More course options mulled
Cranberry Bureau Chief
Written by:
By J.W. Johnson Jr.
January 13, 2018
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Wes Shipley, left, superintendent for the Mars School District, and school board President Dayle Ferguson review items during a school board meeting Tuesday.

MARS — Students at Mars High School could have more course options available to them in the coming years.

During a Tuesday meeting of the Mars School Board, Kara Eckert, director of curriculum, instruction and innovative practices for the district, and Lindsay Rosswog, Mars High School principal, updated board members on potential course modifications for the 2018-19 school year. The pair worked with department leaders to create a list of possibilities and pared down those suggestions into achievable changes.

Eckert said only one additional staff member for the English department would be added under the proposal. That staff member would teach a “Foundations of Communication” course, which would be required of sophomore students and focus on the basics of day-to-day interactions. There also would be an emphasis on preparing for speeches and working with classmates on a common task.

“Students really need to know how to communicate better,” Rosswog said, adding the course will expand upon communication elements being taught in other areas of the curriculum.

The biggest changes would come to the technology department course offerings.

“Trying to stay current is a challenge,” Eckert said.

A course focused on Java technologies would be expanded to include other computer programs. There is also potential for offering an advanced placement computer science course, Eckert said. Other offerings would include principles of video production, which would let students learn basics before taking a broadcast course later, and systems engineering.

Administrators also hope to offer an exploratory arts course, as Rosswog said students applying to some colleges find themselves lacking the appropriate amount of fine arts education.

“We’re trying to meet the needs of students applying to colleges,” she said.

The board will hear additional information on the proposed changes during a 7 p.m. Tuesday meeting.