Kalispell Public Schools Adopt New Classes for 2017-18 School Year
Kalispell Public Schools will add ten new courses and replace five for the 2017- 2018 school year, as approved at the January School Board meeting. New and updated offerings at Glacier High School include, debate, Coding 101, women in history, Advanced Placement World History, engineering and design development, Advanced Placement Physics 1 and Advanced Placement Physics C-Mechanics. Flathead High School will add three courses: Foundations in Leadership, an updated Academic and Career Explorations and Historical Geography to their new and updated courses for the next school year.
“Every year, we consistently review and evaluate our curriculum and course delivery to maintain meaningful, relevant and pertinent classroom offerings.” Superintendent Mark Flatau explained.
In the Advanced Placement program at Glacier, changes include adding AP World History, AP Physics and AP Physics C-Mechanics. The additions brings Glacier’s total of AP course offerings to 17 the second highest total of state AA schools.
“We are excited to offer three additional college level courses for our students that are pursuing a rigorous education plan.” Principal Callie Langohr stated.
The new GHS coding class is an introductory class that allows access to coding for students who do not have prior background. The new debate class expands Glacier’s popular speech and debate program. Before the new class was approved, speech and debate was only a school extra-curricular activity and not offered in the general curriculum. ‘Women in History’ replaces cultural geography, a change that was spurred by interest and an effort to broaden the range of electives.
Flathead High School’s changes reflect their commitment to the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) emphasis. The IB program has a reputation for high standards of teaching, leadership, and student achievement. Flathead High School was the first school in Montana to establish this program. ‘Foundations of Leadership’ is a Junior and Senior level class that builds upon foundations embedded in the IB programme, the Community School, and in other classes throughout the school. “The fact that students will carry these skills into the community is a huge piece of this course,” FHS principal Peter Fusaro explained.
Historical Geography is a new offering that fills a gap for students who love social studies as well as a way to weave analytical skills, ancient eras and present day issues into geography.
“This is beyond the rivers and mountains that we all think of when we think geography. It is also a cultural class that will look at themes in history,” social studies instructor Melanie Dardis explained, noting that some of the momentum for this change came from parents’ requests. Geography is mandatory in many states, but not in Montana.
“Geography has been squeezed out of the curriculum and many parents ask about this: where is geography? Plus, geography is everywhere in the ACT and standardized testing.” Dardis added.
Three more classes round out Flathead High’s new course roster. BioMedical Innovation is the capstone course in the BioMedical Science academy and English 12 IB Language & Literature is the second year of the IB Language & Literature offering. A new business class “Academic and Career Exploration I will align 21st Century Literacy and Information Technology essentials with Montana Business Education standards.
The Curriculum and Instruction Committee evaluates courses on a yearly basis. Based on the committee' recommendations, the Board of Trustees voted the changes into effect at their last meeting. These new courses will start in August 2017, at the beginning of the new school year.