Written by Jillian Mclean and Kylie Isleib
Semester 2 has just started, which means students have settled into their final classes for the year. Students will be selecting their courses for the 2020-2021 school year in the next two weeks.
At Morgan, there are a plethora of electives for students to choose from. Required to take seven elective credits to graduate, Morgan students must choose electives every year. The vocational electives are put under three branches: art including music, technology, and child and family, including, AV electives, electives in graphics communication and computer-aided drafting & design, early childhood education and food production electives. There are electives in every field: history, science, social studies, mathematics, English, and World Language. Look at the Morgan School Program of Studies to see your options.
With over 30 electives, how on earth are students supposed to decide which classes to take? Within the seven elective credits, students need one art or vocational credit, and one business/tech-ed credit.
Guidance Counselor Moheba Sayed suggests that students look first at their graduation requirements, and then choose electives based on their interests. Mrs. Sayed says their (administrations/guidance) hope is that students put thought and effort into choosing classes that will make them happy and are a good fit. The more students enjoy a class, the more they will look forward to going to it, and the better they will perform. She observes that the driving force for kids joining electives and kids dropping electives has to do with interest and expectation. Elective participation is widely driven by student interest, but sometimes a class isn’t exactly what a student expected, and they have the choice to withdraw from the class within a certain time period, after being prompted to give it a try. Some students decide that they would rather stay in a class than drop it. Senior Sage Follo stuck with her AP course after it wasn’t what she expected and ended up learning a lot.
Another big reason students drop electives is if none of their friends are in the class. For some classes, this is a bigger deal than in others. For example, a class like Intro to Communications is much more independent than, say, the new course option of Unified Art, which is very group-based.
After tons of paperwork and final approval, Unified Art started in the spring semester of 2020. Art teacher Jessica Leiss who has a Masters in Special Education, taught a unified art class when she taught in Southington. She said art and special education together is a great combination. She said the new course is a fun opportunity for kids that learn differently to work together and make collaborative artwork. The class is a good opportunity to earn an art credit and skill is not necessary because it is very group-based rather than individual art. “It is a therapeutic, small, and nice class,” she concludes.
Some classes are made for students looking to learn about a specific field, like the engineering courses or the cooking and early childhood education classes. Technology Education teacher Lawrence Chapman teaches Engineering 1, 2, and 3. He said that his courses don’t just give students a jump start in engineering but also teach innovation and problem-solving skills using technology.
For students who enjoy food, want restaurant-like experience, or simply want to learn how to do things in the kitchen the correct way, Culinary 1 and 2, along with Advanced Culinary, are offered and taught by Consumer Science teacher Sue Murphy. Ms. Murphy also teaches Intro to Child Development and Early Childhood Education for students interested in working with children, social work, or entering the medical or psychology field. Intro to Child Development explores children’s thinking processes through visiting Joel and various activities with younger students.
This course also encourages students to learn to use resources. Early Childhood Education runs the preschool and tackles lesson plans and observations, careers related to children and more serious topics like child abuse.
Art classes with Mrs. Leiss are senior Justyn Prevost’s favorite classes. Art is also one of senior Emma Lehn’s favorite courses, along with Digital Imaging with Technology Education teacher Ted Enoch and Philosophy with Social Studies teacher Jeff Motter. Senior Josh Kennedy also enjoys art and electives like film study and Creative writing with English Teacher Eric Bergman who he says teaches critical things such as creative thinking, which is not found in every course. Senior David Zingarella enjoyed Journalism, “It got me to step into a field out of my comfort zone.” Sometimes, an elective that challenges a student is a good choice.
This is why teachers will recommend students for AP elective courses for core classes, which is one of the main reasons students choose AP courses: teacher recommendation. The science department offers many ECE, Early College Experience UConn electives and AP Biology.
Not everyone loves electives though. Junior, Maddi Tuccitto, who doesn’t enjoy electives chooses them randomly.
On Tuesday, March 3, juniors, sophomores and freshmen attended an assembly in guidance where Morgan staff explained the course selection process and highlighted the electives offered by each department. Juniors and sophomores will select courses through Power School on their own. Freshmen will select courses when guidance visits their English classes. Guidance is also always available to talk about course selection with students. Just fill out a purple slip for Mrs. Theiler in the guidance office