Four new classes to be offered at Lafayette during 2024-2025 school year

Lining a cupcake tray, seniors Ella Manning works with Abbrar Alshami during FACS Department Chair Becky Lawrences 5th Hour Culinary Arts 2 class. Although Cooking Mentors will be a course at Lafayette for the first year during the 2024-2025 school year, Lawrence has had SSD students join her Culinary Arts 2 class for many years.
Lining a cupcake tray, seniors Ella Manning works with Abbrar Alshami during FACS Department Chair Becky Lawrence’s 5th Hour Culinary Arts 2 class. Although Cooking Mentors will be a course at Lafayette for the first year during the 2024-2025 school year, Lawrence has had SSD students join her Culinary Arts 2 class for many years.
Sonya Sud

Four new classes are to be offered for the 2024-2025 school year: ASL 3, Cooking Mentors, Exploring Computer Science and Music Production 2. Heritage Spanish was originally going to be offered, but did not have enough student interest.




ASL teacher Julie Bates started working at Lafayette in 2021. Bates said one of the first things she noticed was that the district did not offer a third level of ASL. 

Starting in the 2022-2023 school year, Bates, along with the other ASL teachers in Rockwood, worked to modify the current ASL curriculum in order to build a third level.

“We first looked at levels one and two because when I started here, as I was teaching the curriculum, I realized that level one had too many concepts for students to master before moving onto the next unit and then [onto] level two,” Bates said.

ASL 3 was designed to develop a deeper understanding of Deaf culture and language.

“ASL 3 [will have] more grammar based on facial expressions and body movement because there’s a lot of grammar with just the face and how you move your mouth and eyes that we don’t really get to learn about in levels one or two,” Bates said. “ [Students will also] learn to interpret. We [previously] did our song project in level two, and now that’s moved onto level three because students are going to learn so many more concepts that will help them with [interpreting a] song.”

As Bates is the only ASL teacher at Lafayette, the inclusion of a third level changes her previous class schedule. Instead of teaching three sections of ASL 1, Bates will only teach two, along with two sections of ASL 2, and one section of ASL 3.

During 1st Semester, Bates gave an interest survey asking current ASL 2 students if they planned to take ASL 3.

“The numbers may have changed, there may be more interest. I currently have 63 ASL 2 students and only 44 were here to respond [to the survey]. I have 21 that said yes, and I have 11 that said maybe,” Bates said. “Just through conversation, I know there’s at least seven [past students] interested.”

In order to determine which students can take the course, there are levels of priority. 

“Priority will go to current ASL 2 students, then it will open up to previous ASL 2 students, since they’ll have a gap year. But, I feel like everyone’s going to be able to take it,” Bates said.



Cooking Mentors

Although the course has been offered at Marquette for the past five years, the 2024-2025 school year will be the first year that Cooking Mentors is offered as a course at Lafayette.

The course will be a blend of RSD and SSD students, allowing students to work together regardless of skill level or ability.

FACS Department Chair Becky Lawrence has had SSD join her Culinary Arts 2 class for multiple years and is excited to finally have an entire class dedicated to people of all skill levels.

“I want to bring awareness and support by creating an environment where everyone feels welcome, valued and included,” Lawrence said.

Cooking Mentors will be a lab-based class that teaches lessons on inclusion, fire safety and more.

“This will be a unified cooking class designed to build an inclusive school community for young people of all abilities,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence has been working with Head Principal Karen Calcaterra for two years to figure out the best way to offer the course at Lafayette.

“Administration, Counselors and SSD teachers, [Ben] Stockwell and [Jessica] Vernon, have been very supportive and instrumental in getting this class up and running,” Lawrence said.

Students who are interested in the course are encouraged to visit Lawrence in Room 109 or discuss the course with their counselor.



Exploring Computer Science

Exploring Computer Science has not yet been assigned to a teacher, but will be a new course for the 2024-2025 school year. The class will be offered to all grade levels and will introduce students to the basics of computer science.

According to the Rockwood Course Guide, “students will learn basic programming skills, networking and hardware fundamentals, website design, and the impact of computer science in the modern world.”



Music Production 2

Music Production 1 was a new class for the 2023-2024 school year. The class, taught by both fine arts teachers Traci Bolton and Chris Livesay respectively, had over 50 students take the course and released a total of three EP’s, which are short albums.

Music Production 2 will also be taught by Bolton or Livesay and will focus on further developing skills students learned in the first level.

“Level 2 is going to delve deeper into live recording, so recording live musicians and then mixing and mastering those live audio files into a producible track. [Students will be] working more on understanding the theory of songwriting so that they can create their own songs. Also updating piano skills so [they] have more facility with playing piano,” Bolton said.

Bolton hopes to see interest increase with the addition of a second level.

“Being that this was the first year, you always get the early adopters that want to come in and see what the class is. Everyone who was in it said ‘oh, I’ve told my friends they have to sign up,’ so we’re hoping that we see enrollment numbers go even higher,” Bolton said.

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