CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — The Shenendehowa School District will offer four new courses this fall as a way of preparing students for their post-high school life.

After hearing a presentation in December on the details of the half credit courses and why they should be offered, the Board unanimously approved them at the Jan. 14 board meeting.

The four courses are Unified Physical Education, Money Matters, Careers in Patient Care, and Health Science for Medical Careers.

A discussion and vote on the courses was moved forward after Shen Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson heard from members of the district’s Instructional Program Advisory Council (IPAC) that they would like the courses given a push so the district can offer them to in the fall. Robinson is a member of IPAC.

Before reaching members of IPAC new programs for high school courses are presented to High School Principal Ron Agostinoni, Robinson, and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Elizabeth Wood. The trio meets with each academic leader who has brought the initial idea for the course forward.

“We work on revising and thinking about the implications for the courses across the entire program of studies and how it may interface other departments,” Wood said at the Board meeting in December. “We make sure teacher input has been considered from the various departments and we consider budget impact and the impact on other course selectins and where it may fit into other schedules.”

The Unified Physical Education class will be an expansion of courses the district offers for bowling and basketball. Wood noted that other than those two activities special education programs have had their physical education courses separate from general education physical education classes. The new course would be an integrated setting.

Wood said several physical education teachers have told the administration they don’t think separate physical education classes need to continue. The students, they said, benefit from having opportunities to experience physical education with their peers and the other students in the general physical education classes would also benefit.

As part of her presentation in December, Wood said when the new Unified Physical Education class is offered students now taking Physical Education as part of the general curriculum and thinking of going into education, especially special education, may sign up. Others who might sign up would be those students who take part in the Best Buddies program as well as students interested in the medical field. 

“We think there will be a strong interest,” Wood said.

The new course Money Matters is a financial literacy course and is expected to be offered as an elective to juniors and seniors.

“We think the course is ready for those students,” Wood said. “They are already thinking about what comes next (after high school). They want to buy a car, need car insurance, are asking how to get a loan, what’s the impact of the cost of college, are they are going to work right away, and how’s their credit history.”  

The two new courses in the health care field are a response to the number of students considering careers in that field.

“Up to this point,” Wood said in December, “we didn’t have anything other than AP Biology or the science courses like those geared to the students going on to medical school or into physical therapy.”

Careers in Patient Care will be a course in what information one needs to know as a medical care provider.

Health Science for Medical Careers will include the study of anatomy and physiology.

The two health care courses are non-sequential. There are no prerequisites for either one. Students can take one or both. There is no order to taking them.

“Dr. Robinson has been pressing us to think about where are our students going after Shen and how to make sure we are providing opportunities to them that have broad exposure while they’re with us.”

After wood’s presentation Board of Education member Naomi Hoffman noted that the course, Money Matters, is partially the result of feedback from Shen’s Senior Survey, students who are now in college.

“Their feedback said they’d have taken a financial literacy course,” Hoffman said. “It’d be good to get it as early as possible. College debt and college costs are what people are talking about. Now is a whole new world.”

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