2008-08-28 / Youth

Variety of new courses offered at PAHS

BY DAN PARKER SOUTH JETTY REPORTER

STAFF PHOTO BY DAN PARKER Building knowledge On Tuesday, Aug. 26, the second day of the fall semester, teacher Randell Buttler, left, provides some safety tips on electric saw operation to students enrolled in architectural construction, one of more than a dozen new classes at Port Aransas High School. STAFF PHOTO BY DAN PARKER Building knowledge On Tuesday, Aug. 26, the second day of the fall semester, teacher Randell Buttler, left, provides some safety tips on electric saw operation to students enrolled in architectural construction, one of more than a dozen new classes at Port Aransas High School. Port Aransas High School students are in luck if they want to learn more about marketing, geometry, physics, human anatomy and working behind the scenes in theater.

Beginning this term, the school has added new courses dealing with all of those subjects and more.

The addition of a new teaching position and some reshuffling of teaching assignments has enabled PAHS Principal Travis Longanecker to add more than a dozen new courses this school year, which began on Monday, Aug. 25.

Longanecker said the teachers handling the courses are qualified to teach the subjects under requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The new courses:

Theater tech - PAHS previously had a theater class, but the school now has added a theater tech class in which students will learn how to build sets and do other work in support of a theater production. Both courses are taught by Gary Mott. Longanecker said students will be involved in piecing together a new set the high school is getting, courtesy of a $6,000 grant provided by the Port Aransas Education Foundation. The course is open to all grade levels.

NovaNET - A type of computer software, NovaNET allows students to accomplish a wide variety of tasks while working at a computer at their own pace and being supervised by a teacher. PAHS got NovaNET in spring and used it in one class period each day. Students who had failed courses and were in danger of dropping out of school used the software to catch up.

With the fall semester beginning, PAHS now has NovaNET classes going throughout the school day and students will be getting a wider variety of uses out of the software. Among other things, they are going to be practicing for ACT and SAT college entrance tests and the statemandated tests known as TAKS - the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. NovaNET is used by all grade levels. The teacher is Stephanie Foerster.

Advanced topics in politics - Explores a wide range of classic and contemporary issues in American politics. Longanecker will be the teacher.

Advanced-placement human geography

- While PAHS has offered "pre-AP" classes to freshmen in the past, a new AP human geography course this year represents the first time ninth graders have been offered a true advanced-placement course, at least in recent years, Longanecker said. Taught by Peter Barello, AP human geography will include studies involving global positioning systems (GPS) and more.

Honors geometry - PAHS previously had a geometry class, mostly for 10th graders; but now it has an honors geometry class with greater challenges for students. AP geometry is geared toward sophomores. Nona Hendricks is the teacher.

Honors and AP physics - These are two new courses that will be taught in the same classroom by Laurie Barello. Honors physics will mean a larger amount of work and more complex work than the school's regular physics class. AP physics will be even more advanced than honors physics. AP and honors physics are for upperclassmen.

Anatomy and physiology - Open to juniors and seniors, this course will explore how the human body works. Mike Jones will teach the course. Jones is new to PAHS but previously taught in the Corpus Christi Independent School District.

Business multimedia - Taught by Monica Sonnier, this course educates students of all grade levels about marketing by teaching them to create Web pages, brochures, posters and more.

Introduction to business - This course for upperclassmen is taught by Brian Schuss, the business manager of the Port Aransas Independent School District.

Architectural construction - PAHS previously has had a course in which students learned how to design buildings on computer screens. But, with the new architectural construction course beginning this term, students also will do some actual hands-on construction in addition to the computer work. The course, taught by Randell Buttler, is for sophomores and juniors.

Welding - Sophomores, juniors and seniors are split between two welding classes - one for beginners and one for more advanced students. Buttler teaches the course.

PAHS has dropped only one course since last year: Introduction to computer aided drafting. Elements of that course are embedded in the new architecture construction course, however.

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