The Casa Chronicle
New electives paired with Driver's EdFriday, May 07, 2010 By Jasmine Bashenko
Since the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, Casa no longer required students to take Driver's Education during their sophomore year in order to graduate. Instead, freshman now take Health for nine weeks, a graduation requirement, paired with either Creative Writing, Web 2.0 Computer, Personal Finance, or Freshman Seminar, also known as Casa Connection, for nine weeks. In Creative Writing, Mrs. Phyllis MacDonald teaches students how to write short stories. Composing short stories challenges students to write in a style different from English essays. Students also write and learn how to interpret poetry. In Web 2.0 Computer, taught by Mr. Larry Dubie, Mr. Neal Edwards, and Mr. Michael Magliola, students learn the basic concepts of computer programs using Google Docs, a free online program that lets students learn how to use word processing, powerpoint, and spreadsheets. Mr. Jeffrey Perkins teaches Personal Finance and shows students the benefits of saving money and how to spend it wisely. During the class, students read lessons on topics including how to manage credit cards, investing, common financial scams, saving money for college, and stocks, answered questions on the lessons, and completed review activities on each lesson in a personal finance handbook. Freshman Seminar, a fall semester class created by a team headed by Ms. Melissa Cameron, was taught by Mrs. Christina Tannehill and Mr. James Ludovina. The objective of the class is to teach students efficient study skills, familiarize freshman with Casa's campus, and counterbalance Refuse to Fail, a program created last year to prevent freshmen from failing their classes. On the first day of class, teachers took their students on a tour around campus to show them all areas of Casa. In the fall of 2008 the state of California no longer required school districts to require students to take Driver's Education. Because students can receive their driver's license as soon as they turn 16-years old, the state felt that it was more convenient for students to take the class according to their birthday. Casa still offers the Driver's Education class, taught by Perkins, for students interested in taking the course on campus. During 2009 registration, incoming freshmen, sophomore students, and students' parents filled out surveys created by the Counseling Department to give input on the new elective choices. Teachers also brainstormed within their departments to come up with ideas for classes to pair with Health. Casa plans to keep the same classes paired with health for the 2010-2011 school year. "It's nice for students to take Driver's Education on their own so it coordinates with their birthday,"said Counselor Karen Garcia, "We also offer Driver's Ed here as an elective with no cost for students which is great as well."