New school year brings curriculum changes


The 2016-2017 school year will include some changes to previously offered classes.

The current Integrated Math I will change to algebra I for incoming freshmen.

“We decided to go with this particular curriculum. It is more traditional [and what] a lot of others schools in this area do.” said  Elysha Rice, math teacher.

The Integrated Math program will be phased out over the coming years.

“The kids who are taking Integrated Math now would take that [until] they leave. It’s phasing out because we don’t want to take kids that are already in Integrated Math and shove them into Geometry,” Rice said.

Algebra I will be taught by Rice and Cheri Sobel, math teacher.

A similar change is taking place in the science department, where Integrated Science will change to Physical Science.

“There is a new generation of science standards that we are moving toward… We need a physical science class [for new science standards],” said Julie Cabaniss, science teacher.

Physical science is a course for ninth graders.

“It is a freshmen course that is focusing on chemistry and physics. It will be … hands on,” Cabaniss said.

Cabaniss and  new science teacher, Jessica Votava, will be teaching the new course.

“I will be teaching one section and then …  Ms. Votava would be teaching two sections,” Cabaniss said.

There are also some new classes that will be offered next year, including AP environmental science, visual journalism, AP music theory and Project Lead the Way (PLTW): Introduction to Engineering and Design.

AP environmental science is a class for juniors and seniors, centering on environmental systems.

“It focuses on the core concepts of environmental science as a topic,” said Eric Mathews, science teacher. “It is like [a]  field investigation with labs that are designed to get students to investigate key ideas to see how [the] environment works.”

Mathews plans to teach AP enviornmental science next year.

Another new class, AP music theory, is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

“It is one of the Advanced Placement offerings to college courses and it basically follows freshmen year in music theory for music majors,” said Karen Frink, orchestra teacher. “[While it] can be very hard for sophomores and juniors … it will probably help them understand the music and play a lot better.”

According to Frink, students do not have to take a music class at SHS in order to sign up for the class.

“It’s [best] to be band, orchestra, choir kids, but there are couple kids that are actually taking the class … but are not in other music classes,” Frink said. “The prerequisite is that you have to be able to read music you have to understand several components of music theory.”

Celeste Guse, sophomore, is taking AP music theory next year.

“I’m very excited … [I want] more knowledge about music theory because it is something that I’m not that great at right now,” Guse said. “Hopefully it will prepare me … for the classes that I will be picking for college.”

Frink will be teaching the class next year.

(Olivia Loomis) Michael Halloran and Jeff Zimpel, teachers, collaborate on the visual journalism class. The class plans to combine design and journalistic skills.

Visual journalism is a one semester double period class that will be taught by Jeff Zimpel, art and graphic design teacher, and Mike Halloran, English teacher, next year.

The class will be revolving around journalism and the visuals of stories.

“It is going to be a combination of the art department paired with the English department through the lens of journalism,” said Zimpel. “We will be continually creating design-based projects based around journalism.”

Students will be working with the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) for the visual elements of the course.

“They have actually sent over some representatives to help build the class… [and] provide us help with teaching the subject matter,” Zimpel said.

Visual journalism is being offered for juniors, seniors and underclassmen that have experiences with Ripples.

“It is one semester but [two periods] so you can really dig in. This will provide people a longer opportunity to dig into ideas in one semester than usual,” Zimpel said. “ … [It’s] going to be juniors and seniors because we want people to have at least two years of English and at least one semester of graphic design. With few exceptions — usually those exceptions would revolve around experience with Ripples.”

Introduction to engineering and design is all about building and creating 3D models.

“It is a basic introductory level of engineering course where the students will learn about the engineering design process,” said Derek Larson, math teacher.

Larson wants students to be aware of the upcoming engineering class.

“I hope that the students are aware that the class is being offered next year and hope students are aware that the engineering classes are going to start being offered,” Larson said.

In addition to the new changes,  forensics, which has been offered for the past 10 years to seniors and taught by Cindy Zauner, science teacher, will not be offered next year.

“I am the only one who was teaching it. It took me a couple of years to make this course,” Zauner said.

curriculum 2
(Olivia Loomis) Michael Halloran and Jeff Zimpel, teachers, collaborate on the visual journalism class. The class plans to combine design and journalistic skills.

It is no longer offered because of the new AP environmental science class.

“We try to limit how many different classes you have in the science department. We limited it to three. The problem is as soon as you get more offerings somebody’s got to teach them,” Zauner said.

Forensics taught students how to distinguish and examine evidence.

Miranda Jacobi, senior, who took the class this year, was disappointed it will not be offered next year.

“Honestly, I am sad to see the class go,”
Jacobi said. “It taught me a lot and it was really fun and interesting and everyone in years to come are missing out.”

Zauner said she will miss teaching the class.

“I will miss teaching it, that is for sure, and students have been really a lot of fun and it was a fun class to teach,” Zauner said. “I think they got a lot of hands on experience and at least exposure to some of the things that are going in the real world.”

Despite the loss of forensics, the new additions ensure that there will be many options for next year’s students to choose from.

“There is a lot [more] of variety than other schools,” Guse said. “We have a bunch of different literature classes. I think it’s awesome that they are starting to put more classes that students would be interested in.”

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