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The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

An Abundance of Learning: Latin’s New Courses for 2024-25

Preview+of+new+courses+for+the+2024-25+school+year.
Aryan Patel
Preview of new courses for the 2024-25 school year.

From food writing to printmaking and forensics to the Vietnam War, Latin is unveiling several new courses for the 2024-25 academic year. With the updated curriculum, Latin faculty hope to provide students with more elective choices as well as sufficient content to fit today’s changing world.

The Performing Arts Department will offer a new class called Just Dance. Performing Arts teacher Adriana Durant said that the class would be focused on “learning dances from the video game [Just Dance], starting with easy and moving to more difficult.” At the end of the semester, students will create their own dance video in a group to a favorite song, and if students wish to do so, their video may be shown at the dance concert.

The Visual Arts Department is also adding a new course to its curriculum: Printmaking. This course, offered in the second semester, will focus on the methods of printmaking and printmaking techniques. Each year Printmaking will alternate with Mixed Media, which did not run this year. “We intend to alternate both classes to improve the likelihood of getting enough students to fill the elective,” Visual Arts Department Chair Derek Haverland said.

The English Department is adding two English 12 courses, available to be taken for credit by seniors and as an elective by juniors. Black Voices, a returning course, will explore what it means to be in Black America and study works from authors like James Baldwin and Toni Morrison; Food Writing will focus on reading and writing in various genres centering on food and its historical and cultural significance.

Another addition to the English Department is Journalism II. Journalism II will be offered next year in the spring and will build on the skills learned in Journalism I. As with Journalism I, Journalism II will offer students the opportunity to publish their work in The Forum. This course will be available for all students of the Upper School.

“Through courses like these, the English Department is emphasizing reading experiences that reflect students’ lives, look into a different perspective, and allow students to explore a variety of identities,” Interim English Department Chair Katie Jones-Espinalles said.
History is also introducing several new courses. New courses include Introduction to Philosophy, which will focus on Social Contract Theory and have students read books by Locke and Plato, among other authors, and Film History, which will dive into media criticisms and have students explore the works of various film creators.

Additionally, three courses that were not available this past year will be making a comeback: History of America Latina, which will explore how history influences identities; The Vietnam War on Screen, which will give students knowledge of the Vietnam War through films; and Religion: Myth and Ritual, which will further explore topics studied in the sophomore elective World Religions.

All new history course additions are being offered as senior electives. History Department Chair Milana Sjekloca pointed to the current Advanced Topics curriculum’s limitations as the reason: “There wasn’t enough variety or choices in the seniors’ electives.”

Meanwhile, Spice, a 10th grade semester-long class, will be removed from the curriculum for the upcoming year because “[history teacher Stephanie] Stephens, who teaches the class, is taking a sabbatical next year,” Ms. Sjekloca said. “It will be back for the following school year.”

Advanced Geometry, Advanced Topics, and Probability and Game Theory may run as math electives next year. “The electives will only run if enough students enroll,” Math Department Chair Nichol Hooker said. “For instance, Probability and Game Theory ran this year, while the other two didn’t, due to lack of student interest.”

In the Science Department, Forensics Science will be newly offered for the 2024-25 school year. Students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade will be able to explore forensics topics such as chemical separation, DNA, fingerprinting, forgery, and more. The class will also explore technology, engineering, law, and criminal justice.

Unlike the Science Department, the Computer Science Department’s course offerings have not changed. “We are still a fairly new department still trying to figure out how to maximize enrollment in the courses we have and how to make sure we offer courses that both students are interested in and meet the goals of our department,” Computer Science Department Chair Ash Hansberry said. “We might have new courses in the future, but not next year.”

Moving away from the classroom, Physical Education has also made some changes. Lifetime Fitness Nutrition will not run due to a lack of interest in the class, and Upper School PE will be offered for the first time next year. “The Upper School PE class will offer more variety, and we can add more people in the class,” Physical Education Department Chair Tony Pascolla said, “The goal is to have at least 24 kids per semester.”

All of these courses will increase diversity in Latin’s curriculum, providing more class choices for students. Now, only one question remains: Which courses will students decide to take?

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About the Contributor
Aryan Patel, Staff Writer
Aryan Patel ('27) is excited for the next four years at The Forum. He enjoys reading, pumping out 80s rock music, and hopes to be a successful person in life. He currently plays golf and squash at Latin and is regularly seen bantering about college football and soccer with friends.

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