Curriculum Subcommittee Brings Student Voice to Class Offerings

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This year, Sequoyah has changed how it gets student input on the classes they may offer in the 2019-2020 school year. The Student Curriculum subcommittee of the Steering Committee held a curriculum suggestion meeting to go over potential courses students would want to see at Sequoyah. Sophomore Remali de Silva, a member of the subcommittee, said that the committee’s goal is to “be a bridge between the students and the faculty and to foster a genuine love for students.” The committee is trying to “improve the interest students have towards their classes.”

Marc Alongi, High School Director, gave insight on what it takes for a course to be approved to be a part of Sequoyah’s course offerings. Alongi said: “It is for the most part, based on what departments think will balance student interest with academic and college preparation. Those departments also need to look at different criteria like the A-G requirements.” A-G requirements need to be completed if students want to apply to and be eligible for a University of California school or a California State University.

Alongi added that students “need to take approved courses, which our classes are. Then I, and the rest of the administration, work with the department for final approval.” The administration may also sometimes make suggestions about courses that the department should consider.

“We are looking beyond just the departmental goals. There are also more practical considerations,” continued Alongi. These might include the number of courses that can be offered and how many teachers the school has. “There are also resource considerations as well as space considerations.”

Alongi emphasized the importance of student input on the designing and improvement of courses in the curriculum. “We want students to be inquisitive, curious, and to take ownership of their learning.” One way the administration does this is by sending out course evaluations at the end of each course. “We want feedback from the students from what they did or did not like or what they want to see in the future.”

On November 29th, a Google Form was sent out to students, to allow them to request the Z-Block classes they wanted to take for Mods 4-6. At the end of the form, there were questions about potential classes students may want to see in the future. Most of the options on the form emerged from the Student Curriculum subcommittee meeting on new course ideas.

Students seemed interested in weighing in. Aaliyah Balangue, a current tenth grader at Sequoyah, said she enjoys the current “diverse” course offerings. Balangue did cite a class she would like to see at Sequoyah, similar to the currently-offered Biology of Disease (and SAS version) class: “I would love to have a class of medicine where we think about diagnosis of a patient, their symptoms, and the procedures a doctor may take.” She also expressed her interest in foreign languages other than the currently-offered Spanish.

Sophomore Allison Diaz agreed with Balangue, saying that she enjoys the current courses that Sequoyah offers. She does think that the English and Humanities classes should implement more creative writing intro their lesson plans, though.

Eleventh grader Reyna Revel mentioned how she feels as if the school has failed to keep bringing in different types of art courses. She said she enjoys the current art courses, but wishes there were more to choose from, such as an architecture class.