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St. Mary’s adding new classes in science and the arts for 2018-19

02/16/2018 | Comments

COLORADO SPRINGS. The 2018-2019 school year is bringing some fun new, or returning, courses to the line-up at St. Mary’s High School. These offerings include several fine arts courses and the return of French. Offering fun and informative electives is all part of St. Mary’s mission to educate the whole student.

Anna Sanzo, academic dean, said while St. Mary’s college preparatory curriculum provides a scheduled academic experience, electives provide students opportunities to explore new interests or indulge in passions they already have.

“Our electives provide a balance to our rigorous academics,” Sanzo said. “Electives allow St. Mary’s to enhance its overall program and encourage students to grow through new opportunities.”

In the coming year, students interested in the fine arts will have several new offerings. Vocal Music: Choir will become a full credit class in 2018-2019. Choir has been offered as a before school quarter credit class for the last couple of years. After several years of being offered as a club, theater will return as a credited class next year as well. Also, being added are ceramics, drawing, painting, and two sections of French.

“Each year we must weigh the number of students interested with the resources we have,” Sanzo said. “If we do not have enough students signed up for a class, that class is cancelled for that school year, and will be re-evaluated to see if there is renewed interest the following school year. This coming year we are fortunate to be able to take advantage of having teachers who are available to bring these electives to our students.”

Also returning next year are three science electives — microbiology, marine science, and nuclear chemistry — that were added for the current year and have been extremely popular with the students. Nora Frederick, who is teaching her specialty microbiology this semester, has been pleased with how her students are progressing in this hands-on, laboratory-oriented class.

“This course has a college atmosphere to it because my students do all of the preparation and perform the experiments individually,” Frederick said. “I supervise my students, but they don’t need me to hold their hands in the lab, which allows them to grow in technique and knowledge. Each student is responsible for their own learning and they are all excelling and enjoying the course.”

Another elective offering is the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering curriculum, which is now fully implemented. PLTW courses offer students four years of electives that explore various forms of engineering including computer science. To provide even more opportunities to its students, St. Mary’s offers E-Dynamics online courses that allow students to study highly specialized courses such as culinary, hotel management and sign language.

“It’s wonderful that we can offer courses that are somewhat of a novelty, something different, that allow our students to explore subjects they are curious about,” Sanzo said. “Exploration of these more specialized courses is great experience for college and for considering career choices.”

(Amy G. Partain is director of communications for St. Mary’s High School.)

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