New 2019-2020 Courses Land in the Master Schedule

Nicholas Hung, Staff Writer

With Portola High finally running at full capacity next year, many new courses have been meticulously crafted by faculty across all disciplines. While most of these courses are for juniors and seniors, current underclassmen can look forward to taking these classes in the future.

All seniors next year will either take honors or college prep Passion Civics. The final summative social studies course will integrate two separate semester-long classes, AP Government and AP Economics, into one year-long course focused on government, economy and the Portola High Passion Project.

“We think that our Passion Civics class is going to provide our students with an incredible advantage compared to what other students experience in other high schools,” social studies department chair Jon Resendez said. “They just get the content, the theory. We want to help prepare you for what’s going to happen outside of the walls of school.”

Additional possible social studies electives include AP Psychology, AP Macroeconomics and Philosophy. Whether these classes are offered next year depends on the amount of student interest from current sophomores and juniors.

With the guidance of social studies teacher Wind Ralston, juniors Mariya Idris, Nishad Francis, Stephanie Zhang, sophomore Jamie Shin and freshman Ryan Jung created the Philosophy curriculum. If offered next year, Philosophy would introduce the teachings of influential philosophers from the past such as Nietzsche, Camus and Aristotle.

In the science department, current juniors can choose to take AP Physics C to continue their study of Physics 1 from this year or dive into new fields of Chemistry, Environmental Science or Forensics. Current sophomores are able to take AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science and Forensics as well.

Looking to literary and language arts, seniors will take one of three mandatory English Classes: AP Literature and Composition, AP Language and Composition or the newly-created college prep Literary and Language Arts Senior Capstone. It will improve upon the currently existing course, Art of Storytelling, to highlight literature from many genres and prepare students for English courses after high school.

“We wanted to have a unique opportunity for seniors where they can reflect on how they’ve grown in our particular subject and as humans throughout their K-12 experience,” literary and language arts teacher Lyndsey Hicks said. “AP Lit and AP Lang are designed to essentially be an introductory college level English course themselves, whereas the Senior Capstone class would prepare the students for that rigor.”

Most additions to next year’s VAPA department are new choir ensembles, including specialized esnembles like Canta Bella, Treble Chorus and Bulldog’s Men Chorus. Meanwhile, beginning choir students will refine their vocal skills in these introductory courses before auditioning into a more advanced ensemble such as the Portola Singers.

Students have until May 17 to contact their counselor regarding any changes in their classes they want to make before the next school year begins.