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    New High School Courses Approved by School Board
    Posted on 01/21/2021
    Two students talk together in a classroom

    New High School Courses Approved by School Board

    On Wednesday, January 13, the Seattle School Board approved new high school courses to be added to the district course catalog. Schools will have the opportunity to add the following courses to their offerings next school year:

    • LGBTQIA+ World History 3
    • LGBTQIA+ Introduction to Literature and Composition 9A and 9B
    • LGBTQIA+ American Literature and Composition 11A and 11B
    • Global Warming A and B
    • Health Topics – Honors
    • Antiracism & Civic Engagement

    In addition, the Board approved a Black Studies U.S. History 11A and 11B with 11B starting in Semester 2 of the 2020-21 school year. This course comes out of a resolution the School Board passed in June 2020 in support of meaningful actions that affirm its commitment to Black students and their safety and success in Seattle Public Schools and directed Superintendent Denise Juneau to create a stand-alone Black studies course for middle and high school students. As a result, SPS is creating a Black Education Program that will be for student credit.

    Black Studies U.S. History 11A and 11B will be the first courses of this new Black Education Program and will focus on the Black and African American experience from a national and global perspective. This includes, but is not limited to African History, American History, Critical Race Theory, American Enslavement, Black/African American-led social movement, Black/African American social autonomy and economic development, Black/African American Innovation, and Black/African American leadership nationally and globally. Black Studies U.S. History 11B is set to begin next semester, primarily for students in grade 11.

    In June 2020, the School Board also passed a resolution affirming the inclusion of our LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and community. In this resolution, the Board directed Superintendent Juneau to explore the development of LGBTQIA+ history and culture courses to be added to the district catalog. As a result, LGBTQIA+ World History 3 will be a course that centers the intersectional voices of LGBTQIA+ people through critical analysis of contemporary and history texts, art, and media. The themes of identity and language, representation, intersectional systems of power and privilege, colonization, capitalism, liberation and resistance movements, and the thriving of marginalized people will be explored through this course using student-centered historical scholarship.

    LGBTQIA+ Introduction to Literature and Composition 9A and 9B was also created out of the LGBTQIA+ Board resolution and is an English Language Arts course that centers the intersectional voices of LGBTQIA+ people through an introduction to and a critical analysis of contemporary literature. The themes of identity and language, representation, and intersectional systems of power and privilege will be explored through an introduction to and the study of contemporary literature. LGBTQIA+ American Literature and Composition 11A and 11B is another English Language Arts course that centers the intersectional voices of LGBTQIA+ people through the critical analysis of American literature. The themes of identity and language, representation, intersectional systems of power and privilege, colonization, capitalism, liberation and resistance movements, and the thriving of marginalized people will be explored through the study of American literature.

    Global Warming A and B will be a two-semester course sequence that provides an opportunity for eligible students to earn high school credit and 5.0 University of Washington college credits. Students will gain a fundamental understanding of the science, impacts, and issues of global warming and climate change. Students will learn about the science of global warming, including causes, evidence, and societal and environmental impacts. The course explores future climate projections, discusses societal decisions that influence greenhouse gas emission scenarios and explores our ability to adapt to climate change. Students will also learn ways to identify disinformation versus science reasoning.

    Health Topics – Honors, is an upper division elective class where students will explore health topics beyond their required 9th grade health class, selected from current events and personal interests. Topics covered in this course will vary based on student interests. Collaboration, creativity, and problem solving are used to complete projects throughout the course. This elective course does not meet the 0.5 credit graduation requirement for Health.

    Finally, the Antiracism & Civic Engagement course was created as a result of the successful STAR (Students & Teachers Against Racism) civic engagement and learning club at Ballard High School for the past five years. Students and teachers work together to learn about different forms of racism in their own lives and institutions. The Antiracism & Civic Engagement course is a semester-long class that prepares students to think critically about racism – at the individual, collective, and systemic level – in our schools, in our community, and in our country. Through reading, discussing, and writing about a wide variety of texts in multimedia formats, students are taught to view their own purpose in their school, community, and country through an antiracist lens. In this action-oriented class, students are expected to turn their learning into civic engagement that is antiracist in nature and that will create meaningful long-term systemic change in our education system and community.

    Course availability will vary by school. Please contact your school counselor for questions about course availability.

    Thank you to the Seattle School Board for approving these new courses for students.