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Process for choosing new classes going well?

Aviation Theatre students are practicing their last choreo before the class is removed with new classes being introduced in the Fall of 2018.
Photo By: Zak Sleeth

RAHS will see new classes introduced in the Fall of 2018. These new classes are being added due to student interest data gathered by the district. Classes such as Photojournalism and UAS will be added which allows students to explore new pathways.
During the spring of 2018, students filled out a survey regarding classes that may intrigue them. With all the responses, Principal Therese Tipton and her team came together to discuss the results.
“Earlier this year there was a district wide survey about courses kids are interested in and then we always have teachers that are interested in pursuing passions that they have,” said Tipton. “So everything kind of all comes together and we have a strategic planning team on campus lead by Mr. Joshi who takes all that information and says ‘alright if we want to add something new, what do we not teach?’”
The strategic planning team looks at all aspects and considers the interest in each class to decide what will be added.
“There is a whole process that goes through how many sections we have,” said Tipton. “We know where student interest is, where teacher interest is, what fits in with the mission and vision of our school. We had a lot of students interested in photography, so we want to add that because starting from the class of 2021 students need two art credits.”
Teacher Nikhil Joshi and his planning team came up with many questions that would help guide them towards their final decisions.
“There were issues relating to some gaps in our program that we wanted to fill,” said Joshi. “Also figuring out what teachers actually wanted to teach. Do they still want to teach the same things? Do they want to teach something new? Whether we needed new classes? Who will be the best fit for that? We also needed to take into account staff who were possibly leaving the school and also take into account the possibility of some extra headcount.”
While trying to figure out what they should do, the team found a weakness in the engineering program at the school.
“Well we have always had a great science program and a full math program, but we surprisingly were deficient in some ways on the engineering side,” said Joshi. “Although we have engineering heavy classes and clubs like Robotics and Science Olympiad, Flight by Design and Aerospace Engineering were part engineering courses. When Gudor started teaching CAD and added in the manufacturing, there was an opportunity to fill in that gap.”
Besides just adding in new classes, the team also focuses on how to expand existing classes to cover a broader range of interests.
“We have a programming class but there was huge interest in taking ‘that’s great, I’m just programming. So how do I apply it?’,” said Tipton. “So for example, we use to just have a CAD class and last year around this time, Mr. Gudor was like ‘why do just CAD, why don’t we expand it so that students can not only create their own designs but then actually replicate that with the 3D printers.”
Teacher Marcie Wombold, another member of the planning team, values the ability of teachers to instruct in multiple fields, since there are many challenges associated. This has made the process of assigning teachers easier for the team.
“I enjoyed the process of reviewing registration numbers to make sure and schedule in the right number of periods for each class,” said Wombold. “It was a fun challenge to find ways to balance the teaching load in the teams, and provided a variety of classes for our students. I appreciated how qualified our faculty are that many of them are endorsed in multiple disciplines, allowing them to teach in other areas outside of the core.”
Wombold, like Joshi and Tipton, is thrilled and proud of the new classes being added into RAHS.
“I’m particularly excited to add the computer science course for our students,” said Wombold, “as well as creative options such as photojournalism.”

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Has the dissections unit been helpful?

Rat dissection provides insight on the function of an organism.
Photo by: Chloe Cho

The thought of cutting open a dead animal is disgusting, but the learning behind this unit is critical for students. Though many students find the dissection unit helpful, some say otherwise.

Sophomore Joseph Pacini thought that the dissections unit was a beneficial experience.

“I think the dissection[s were] worth all the time we spend working up to it and during it,” said Pacini. “It comes to show how we can apply our knowledge to a real world situation and do it well.”

Although the dissections were time consuming, he believes that it has helped everyone.

“Knowing what goes into a dissection takes a lot of time and work,” said Pacini, “and I think that although it was challenging, we needed the challenge to prepare us for possible future endeavors.”

Pacini thinks that the dissections unit is essential to those looking for an engineering career.

“Knowing how somethings works and understanding what happens in a machine is crucial to [being] an engineer,” said Pacini.

Pacini would like to pursue a job in the engineering field and because of this he has grown to appreciate this experience.

“I think this unit has shown me how decisive dissections are,” said Pacini, “not just in the field of natural sciences, but in engineering sciences as well.”

Although the dissections unit is important, Pacini also feels pressured during the process.

“Remembering to take a picture of everything, documenting it, and making the correct incision is very important to our success in the lab report,” said Pacini, “and sometimes it is very difficult to do this with just another partner.”

Carson Klein, a sophomore, personally, doesn’t find the dissections practical because it has no major connection to his want career.

“I would say that the dissection unit hasn’t really done much for me,” said Klein. “Primarily because it is irrelevant to my planned career path as a software developer.”

Besides it just being irrelevant to his field, it has actually turned him away from any fields with dissections.

“If anything, it has made me less interested in the field as a potential career path,” said Klein.

Although dissections won’t help him with his career in the future, Klein still finds the dissections a valuable lesson.

“This unit has provided me with my first ever chance to do a dissection. Because of this, the first dissection was, understandably, somewhat intimidating,” said Klein. “However, the initial exposure has given me a better perspective of the subject, and that by itself makes the experience worth it.”

Caroline Tran, a junior, was not able to do dissections during her sophomore year but thinks that it would be a great opportunity to help students widen their view of possible careers.

“As a high schooler, this would probably be the only time they would be able to experience this type of exposure to the workforce before actually choosing a specific major or career path later after high school,” said Tran. “I think it would be a fun way to not only teach the students about anatomy but to also help them figure out what types of work they enjoy doing.”

Tran believes that dissections would allow students to find out what they are comfortable doing and what they are passionate about.

“I feel like dissections unit would help them dip their toes into an occupation that might surprisingly interest them,” said Tran. “These dissections might help students figure out if they are comfortable cutting into humans as surgeons or they would rather do something that doesn’t make them feel queasy.”

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