Shrewsbury High School may offer new ‘career pathway’ course next year

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Shrewsbury High School is over capacity in terms of enrollment, with 1,875 students currently learning in a building built for 1,475. Photo/Dakota Antelman
Among the proposed changes to Shrewsbury High School’s program of studies is an effort to offer vocational-style courses. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

SHREWSBURY – On Jan. 10, the School Committee was informed the School Committee of several proposed changes to Shrewsbury High School’s (SHS) program of studies, including an effort to offer vocational-style courses to students for the 2024-2025 school year.

SHS Principal Todd Bazydlo, SHS Assistant Principal Maureen Monopoli, Director of Science and Engineering David Hruskoci and Physical Education, Health, and Consumer Science Director Erica Pratt explained the proposed changes to the School Committee.

According to the presentation, the proposed adjustments to the program of studies aim to “create career and technical pathways, including coursework sequences followed by authentic field training experiences.” The course adjustments align with the district’s strategic plans.

The adjustments include the implementation of two new innovation career pathway programs: biomedical science and advanced manufacturing. The innovation career pathway programs were created in response to students from Shrewsbury no longer having access to technical-vocational education. According to the presentation, the programs seek to “provide students opportunities to explore career pathways aligned with regional… labor needs.”

“We want to expose students to rich, field experiences… to determine whether or not they’d want to follow this career pathway,” Bazydlo said. “We’re… trying to get students exposed to different careers that could result in them potentially following it into college or getting right into the workforce.”

The two new career pathways would each include a sequence of three full-year courses. In the fourth year of the pathway, students would pursue an internship, capstone project or work-study option.

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The biomedical science pathway includes courses like Human Body Systems and the newly created Medical Interventions class. In the advanced manufacturing pathway, students will take the school’s new Computer Integrated Manufacturing class.

SHS currently has other career pathways, including the school’s four-course business pathway, two-course child development sequence, four-course computer science sequence and the three-course program in TV production and film.

If the changes to the program of studies are approved, SHS would offer new Project Lead the Way (PLTW) courses. The PLTW curriculum includes advanced, rigorous STEM-focused courses that students — should they so choose — can highlight on college applications.

“I think we’ve been hearing from families about wanting more opportunities for experiences — maybe it’s in rigor, maybe it’s just in a certain area of the curriculum. I think this is broadening what we offer for more students,” said School Committee Chair Sandra Fryc.

The district leaders also proposed several other changes, including renaming physical education classes, adjusting underclassmen English classes and the addition of a broadcast journalism and TV production course, which will record morning announcements for the entire school.

The School Committee will vote on the proposed changes at its next scheduled meeting on Jan. 24.

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