Ambridge Area has added more than 30 new course offerings to the high school curriculum, giving students an opportunity to graduate with college credits and a diploma in hand.
Superintendent Cynthia Zurchin said administrators and teachers are working to reduce the number of study halls next school year and increase the number of electives.
"This year, you can leave with the potential of 52 college credits, which is very exciting," Zurchin said.
Zurchin said Ambridge Area is the only school district in Beaver County that will be offering college algebra in cooperation with Carlow University..
"Right now we have 59 students who are interested in taking that class," she said, adding that other school districts are inquiring about room for their students in the class.
Other credits are being offered in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh. Of the 52 potential college credits, 12 are newly added courses.
The school board recently approved the new high school course of studies, which contains 34 new courses for the 2014-15 school year.
Returning classes include driver's education, and environment and ecology. Many of the courses support the arts and STEM initiatives--science, technology, enginering and math--such as advanced robotics, honors technology, and the fundamentals of trigonometry.
Students also have the choice of taking special-interest electives such as sports and entertainment management, mock trial, music and pop culture, and adventures in food.
Traditional health and physical education classes have been revamped to allow students the option to take a racquet sport, weight training, a team sport or athletic conditioning.
Italian V has been added and German IV will be offered through the Beaver County Intermediate Unit to allow students who started to complete their studies in German, which has been eliminated.
School officials say students are excited about the new courses.
Zurchin credited Barry King, director of special programs, for working with counselors and department heads to provide more offerings with no additional staffing and a limited addition of books and materials.
"This is just part of the path that we plan to pursue with our students in growing academic success," Zurchin said.
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