New courses being offered at Battlefield for the 2018-2019 school year

New additions to Battlefield’s course catalog

Alex Young and McKenna Baxter

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It is safe to say that Battlefield High School has gone through many changes in the last year. Many of these include the introduction of the “Flex Schedule,” which allows for rotating study halls every other day, the administrative staff expanding, the length of first period changing from 45 minutes everyday to 90 minutes, the construction of the Bobcat Reflection Garden at the front of the school, and the school day now starting at 7:25 AM rather than 7:20 AM and finishing at 2:05 PM and not the traditional 2:00 PM. With all these changes, a gateway for new opportunities has opened. One of these opportunities is for students to participate in the new classes being offered in Battlefield’s course catalog starting next school year.

One of the aforementioned classes being brought to Battlefield next year is Film Studies. Open to all grades, Film Studies is a course that focuses on studying how classic films and modern productions are scored for awards. Factors that play a role in scoring are directors, lighting, casting, screenplay, plot, camera angles, and overall experience. The idea was brought to Battlefield by English teacher Mrs. Henry, a former teacher at Forest Park High School. “Film Studies is a new elective that is going to be offered at Battlefield next year through the English Department,” Henry says. “It is on the [Prince William] county curriculum, and I last brought it to Forest Park around 4 or 5 years ago.” The class is said to be structured for students who enjoy historical backgrounds of films or are interested in why a certain musical scored what it did. Henry continued by saying, “We’re going to get to go through and look at all the film edits. It’s basically like analyzing a book or a short story, but in this case, looking at a movie.” Although there are currently no future plans for classes to come after Film Studies, if the county did offer them, Battlefield would surely look into implementing them into the course catalog.

Another new course being offered at Battlefield next year is Dual Enrollment US/VA History. Prince William County has been looking to expand the Dual Enrollment Program that is offered through Northern Virginia Community College, and Battlefield believed that by adding DE US/VA, they could benefit students looking to stay in the area. When asked about Dual Enrollment US/VA, Mr. Fronckel, an AP US History teacher at Battlefield replied, “Taking Dual Enrollment really depends on what you plan to do after high school. Dual Enrollment really focuses on trying to give students college credit that are definitely staying in the Virginia area.” What makes Dual Enrollment so unique is that as long as someone has a C or higher in the course, they get credit for two entry level classes through NOVA. The flip side is that colleges outside of Virginia rarely accept Dual Enrollment credits, meaning that if a student is taking DE US/VA, they should plan on staying in Virginia throughout their college experience. Fronckel continued by saying, “The trouble comes when a student is looking outside of Virginia. Not all colleges accept those credits, so it’s really a hit or miss. That’s the reason why students take AP [courses], which is a much more recognizable program, throughout the country. If you do well on the AP exam, colleges usually accept that credit universally around the country.” Taking DE really depends on what a student is looking for.

Another difference between AP and DE courses is that while AP focuses on the final exam, Dual Enrollment is centered around how a student does throughout the overall course. When it comes to AP, the college credit depends solely on how a student does on the exam, while with DE, it relies on how well a student does throughout the year and what grade they maintain. When talking about grading, Fronckel says, “Dual Enrollment is weighted 0.5 of a weight, while AP is weighted a full point. So in a nutshell, a ‘B’ in Dual Enrollment is a ‘B+’ while a ‘B’ in AP is an ‘A’. While AP and Dual Enrollment both have their perks, the courses are very different, so when it comes to deciding between the two, it depends on the situation of the student.” All in all, DE provides an excellent opportunity for students looking to stay in the area, and it is a cool change that is being brought to Battlefield.

Lastly, two more courses being added to the catalog are GEMS 11 and an updated version of Criminal Justice. While GEMS focuses on an expansion to the gifted program at Battlefield, Criminal Justice II will be dropped from two credits to just one credit. With that change to Criminal Justice, students in that course now have the opportunity to take another elective or have an off-block. When Abby Houchin, a junior in Criminal Justice, was asked about the changes in the class next year, she replied, “I really like the amount of guest speakers that come in and I also like the different jobs you can get with a Criminal Justice degree. I was thinking of taking it next year, but because it was two credits, it was hard to take it with the classes I wanted to take. But if it did go down to one credit, I would definitely take it, and a lot of students would do the same.” Houchin would be a second-year student in the Criminal Justice program if she continued on.

In conclusion, Battlefield continues to add unique and mind-stimulating classes to the course catalog. It will be interesting to see what students think of the new courses being offered, and how they will play out in the future.  

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