High school curriculum update in Moon Area to affect more than 20 courses

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Curriculum changes at Moon Area High School are in the works to address changing student needs and to enhance their college and career readiness skills.

Principal Barry Balaski said it has been approximately 20 years since the high school has had a full-blown curriculum revamp. There have been slight changes, textbook updates and course deletions over the years, but nothing like the course modernization proposal given to directors Monday night.

"[We want to] update to 2013, to what people are doing on the outside," Mr. Balaski said.

Among the proposed curriculum changes are 22 modernized elective courses and two courses with name changes. These modifications are designed to refresh elective course offerings in department areas where interest has been lacking.

A new career and life development elective course for "those that aren't college bound" teaches preparation for the job search, interviewing tips, financial planning and decision making skills. Teacher and principal recommendations are required for admittance to this course.

In the family and consumer sciences department, four courses will address personal nutrition, meal planning, budgeting, the art of baking, grilling, crockpot cooking and ethnic cuisines.

"We want to get out of the 1950s cooking mode," Mr. Balaski said.

Major changes in the business, computer and information technology departments also were presented.

Mr. Balaski said Algebra I doesn't change, but in the business world things are always changing and need to be updated.

Other new offerings include: sports and entertainment marketing, Java programming, international business, hands on art, pre-engineering, personal fitness and entrepreneurship.

Personal keyboarding will be dropped from the computer science courses because students come into the high school with keyboard skills that the school is unable to change whether they are good or bad, Mr. Balaski said.

The existing Biology 2 class will be renamed Anatomy and Physiology Honors. Reading and writing workshops will now have an indicator of sequence.

"It's going to be a little bit of a scheduling nightmare, but it will be worth it," Mr. Balaski said.

School directors are expected to vote on accepting the courses into the high school program of studies on Jan. 28.

A detailed review of the changes is available on the district's curriculum portal webpage at http://www.moonarea.net/250/academics-and-technology. Textbooks associated with the new courses are on display until Jan. 28 for public review in the district's central administration office in the lower level of the high school.

education - neigh_west

Sonja Reis, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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