In an effort to expand academic opportunities for high school students, new courses are being developed and implemented this fall at BFA Fairfax. This semester, students are beginning work in American Dream, Comparing Film and Literature, Studio and Set Design, and Modeling with Mathematics. These courses were shaped by student input and will help students to meet the goals of the FWSU Action plan and the Mission and Vision of BFA.

A student analyzes data models.
A student analyzes data models.

Modeling with Mathematics was developed to meet the mathematics needs of our CTE students enrolled in a course at BFA before they leave for their tech center program each day. The students are learning to use graphs, tables, and equations to model and solve problems with context. Teacher Kelsey Fink hopes “to include applications from the student’s tech programs so that the connection between their work BFA and CTE is apparent.”

A student creates a literature and film storyboard mockup.
A student creates a literature and film storyboard mockup.

Students in Comparing Film and Literature are looking for the similarities and differences between books and movies. Students will read a novel and the view a film adaptation in order to analyze the comparisons. Teacher Karen Krupa advised the students: “a movie shows a single perspective on a story while reading a novel allows you to use your imagination to create the scenes and characters.” Students will be able to explore these ideas for themselves as they work through the semester. The students began this course by creating a storyboard for a short movie they will create as the semester unfolds.

Studio and Set Design is not a brand-new course at BFA. It has actually been an Art Department offering for several years. However, this year it is being team-taught with Mr. Lane from the science department and HS Art teacher Mrs. Hart. The introduction of a science teacher to the mix will allow students to tackle the engineering aspects of designing and constructing the set in addition to the artistic features. Parent volunteers handled many of these design and construction tasks in the past. Mr. Lane hopes “this added element will help students to have even more ownership in the set while helping them to develop important skills for their future.”

Students consider the American Dream in a new high school course offered at BFA Fairfax.
Students consider the American Dream in a new high school course offered at BFA Fairfax.

The American Dream class is co-taught by Joe Emery and Eve Thorsen. Students will work to answer the question, “What is the American Dream?” and use content from typical American Literature and US History courses to make connections across content areas. “We’re studying the American Dream over the past 200 years and hope that students can use that context to figure out what their American dream is,” said English teacher Eve Thorsen.

At BFA Fairfax, our goal is to provide students with a variety of ways to demonstrate their learning. Creating new high school courses is one of the ways we can accomplish that goal and provide students with “the knowledge, skills, and experiences to make the best choices for themselves, their profession, and their community.”

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