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Chinese, Italian on the menu for courses next year

January 16, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Students at some Washington County high schools could begin taking honors Chinese or forensic science next school year.

They are among several new courses that will appear in the program of studies for 2007-08 that was approved last week by the Board of Education. The new courses will not be available at all schools.

Chinese was offered as a pilot program at South Hagerstown High School this school year, acting director of secondary education Clyde Harrell said.

He said officials were unsure if they would be able to continue offering the language, but there was enough interest to continue the program.

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Harrell said two levels of Japanese will be added at Boonsboro High School, where students this year were able to take levels one and two.

Italian will be offered for the first in Washington County, Harrell said, but it was uncertain where two levels of the language would be offered.

The most popular foreign language for the county's students is Spanish, Harrell said. French, German, Russian and Latin also are options.

Two levels of American Sign Language also will be offered during the next school year.

Harrell said the most notable change on next year's program of studies will be a new graduation requirement dictated by the state. All students will have to take a "foundations of technology" course.

This is not the first time a technology course has been required, Harrell said. Previously, students could choose from several options. Beginning with next year's ninth-graders, students will need this course to fulfill their technology education requirement for graduation.

Harrell said that some new courses next year will replace support classes that officials hope will improve students' success on required state tests.

"Academic skills and concepts" and "HSA remediation" will replace eliminated courses that were available for students who had trouble or might have trouble with state tests, he said.

The courses - in English, government and biology - were offered yearlong.

"Those were not as successful as we would have hoped," Harrell said.

"Academic skills and concepts" will be another option for students who might need help preparing for assessment coursework and state tests required for graduation.

Other eliminated courses include music appreciation, honors calculus, and economics and the world of finance. Several new career technology course were added. These include principals of biomedical sciences, principles of business management and introduction to financial management.

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