Seneca Valley unveils new curriculum

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New STEM-related classes and new offerings in the cyber program will be available to Seneca Valley pupils in the next school year.

Assistant Superintendent Matthew McKinley reviewed the district’s new course offerings at Monday’s school board meeting.

The most visible changes in the curriculum are in algebra and biology because of the new Pennsylvania Core Standards, which include passing a standardized test in those subjects before graduation.

The changes allow for two full years of Algebra 1, usually taken in eight and ninth grades, he said. They have also made changes in biology, adding a biology 3 course if pupils don’t pass the Keystone Exam after completing Biology 1 and 2, he said.

Mr. McKinley said they have also revamped the technical education and family and consumer science departments. Technical education was renamed to applied engineering and technology, and they have added hydroponics, he said.

Food chemistry and food science and nutrition are two of the new courses coming to the family and consumer science department.

“As with everything, change is inevitable and they have embraced change,” Mr. McKinley said of that department.

Additional cyber courses being offered next year include hospitality and tourism, international business, introduction to social media, gothic literature, fashion and interior design, intro to legal studies and archeology.

They have also created a more in-depth independent study for pupils interested in child development allowing them more time in the district’s preschool program, he said.

The district also will offer physical education independent study for marching band members. They must complete the marching band season, complete a cyber-program and demonstrate 15 hours of resistance work outside of school to get credit, Mr. McKinley said. A similar physical education independent study is already in place for pupils participating in school sports teams.

Pupils in the district have started signing up for next year’s course offerings. All courses are listed on the district’s web site with a course description and the curriculum. Mr. McKinley said they have videos featuring teachers and pupils talking about the curriculum with some of the course descriptions.

Laure Cioffi, freelance writer:

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