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BC eyes new high school courses

The annual curriculum review at Bethlehem Central High School has resulted in several new course suggestions that will be put forward to students in the 2010-11 school year.

Principal Charles Abba said at a Wednesday, Dec. 16, meeting of the Board of Education that a committee of high school department supervisors, teachers and administrators meet several times every October to review the school's course catalog and evaluate suggestions for new or changed classes.

Any changes the council puts forward must make use of existing resources.

This is not an attempt to try and create opportunity for more FTEs [full-time-equivalency positions], Abba said.

Two entirely new classes were pitched in the science and world languages departments. Given enough student interest, forensic science will be taught next school year as a way to keep in the science department students who are not necessarily planning to take a core science class like physics in their junior or senior years. It would be an introductory program, and Abba said he expects the minimum enrollment would be easily met.

Science teacher Charles Evans has been putting the details of the course together.

"He's developed a course that a lot of kids talk about and would have interest tin," Abba said.

A minimum of 17 students must sign up for a class for it to be offered. Otherwise, it will be dropped from the schedule.

World Languages Department Supervisor Marisa Bel pitched an innovative and student-driven course called world language extended study.

Offered in one-semester blocks, the course would let students set their own goals in learning a language of their choice. They would be able to make advancements in their study by leveraging technology that would enable BC students to communicate with others around the world, which would also offer more choices to those who want to study beyond what the department offers.

"Students can certainly pick a different language that we're not able to offer," Bel said.

She added that in an increasingly globalized world, it's hard to say what languages will be most valuable to the workers of tomorrow.

"We want to try to teach the students how to learn languages independently," she said.

In the art, English and math departments, changes will be made to make the curriculum more accessible to students who are not taking traditional paths.

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