Sad Times for Sage Science


Photo by Bryant Kitisin

Aryan Pandhare diligently focusing on the lecture in class.

Despite hopeful murmurings among students, the AP Environmental Science and Marine biology courses will not be offered for the 2017-2018 school year.

According to Principal Cesar Morales, this is due to the plentiful course options already available within the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S.T.E.M) pathways.

“[There are already] 10 S.T.E.M. oriented electives. The four in Biomed, four in Engineering, and the two in Computer Science. Those were more of the exploratory science classes for students to branch off [of],” Morales said.

Sage Creek’s website lists 8 S.T.E.M. classes for students to choose in addition to courses related to the primary science fields of study. The S.T.EM. elective courses are a part of the school’s Project Lead the Way program, which are classes that teach and help apply the subject to real world applications.

“Our focus has mainly been on trying get as many kids into the Project Lead the Way sequences so the biomedical, engineering, and then now this kind of small computer science path that we have, and in doing so, [those are] our alternative science classes outside of your traditional [courses],” Science Department Chair, James Fieberg explained.

Many students are proponents of the idea of adding more courses to the selection list. However, this is not possible due to many restrictions. Fieberg has tried to find ways to bring these courses to the school, but many problems arose, particularly the creation of “singleton” classes in the master course schedule.

A singleton course is when a course is only offered during one single period of the school day.

“The more singleton classes [there are]… really impacts the ability to get students the classes they want,” Fieberg said.

The addition of new courses, particularly singletons, makes it more difficult for counselors to schedule classes in a way that accommodates the student body.  

“The counselors at this school are phenomenal… If [students] want to take X, Y, Z, they often say ‘here’s X, Y, and Z.’ Rather than ‘oh I can’t give you the third one so you have to take like underwater basket weaving,’” Fieberg said.

Photo by Bryant Kitisin
AP Biology class studying for their upcoming test.

Morales echoed the issue that singleton courses pose when creating students’ schedules.

“If you are interested in Marine Biology but it is only offered for two periods, and you also want to take Multimedia Journalism and it is only offered these two periods… With five slots, you can only offer certain classes throughout…certain parts of the day,” Morales said.

Some students were disappointed to hear the news about these classes.

“I was really bummed. I thought I was going to have a lot of fun in the class. I love to fish… so I can learn the ocean and fish feeding patterns and stuff like that,” sophomore Gray Hatter said.

Other students said that the new courses would have provided different interests for student passions.

“[It’s honestly about] what you like [to do and] what you want do when you grow up,” sophomore Ethan Ferber said.

Ferber expressed that he is already satisfied with the science course offerings, but if these classes were to be added, it would allow him and other students more options to “pick and choose” according to preference.

However, some other students think that there is already enough at our school.

Sophomore Alex Grudman is currently in the Biomed pathway. He is content with how Sage Creek S.T.E.M classes are now and believes that the addition of new classes would be tedious work.

“I think we already have a lot of variety at our school. [Plus,] it would be too much on the teachers to have these extra courses,” Grudman said.