By Cole Parkinson
Another school year brings more locally developed courses to Horizon School Division.
After introducing a host of LCD’s over the last few of years, a number of them needed to be renewed before the beginning of the school year.
Overall, 12 courses were brought forward to the board of trustees at their regular meeting on Aug. 28 and 11 of them were up for renewal.
The first LCD in front of council was Creative Writing and Publishing 15/25/35.
“It was requested by W.R. Myers as a way to supplement English Language Arts. So students who love English and they have gone through English 10/20/30 and want to pursue something further, this is a way to do that,” explained Amber Darroch, associate superintendent of learner services.
Students who take Creative Writing and Publishing will write in a variety of specific creative writing genres and also manage their own digital portfolios and participate in the publishing process.
Similar courses in ESL Intro to Canadian Studies 15/25 and ESL Introduction to Science 15/25 were introduced in mainly Low German schools.
“Both Introduction to Science and Canadian Studies are used in our alternative programs for students from a Low German background and English is their second language. This would typically be Arden T. Litt, MAP (Mennonite Alternative Program) and TMS (Taber Mennonite School),” said Darroch.
ESL Intro to Canadian Studies provides English language learners with the opportunity to build communicative competence with the English language while examining the evolving nature of Canadian citizenship and identity in local, national and global contexts. Meanwhile, ESL Introduction to Science provides English language learners with the opportunity to build communicative competence with the English language while attaining the scientific awareness needed to function as contributing members.
TMS was also interested in expanding art programming.
“This one was actually requested by Taber Mennonite School as a way to expand their art programming a couple of years ago,” continued Darroch.
Portfolio Art 35 is for students who are serious about their intentions to continue their studies of Art at a post-secondary level.
Another course that has seen quite a bit of interest from students is Fire Rescue 15.
While it was originally featured at W.R. Myers High School, other schools around Horizon have expressed an interest in bringing it to their school.
“I hope it will involve a lot more (schools). We have begun discussions with the Taber Fire Department to actually extend some programming in partnership to high schools and we have wide interest from Lomond, Vauxhall, Warner and Milk River. That will be in development for this year. It initially was requested by a single teacher at W.R. Myers who thought it as a way to help students (who are volunteer firefighters). By taking all the training, they virtually meet the requirements for this course so that is why we acquired it,” said Darroch.
Fire Rescue Services 15 provides students with an opportunity to develop an awareness of and experience the role of a firefighter.
This course allows students to investigate potential careers in fire rescue services and qualifications for entry.
Another school division in the area tried to expand on high school fire training but had difficulty in getting it fully operational.
“Palliser (Regional Schools) created a fire academy that actually did not get off the ground when it came right down to it because it was dual credit. The students were supposed to earn credits from NAIT as well as from a high school course. It was way more complicated. This is a simple way to engage our students and help them earn high school credits but also get them involved in the community,” added Darroch.
The lone new LCD brought in by Horizon is Christian Studies 15/25/35 which is for both Christian and non-Christian students as it explores various aspects of Christianity and encourages students to be critical thinkers about religion while also developing their own personal faith.
Darroch explained the addition of Christian Studies 15/25/35 was more of a backup plan in case one of the other courses didn’t become available.
“The reason it is new is simply because the course that follows (Religious Studies 15/25/35) was not yet available in May/June when I begin all the work on this. It is such a long process that I pursued this one so we would for sure have a backup for the startup of the school year. In the meantime (Religious Studies 15/25/35) became available,” she said. “It (Christian Studies) may not get used.”
The last handful of religion based courses include Religious studies: Doctrine and Covenants 35 Part A, Religious studies: New Testament 25 Part B, Religious studies: New Testament 35 Part A, Religious studies: Book of Mormon Part A and Religious studies: Old Testament 15 Part A.
“These are courses for students who are members of the Latter Day Saints who attend a seminary outside of school. The course is overseen by a certified teacher but the programming they receive through seminary is covered in these courses and it actually aligns with the seminary curriculum, hence why it has this ever-changing number and A and B system. That applies to all five. The primary point of offering this course would be W.R. Myers,” explained Darroch.
The final course that needed renewal was Journalism 15/25/35.
The course provide students with the opportunity to explore, create, and reflect through journalistic media and students will evaluate the impact, responsibility and ethics of media in society, develop skills in creating texts for diverse audiences, collaborate to contribute and problem solve in the context of creating media texts, and learn by setting goals and reflecting throughout the production process.
All locally developed courses were approved unanimously.