Rock Hill school board OKs new high school courses

Rock Hill high school students can expect a few new choices when they sign up for courses next year.

The Rock Hill school board, at a meeting Monday night, approved five additions to the district's course offerings:

Honors band and chorus: Third- and fourth-year band and chorus students will be able to take honors segments. The work will be tougher, but they'll get honors credit, which raises grade point averages.

The district's three high schools currently have four levels of band and chorus without honors sections.

Fundamentals of coaching: The new class is aimed at students interested in sports management or coaching,

"We're trying to expand our PE courses," said Sheila Huckabee, executive director of secondary education.

Warehousing and distribution technology level one: Students who pass intro to warehousing and distribution will move on to the level one course. It will focus on shipping, receiving and manufacturing. It's considered a hands-on course in which students can become certified to fix and drive forklifts. It will be offered at the district's Applied Technology Center, which serves all three Rock Hill high schools.

"It's really tying school to work," Huckabee said. The district's manufacturing program is expected to eventually grow to four courses, she said.

Biology 2 college preparatory course: The new course will focus on animal kingdoms and the human body. The district now offers Biology 2 honors. "What we needed was a biology that focused more on animal life, instead of cellular and plant life," Huckabee said.

The new classes won't start until August, but students will sign up for them in January.

Each year, school officials look over course offerings and add new ones. The state mandates that certain subjects be taught -- English, math, science social studies.

Electives are different.

"We have a lot of choice in what electives we offer," Huckabee said.

The district this year surveyed hundreds of high school students about which classes they would like to take.

School officials narrowed the list to about 15 courses, but trimmed it to five to keep costs low.

"Even though we wanted to offer many of these courses," Huckabee wrote in an e-mail, "in this uncertain budget time, scaling back was the prudent thing to do."

Some of the courses clipped include film and literature, Web page design and development level two, desktop publishing and dance.