Next year, Indian Creek High School students will be able to take creative writing or learn more about the anatomy of the human body.
Greenwood Community High School students will be able to experience working in radio and television. And Center Grove students will be able to learn about textiles and fashion careers.
Those are just some of the new options students will have when signing up for their next semester of classes at local high schools.
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Core classes are mandated by the Indiana Department of Education, including math, English, social studies, science and foreign language classes. However, students, teachers and administrators can all help drive what elective courses schools offer based on student and teacher interests and where educators are seeing the most job growth for students, local school officials said.
“A lot of what we add are electives, because the requirements are spelled out for you,” Whiteland Community High School principal Tom Zobel said.
Next semester, dozens of new courses are being added at most high schools across the county, with most adding at least six new classes.
Franklin and Whiteland are offering new Advanced Placement courses in art. And all county public high schools will offer a new course covering Indiana history and heritage.
Whenever a class is added, the school must have a teacher who can lead it, the class usually must already be approved by the Indiana Department of Education and students must be interested in taking it.
The No. 1 goal in adding new courses is to make sure that students are learning the skills they will need after they graduate high school, whether they enter the job market or enroll in college or technical school, educators said.
Often, new courses start with a teacher’s idea of either a subject they want to teach, or that they think is needed based on student interest, educators said.
Indian Creek High School is adding an interactive media class next year.
Teacher John Butler wanted to add the class after thinking about some of the technology in football coaching and how it could be used to teach students the advanced technical skills they will need to land a job after they leave school, he said.
“For me as an educator, the sooner they can get started and taking classes and getting into things that interest them, the sooner they can make plans,” he said.
Teachers from different departments at Greenwood Community High School meet and decide if a new course should be offered. That course is then pitched to administrators with a proposal, principal Todd Garrison said.
If administrators want to offer a new class, but don’t have a teacher for it already, some principals might look at college courses current teachers can take or consider online options for students, Garrison said. A computer science class that was offered online only will move into the classroom next semester after a teacher was hired to teach the course, Garrison said.
“We have to be able to offer that opportunity to the kids,” Garrison said. “We have to have as many offerings as we can that are high tech.”
Some schools seek out other ways for students to earn credits online so they have more time in their schedules to fit in other classes.
For example, Indian Creek High School has offered NHJ Empower in the past few years, which allows students to take elective courses online, such as marine biology and Advanced Placement psychology, which can free up times in the school day for students to take other courses, principal Luke Skobel said.
Last summer, Indian Creek added back a summer physical education class after years of not offering it so students can complete the requirement during the summer and free up their schedule during the school year to take other courses.
Here is a look at some of new classes that are coming to county high schools:
Center Grove High School
- Global campus genetics
- Fashion and textile careers
Franklin Community High School
- Project Lead The Way-Principles of Biomedical Sciences
- Computer science
Greenwood Community High School
- Radio and television
- Principles of engineering
Indian Creek High School
- Interactive media
- Creative writing
Whiteland Community High School
- Marketing, hospitality, tourism
- Adult roles and responsibilities