The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


New Classes at MSJ

By: Andrea Tam

This year, the pre-registration packets distributed to students feature several changes in course listings, including a new Principles of Engineering course, new Physical Education classes and the addition of two new AP Physics classes. After last year’s addition of Principles of Engineering (POE), the first course in a four-year sequence of Pathway to Engineering (PTE) classes, Introduction to Design (IED), is now available for Freshmen who took POE last year.  This coming year, only IED will be available, and next year, according to Assistant Principal Carli Kim, MSJ will offer both courses.


The P.E. department will be offering a new elective to rising juniors and seniors called Club Fitness with the standard 10 elective credits. Club Fitness is based on techniques used at gyms and fitness centers, teaching fitness knowledge and promoting life-long fitness habits.  Featured activities will include cross-fit, Tae Bo (martial arts-based workout), Zumba (a workout incorporating Latin and international music), yoga, aerobics, and triathlon training.  Kim said the addition of Club Fitness will hopefully provide a more integrated class with different activities for students. Contemporary Dance and Movement is a class that has been brought back to course listings this year after a lack of signups in the past couple years.  It is available for juniors and seniors who have passed P.E. 1 and 2.  Students will study movement, dance expression, and choreography through activites such as stretching and class performances.  International folk dances and hip hop, as well as social dance and even clogging will be included in this course. Note that Club Fitness and Contemporary Dance may not be taken in lieu of PE 1 and 2 and only count towards elective credits. Team Sports is another returning course after a lack of enrollment during the last registration, incorporating development of sports skills in a team environment.  Only juniors and seniors who have earned 20 credits in P.E. 1 and 2 may enroll for this class.  Among the featured sports are football, volleyball, street hockey, soccer, baseball, softball, badminton, basketball, and Ultimate Frisbee. 


Another notable change to the course listings is in the Science Department, which has expanded its AP physics course offerings.  After a district-wide shift due to the College Board’s replacement of AP Physics B with AP Physics 1 and 2, there are now three AP physics classes available for juniors and seniors: AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, and AP Physics C. The prerequisite for AP Physics 1 is the completion of Chemistry and Algebra II/Trigonometry with a B grade or higher.  A student must have at least a C grade in AP Physics I to enroll in AP Physics 2.  To qualify for AP Physics C, a student must have completed or be taking Calculus and AP Physics 1 with at least a B grade.  The Science Department will likely reallocate its teachers to these new courses. As for 2014-15 preregistration, a current Physics B or CP Physics student with an A or B who has also completed Calculus is eligible to take Physics C next year. The addition of these courses to course catalogs at MSJ hopefully gives students more options and opportunities to pursue their interests and receive a more specialized education tailored to their own interests.



POE and IED were previously switched in this article.

To qualify for AP Physics C, a student must have completed or be taking Calculus.


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