With the 2016-2017 school comes a variety of classes that are changing, being removed or added to the school curriculum.
The most talked about class that is being cut is Political Action Seminar, or PAS. As Gerrit Koepping, the Social Studies department head, said, “Fewer and fewer students have been enrolling in the class, and this year the number was just too small to justify offering a section. I don’t know if the declining enrollment was because of lessening interest or because the most recent version of education reform emphasizes STEM and not democratic citizenship.”
A class in a similar situation is Ceramics 3: Sculpture, which will be cut for the same reason.
PAS will be dearly missed since it was unique to only Lake Oswego High School, Koepping explained. “PAS was a class offered in no other school and was created at LOHS as a way to encourage and guide student activism. It used to be a central part of the social studies program and manifested our belief in active civic participation. This school has a reputation for student activism and it will be distressing if the demise of PAS will diminish that tradition. In addition. PAS also helped organize a variety of forums and events that will likely no longer be available.”
Koepping continued by explaining why previously active PAS students, or students who would be likely to take PAS in the future, have declined taking this class next year. “Ironically, PAS may have also sewed the seeds of its own destruction. The new Women’s Studies class and School to Farm program came from the efforts of PAS students and teachers. So as those programs drew students, PAS may have attracted less enrollment.”
With the absence of PAS comes many new Social Studies classes such as History of Eastern Civilization, Introduction to Women’s Studies, AP Psychology and School to Farm. AP Psychology will be replacing Psychology I and II, combining them into a course that will help students prepare for the AP test and get college credit.
School to Farm, taught by Andrew Duden, is another unique class that will allow students to gain an actual understanding of farming and the methodology and significance behind it.
Another new class is History of Eastern Civilization which will be taught by Mike Noble. Replacing History of Western Civilization next year, this class will focus on the Eastern side of the world, a culture and history that is not heavily covered throughout American education.
The final new social studies elective is Introduction to Women’s Studies. This class has created quite a buzz, exciting many students as an opportunity to learn more of feminist history. Laura Paxson-Kluthe, the teacher for this class, said, “The creation of the Women’s Studies class represents the collaborative efforts of both teachers and students.” Juniors Meghan Smith, Veronica Sackville-West and Rachel Bard have lead this effort, creating a class they feel would help to fill the disparity of female voices and perspectives in the school curriculum.
Some other new classes that will be coming next year are Broadcast Journalism, AP Chinese Language and Culture, Photography 1, Programming Projects and Link Crew Leadership. Broadcast Journalism is another unique opportunity, taught by journalism teacher Stephanie Leben, where students will learn about broadcast journalism and film Lake News, videos that serve as a televised news report for LOHS on school activities, events and quirky segments for the viewers enjoyment.
Link Crew Leadership is another class that has already peaked many students’ interest. Lisa Evonuk, the Link teacher, said, “The purpose of the Link class will be to make connections with different kids on campus. Specifically we are looking at improving the experiences of our freshmen and new students, as well as the ELL students. We are also taking on the Laker Ladies program at LOJ.” She will be teaching leadership skills through various games and activities, and then will guide students into using those skills in order to make connections with other kids. This class will be an expansion of the current Laker Crew, a program designed to help freshman and new students integrate into high school through peer members. “The motto for Link is students helping students succeed.”
AP Chinese Language and Culture will be taught by Cilei Han and give students a chance to earn college credit for a Chinese class. Photography 1 will be taught by Corrie Rosensteel, a new addition to the LOHS art department. Finally, Programming Projects, taught by Chris Hill, will teach computer programming and allow students to delve further into the subject.
Though the many changing classes gives cause for sadness and excitement, next year is guaranteed to be great.