New classes added to course catalog

Leah Mulaly

     Most students witnessed the hectic schedule change frenzy at the beginning of the school year, along with several conflicts with class size and period. To avoid another such occurrence in the 2010-2011 school year, the administration developed a new plan, which involved beginning course selection earlier in the Spring of 2010. In addition to the new system of selecting classes, new courses are being offered for the 2010-2011 school year such as Music Theory, Advanced Math Decision Making, AP Art History and Scientific Research and Design.

     “The state added the new courses due to the new four by four,” Amber Fountain, counselor, said. “They wanted to give students more math and science options. Also, the state redid our career and technology courses to make them more relevant to what’s happening today.”

     If the four by four plan allows time, students can take advantage of the many new electives. Music theory will be offered to upperclassmen as both an AP class and a regular class. It introduces students to basic musical skills such as reading music on the regular level and on the AP level provides advanced skills for people who intend to major in music, such as musical composition.

     “[Music Theory] is interesting,” David Jacobson, sophomore, said. “I had an extra elective [space] and I’m thinking about majoring in music.”

     Advanced Math Decision Making (AMDM), or Math Independent Study, is offered only to students with an Algebra II credit. The class will cover various topics such as basic statistics and financial applications.

     “[AMDM] is going to be just as rigorous as Pre-Calculus but it’s good for those going into social sciences or other non-math intensive majors,” Fountain said.

     AP Art History is offered to juniors and seniors only and will teach students to observe and critically evaluate art, with consideration to the social, political, economic and religious influence on the art.

     “I like Art History, more specifically the Renaissance period,” Tawni Myers, sophomore, said. “And it’s an AP class so it will help my GPA.”

     Scientific Research and Design will be taught by Brent Grissom, who also teaches Pre-AP and AP Biology. In the class, which is only offered to seniors, students will create their own experiments and design and conduct field investigations.

     “It’s a big jump from high school sciences, no matter how good they are, to actual college research,” Grissom said. “The class is an attempt to get students ready to contribute to true research right when they get to college instead of waiting four years.”

     Additional new courses include Environmental Systems, Earth and Space Science, Counseling and Mental Health, Landscape Design and Turf Grass Management, Sports and Entertainment Marketing and College Preparation. Many classes have new names or have had material added to them. For example, BCIS is now BIM—Business Information Management— and E-tailing has been added to Retailing.

     With all these new classes, new course selection sheets were made. These new sheets come with a request for both parent and student to sign their name agreeing to refrain from changing courses after May 1. Though the counselors have good intentions, the scheduling issues still sometimes cause frustration among students.

     “I think we should be able to make schedule changes,” Sydney Leppin, junior, said. “I don’t want to be held accountable for a schedule I may not agree with, if they put me in an alternate course.”

     Another change is the new Recommended graduation plan, which applies to the current freshmen and every class after them. It now requires only one physical education credit, half a credit less than the old plan, and doesn’t necessitate a technology credit. This change was made to give students more flexibility with their schedules and the opportunity to take electives, since the four by four plan mandates more classes than were previously required. The classes of 2013 and after pick four and a half electives of their choice, whereas students previously chose only three extra electives.

     “I think it’s cool because I’m not interested in any technology classes and I get to take more classes that I enjoy instead of a class I hate,” Trevor Thompson, freshman, said.

     The classes of 2011 and 2012, however, are also required to follow the four by four plan but the graduation requirements were changed too late to affect them.

     “It’s not fair,” Alex Jones, junior, said. “That gives [the classes of 2013 on] so much extra time to take extra electives that they actually want to take. We’re limited by the four by four plan!”

     Even though of the classes of 2011 and 2012 have this disadvantage, the new courses are being installed in time for them to take. With the vast array of new courses and the sweeping changes made to graduation requirements and scheduling management, the personal wants and needs of Cedar Park students are in the spotlight more than ever. For better or for worse, the modifications were made with the intention to improve education and ensure a better high school and college experience for everyone.