MT. VERNON — Mt. Vernon Township High School will offer several new classes over the next few years covering such diverse topics as fashion, statistics, and even firefighting.
School officials say these courses are a direct result of input received from students and local business people.
The additional classes are not expected to be a major expense, since existing faculty will teach them, said Superintendent Michael Smith.
“We’re real happy that we’re able to continue to expand our programming and offerings for students,” Smith said. “We’re doing it cost-effectively in a financially challenging time.”
The new class offerings for the 2014-2015 school year were approved by the MVTHS Board of Education Oct. 21.
Included are courses for the regular student curriculum at the high school, and those for the Area Vocational Center.
New regular school courses next year will include: a probability and statistics math class, new advanced placement science classes, a freshman seminar class, and an advanced placement studio art class.
The freshman seminar class is essentially an extension of the school’s Freshman Academy, said Assistant Superintendent Rob Pipher.
As part of the course, students will work on setting achievement goals for high school, college, and beyond, Pipher said.
Pipher said this class will be a benefit to both students and faculty at MVTHS.
“It’s to make sure over the four years, we do what we need to do to prepare them for what their goal is,” Pipher said.
Next year’s new AVC classes will include two fashion-related courses: one covering the actual clothing materials and the other having to do with merchandising.
MVTHS officials have heard from local clothing retailers who are having a difficult time finding qualified employees, Pipher said. The new fashion courses could help alleviate this problem, he said.
“They want employees with this knowledge. It’s beneficial to their business,” Pipher said.
The new firefighting course will likely be offered at the AVC starting in the 2015-2016 school year. It will cover all the skills related to extinguishing fires, Pipher said.
“It’s something we’ll work with local fire departments on,” Pipher said.
Before taking this class, however, students first have to complete a “health occupations and skill development” course where they become certified first responders, Pipher said.
All of these new courses are part of a concerted effort to give students more career options and to help the local business community find qualified workers, Pipher said.
Three years ago, MVTHS moved from a seven-period day to an eight-period day, leaving more room for elective courses, Pipher said.
“We’re trying to add options for students,” Pipher said. “We’re also trying to help the community.”
The frequency and scheduling of the new classes will largely depend on how many students sign up.