Seymour High School plans to add several courses to increase offerings in medical studies and computer technology and to expand cultural and diversity awareness.
School board trustees have approved six classes to be offered beginning in the fall — medical terminology, Advanced Placement computer science principles, computer tech support, Latin American studies, ethnic literature and ethnic studies.
The classes are needed to help meet the needs of students interested in learning more than just reading, writing and arithmetic and are geared toward those who are college- and career-minded, Assistant Principal Catherine DuBois said.
The school will have to hire a certified health specialist to teach medical terminology, but the current demand and interest in health care careers, especially in nursing, justifies the need, DuBois said.
Indiana’s Hoosier Hot 50 Jobs lists registered nursing as No. 1 and licensed practical nurse as No. 6 along with seven additional health-related careers.
The high school has a growing number of students wanting to pursue these types of careers, DuBois said.
Currently, nine students participate in the C4 Vocational Health Careers program in Columbus, 14 students are in senior work-based learning placements in health career-related fields, 55 students are taking a course in current health issues, and 60 juniors and seniors are in AP science courses that are designated pathways to health-related careers.
Also, a total of 31 students from the graduating Class of 2014 have identified they are pursuing a career in health-related studies, DuBois said.
Medical terminology might be offered as a dual-credit course, meaning students would receive both high school and college credit upon successful completion. The school will be reimbursed by the Indiana Department of Education $450 per student who passes the class.
DuBois said enrollment in the class could generate more than $20,000 in state funding.
By offering two new computer courses, the school hopes to open up additional career opportunities for students interested in computer programming and tech support.
The Hoosier Hot 50 Jobs list includes computer tech jobs. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook in computer science shows increased demand and a high rate of pay for computer programmers, software developers and tech support positions.
“We don’t currently offer a course in computer programming or coding,” DuBois said.
Advanced Placement computer science principles will introduce students to the foundational concepts of computer science and challenge them to explore how computing and technology can impact the world.
“With a unique focus on creative problem solving and real-world applications, this course prepares students for both college and a career,” DuBois said.
The computer tech support course will allow students to explore how computers work, she said.
“Students learn the functionality of hardware and software components as well as suggested best practices in maintenance and safety issues,” DuBois said. “Through hands-on activities and labs, students learn how to assemble and configure a computer, install operating systems and software and troubleshoot hardware and software problems.”
Students enrolled in the tech support class will get the opportunity to provide real-world tech service to the school by fixing student and faculty Chromebooks that need service.
“We are piloting an opportunity with our tech department in having student techs to work on the devices, including repairs and cleaning to build that computer tech knowledge for students,” DuBois said. “We would like to house a tech depot at the high school to cater to our repair needs.”
The addition of courses in ethnic literature, ethnic studies and Latin American studies is in response to the school’s growing diversity, especially the Latino population.
“In order to embrace and maximize the various cultural experiences of our students and to provide targeted programming for our student population needs, we need to expand our course offerings to be more culturally diverse,” DuBois said.