MHS considers 6 new classes

Kris Long, Print Editor-in-Chief

Six new classes concerning an array of subjects have been recommended to the USD 383 school board for approval to be offered during the 2022-2023 school year. They include Adaptive Performing Arts, Advanced Excel and Database, American Government — MATC, AG Tig Welding, Computer Coding I and French IV. 

Three of the six courses — AG Tig Welding, Coding I and Advanced Excel and Database — are part of the Career and Technical Education Department and will allow students to further their study of the Programming and Software Development pathway, the Business Finance pathway and the Power, Structure, and Technical Systems. 

“We used to teach the [Advanced Excel and Database] class a long time ago… and then it got dropped, and now we’re bringing it back because it works with some of our pathways for our CTE and our business department,” business teacher Kathy Ricketts said. “That way the students can learn more advanced features in Excel and do a lot of hands-on projects to get them ready for after high school.”

Adaptive Performing Arts attempts to give Special Education students a chance to participate in MHS’s performing arts areas: orchestra, band, choir and theatre — at a level appropriate to their abilities in the subject. Students with Individual Education Programs are currently placed in performing arts classes not formulated towards their needs. 

“This semester, specifically, I have had a number of students with disabilities who have enrolled in my drama classes,” drama teacher Ginny Pape said. “And I enjoy teaching them, I think they’re great. But sometimes the material that we have in class is more directed towards students who don’t have disabilities. And I thought, ‘man, I really wish that we could have a class that was just formulated just for these folks.’”

The students with IEPS will be integrated with advanced drama and choir students in a model similar to the Interpersonal Skills class, and will learn about topics in performing arts through a process-oriented curriculum. 

“The performing arts are generally very results-oriented. You work for a quarter, and then you give a concert, or you work and then you put on a play,” choir teacher Chad Pape said. “That can leave people behind if that’s your end result. And so we wanted to create a class that was much more process-oriented and much more oriented towards the fun daily things you can do, with the idea that we would structure the class so we couldn’t possibly leave anybody behind.” 

MATC American Government will join the three pre-existing community-college dual enrollment classes in the social studies area: MATC Sociology, Psychology and United States History. This class aims to give students an opportunity for students to gain college credit in United States Government without having to take an AP Exam. 

“It offers a little more flexibility [than the AP class],” history teacher Kent Hildebrand said. “There’s not the pressure of a one-off exam at the end, but they’re very similar. I use the same textbook and do a lot of the same stuff, we maybe don’t have to work at the same pace just because I have more flexibility in what content we cover and how much time we spend on it.”

French IV will allow students to take four years of French again next year after hiring issues rendered that impossible in the 2021-2022 school year. The AP class will still not be offered. 

The course description book will be revised in December and January, and enrollment of underclassmen will begin in February.