New courses approved for Seymour High School

The Seymour Community School Corp. board of education recently approved 15 new course offerings for Seymour High School, some designed to meet many of the needs of themselves and the community in the future.

Principal Greg Prange asked the board of trustees earlier this month to approve the new curriculum, which includes three courses in manufacturing and robotics, two welding classes, three construction trade, three business, two early childhood education classes, a nutrition class and a culinary arts course.

In 2018, the Perkins V federal law that governs CTE (career and technical education) was reauthorized by Congress. A major change was the federal definition of a CTE concentrator being based upon course completion and not credits earned, Prange told trustees.

As a result, Gov. Eric Holcomb and his Workforce Cabinet created a team to rework the CTE system of Indiana, he said.

Schools are awarded vocational funds for these CTE programs based upon student enrollment and the funding category of each course. Courses that are in high demand are given a higher value and more vocational dollars are attached to those courses, Prange said.

These new courses are designed to be more consistent regardless of the school and provide more opportunity for postsecondary credentials and be more rigorous than previous courses.

They call this program the Next Level Programs of Study, Prange said.

“Each cluster offers a ‘principles’ course as an introductory class,” he said. “Principles of agriculture, principles of construction, principles of welding technology, principles of business management and principles of hospitality are a few examples of the first course.

“Each of these clusters has multiple career pathways from which a student can choose. Depending on the pathway they choose, there are two courses that they call Concentrator A and Concentrator B that students must complete in order to complete the pathway,” he said.

Prange said some of these classes have already begun, and the graduating Class of 2025 is the first one that will be totally affected by this move.

“In the next few years, we will be adding more of these NLPOS courses to our curriculum and retiring the courses that current upperclassmen are taking that we will not need in the future,” he said. “Our addition to the ag-science building and the addition to and renovation of Seymour High School main building are being built at the perfect time for us to be able to implement this plan and provide the educational experiences our students will need to better meet the needs of our industrial, manufacturing, agriculture, construction, welding and business communities.”

He said student request for courses will continue to drive master schedule and staff needs.

“Shifts in staff teaching assignments and additional staff are possible in the next few years,” Prange said. “Even though some of these courses will not be taught for one or two years, it is important to have them in our course selection so that underclassmen, parents and counselors can work on their four-year plans. Planning ahead, these courses will be replacing currently taught courses that will be retired as the junior and senior cohorts graduate in the next two years,.”

High school teacher Dawn Jones said she teaches marketing fundamentals and principles of business management, which are dual-credit classes.

“I have 22 students in marketing fundamentals (one block) and 118 students in principles of business management (five blocks),” she said.

The principles of business management can be used in several pathways to graduate, Jones said.

“I am teaching one of the new classes this school year, which is principles of business management,” she said. “Students will benefit from principles of business management because the class is guiding them to be future leaders.”

Jones said they not only have the opportunity to learn styles of management, vocabulary used in the business world, as well as different areas of management, but experiences are added that give them the opportunity to be a manager.

Students recently were studying human resource management in the course, so they took personality tests (pre-employment), job searched their personality type, filled out practice applications, created resumes and constructed job descriptions of their career picks.

“Then I chose a few from each class to become the human resource ,and they conducted face-to-face interviews using the applicants resumes and job descriptions,” Jones said. “The HR manager was responsible to document the interview responses and make a determination on whether to hire.”

She said they also exercised soft skills that businesses are looking for in employees today.

High school teacher Jerrell Hubbard said there are four principles of construction classes.

Students learn basic safety, tools and overview of the construction trades.

“I am currently teaching two classes of construction 1 technology. This class is part classroom, part shop class,” Hubbard said. “We learn about the basic steps involved in the construction of a house. In the shop, we are using the shop tools to create birdhouses, snowflakes and Christmas trees. We will construct wall sections and possibly a mini barn during the second semester.”

Hubbard said he has two construction 2 classes that are job-based classes.

“We leave every day after lunch and go to various construction sites,” he said. “We have built a couple sheds, a deck addition to a house at Lake and Forest and several projects for the parks and rec department. One of the projects was the disc golf course out at Freeman Field.”

The building trades classes and shop are all located at the high school.

“The new classes of finish carpentry, general framing and a capstone for their senior year will only enhance the direction the program is headed. We are looking at pairing with either Ivy Tech or Vincennes to make the construction course a dual-credit class,” Hubbard said.

“SHS has been very proactive on advancing the construction trades,” he said. “I hope that in the next few years, local businesses and construction companies will benefit from students wanting to stay in Seymour and going to work for them out of high school.”