The Hockaday course selection has always housed unique classes such as Spycraft and History of Art and Music. Continuing this trend, the 2017-2018 Hockaday course catalogue offers five unique new classes: Statistics, Forensic Science, Gothic Literature and Culture, Law and Crime in Literature and Shakespeare: Poetry and Performance.
The process for creating a class requires multiple layers of approval, according to Upper School Science Chair Marshall Bartlett. First, the teacher interested in creating the class presents the idea to his or her department chair. Then, the idea is presented to the administration and the Academic Assistant Head of School, Blair Lowry. If the idea is approved, the teacher has all of the remaining school year and the summer to design a course curriculum, including topics, lesson plans and materials needed.
Upper School Science teacher Kirsten Lindsay-Hudak currently teaches AP Environmental Science, AP Human Geography and Human Evolution. This next school year, she will also be teaching Forensic Science, a course that will be open to second semester seniors.
“I think lots of people are fascinated with the idea of solving crimes with science. It’s something I have done independent studies before in the past, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to add a new and interesting discipline to our course offerings and to try and figure out a different way to run a class,” Lindsay-Hudak said.
This forensic science class will use science to solve crimes, according to Lindsay-Hudak. Forensics means “problem-solving.”
This will not be the first time that Lindsay-Hudak will be teaching a forensic science course. She has taught three varying independent studies in the past for interested Hockaday students.
“I have a list of topics and skills I want them to master; then I break each of those big ideas down into the topics that support them; then I take those topics and think about how I’m going to teach that. And then I put that in order,” Lindsay-Hudak said.
On the other hand, the new statistics class does not require as much planning, according to Math Department Chair Jeri Sutton, due to the fact that an AP course is already offered.
“The Statistics class will still cover the same concepts, but it will be focused on the principles of it and will not have the stress and the rigor of an AP course,” Sutton said. “We’ve always wanted to offer a non-AP Statistics. We have recognized that students in the higher grades don’t have very many options that are not AP, and we wanted to offer that. There are some students who don’t want AP, so we needed to try and support them as well.”
And the English department’s new English senior seminars—Gothic Literature and Culture, Law and Crime in Literature, and Shakespeare: Poetry and Performance—boast very diverse topics. English Department Chair Janet Bilhartz said that new senior seminars should offer something that has not been already included in an English course or a different way of looking at literature.
“The literature itself needs to be appropriate for seniors in high school—so fairly challenging literature, but interesting to students, helping them to see the world and understand literature in different ways, or deepen their understanding,” Bilhartz said.
Even though students want to know in advance who will be teaching each course, Upper School registrar Lyse Herrera said that there are a few reasons why teachers for new courses are often decided months after the new course is announced.
“Once we know what students are interested in taking, that’s when Department Chairs sit down and figure out who will teach what, based on the demand for courses, individual teaching loads, and preps,” Herrera said.
– Ponette Kim – Staff Writer –