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Fort High offering more course choices

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There’s still more than three months left in the current school year but Fort High students already are looking ahead to the 2015/16 one.

“I have a plan for what I’d like to do [as a career] and what courses I need to take,” noted Grade 11 student Cam Gushulak.

“But I also want to take some other courses in case I change my mind,” he reasoned.

Last week, Grade 9, 10, and 11 students began choosing the courses they will take this fall.

The biggest addition to the selection of courses offered at Fort High is the introduction of the “Business SHSM (Specialist High Skills Major) program.”

“It was a government program that introduced this to us,” said FFHS vice-principal Shane Bliss.

“We had a pilot program last semester with a business course and now it will be expanded into the ‘Business SHSM,’” he explained.

“It’s based on a two-year program for Grade 11 and 12 students.”

To graduate from the “Business SHSM” program, students must earn credits in four business courses, such as “Entrepreneurship: The Venture” and “Marketing: Goods, Services, Events.”

Students also will need to complete “contextualized learning activities” in two Math classes and an English one.

“The idea is to tie in the English and Math credits and apply it to the real world, in this case business,” Bliss said.

“It’ll be a week-long activity incorporated into the course.”

As well, students will need to earn two co-op credits.

“Co-ops could be at places such as financial institutions, insurance, or human resources,” said Co-op teacher Sarah Arpin.

A major benefit of enrolling in the program is the opportunity to focus on a specific field while still in high school.

“Taking these courses could reaffirm their desire to work in the field or maybe they realize business isn’t the field for them,” noted Bliss.

Graduating from the program earns the student a red seal, which indicates they’ve earned specific training in a certain program.

This is the second SHSM to be offered at FFHS. The first, “Manufacturing SHSM,” began enrolment four years ago.

Students also can look forward to a variety of new courses offered at Fort High.

For instance, a Grade 11 course entitled “Visual Art—Pottery & Ceramics,” will debut this fall.

Another Grade 11 course, “Exploring and Creating the Arts,” offers students the opportunity to work with a variety of arts, such as dance, drama, music, media arts, and visual arts.

Other courses will be expanded next school year.

“Green industries,” “Outdoor activities,” and “Personal fitness” all were offered as Grade 11 courses.

Now “Green industries” and “Outdoor activities” will have a Grade 12 course, along with the existing Grade 11 one.

“Personal Fitness,” meanwhile, will begin being offered to Grade 10 students.

Additionally, the Grade 12 “Outdoor activities” is a dual credit course, which means the student will earn a credit for both high school and Confederation College.

“It offers students a chance to get ahead in their college diploma or degree,” said FFHS guidance counsellor Tamara McLean.

Due to increased interest, more second language courses also will be offered in the fall.

Native language will have Grade 11 and 12 courses available for students, along with the existing Grade 9 and 10 ones.

And for the first time at FFHS, there is enough interest to run a Grade 10 applied French language course.

“Students are understanding that we live in a more global, interconnected world,” noted French teacher Erika Handberg.

“It benefits them, and helps them distinguish themselves among other students when pursuing jobs,” she remarked.

Students must take a second language course in Grade 9. After that, however, it’s their decision whether or not to continue.

“Choosing courses is always fun,” enthused Grade 10 student Martina Morrisseau.

“It can also be difficult because there are so many awesome options to pick from,” she noted.

Grade 11 and returning Grade 12 students needed to complete and submit their course selections for next year by Monday (March 2).

Grade 9 and 10 students have until March 23 to finalize their selections.

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