this throughout the year." Davis said the common goal is to focus on "what we teach, why we teach it and how we can teach it better." State regulations must also be met, he added.
"The important changes in our Course Description Guide reflect the rigor, relevance, and opportunity that is so important to our current courses and to our new course offerings," High School Principal Joel Morgan told the Falls News-Press in an email Jan. 10. "All of our departments are preparing for the Ohio Core and that preparation reflects the changes in our course descriptions and new course offerings."
Morgan said the school's new Anatomy/Physiology and Bio Tech course along with Introduction to Engineering Concepts provide students with "new opportunities in science while increasing rigor and relevance in the broad range of science."
In keeping up with the times, the Newspaper class was changed to Digital Publications. "This provides our students new opportunities to work with today's technology in finding and reporting the news," the principal wrote. "Our online newspaper next year will allow our students to learn how news is gathered and delivered in today's Internet world." Mandarin Chinese II and Sign Language II are online courses, Morgan said, which "allows our students not only to become 'fluent' in these areas, but to also have the experience of learning online which will help them prepare for college and vocational training after high school."
Contemporary and World Affairs offered by the school's social studies department allows students to study history as it is unfolding today, he said. "As our world gets smaller, this class is quite relevant to our student's everyday lives," Morgan said. "This course grants our students the opportunity to see that history is happening now rather than history that happened before they were born."
Some terminology was changed, including the replacement of the term "academic misplacement" with "academic hardship," Morgan told the School Board Jan. 8. Academic hardship is defined by a failing letter grade of D or F in any class or the results of standardized test scores, according to the program.
Among ways to address academic hardship, the school's learning center was added for additional intervention. The learning center is new this year. Morgan said, and is daily used by students looking for a teacher's assistance or a study partner.
Career Based Intervention, or CBI, was added to a list of classes that include a financial literacy component as required for graduation.
Also added to course descriptions is the fact that Physical Education opt-outs must be made by the end of junior year, Morgan said. Students in sports, band or dance team are eligible for a quarter-credit of P.E., he said. Two complete seasons would give them a half-credit.