Bainbridge school board approves eight career-focused courses

Bainbridge High School and Woodward Middle School are wasting no time planning improvements for next year’s course offerings.

The schools will be adding eight new classes to their course list for the 2014-2015 school year — the majority of which will be career and technical education.

State legislation voted to increase instructional hours for grades 7-12 by 80 hours last year, upping the minimum from 1,000 to 1,080 hours in a school year.

“We want to be thoughtful about how we do this,” said Mike Spence, the Bainbridge Island School District’s board president.

“We don’t want to just extend the day. We would like to look and see what else we can do in a way of course offerings, rather than just fill the space.”

At a recent meeting, the Bainbridge Island School Board voted to approve four new courses to Woodward Middle School and four to Bainbridge High School.

One of Woodward’s course additions will be an expansion of its Achieve class, a course geared to students who need a little extra motivation and support to do well in school.

The school piloted the program last school year for its eighth-grade students, and will now be expanding to seventh grade, with the possibility of future expansion at the high school level.

The course is primarily by invitation and maintains a 10-to-15 class size.

Also on the list of new courses, the school will be adding to their computer science department which currently provides two courses.

“The more we looked at it, the more we decided we needed to further delineate the content of each of those courses,” said Woodward Principal Mike Florian.

Also, additions to the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) program would be an easy move, Florian explained, since it received a nearly $10,000 grant in spring of 2013 from the 3M Foundation for a video broadcast studio and course curriculum.

Woodward will re-gear its current classes to offer Video Production, Pre-Engineering and a third Computer Technology course to expand on fundamental elements of the subject.

At Bainbridge and Eagle Harbor high schools, additions will also focus on career and technical education.

At Bainbridge High, juniors and seniors will have the chance to sign up for Material Composite Design, Athletic Medicine Level II and AP Economics. Students in grades 9-12 will also be able to sign up for a pilot course, Exploring Computer Science.

Students in Material Composite Design will be in a hands-on environment similar to a woodshop or metal shop course.

They will be able to blueprint using CAD (computer-aided design) software and build 3D objects using composite materials.

It will give students exposure to 3D printing that is a key component to numerous engineering professions, Haley and the board agreed.

Another career-focused course, Athletic Medicine II will be an expansion for students who have completed Athletic Medicine I.

“That’s been a great course for our students in some of the career stuff we’ve been working on,” Haley said.

“A year ago, that wasn’t an exposure they had.”

Students interested in taking AP Economics will sign up for a full year of the course to complete micro and macro economics by semester.

“Currently some of the business offerings we have are kind of an exploratory route the students have into the business world,” Haley said.

“And we’re looking for more of a rudimentary route where they can kind of continue on.”

The class would likewise fall under career and technical education as an elective course.

As a final addition to high school level courses, Exploring Computer Science will be offered at both Eagle Harbor and Bainbridge high schools.

It will compliment some of the work being done at Woodward, Haley explained, and offer students in grades 9-12 an introduction to Web design, programming and data analysis.

“What I would imagine in two or three years this class would move down a level, and I think we’d probably get more advanced as kids come up,” Haley said.

“We know that they’re born with cell phones in their hands, so we’re expecting it’s going to continue to evolve.”


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