From Google applications to dance to investigative law to aerospace engineering, York County's high schools plan to give students more options.
The seven high schools across Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Clover and York have more than 20 new classes on deck for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Each fall, schools evaluate their offerings and request permission from school boards to change and add courses.
"It's part of our continuous improvement," said Audrey Allan, York schools director of secondary education. "We just look at what's happening. What are students not understanding?
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"We see a need and decide what we can do to fix it."
With money tight, educators say they're cautious about adding costly programs.
"In these budget times, we have to look at that very carefully," said Judy Mobley, Rock Hill schools director of secondary education.
Still, technology continues to be a theme:
Rock Hill's Applied Technology Center aims to add a digital media course that introduces teens to art, design and video production software including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Final Cut. Students at all three of the district's high schools could sign up.
Students in Fort Mill's two high schools will be able to analyze and build aerospace systems in a new aerospace engineering course.
York Comprehensive High plans to offer two additional Green STEM courses focused on using technology for sustainability and energy management.
"It pushes ahead with where we're trying to go with technology," Allan said.
Here's a look at the new courses York County's four high schools are planning to offer in the 2012-2013 academic year:
Rock Hill schools
Advanced Placement statistics - Replaces an International Baccalaureate math course few students opted to take.
International Baccalaureate "Ab Initio" Mandarin Chinese - Students would pay between $825 and $950 to take the online course and connect with peers around the world. It's aimed at students pursuing an IB diploma who don't have enough foreign language credits. Superintendent Lynn Moody said she doesn't expect many students to sign up for it, but wants to offer the course for those who want it.
Fundamentals of digital media - Students from all three high schools would take the course at the district's Applied Technology Center. It would focus on careers in digital art and design, graphic arts and printing, media technology and video production using professional equipment and software.
Journalism 3, honors - Students who have taken Journalism 1 and 2 would train other students in the publication of the school newspaper, provide daily leadership and take on additional production responsibilities.
Visual arts International Baccalaureate - Available to IB and advanced art students, the course would emphasize "critical thinking, intercultural understanding and exposure to a variety of viewpoints." Students would record their artistic growth in a research log.
Law-related education, honors - Juniors and seniors in the course would investigate local and global issues using interactive technology, such as iPads and laptops. They would use the information to debate the issues and devise solutions.
Fort Mill schools
Aerospace engineering - Students would explore the evolution of flight, navigation and control, flight fundamentals, aerospace materials, propulsion, space travel and orbital mechanics. They would analyze, design and build aerospace systems. Each would turn in a final presentation about the future of the industry and their professional goals.
Advanced Placement environmental science - Designed to be the equivalent of a semester-long introductory college course, the class incorporates biology, chemistry, geology, earth science and geography.
Advanced Placement psychology - Teens would get a general overview of the psychology field - an introduction to the systematic and scientific study of human mental processes and behavior. Students also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice.
Advanced Placement statistics - The college-level course introduces students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing and drawing conclusions from data. Students must take the AP Exam. Some colleges award credit depending on the exam score.
Earth science - This laboratory-based course would offer an in-depth study of geology, marine science, astronomy and atmospheric phenomena. Concepts include the rock cycle, plate tectonics, geologic processes, fossils, geologic time, planets, fresh water and marine systems, coastal formations, stars and galaxies, space exploration, weather and natural catastrophic events.
Anatomy and physiology 2 - A continuation of studies on animal structure and function from the cell to the interaction of body systems. The emphasis will be on the human body and related diseases and disorders.
Dance 1 - An introductory course examining dance as art, communication and cultural expression. The class will focus on dance technique in various genres, proper body alignment, coordination, rhythm, strength, agility, dance vocabulary and increased kinesthetic awareness in general.
Dance 2 - An introductory course on dance composition and the creative process. The class will focus on the exploration and improvisation of different dance forms using design principles, choreographic tools and forms to create work with meaning and purpose.
Air Force Junior ROTC Summer Leadership School - This optional extracurricular program lasts for two weeks during summer. It teaches Air Force JROTC cadets citizenship and leadership. Students will take part in a daily flag ceremony, physical training and drill, civic respect and military tradition, academics, leadership and character development exercises, public speaking assignments, a community service project, athletic competitions and a field trip.
York Comprehensive High
World geography (replaces Global Studies 1) - The course focuses on the physical and cultural characteristics of Earth. It's divided into topics of region, physical earth dynamics, population, culture, economic systems, urban systems, political systems and the environment. Map-reading skills and the use of geographic models and geographic information systems will be key.
World history - Making of the Modern World college prep and honors (formerly Global Studies 2 CP and honors) The world history course looks at how people and countries have become more interconnected. The honors level includes the same material, "but on an advanced level with greater depth, exploration and more rigor."
American government - Examines the U.S. Constitution and characteristics of American democracy, the basic structure and functions of the three branches of government, as well as significant factors in the U.S. political system.
Google applications - Students will be introduced to Google applications and learn 21st century communication and collaboration tools.
Welding 1 - This dual credit course is offered on the York Technical College campus in the evenings and registration must be approved by a counselor and the technology center director. It covers safety, equipment and skills used in the shielded metal ARC welding process.
Green Stem technology 2 - Sustainable Conservation - This course provides students an introductory hands-on and interactive experience with multiple energy design, monitoring and auditing processes, and technologies.
Green Stem technology 3 - Energy Auditing - This course incorporates sustainable architecture, residential and commercial structures, energy and power, conservation, passive solar systems, and green building codes and compliance.