District plans to make changes to ninth grade classes


Starting in the 2023-2024 school year, the district plans to provide the freshman class with a new course opportunity; high school exploration. This course will provide upcoming freshmen the chance to discover the experience of different elective classes offered by the high school. It will be replacing Mr. Nicholas DeFrancesco’s current computer applications course, which is planned to be moved down to the middle school.

The initial idea was introduced by Mr. Steven Mott, high school principal. Since computer applications was being moved down to the middle school, Mott was looking for credit course ideas to fill the gap in the schedule.

“Every year we are constantly trying to add new courses for students. We are looking into students’ interests, and students’ needs.” Mott said. 

In addition to considering new course possibilities, the school looked into what types of classes could be offered that would benefit the underclassmen most. That drew together the idea of high school exploration, which is divided into four pieces. The class consists of Freshman Fundamentals taught by Ms. Andrea Niedbala, Introduction to Art taught by Ms. Kaylee Haggerty, Introduction to Woodshop taught by Mr. David Badamo and Introduction to Media Design taught by Mr. Nicholas DeFrancesco. Every four weeks, the freshmen will cycle through the different classes. 

“We wanted to take what students were learning in computer applications and continue on with that” Mott said, in regards to specifically the introduction to media and design. Mott added that this class will benefit students if they plan on taking a class offered by Mr. Jesse Gagich, or a Freedom Focus course run by Mr. Aaron Fitzpatrick. 

Although the high school exploration course plans on highlighting certain elective choices, freshmen still have the ability to take their usual two elective classes atop of the new course. 

With the addition of this course, graduation requirements for upperclassmen have been a concern. Mott stated that the class, “will not impact current seniors at all.” For underclassmen, graduation requirements are expected to alter, but for reasons besides high school exploration. The number of credits required for graduation, that number being 28, will still be the same. 

“Some classes are brought forward by teachers, some classes are brought forward by student interest. There are a lot of these things we look into when we plan on building a new class,” Mott said.