Shenandoah schools weigh course changes

Shenandoah County Public Schools is proposing adjusting its course offerings for next year

We are working to (make) the curriculum more about learning and less about grades. This puts students at the center of learning,” said David Hinegardner, Director of Middle and Secondary Education at Shenandoah County Public Schools.

Courses are evaluated every year by administrators and teachers. Sometimes changes are made to the courses based on curriculum changes from the state, endorsement requirements for teachers or to enhance the course itself, Hinegardner said.

It is important, however, that the district offer courses that are not only required by the state but are meaningful and valued by the students, he said.

The courses must also offer them skills necessary for preparing them for the workplace. The school also coordinates course offerings with Lord Fairfax Community College as part of an educational partnership that allows students to earn college credit.

“It is our duty to offer them the very best opportunity to learn what will be necessary for their future. We take this duty very seriously,” Hinegardner said.

The school administrators try to stay abreast of current trends in the job market and offer courses to prepare students for those jobs. One example is the introduction next year of an advanced cybersecurity offering, in addition to a current introductory course.

“A few years ago most folks had not even heard of cybersecurity and we certainly did not offer a class in it. Now we are proposing for next year to offer an advanced course as well. This is an example of trying to meet workforce needs and provide students with relevant learning experiences that can be grown into a career,” Hinegardner said.

Proposed changes to the course offerings include:

Changing the name of the the arts program to fine arts. The program would then incorporate theater, moving it from the English program, and the music department.

The district is also seeking to add an advanced weight training class.

In a move to teach students more of the skills that employers are requesting, the school district would add a communications system class. The class would teach imaging technology, graphic productions, video and media technical design and various ways to communicate information through the use of data. The district would also add introduction to health assisting career. This class would allow students to explore what careers are available in the health care field.

The district also entered into an agreement with Lord Fairfax Community College for adding some additional courses for students who take advantage of dual enrollment.

Those added classes include: children’s literature and several medical classes — including medical system administration, medical terminology and orientation to health careers.


Listing of proposed new course offerings in Shenandoah County Public Schools:

  • Theatre Arts III

  • Theatre Arts IV

  • Guitar II

  • Advanced Band II

  • Communication Systems

  • Advanced Cybersecurity Systems Tech

  • Introduction to Health Assisting Careers

  • Children’s Literature

  • Advanced Composition

  • Advanced Weight Training

  • Algebra II Honors

  • Sports Statistics

  • Integrated Science

  • Environmental Science

  • Sports Statistics

  • Military Science V, VI, VII, VIII

  • SAT Prep

  • Peer Tutoring, I, II, III

  • Personal Development I, II, III, IV