Each year around late fall and early winter, the academic curriculum is reviewed by the school directors and teachers. They decide the relevance of each class in the system and choose if an old class should be removed or a new class added.
“One essential key to Viator’s curriculum is to provide courses that are relevant and resourceful to the students’ futures,” said assistant principal Mr. Mike Field.
Once decisions are made, department heads look closely at each change and decide if it is valid. Once everything is looked through, the following year’s curriculum is finalized. Next year, Saint Viator is going to have a variety of new and unique classes to update the school’s advanced curriculum. These classes will be in the English, business technology and fine arts departments.
Starting next year, the English department will feature three new classes. The first class is Literary Heroines I, taught by English teachers Ms. Megan O’Neill ’12 and Ms. Marie McGing. This class will be offered to juniors and seniors and will focus on stories with female protagonists. Instead of reading classics like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” students will be reading diverse stories written by authors of vast cultures and unique backgrounds. Each new novel will have an different theme or approach that is new to each class topic.
“I’m really excited about how much choice I’m going to give the students in what they read, like through making book clubs and literature circles and by connecting things to current events,” said Ms. O’Neill.
The second class addition in the English department will be Literary Heroines II, a follow-up of the previous class, and it will be taught by the same teachers. This class will be a bit more advanced and aimed towards students who have fully mastered the previous course.
The last class within the English department to be added next year is the Chicago Literature course. This class will also be taught by Ms. O’Neill and Ms. McGing. This junior and senior class will take a deeper look into some of the greatest Chicago authors of our time. Students will discover the extensive representation of Chicago in literature of different eras. These new classes are focused on giving students a creative basis of learning on a specific subject as opposed to a wide variety of topics within a class.
“We want students to experience diverse perspectives in the material they read and discuss in class,” said Mr. Field.
Next year, two new business technology courses will be added. The first class is called Personal Finance, and it will be taught by math teacher Mr. Joe Miller. This class is an elective available to freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Its purpose is to inform students about their future in finance. They will learn more information about paying taxes, the purpose of a 401k, cashing or writing checks and budgeting. Furthermore, students will learn how to be more independent and take care of their financial needs without the help of others.
The second class addition is an Introduction to Python coding class. This class will also be available as an elective for all grade levels and will be taught by technology teacher Mrs. Katie Anderson. It is replacing the former Introduction to C++ coding class because C++ is becoming an outdated language in the computer science world. Rather than coding a program based on key terminology and basic coding formulas, students will use graphics to immerse themselves in the coding experience. Using a more interesting and eye-catching approach, this new class is expected to become very popular and helpful in the coming years at the school.
The fine arts department will be receiving one new class for the next year, an elective called Hip-Hop Production. This class is to be taught by Mr. Vince Genualdi, and it will be available to all students, freshmen through seniors. The class will be an introduction to hip-hop, a genre of music never taught at the school before. Students will learn the background of the music style, the culture it relates to, the basics of forming the music and how it is influential in today’s standards. Most importantly, though, the class will allow students to create their own hip-hop music using their knowledge of the subject and their own creative mindsets.
Each added class has an intrinsic value to students in terms of broadening horizons and learning about useful and insightful topics.
“The Viator model vision is to discern, discover, and transform,” said Mr. Field.
This model vision is proven in each new enriching class that allows for a new format of learning. Students will be able to take what they have learned from these newly added classes to better their college careers and adult occupations.