New courses announced for Norwin High School
Starting in the next school year, Norwin High School will offer students new courses that make the science more obvious in fields such as fitness and fashion and foreign-language classes that can earn college credits.
Plans also call for opening up several demanding courses to incoming freshmen who have demonstrated an ability excel academically, according to district officials.
Students who have earned at least a “B” in eighth-grade English will be eligible to take honors English starting in ninth grade, said Tracy McNelly, the district’s assistant superintendent of secondary education.
The course currently is open only to students identified as gifted.
“We have a lot of students coming into high school who are accelerated,” McNelly said. “So we want to offer them classes that are more rigorous than the regular (English) curriculum by providing them with more complex texts to read and more difficult writing exercises.”
College credit can be earned from the University of Pittsburgh by students who take the new upper-level language courses in French and German. Credit from Seton Hill University in Greensburg can be earned by students who take the upper-level Spanish course being offered next year.
Honors classes in communications, as well as U.S. and Pennsylvania studies, also will be offered at the high school.
A pair of new classes — “Personal Fitness and Nutritional Cooking” and “Fashion Strategies and Design” — will reflect the emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, at the high school, McNelly said.
“We’ve been working hard to make these type of classes more STEM-like by getting deeper into the science behind the subjects,” said McNelly, who said educators also are working to integrate more arts-related classes into the STEM curriculum.
There also will be new courses offered as a result of the Air Force Junior ROTC program such as Citizenship, Character and Air Force Tradition; Communication, Awareness and Leadership; Aviation History; and Science of Flight. There also will be a one-credit course for JROTC members who participate in military drills.
Four levels of courses in computer-aided design have been renamed CAD and Engineering Design to reflect changes to the curriculum.
“We’ve been working on agreements with the Westmoreland County Community College so that students who take these courses at Norwin will be eligible for credits at the college,” McNelly said.
The district also has added a video-gaming component that focuses on three-dimensional animation to its two-tiered Fundamentals of Computer Programming and Robotics classes in the hopes of bolstering interest among students.
“Computer programming is one of the top jobs in this region, and we felt there was a need to get more students involved in the curriculum,” said McNelly, who added an effort is being made to encouraging more girls to study computer programming.
Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at [email protected].