DuBOIS — DuBois Area High School students will have more courses to choose from for the 2018-19 school year.
Upon the recommendation of Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Anne Young, Principal Brian Weible and Assistant Principal Brian Mulhollan, the board approved the course guide for next school year along with new and revised courses.
In addition to the three administrators, the four high school counselors and department heads looked at whether the high school was offering the courses that best fit students’ needs, in light of the current work environment, work needs and in light of what colleges need from students.
“We’re looking to have increased opportunities for our students,” Weible said. “And so, it takes 22 1/2 credits to graduate from DuBois Area High School, and we did not change that. We just wanted to offer the kids more options, something that interested them.”
Students will have 2.25 more credits for electives. What that equates to is about five classes.
“Most electives are semester classes, so half the year,” Weible said. “That would give a kid who’s taking half-year courses, five more classes to take. If it was full-year courses, that would be a little bit different. We’re not reducing our rigor, we’re just creating some chances for kids to do some things.”
Regarding Wellness opportunities, Mulhollan said a student in the past, every kid for example, would take Wellness 10, or Wellness 11, or Wellness 12. So they’re all in the same group.
“Now a student has the opportunity to take Lifetime Fitness, so if a kid is just interested in – and there will be some guidelines – but you could be walking, maybe even (taking) Yoga. If you’re more into competitive sports, that would be an option. Another one would be weight training, for those students that have that interest,” Mulhollan said. “So the 10th, and 11th, and 12th grade student going into physical education is going to have multiple opportunities, as opposed to just one, that’s based on their interests instead of something that everyone just has to take – and then you try to make it work. Gym is one that we definitely provide students with a lot of opportunity that they didn’t have.”
Weible said the work on the course selection guide was done as a team.
“We did it over many meetings. We worked collaboratively with department leaders. Lead teachers, who worked with their departments and got feedback and came back with us,” Weible said. “We shared this with the staff along the way. We worked with different schools. We worked with colleges, we worked with business. What we’re trying to do here is provide the students with what they need in this area. At college, if they go there, (or) if they go into the workforce.”
“And that really supports what we’re doing with the Readiness Initiative, too, where the kids are identifying at younger and younger grades what they might be interested in,” Weible said. “When they get here, they can explore it. And we did not quit offering other things. We are still offering our other things. We are just adding things. There’s no less being offered, only more.”
“The requirements are less,” Young said. “We’re lessening the rigidness of the requirements to provide opportunities, but in lessening those requirements and providing more opportunities, the kids actually have more of a choice.”
An example would be if a student is interested in the arts, and maybe math wasn’t their forte, Mulhollan said. “You can now really exhaust all the art opportunities that we have because you’ll have enough freedom in your schedule to pursue that. Varying degrees of ‘college ready,’ obviously, but at least preparing the base for that. So, depending on what their interests are, this is more tailored for that.”
“Now, we’re college career and life ready,” Weible said.
Young said making these changes will also help the graduation requirement, “because the students are going to be more motivated to stay here and take these courses, because they’re not something that they don’t like. They get to choose it.”