MST to offer updated classes for the 2015-2016 school year

MST to offer updated classes for the 2015-2016 school year

Amanda Tu

Next year, the MST magnet will offer several altered freshman classes which will emphasize practical skills and provide an accelerated course of study for prepared students.

The current MST Integrated Science curriculum will be replaced by an updated version in which students will spend the first semester studying scientific method, basic statistics and experimental processes.

“A lot of times, students are thrown into science fair as freshmen without any of these basic skills, and this class will introduce them to what they need to know,” said Dr. Matthew Kingsley (Administration).

Many students believe that the new content will be useful for their mandatory research projects. “Anyone who pursues a scientific career will have to deal with statistics and the scientific method at some point,” said Jing Xu, an incoming MST freshman. “I think it’s a good idea to cover these in freshman year, so in the future students can have some sort of structure for their science fair or any science experiments.”

Additionally, the freshman Computer Applications class will be eliminated in favor of a class called Computational Thinking.

“If a student scores a 90 percent or better on the 21st Century skills test they take in middle schooland a huge number of students dothey will go straight into a class called Computational Thinking as an MST freshman,” said Dr. Kingsley. “This is a survey course that will teach software, hardware, programming, a bit of web design and some robotics. It’s an all encompassing class that teaches a lot more than just Microsoft Office.”

If a student does not score above a 90 percent on their middle school technology exam, they will take Computer Literacy, which will teach skills similar to those taught in Computer Applications.

“The middle school technology test is a good way to measure students’ knowledge in comparison to other schools and assess their readiness,” said Manasaa Kannan (11, MST). “The opportunity to take a different class that prepares you for sophomore year’s computer programming class is an additional benefit and will probably help many students to move ahead to learn new things.”

Both of these changes will only be applied for the class of 2019 and beyond. Current MST students will not be required to retroactively make up any credits.

Dr. Kingsley hopes that these new required freshman classes will prepare students for a wider range of more challenging courses that will be offered in future years.

“Everything else is basically the same, but we want to add some higher-level classes as this class of incoming freshmen gets older,” Dr. Kingsley said. “You can’t just add a bunch of classes at one time because you won’t have anyone to teach them.”