At Wednesday night’s board meeting, the Merrill Area Public Schools (MAPS) Board of Education approved new courses for the 2018-2019 school year. The MAPS District recently conducted a survey and solicited feedback from local employers, in cooperation with the Merrill Chamber of Commerce, in order to monitor trends in education and career fields. Specifically, businesses provided requisite skills, training, or coursework needed for the career clusters of their organization. The modified MHS course description book and revised course offerings are a direct response to this community input.
“MAPS recognizes that our course offerings must be fluid with local trends, responsive to the career interests of students and, ideally, consistent with local business demand. The extensive academic and career planning from grades 6-12 at MAPS helps bridge student interests with the known career clusters in the Merrill Community,” notes Gerald Beyer, MAPS Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
One of the new course offerings includes a computer science at both the PRMS and MHS Business departments through code.org, the leading K-12 computer science curriculum in the U.S. Computer Science Discoveries (CS Discoveries) is an introductory computer science course that empowers students to create authentic artifacts and engage with computer science as a medium for creativity, communication and problem solving. The exciting new course takes a wide lens on computer science by covering topics such as programming, physical computing, HTML/CSS, and data. The course inspires students as they build their own websites, apps, games and physical computing devices.
Based on student response, MAPS intends to add a Computer Science Principles course in the future, which covers many topics including the Internet, Big Data and Privacy, and Programming and Algorithms. The curriculum is flexible enough to be taught as a normal course or as an AP course.
Additionally, an Automation and Robotics Course at MHS replaces Basic Electronics 2 and aligns with current Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) initiatives. This course is a hands-on workshop about collaboration, design and electronics prototyping. Students will learn about microcontroller programming using Raspberry Pi, collaborative software development using GitHub, solderless electronics prototyping, electronic sensors, rapid prototyping and small team management.
A production or fabrication lab is a small-scale workshop offering digital fabrication, basically the same as the shop class adults remember but incorporates these same STEAM ideas. The new FabLab Innovations course provides an opportunity for students to use technology to express their ingenuity and creativity. Projects will explore the use of natural and synthetic materials, using advanced technologies to create real life projects. The course will introduce students to the design process and concepts, allowing students to creatively use their imagination alongside 3D software, as well as building and modeling their creations.
“The MAPS district recognizes the market in both the blue collar and blue chip career sectors and appreciates the community outreach. We also feel confident that local organizations, businesses and community members would benefit from utilization of the proposed Fabrication Laboratory,” asserts Beyer. “The strong apprenticeship, co-op, internship, and employability skills programs, which connect MAPS with local businesses, speaks volumes to developing a strong workforce for the future.”
The following courses will be added or revised* in the 2018-2019 Curriculum:
Computer Science Discoveries
Automation and Robotics
Electronics and Electricity
Advanced Placement Chemistry
Plants, Animals, & You
The Professional Kitchen*
For further questions about the new and revised courses, contact Shannon Murray at 715-536-4594.