Nine classes to be cut for the 2023-2024 school year, two added


Juli Mejia

In November, 2022, freshman Akiko Field presents her poster on Japan for AP Human Geography’s project called the Cultural Cookbook. AP Human Geography is one of the classes that will be cut for the 2023-2024 school year.

Sonya Sud, News Editor in Chief

AP Human Geography, Debate 2 and Computer Networking, three classes that are currently being taught, will be cut for the 2023-2024 school year. 

Additionally, there were six other classes offered on the course catalog when students signed up for classes that didn’t get enough interest, so they will not be offered next year either. Those classes include Drafting 2, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, Topics in College Literature, Beginning Orchestra, Authentic Science Research and Authentic Applications of Biochemistry. 

However, with three classes being cut, there are also two new classes being offered: Cybersecurity and Music Production

According to the Rockwood course catalog, AP Human Geography is designed to help students become more engaged in contemporary global issues, more geographically literate and able to analyze the world from a multicultural perspective. 

Senior Ethan Portscheller signed up to take AP Human Geography because he thought the class seemed interesting. 

“I heard you learn about a lot of different cultures and that really interests me,” Portscheller said.

Portscheller is disappointed the class will be discontinued, as he enjoys the style of the class

“Sometimes, there’s a certain topic that comes up, and we’ll just have a certain day to debate it and we’ll all sit in a circle, kind of like a big socratic seminar. Those are always really fun just to debate about and it really lets you understand the issue better,” he said.

Like Portscheller, junior Lexi Herberer also enjoys the more immersive style of the class.

“It’s project-based, which actually gets you immersed in what you’re learning, rather than just memorizing things for a test and forgetting it right after. There are tests, but you get to learn more and there’re lots of debates,” Herberer said.

For freshman Kai Han, he enjoys that the class introduces him to AP history.

“I’m taking Honors U.S. History as well, and if I could only take one to prepare myself for AP World History [next year], I would definitely take AP Human Geography, because you learn a lot more than just in Honors U.S. History because you actually have to analyze and research stuff,” Han said.

History teacher Amy Merriott teaches AP Human Geography, and along with her students, she enjoys the class.

“I love the course, it’s my favorite course to teach and it’ll come back, if not next year then probably the year after,” Merriott said. 

The current Debate 2 class only has nine students. The class was taken away because there was not enough student interest in it. It is a performance course where students enhance skills in research, argumentation and persuasion, then they apply those skills to debate, according to the Rockwood course catalog.

Language arts teacher Donald Kreienkamp currently teaches Debate 2. He said the main difference between Debate 1 and Debate 2 is that Debate 2 has higher expectations.

“You can get debate essentials and background from Debate 1, so the only people that might be missing out by Debate 2 going away would be people on the debate team that would use the class for extra coaching,” he said.

One of those students is sophomore Zoey Gjorgjievski, who is a part of the Speech and Debate team at LHS. 

“I will definitely be using the many skills I learned to improve the quality of my cases and hopefully win some more tournaments,” Gjorgjievski said.

Through the class, Gjorgjievski said she has learned many skills. She thinks the discontinuation of the class is unfortunate for those who won’t be able to take it.

“I have learned so much from how to format a case and write a policy to daily life things that are not taught in regular classes,” she said.

Overall, Gjorgjievski is thankful that she got the chance to take the class. 

“Debate has been by far one of my most enjoyable and memorable classes,” Gjorgjievski said.

Another aspect of the class is that students are able to self-select an area of study, according to the Rockwood course catalog. Junior Reid Fortel enjoyed that part of class most.

“It was fun because we got to go at our own pace for the most part and debate the things we wanted to debate about,” Fortel said.

Computer Networking is another class that will not be offered next year. The class has to do with looking into hardware. 

The class is currently taught by math teacher Steven Stallis.

“[Computer] Networking has been around for a while, so it kind of needed a revamp. So it was either going to be revamped a little bit or replaced, and it was replaced,” Stallis said.

The class that will be replacing Computer Networking next year is the new Cybersecurity class.

“Since we’re taking one away, we’re still adding one that’s still sort of on the hardware side,” Stallis said.

However, freshman Aidren Martin still thinks the lack of hardware exposure will be a disadvantage of Computer Networking no longer being offered.

“I think [students who can’t take the class] will miss out a little bit on hardware and learning about how networks work,” Martin said.

On the other hand, sophomore Daniel D’andrea believes the biggest disadvantage to the class being replaced by Cybersecurity is that some subjects won’t be explained in as much depth as in Computer Networking.

“The main thing [students] will be missing out on is overall just learning the basic network aspects. In [Computer] Networking, we talk about specific details, whereas in Cybersecurity, they might just briefly gloss over some of those subjects,” D’andrea said.

The Cybersecurity class that will be replacing Computer Networking is a weighted grade, full-year class.

In the class, students explore cybersecurity through problem-based learning, where students will role-play and train as cybersecurity experts, according to the Rockwood course catalog.

Computer science teacher Sean O’Connor will be teaching the class and is excited about the opportunities that will come with it.

“[Cybersecurity] is a huge part of computer science in general that, up to this point, we haven’t really done too much with before. There are a lot of opportunities in the field, especially post-college or even before college. Courses like this offer insight to kids who otherwise might not have known it was a career path,” O’Connor said.

In addition to Cybersecurity, Music Production is another new class that will be offered next school year. 

Music teacher Traci Bolton, who will be teaching the class, is excited to teach it because she said she loves empowering people to create their own music.

She said the class is different from other music classes because it is open to anyone.

“You do not need any prior experience to have success [in the class],” Bolton said.