New Classes Starting in 2023-24 at OHS

Five new classes are being added to the OHS curriculum for the 2023-2024 school year. Keep reading to learn more about these new academic opportunities.

Orono High School Course Guide

Five new classes are being added to the OHS curriculum for the 2023-2024 school year. Keep reading to learn more about these new academic opportunities.

Students at Orono High School are given the option to take a wide variety of classes from chemistry to world literature to German. With this school year coming to a close and the next on the horizon, the administration has revealed that the current Orono High School course catalog will be updated. To be specific, there are five new classes: AP Pre-Calculus in the math department, and Writer’s Workshop, Leadership in Action, Literature in Film and Reading for High School in the English department. This quintet of classes will continue to diversify the current course offerings at OHS.

AP Pre-Calculus

AP Classroom has recently created the AP Pre-Calculus class to serve as its precursor to its two other classes: AP Calc AB and AP Calc BC, and Orono High School has chosen to follow suit with this inclusion.

“The class consists of the basics of Pre-Calculus. [It’s] not only new to Orono, but the whole AP curriculum. Furthermore, it is an option for seniors who are not on track to take Calculus,” OHS Pre-Calculus teacher Mr. Porter said.

AP Pre-Calculus serves not only as an option for seniors who do not plan on pursuing Calculus in high school, but also for younger students who wish to advance further in their studies. They can now choose between either AP Pre-Calculus, Functions and Trigonometry.

“I’m excited to continue to teach Pre-Calc in a class where the standards are higher and match the students of Orono,” Porter said.

Writer’s Workshop

For any student who loves to write, Writer’s Workshop is a new class that caters to this passion. In it, students work on a personal creative writing project, such as a poetry collection or a novella. Students will also study other writers to learn how to hone their own skills, along with practicing through daily writing exercises such as journaling.

“I have always thought that we need more creative writing opportunities for students who are serious about a career in writing and who want to pursue a broader audience for their work. Many nearby high schools have a writing center housed in their media centers, and since I am the library media specialist, it made sense for me to start one with students who enjoy the writing process and have gone through most of the OHS curriculum,” media specialist and teacher for Writer’s Workshop Ms. Frie said.

Writer’s Workshop solves a problem many who are passionate about creative writing face in high school. Within the mainstream curriculum, there are scarce opportunities for large, high-level creative writing projects, and this new class solves this issue.

“I’m excited about practicing writing every day through journaling and other writing activities that will help students explore different genres, voices and styles to… improve their longer-term projects and hopefully find a place to publish or exhibit their work. I’m also excited to set up a centralized place for all OHS students to come to get help from their peers on their writing assignments,” Frie said.

Leadership in Action

For those students who want to get involved in their local community, Leadership in Action plans to support those who do.

“Students will take on a personal, school-based, or community leadership or service project. They will follow the project through from idea to implementation to reflection. In addition to the project basis, students in Leadership in Action will learn about leadership, group dynamics, communication and other skills that will be beneficial for their future,” Ms. Nohner, one of the two teachers of the class, said.

The class will serve as either an English or Social Studies credit, which are both needed for seniors to graduate. This will allow flexibility to students who wish to take this class, so they do not need to worry about meeting their requirements as much.

“This will add an opportunity for students to take on a project they are passionate about. For example, a student may complete a project for Senate, Unified, or Orono Giving Back, or they might complete a project that benefits a smaller group within the community. I am excited to interact with students regarding a project that they are passionate about. I am also hopeful that this class will help me and students with time management, giving us time in our day to complete some of the projects we already do, along with adding new ones,” Nohner said.

Literature in Film

There are many facets and expressions of the English language, with the translation from page to silver screen an example. Literature In Films gives Orono students the new opportunity to pursue this sector of media.

“Literature In Film is an elective English course geared towards upperclassmen. The focus will be script analysis. We will review and analyze books, plays and scripts that have been adapted from print to film to compare and contrast themes, characterization, plot structure and cultural impact,” OHS theater educator and director of many of the school’s drama productions Ms. Balon Peck said.

This class will heavily rely on discussion and reading, as well as contain deep conversation about the worlds of the read plays and books. For any theater-lover, Literature In Film can act as a continuation of their studies alongside senior drama classes such as Acting II and Director’s Workshop.

“I think this class will add a space for students who have a love of literature and film, and are curious about how works are adapted from text to screen. I’m hoping it will give students a chance to explore some lesser-known texts and films and look at how imagery, symbolism, mood and tone are set in both original text and the screen adaptation,” Balon Peck said.

Reading for High School

As a high school, Orono views it as its duty to educate its students at all levels. Reading for High School is a good example of this.

“Reading for High School is a continuation of support for students who need extra support in the area of reading,” Ms. Ivers, the teacher-to-be for the class, said.

Students will take the class by recommendation, and it helps fulfill a need that has not always been provided at the high school level in Orono when it has been at the middle, intermediate and elementary levels. Reading for high school attempts to fix this gap in aid.

“I think literacy skills are a key to success in so many classes… so I hope to help equip kids to be strong readers in all of their classes,” Ivers said.

OHS students registering for classes for the 2023-24 schoolyear and beyond will have a greater array of classes to choose from, that will hopefully spark their interests.