“The benefit behind offering so many electives is so that we can appeal to a wide variety of students,” says Kim Sekera, counselor at Oyster River High School.
The electives fair offered at Oyster River gives students the opportunity to discuss the possible electives they can take for the following year. This year, the electives fair was held on Thursday, February 4th. During the electives fair, the 100(+) courses offered at ORHS will be displayed using some form of poster or just a teacher educating the students on what the class will consist of. Some classes are required but there is a lot of flexibility with schedules. Some electives require accumulative information, or you have to take a certain class prior to enrolling in a different elective.
“I think the electives fair was beneficial, especially the English classes since we don’t talk about that much in class,” says freshman Devin McClain.
The fundamental reason for the elective fair is for freshmen. Most freshmen schedules consist of classes that are required, with little lenience for any electives. Moving onto sophomore year, there is a little more flexibility with schedules. The secondary focus of the electives fair gives teachers who are offering new electives the opportunity to recruit students into their class.
This year, ORHS has established 5 new electives to offer for the 2016-2017 school year. The new electives offered to students are advanced information in technology 2, guitar 1 and 2, African American History, Consumerism; Growth of the American Economy and introduction to business.
These classes are placed to provide students with information that is relevant to today’s world.
“My viewpoint is that I want you guys to leave with knowledge that is useful to you,” says Karen VanDyke, history teacher at ORHS who plans to teach the Consumerism; Growth of the American Economy class next year. “History isn’t something that’s dead, it’s important and impactful,” says Van Dyke.
In addition to the Consumerism; Growth of the American Economy class, the history department is also adding a class titled “African American History” which will be taught primarily from the perspective of life as an African American during the 20th century.
Both of these classes were added to the list of electives to add more relevance to the history department. US history and world cultures are always going to be applicable and useful, although the subject and material taught is very rigid. There is a certain curriculum for each class, as for the two new additional electives will be more “student run” whereas students propose topics and ideas for the information taught.
Guitar 1 & 2 is a new addition to the music department, taught by David Ervin. This class is offered outside of school hours, on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday evenings. Students propose song ideas, and are then taught the cords to that specific song. Although this class is outside of school hours, a credit is still earned in the arts department. Once students grasp the material, there are frequent performances for the community. The guitar class was offered this semester, and has already recruited 20+ students.
“Performing is great for giving kids confidence, and it also gives everyone something to work toward,” says Kobi Hackenburg (‘16) currently enrolled in Mr. Ervins guitar class.
Another elective that will be offered next year will be the advanced information in technology 2, with Mechanical Technology as a prerequisite. This class offers students the knowledge to familiarize themselves with technology used today in simulated and real life circumstances. This course will offer additional, and in depth, information regarding gears and gear ratios, electric motors, engines etc.
Even for the junior class, the elective fair is beneficial because students can look at courses that correlate with future plans, such as colleges or universities they are attending, or future jobs.
“[The electives fair] helps you to get to know the new classes,” says Alex Szymanski, the junior class president.
The electives fair allows students to explore classes that pertain to what they plan on doing in the future, and even if that is still unknown, it helps the students establish a list of courses that are interesting to them. These classes can help determine what they are interested in, or what they plan to do in the future.
“A lot of the electives offered are from teacher interest. But recently, the Merchandising and Marketing and the Personal Finance class is just sort of the need for some sort of business classes. Historically we haven’t had much of a business department and that is an interest for students. So those are new electives that are made out of student interest, and for prepping kids for a wide variety of options after high school,” says Sekera.