New courses coming to 2017-18 school year

Mason High School’s course catalog is getting upgraded.

Changes in the course catalog this year include the addition of classes such as Filmmaking, Advanced Placement Comparative Government, and Engineering in our World. Assistant Principal Shanna Bumiller said courses such as Engineering in our World will give students a taste of a potential career in engineering.

“I think (many) kids are interested in going into engineering,” Bumiller said. “And we currently saw that as a gap. We don’t have an engineering course here at the high school. This is really meant to be an introductory course where kids say, ‘I want to go into engineering,’ but they really don’t know what that means, or all the fields that are in engineering. (This course would) give kids a broad survey of all the different types of engineering (and) peak their curiosity.”

Sophomore Corinne Mattingley said Filmmaking would allow students interested in video editing, writing, and acting to practice everything at one time.

“There’s an element of writing, with an element of technology, and a little bit of acting too,” Mattingley said. “So it’s kind of a combination of all three things. You can take a class where you learn how to edit videos, you can take an acting class, and you can take a writing class, but there’s not really a class where you can combine all three.”

Junior Seth Gerus said AP Comparative Government would allow students to deeply analyze America’s government and make connections about the world.

“I think it would be a great class, just so people know what’s going on in the world,” Gerus said. “So many people have so little knowledge on what’s happening outside of the U.S. and think that we live in a vacuum, but really, the U.S. is how it is because of how we interact with the rest of the world. You would not only learn about foreign governments and what goes on in their own countries, but how it affects America.”

Another change for next year pertains to AP Biology and AP Chemistry. Both of these courses next year will take up less space the students’ schedules. Bumiller said that one of the goals for this change is to make sure that only the students truly interested in science take the AP courses.

“We want students to pick (AP courses) because that’s where their passion lies,” Bumiller said. “We don’t want students to take it because it’s one and a half weighted credit, and if that causes a decrease in enrollment because kids looked at that as a pathway to increase their GPA, then so be it.”

Freshman Alishaan Ali plans to take AP Chemistry next year and he is concerned about learning the material in enough time.

“My main concern is (getting through) all of those labs,” Ali said. “And (if it is) going to become even a lot more work than it was this year.”

AP Biology teacher Elizabeth Coleman said that the AP Biology and Chemistry teachers are trying to make up with the substantial loss of time due to the course changes to make sure that the students benefit and all specific course requirements are met.

“Losing 100 minutes every week is going to be huge, because if you multiply that over the 36 weeks of the school year, that’s going to be a lot of lost time,” Coleman said. “So things have to be adjusted, and we’re working with the administration too, to see what’s best not just for students, not just for the whole building, but looking at some of the things going on that are unique to AP Bio and AP Chem.”

Coleman said that adjustments made for next year such as a proposed new schedule will help students stay more focused on each of their classes, and make their day less chaotic.

“The brain’s not really meant to stay engaged that often (seven times) throughout the day, and changing it that frequently,” Coleman said. “I’m hoping that with this change, what will be nice about it is that students can focus on a few of their classes, at least a couple days a week.”

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