New Classes Coming to Campus in 2020

The new school year will bring plenty of new classes, ranging from Social Studies, Language, and the Arts.

Jack Guardiola and Joe Lister

The first new class is one that was listed in last year’s course catalogue, but will be run for the first time in the upcoming year.

“From a social studies perspective, you’ll see African-American History promoted again; it was in our course book last year, but we really want to see it run this coming year for 2021, we just did not have enough interest for it to run as a section,” Assistant Head of School for Academics Mr. Patrick Sillup said.

According to Sillup, there will also be a new Social Studies class focusing on current events.

“We’ll be running a course called Currents covering current events as they happen everyday. We live in a really fast paced and fascinating time, so we felt like it was time to out a course together, that allowed guys to come in and talk about what’s happening right now,” Sillup said. “We can always learn a tremendous amount from the past, but I also know we learn a heck of a lot from seeing what’s happening and backtracking from that.”

There will also be a new Spanish class, Spanish V, as an alternate option for students who do not want to take AP Spanish.

“We have a course called Spanish V Honors,” Sillup said. “That was in response to student feedback saying ‘Well I’m not really interested in AP Spanish, but I would love to continue my Spanish journey’ and so we’re trying to meet that need with a Spanish V Honors, so that’ll be offered next year for 2021.”

According to Sillup, Spanish V is a great choice for a student uninterested in AP who wants to keep taking a language after they take Spanish 4, but don’t want to start a new language.

“It’s an alternative. We had guys who said that ‘I want to do the four-year language, I’m not going to take a Chinese I or a Latin I, but I’m also not feeling the AP Spanish,’” Sillup said. “So it’s just been really that moment of, let’s listen, and let’s try Spanish V Honors. Let’s see what it looks like, let’s see where the demand goes, so we’re starting from that. But it’s not AP, it’s different from AP.

The changes also apply to the Fine Arts. The first change is to begin a class named Media Productions, which helps students create and produce digital media.

“We also have a new interdisciplinary course called Media Productions, and this was really born from the idea that we have so many incredible guys doing so many incredible things: creation, distribution, analysis of digital media,” Sillup said.

According to Sillup, the need for this class stems from the large amount of students involved in producing media extracurricularly.

“I’m thinking about guys who do an incredible job with film, podcasting, just production in general, we felt like it would be a space to have guys in a class to think about that and be producing things together, working with our own media department, just things like that,” Sillup said.

Sillup says that there will also be a new writing center, which is a place where upperclassmen can help underclassmen with their written works.

“We’ll offer a writing center, it’ll be called Introduction to Peer Editing, in which upperclassmen will have access to essentially go through and assess how they can go through and improve upon written compositions of their peers,” Sillup said. “They’ll spend most of their fall semester going through that, producing their own products and thinking, and then by the spring, being more a peer tutor and for a formal writing center.”

According to Sillup, the inspiration for the writing center stems from universities having similar programs.

“It’s cut right from the same cloth as a university model. So as you guys have been on university and college campuses, you guys have probably seen help centers and writing centers in that same way. The best and most robust ones are run by students; and we want to model it after that, and we want to formalize it as a class,” Sillup said.

According to Sillup, administration has been seeking a way to credit students who are involved with a work-intensive extracurricular, and thinks that they have found their answer.

“Robotics will be offered as a part of an asynchronous club within Robotics, but in the best sense, we’re growing beyond just the club, and so we’d love to formalize it for transcriptable credit,” Sillup said. “The amount of time… it’s just exceptional and I’d love to transcript it, so you’ll see that as a formal course in that way.”

This new idea of finding a way to transcript work done for a club will also be applied to God Band.

“You’ll also see the same thing within God Band. So in talking with Mr. DelPizzo, I know the incredible amount of work you guys put in to prepare for performances, you sound fantastic, it should’ be on your transcript, something that says, look this is what this is looking like, here the way in which we’re doing it. I also think by doing that, we get more kids to get involved, cause they see it and they see access to it,” Sillup said.

Another change to the curriculum is the introduction of an online Health program. Although there is online Health over the summer, this will be the first time Health is offered online during the school year.

“Internally, the other thing is online health. It can be tricky, particularly for an upperclassmen, you guys have your hands in incredible electives incredible core discipline opportunities making health online really opens you up,” Sillup said. “So instead of taking up a block physically, it’s something you can do in an asynchronous fashion, and it’s something that I do where, ‘I know that these are my tasks to complete, I know that I can do that on a weekend, I know that I can finish that by October, and I can check the box, in a sense.’”

You can find these new courses, among others, in the 2020-21 coursebook.