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Board approves 11 new courses for H-F curriculum

An expanded curriculum with 11 new courses is planned for the 2017-18 school year at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.

Nancy Spaniak, H-F director of Curriculum, Instruction & Professional Development, said the changes will help students reach new goals while strengthening the curriculum.

Several courses will help students move ahead in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), four are in preparation for H-F’s new Media, Visual Arts and Performing Arts (MVP) Academy, and others will make changes to PE, social science and foreign language offerings, she told board members before they agreed to the changes at the Nov. 22 meeting.

A fifth Project Lead the Way course that will be a capstone course for seniors who have completed at least two other Project Lead the Way classes. The national program, offered for eight years at H-F, gives students a focus on engineering and architecture through problem-based learning.

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Another STEM addition is AP Computer Science Principles, being offered as a fourth H-F computer science class. It is also compatible with Project Lead the Way.

An honors-level Calculus class is being added to give college prep-track juniors and seniors an opportunity to take an introductory calculus class before college, Spaniak said.

Next school year will be the first year students can enroll in the MVP Academy. The board agreed to strengthen the curriculum by adding four fine arts courses.

A new Digital Concentration will be a third-year digital art course open to juniors and seniors who have completed Photography 1 and 2, or Graphics 1 and 2.

A Digital Film Study 2 class will expand film study opportunities for sophomores, juniors and seniors who have completed H-F’s level 1 film course.

Two courses exclusively for MVP Academy students are: Aesthetics and the Creative Process and Collaborative Arts Seminar.

The junior-level aesthetics course will be offered in the 2018-19 school year and will serve as an introduction to the philosophy of art. Students from within the MVP Academy will team up to create cross-discipline projects.

In the 2019-20 school year, the senior-level Collaborative Arts Seminar will be a capstone course for MVP Academy students working on a year-long cross-disciplinary project.

A Mandarin Chinese 3 class is being added next year as H-F grows its Chinese language program. Spaniak said the intention is to step up to a Chinese 4 class and by 2019-2020 offer a Chinese 5 class for advanced placement and international baccalaureate students.

Illinois is requiring high school students to pass one semester of civics starting in 2020. H-F will offer two new U.S. Government and Politics courses, including a classroom segment open to academic core, college prep and honors level students, and a virtual segment for college prep and honors level students.

Beginning Dance, a physical education (PE) class, will switch from a full-year course to a semester-long course. This will give juniors and seniors the chance to experience a variety of dance styles and be able to take other semester-long PE electives. The one-semester course can be repeated for students interested in advancing into the year-long intermediate and/or advanced dance classes.

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