K-12 EDUCATION

Proposed new CUSD courses introduced

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CHANDLER — Want to learn how to create video games?

If you’re about to attend a Chandler Unified School District middle or high school campus, you could learn about this or one of several other rapidly expanding fields of interest in the years ahead.

Dr. Jessica Edgar, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction. She made a presentation to the district’s governing board at its Nov. 14 meeting about all the exciting options proposed to be added to the district’s junior high and high school course catalogs in the years ahead.

Both 2023-24 catalogs were scheduled to be up for board approval at its Dec. 14 meeting.

On the middle school side, there are proposed changes to the computer science pathway, expanding it to make it available across all six junior high campuses.

“We’re looking at what’s happening right now in the computer science industry,” Edgar said. “We’re looking at doing some kind of backwards design with CTE (career and technical education) in mind.”

A class called “Heritage speakers” is proposed for the district’s six junior high schools as well, she said. The class would be for seventh-graders who are native speakers of Spanish, learning the more formal constructs and forms of the language.

At the high-school level, some proposed courses will not be offered at all six campuses.

An example of one proposed site-specific class is agriculture chemistry, which would only be offered at Chandler High School. For students interested in careers in agriscience, the non-CTE course will be for students who are concurrently enrolled in or have completed Agriscience 2. The class could also be taken for a chemistry credit.

A pair of courses, Drone Operator 1 and a more-advanced Drone Operator 2 class, would be offered at Chandler High School’s Technical Education Center.

Game Design and 3D Animation 1 and 2 — both full-year courses —would also be offered at CTEC.

International Baccalaureate Dance is part of Chandler High’s program where students learn to choreograph using tools and environmental and cultural surroundings to draw upon themes and motifs.

Ceramics 3, a full-year, college-level course, would help students learn more advanced techniques in hand building, wheel-throwing, glazing and knowledge of art and ceramic history. Ceramics courses are currently offered at Chandler High, Arizona College Prep and Hamilton High School.

Advanced Placement Pre-Calculus would be offered at five high schools but not Chandler High. As part of the district’s “math pathway,” the one-year course would replace the honors pre-calculus course currently offered at Casteel High.

Beginning Swim is the name a of proposed Chandler High one-semester class geared toward non-swimmers.

Fitness and Self-Defense would be a Chandler High course not available to freshmen. Partner Physical Education is a full-year class where students develop empathy, respect and leadership skills by becoming advocates for students with disabilities.

Marine Biology would be offered to sophomores, juniors and seniors at all six high schools. Taking both a biology and a chemistry course first are recommended.

Phenomena In Natural Science is another non-freshman course with biology and chemistry as prerequisites.

IB World Religions, offered to all four grade levels at Chandler High only, would be an elective that involves investigative study and individual research. IB Global Politics, available at all district high schools to sophomores and upperclassmen, would help students develop an understanding of the local, national, international, and global dimensions of political activity, and to explore how political issues affect their own lives.

Introduction Sociology would be a district-wide, one-semester elective not available to freshmen.

Life, College, & Career Prep is the name of a full-year course where students learn such skills as note-taking, studying, test preparation, communication with their peers and teachers and the ability to self-advocate.

Edgar said a Holocaust and Genocide Studies course is recommended for the 2024-25 school year.

She also said Game Design & 3D Animation is a new CTE program offered at Chandler High School’s CTEC campus for grades 9-12 The curriculum was placed on the CUSD website for a 60-day public review beginning Nov. 17.

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