Hold on to your thinking caps, because this school’s about to blast off!

Ms. Fisher, who teaches both Physical Science and Chemistry, wants to teach an Astronomy course next year. She has already been telling students in certain classes and asking if any would be willing to sign up.

Fisher says she wishes to teach this particular course because she herself loves the subject: “I think it’s fascinating. And I think it’s really cool how the universe works.”

If Ms. Fisher has her way, Van Gogh's stars may not be the only ones students experience here at AHS.
If Ms. Fisher has her way, Van Gogh’s stars may not be the only ones students experience here at AHS. (Staff Photo by Gauri Narayan)

Despite such enthusiasm, however, it may not be very popular, according to Ms. Fisher: “[Astronomy] used to run, but there weren’t enough students who signed up for it. But, when I talk to students, they always seem very excited about it. It puzzles me.”

Having this course approved may prove almost as difficult as gaining student support for it. The road to bringing these plans to life is long, intricate, and complicated. Ms. de Kelley, head of the Counseling Department, said, “First, the departments discuss courses they’re interested in offering, and the program advisor has to give a proposal detailing any resources that are necessary to run the course and what it’s about. It goes to the superintendent’s office and the school committee has to approve it.”

de Kelley also says that the school district is looking for courses that teach meaningful, creative, and twenty-first century skills.  For example: an Environmental Science course, which is available only to seniors. In this class, the students are only in class for three days a week, and for the other two they are actually in the real world doing internships.

But are students aware of these courses being offered? In de Kelley’s words: “If they read the course catalog, then yes.”

Irene Gu, junior, said, “I think I definitely have a good idea of the courses being offered…There are already a lot of science AP’s being offered here, so if I could I would add an English AP course.”

However, other students disagree about how well known the contents of the course catalog are. Chantal Kellerd, sophomore, said, “I don’t think most students have a very good idea of the courses offered here because it’s not exactly posted in an easily accessible place (or at least I don’t think it is)….If students have a variety of subjects to choose from, they can focus on what they want to do in their future. I would like more classes in the medical field, just because that’s the area I’m interested in.”

But while the potential student popularity is in many ways unpredictable, at least some students would be very interested in Astronomy: Adam Weinreb, sophomore, says, “That would be really cool!”

By Gauri Narayan