Rock Hill, other schools, to offer new high-tech courses

scetrone@heraldonline.comDecember 8, 2012 

High school students mulling a future in social media marketing or app development take note: Your chance to get a jump on those careers could come next school year.

Rock Hill’s three high schools will offer a course on mobile application development and York Comprehensive High will offer social media for business.

Among a handful of new classes area high schools have in the works, those are a couple that educators hope prepare students for burgeoning career fields in a fast-paced, tech-charged, globalized economy.

“We’re always looking to be on the cutting edge,” said Don Gillman, director of Rock Hill schools’ Applied Technology Center, where several of the new courses would be offered. “Apps are driving the world in so many ways. We’re thinking there will be some jobs in this area.”

Each fall, schools evaluate their offerings and request permission from school boards to change and add courses.

School boards have approved adding the classes to the course catalog, but there’s no guarantee the courses will start. Most require about 15 students to sign up before they get a green light.

From Chinese to natural resource management to mechatronics, most of the additions emphasize career readiness. Here’s a look at some of the new courses on deck at area high schools:

Rock Hill

Chinese – Richmond Drive and Ebinport elementary schools and Sullivan Middle started offering Chinese language and culture courses this year. District officials have been eager to add the courses at high schools so students have the option to study the language for their entire school career.

If enough students sign up for Chinese 1, it will be up to the school board whether to spend about $50,000 to hire three teachers from China and buy books. Teacher salaries are paid in part by the Chinese Culture and Exchange center in Spartanburg. Chinese 2 and 3 would be added the following two years.

Mobile apps development – “Students will demonstrate the ability to use technology, critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration to create innovative apps,” according to the course description. The course could cost up to $10,000 for iPads and programming software.

Veterinary assistant – For the first time, students would have a chance to pursue veterinary work at school. They would study large and small animal care. “After this course, students would have skills necessary to be employed in a veterinary clinic or hospital,” the course description says. It could cost the district up to $8,300 for equipment and books.

Discrete math – Students will focus on applying math concepts in real-world situations.

Sports and entertainment marketing – Intended for students interested in sports, entertainment and event marketing, lessons will focus on branding, business foundations, merchandising and promotion.

Guitar – Students will learn scales, chords and songs to build guitar technique and repertoire. Students would likely need to have their own guitar or rent one for about $25 a month.

Gerontology – The focus would be on the aging process, the physical and psychosocial care skills of geriatric patients and the role of the nurse’s aide.

Fort Mill

Ceramics – Students will learn advanced ceramics techniques, such as thrown and altered forms, slip casting, glaze chemistry, alternative firing processes and advanced hand-building. Lessons also will cover the history of ceramic arts, art aesthetics and art criticism.

Macroeconomics, advanced placement – The one-semester, college-level course will cover international trade, currency exchange, supply and demand, among other concepts. Students who pass the AP test can earn college credit.

Environmental and natural resource management – The introductory course will initiate a new program of study for Fort Mill students, covering conservation and improvement of natural resources for economic and recreational purposes. Students will build a model watershed, measure levels of air, water, noise and solid waste pollution, and study ways to control pollution. Future courses will include wildlife science and aquaculture.


Agriculture mechanics and technology – Lessons will focus on hands-on work including woodworking, metal working, welding, small engine repair and basic farm and homestead improvements.

Image editing – Students will use digital imaging software to edit and design images and graphics. Lessons will teach file sharing across networks, digital scanning and digital photography.

Social media for business – Students will explore and create social media strategies for business.

Health science 2 – The revamped course will give students a chance to earn six college credits while completing the requirements for the South Carolina nursing assistant certification.


Clover High likely will launch a new mechatronics program in which students study mechanical, computer and electronic engineering. The program would include four courses. Assistant superintendent Sheila Huckabee said details would be available in January after the school board votes on the program.

Lancaster County

All four of the district’s high schools plan to add distance learning philosophy and economics courses. Indian Land High will add a photography 2 course and Andrew Jackson High will add to its theater program with courses on stage craft, play writing and performance, advanced production, stage management and costume and makeup.

Chester County

Chester County’s three high schools haven’t put forth any new course proposals, district spokeswoman Brooke Clinton said.

Shawn Cetrone 803-329-4072

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