School revising curriculum

Course offerings added

By: Marisa Maldonado
   MONROE — Next fall, Monroe students will say ciao to several new curriculum opportunities.
   Between 30 and 40 curriculum manuals are being revised by the district, said Assistant Superintendent Chris Tienken. The district reviews each area of study every five years, he said.
   "We work on curriculum all year round," he said, "so it’s not just in the summer."
   Seniors at Monroe Township High School will be able to take business organization and management, a class that will earn them three college credits. Middlesex County Community College officials have approved the course syllabus, and 17 seniors have signed up, said Dr. Tienken. The course will include marketing, human resources and financial management.
   The district has offered classes for college credit at the high school in the past, including several math classes, and also has let students take classes at Rutgers University and Middlesex for college credit, Dr. Tienken said.
   "We’re just trying to add courses to the inventory that are college level courses so kids can get credit, and also get that experience," Dr. Tienken said.
   Another specialized class is electronics and robotics, a class for juniors and seniors who are interested in engineering. The class has no prerequisites, Dr. Tienken said, although students are expected to have strong math and science skills.
   Such specialized courses are often open only to juniors and seniors because they have more flexibility in scheduling, he said.
   "Some of them have a better idea of what they go into in college, and they begin to tailor their schedules accordingly," Dr. Tienken said.
   Some high school students also specialize their coursework into "career clusters," concentrations where students can focus their work based on a career path. Students can choose from more than 10 clusters, including art, science, business and communications.
   The district also is adding Italian to its world language offerings at Applegarth Middle School. The class would be equivalent to the first half of Italian I offered at the high school, Dr. Tienken said. Students who take French and Spanish for two years at Applegarth enter the high school able to take level two of the language, and Dr. Tienken said he hopes the middle school’s Italian program will follow this trend.
   About 60 incoming seventh-graders had signed up to take Italian as of last month, Dr. Tienken said. Dr. Tienken said he hopes the district will be able to offer Advanced Placement Italian in two years.
   The district also will tap into the world of ancient languages and offer an introductory level of Latin at the high school. About 90 students have signed up, said Assistant Superintendent Edward Forsthoffer.
   Dr. Forsthoffer said the district plans to hire a Latin teacher in time for board approval at Wednesday’s meeting. The district will have to reconsider offering Latin if it does not hire a teacher by the board meeting, he said.
   "We’ll be in good shape," Dr. Forsthoffer said.
   The district also will offer a second level of advanced placement calculus and expand its sixth grade social studies curriculum to include a more study of ancient civilizations.