Polygence blog / Education and College Admissions

5 New Courses Coming to High Schools & How to Get Your School to Offer Them

5 minute read

The high school course of study or overall curricula tends to evolve slowly, but new subjects gradually make inroads to equip students for our rapidly changing world. In this article, I discuss five innovative courses poised to enter more schools soon, along with tips on persuading your administration to offer them as full-on high school classes. These courses are: 

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

  2. Personal Finance and Investing

  3. Mobile App Design and Coding

  4. Podcasting and Audio Production

  5. Positive Psychology and Mental Health

Now, let’s discuss each further. 

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1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

An Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning course provides a comprehensive exploration of the dynamic realms of AI and ML, equipping middle school and/or high school students with foundational knowledge and practical skills. The course begins with an introduction to the core concepts and historical evolution of AI, followed by a deep dive into the mathematical and statistical foundations crucial for machine learning. Participants gain proficiency in programming languages such as Python and learn to preprocess and clean data effectively. 

The curriculum covers both supervised and unsupervised learning, introducing algorithms like linear regression, decision trees, and neural networks. Practical applications extend to natural language processing, computer vision, and reinforcement learning. A key emphasis is placed on model evaluation, optimization techniques, and ethical considerations in AI. The computer science course could even culminate in a capstone project, allowing students to apply their skills to real-world scenarios. Bonus: this would look great for college applications too! 

To advocate for this course, note how it builds core technical abilities. AI is the future of technology and a versatile skill. Understanding it is crucial for career readiness and informed citizenship. AI projects also showcase student work.

2. Personal Finance and Investing 

Navigating adult life requires financial know-how, yet our educational system often neglects this crucial area. Our course fills the gap by covering essential financial skills: goal setting, budgeting, banking, credit, taxes, insurance, home and auto purchasing, investing basics (risk, return, stocks, bonds), and retirement planning. Early exposure to sound financial habits bring benefits that last beyond student life, impacting mental health, relationships, and community welfare. Advocate for integrating this practical knowledge into the curriculum, offering assistance in design and other student resources to ensure they are well-prepared for financial success.

3. Mobile App Design and Coding

Have you ever wanted to create your own app? This technical education course empowers students to plan, design, and code their apps—from mapping out the purpose and target users to crafting eye-catching visual layouts. With hands-on experience in frameworks like React Native and Flutter, students test their creations on iOS and Android devices and even get the lowdown on submitting apps to app stores. Beyond just coding, this course is a creative playground, teaching design essentials and product development. Perfect for those eager to ride the wave of coding skills sought after by colleges and explore the vast possibilities in the dynamic realm of mobile app creation.

4. Podcasting and Audio Production

Unlock the world of audio creation with this engaging language arts course! From audience research and ideation to hands-on planning, students will explore the complete audio production journey. The curriculum covers script writing, interview techniques, and the art of audio editing using platforms like Adobe Audition. Dive into the creative process by adding music, and sound effects, and mastering multi-track mixing. The course doesn't stop at creation—it delves into the realms of publishing, marketing, and analytics, ensuring students understand how to maximize listenership for their audio creations. With audio creation becoming more accessible than ever, this course is a dynamic gateway to honing skills that blend creativity and technical know-how.

Note the versatility as students gain writing, creative, and technical abilities. Podcasting builds confidence and collaboration too. They’ll learn to craft stories and connect to audiences globally.

5. Positive Psychology and Mental Health

Prioritize well-being in the classroom with this transformative course. Delving into the core of emotional intelligence, it covers understanding emotions, early childhood trauma, disorders, and dismantling stigma. Practical skills take center stage as students learn to manage stress, anxiety, and depression, and cultivate positive relationships. The health science curriculum extends to building essential life skills such as grit, optimism, resilience, and self-care. Emphasizing the holistic approach, physical health is addressed through insights on nutrition, exercise, and sleep. The course incorporates mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude, fostering emotional intelligence. Highlighting the critical impact of mental health on academic and professional success, it becomes an integral part of a caring, holistic education. Backed by teen mental health statistics, the course emphasizes the urgent need for such education to empower every student on their journey to well-being.

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How to Advocate for These Courses in Your High School

#1 Research and Documentation

  1. Gather information about the new courses, including their benefits, relevance, and potential impact on students' academic and professional futures.

  2. Compile success stories from schools that have already implemented these courses to showcase their positive outcomes.

#2 Gauge Student Interest

  1. Conduct surveys or petitions to gauge student interest in the proposed courses.

  2. Showcase testimonials or letters of support from students expressing their enthusiasm for the new courses.

#3 Make Your Case

  1. Do some background research on the costs of training teachers and developing a curriculum to demonstrate you have solutions in mind. Look at schools that have successfully adopted similar courses and AP classes. 

  2. Develop a comprehensive proposal that outlines the benefits of each high school program, the skills students will gain, and how these courses align with the school's mission and goals.

  3. Share results with administrators. Proposals backed by student enthusiasm get attention. Bonus: Include any relevant data on job market trends, national assessments, and the demand for skills related to the proposed courses

  4. Focus arguments on benefiting all students, not just your interests. The state board and school admins consider the needs of the full student body. Be realistic but ambitious - meaningful change takes patience but is possible.

#4 Collaborate with Others

  1. Collaborate with relevant teachers and departments to integrate the new courses seamlessly into the existing curriculum

  2. Reach out to local professionals or experts in the fields covered by the proposed courses.

  3. Arrange for guest speakers or field trips to demonstrate the real-world applications of the AP course/s.

  4. Emphasize how the proposed courses align with current high school graduation requirements, educational trends, and standards.

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