Block style scheduling that has been implemented in all Lee County middle and senior high schools this year creates an extra class period for BSMS students. In the past, Bonita Springs Middle School students had seven class periods. All students were required to take reading, math, language arts, science and history courses. Sixth grade students also took a full year of physical education, while seventh and eighth graders cover a semester each of P.E. and health. This left the students with one elective choice. If the students were placed in intensive reading or math classes, they did not have an elective option because these classes encompass two full periods of the student’s schedule.
With the new schedule in place, the students have eight class periods, alternating four every other day. The extra class period has left time for the students to explore two additional electives, one each semester. Previously, the electives offered at BSMS included art, general music, business computers and band. This year, BSMS has broadened the choices for the students, offering additional courses in French, art history and creative writing. Band, which previously was offered at the beginning and advanced levels, now has three classes and an additional art teacher was hired in order to accommodate more students.
French class: Taught by Susan Delago, is a basic semester-long introduction to the language. The students are learning basic greetings, numbers, school vocabulary and French culture. “At the end of the semester, I expect them to be able to speak in basic sentences and use basic vocabulary correctly. I also want them to enjoy being exposed to another culture,” explains Delago. At the moment, it is offered only to seventh and eighth graders.
Computer applications in business: Provides students with the computer skills necessary to succeed in the world of technology. Instructor Rose Thomas says: “My students actively participate in research, then transfer that knowledge into PowerPoint slide shows, Publisher documents and Excel spreadsheets, graphs and charts. Their creativity flows and inspires a love for learning.” Students also utilize typing software, perform job searches, create their resumes and other valuable life skills. This course also covers the state requirement for 8th graders to participate in the online CHOICES ePEP program.
Art classes: Focuses on teaching the elements of art and principles of design and are available to sixth to eighth graders. Joy Cooper teaches seventh and eighth grade art classes. “My goal as an art teacher is to help foster a love for the arts. The wonderful thing about art is that it can transcend age, race, language and ability. I always try to incorporate other curricula into the art that we create. Art is a wonderful way to ‘trick’ students into writing or doing geometry.