CAMPUS: ‘The goal is equity and heterogenity’

SCHS Welcomes new course offerings for 2022-23 school year

In the upcoming 2022-2023 school year, a variety of new courses are being offered, such as Data Science, with many members of the SCHS community pushing for new courses offerings.

Math teacher Taylor Burk excitedly awaits the implementation of the new Data Science course as she believes it acts as an introductory statistics course.

“We have two classes after Data Science that work as good next steps, which are Statistics and AP Statistics, but we never had a step in between,” Burk said. “Data Science is like a bridge class. Offering this class will help students bridge between those higher classes.”

According to Burk, student interest in Data Science is high. She hopes Data Science will open up new opportunities for those wanting to pursue a non-STEM career.

“I think that not all students need to take Algebra 2, or Trigonometry, or even Calculus. If you are interested in pursuing a career in the STEM field, then yes,” Burk said. “But not everyone is taking that path. Those courses are great and serve a purpose, but they shouldn’t be for everybody. Offering a different path is really important to do.”

Many Bruins have advocated for the introduction of AP Environmental Science, including SCHS’s Project: Earth club. Science teacher and club advisor Suzanne Miller-Moody wants to see the course offered at SCHS due to current environmental concerns.

“I really think we should offer AP Environmental Science, especially considering what we see going on in our environment. It is not going to get better,” Miller-Moody said. “We have to make a great effort to change it. When people are uneducated about what needs to be done, nothing gets done.”

Miller-Moody, however, noted the conflict of incorporating a fourth AP science class at SCHS due to the ones that are already available for students.

“We need AP Environmental Science, but there is a lot that needs to be done to sustain that,” Miller-Moody said. “We have AP Bio, we have AP Chem, we have AP Physics. Can we really sustain a fourth AP science class? We have 1,500 kids, and we do not have 1,500 kids taking science their junior or senior year.”

Principal Gregory Shelby, too, noted the conflict with incorporating AP Environmental Science. Although the class will not be offered in the upcoming school year, Shelby predicts that a decision will be made in the following year on whether or not to include the course.

“One of the things you have to be careful about is being able to anticipate the impacts of adding because everyone is just taking six classes, and you’re not allowed to take seven in most cases,” Shelby said. “Every time you add a class, it has an impact on other classes.”

Miller-Moody noted that the AP Environmental Science introduction is still achievable due to the fact that Wilcox offers four sections of the course. She advocates for the implementation of AP Environmental Science to encourage students to learn more about the field.

“I am a science nerd, so I love it. I would love to see more people explore science. If AP Environmental Science is an avenue for people to explore science, then let’s have it,” Miller-Moody said. “In my ideal world, it would also be great if we can have an Environmental Science class that is not AP.”

In addition to the push for AP Environmental Science, science teacher Jyothi Sunkara works to include a Physics Engineering and potentially, a Physics Honors course.

“I was a software engineer earlier, and I started teaching to help students see the world around them,” Sunkara said. “I realized that a lot of the students will be missing out on physics, and it made me very sad.”

After discussing with her AP Seminar students, she noticed many of them chose not to take physics. Because of this, she released a Google Form to survey students on whether or not they would be interested in a Physics Engineering or Honors course, with two thirds of the survey participants being interested in a Physics engineering course.

“I love the enthusiasm,” Sunkara said. “Our school district has the money, and we just need to invest in our kids and get them excited about something.”

Through the new course offerings, Shelby aims to cultivate inclusivity and equity across the SCHS community.

“There’s some creative ideas that we’re considering for future years to try to help create more heterogeneous environments where the students with different skills and different skill levels are working together and learning together,” Shelby said. “The goal is equity and heterogeneity.”