HAMLET — Students at Richmond Senior High School will have the opportunity to take several new courses starting next year.
The Richmond County Board of Education on Tuesday approved nine new classes to be added to the curriculum guide.
Dr. Kate Smith, executive director of curriculum and learning, said the high school principals, the curriculum team and central office leadership team met three weeks ago to discuss and consider “new, fresh course ideas” for the Ninth Grade Academy and high school.
“The principals brought to the table some ideas for the team and, given that we would like to do all that we can to give high school students course options that are relevant and high-interest, we’re looking for every possible way to motivate these students … for their return for the 21-22 school year,” Smith said. “We collectively decided on a few new options for courses, and then also some variations of existing courses that we can realistically provide for the upcoming school year.”
Smith said that three of the courses — Team Sports, Lifetime Sports and Dance/Fitness for Life — are “diverse selections to expand on the current physical education program.
Psychology and Sociology are already in the curriculum guide, but Smith said they wanted to add them as non-advanced placement courses “so that a broader range of students will have the opportunity to take these high-interest courses.
The team also decided to add Public Speaking specifically for students at the Ninth Grade Academy.
“We see this as something relevant and a fundamental course option for ninth-grade students,” Smith said.
Theater Arts has been offered in the past, and Smith said the district was able to fund it again and bring it back to the curriculum guide.
“We’re really excited about that,” she said.
The final two courses, African-American Studies and American Sign Language, are “two diverse course options that we would like to offer students beginning with this upcoming school year,” Smith continued.
The Sign Language course would also fulfill a foreign language requirement for the university system, she added.
According to Smith, COVID funding would help pay for the new courses.
Chairman Wiley Mabe said Public Speaking and Theater Arts have been discussed for “quite a long time,” and that he was glad Psychology was being offered to more students.
Board member Daryl Mason asked if any of the courses needed any special certification. Specifically, he mentioned the African-American Studies course and wondered if it could be taught by any high school history teacher or if they needed a certain certification.
Dr. Julian Carter, assistant superintendent for human resources, said some of the courses could be taught by teachers with add-ons.
Carter added that the district was planning to hire a board-certified theater instructor and had someone in mind for the African-American Studies course who “is going to be fabulous.”
Sign Language and African-American Studies will be available for students in grades 9-12, the others are for grades 10-12.
The new courses were approved unanimously.