Stonington schools offering new courses

Stonington — Why didn’t we have courses like this when we were in middle school?

That may be a question Stonington Middle School parents are asking after school officials on Thursday unveiled a wide array of new courses for seventh and eighth grade students beginning this fall.

Among the 27 offerings are 20th Century History through Sports, Biomedical Engineering, Cracking History’s Mysteries, Fit for Life, Art and Social Change and World Music.

It’s all part of the consolidation of Pawcatuck and Mystic Middle schools this fall into Stonington Middle School.

Principal Tim Smith explained to the Board of Education Thursday that now instead of two schools competing for the same resources and essentially duplicating their efforts, the consolidation allows teachers and administrators to be more efficient and better leverage the resources they have. This means an ability to offer many more courses that could be offered with two schools.

Smith said a survey was given to all teachers asking them what they would like to teach if they could. Teachers then made short videos about their course including a music composition course that includes drumming on trash cans. Students were asked what courses they were interested in taking.

Smith commended his staff on taking on the challenge to have the new offerings in place for the start of school this fall.

“We’re really excited about offering our students a wider and richer experience,” Smith told the Board of Education.

And on the high school level, Principal Mark Friese told the school board that the school will use a federal Perkins grant to begin a manufacturing course with a new metal shop to prepare students not going to college for well-paying manufacturing jobs.

He said that this year eight Stonington High students graduated from training programs at the Westerly Education Center and four have been offered full-time manufacturing jobs at Electric Boat upon graduation.




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