New classes are introduced to GBHS

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As the new year approaches, students at Granite Bay High School have been preparing to select their classes for the new term – this year, however, some of the choices have changed.

With new Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses available, as well as hands-on electives that might interest many incoming classmen, the course selection outcome will definitely be different than in past years.

Kathleen Orchard, a counselor at GBHS, said there are seven new or previously un-offered courses that could make the cut for next year. Among them, Orchard said, are IB World Religions, Art Appreciation, Health and Wellness 2 and AP Physics 1. New courses on the selection list include Martial Arts, Exploring Computer Science and Web Design, as well as Peer Counseling.

IB World Religions has been on the list of possible GBHS courses several times, but it’s never had a enough students register. It will be open to all juniors and seniors. English teacher David Tastor will be teaching the course, which, according to IB coordinator Duane Blomquist, has enough sign-ups to be offered in the fall.

The class will focus on nine religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

“I get to choose five,” Tastor said. “The unfortunate part were leaving out some important religions.”

Tastor said the possibility of students potentially being rubbed the wrong way by content focusing on religions different than their own will certainly be a possible issue.

Students might “get offended, but hopefully by the end of the class they will gain tolerance,” Tastor said. “There’s no demeaning of religions, no indoctrination, (we’re) just trying to understand.”

Junior Ibrahim Hajjar is looking forward to taking the class – he said he enrolled because he wanted to learn about a broad spectrum of new information.

“It seemed like a really unconventional topic for a high school class, and I feel that makes it valuable at this level,” Hajjar said. “It is really important to be aware of history and people’s beliefs.

“I think the humanities hold a lot of value even if taken in conjunction with hard science and math classes.”

Hajjar said he also hoped to gain a better understanding of different beliefs.

“This can allow for empathy and understanding and allow people to resolve global social issues,” Hajjar said.

Students next year will also be able to take part in more proactive courses such as peer counseling and art appreciation.

Junior Katelyn Malixi is looking forward to taking peer counseling during her senior year.

“I was interested in making our campus a place where students are comfortable enough to share their struggles and ask for advice,” Malixi said.

AP psychology teacher Natalie Elkin worked on putting the class together this spring, and Malixi is in one of Elkin’s classes – which is she heard of the opportunity to help others on campus.

Not only is the school introducing new courses, there are also plans to remove a few.

One of those classes will be Honors Physics which will be replaced by AP Physics 1.

It was done so “students could have the opportunity to earn college credit, because the rigor of Honors Physics was so high” said Orchard, the GBHS counselor.

However, some students who were interested in this class are having second thoughts about its cancellation.

Junior Kate Miller said she was planning on taking Honors Physics, but she might switch to College Preparatory physics or take physics at Sierra College over the summer.

“I’m afraid that it’ll be too hard since I haven’t taken any physics classes before,” Miller said. “It disappoints me that they removed the honors physics class since it would have prepared me better for AP physics.”

Getting classes in place at GBHS requires the potential teacher to propose the idea to the district.

If the superintendent recommends that the course be approved, the Roseville Joint Union High School District school board has to officially adopt a written curriculum. The board then establishes a review cycle to evaluate the curriculum in order to make sure the course aligns with state and district goals.

The board can require review of the curriculum in response to student assessment results.

“ Overall the process of getting the class approved went very smooth” Tastor said referring to IB World Religions. “The board was very supportive of the course, with very few questions.”

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