As Big Sky students begin to prepare for the 2019 – 2020 school year there’s one thing they have in common — deciding which classes to take. This can be a difficult decision for some students, often they’ll wonder which classes will be best for them and will prepare them for their life after high school.
The Sun Journal surveyed juniors and seniors at Big Sky to try to help students answer some of these questions.
Among the most suggested classes are Culinary, Personal Finance, Weight Training, and Art and Music classes.
We broke down some of the most popular classes suggested by upperclassmen.
A yearlong class available to juniors and seniors, the psychology class provides a Social Studies credit and a look into the workings of the human brain.
“It’s a very interesting class. You learn a lot about cognitive and biological psychology.” Says Junior Jasmine Bautista.
“Weight Lifting has helped me to learn about challenging myself and learning my limits.” Says Senior Kyle Parker.
There are two choices for a weight training class; beginning and advanced. Both are semester long, elective classes open to any student. You can choose which to take depending on your personal ability and preference. In this class you have the opportunity to build on your strength and achieve your athletic goals.
Hank Palen building strength in Weight Lifting. Photo by Andrew Gardanier
For this course there are three levels. Culinary 1 is accessible to all, 9th through 12th grade. You can take Culinary 2 sophomore, junior or senior year, after you’ve taken Culinary 1. For Culinary 3 you have to be in 11th or 12th grade and must have taken Culinary 2. Each of these are semester long classes, giving you 0.5 Career and Technical Ed. credits.
“It’s very hands on and doesn’t move to fast.” Says Junior David Colby. Taking Culinary provides an important life skill, the ability to cook for yourself, and is applicable to everyday life.
Sophomores Keera Burgess and Lexi Parks make
stir fry in Culinary class. Photo by Maddie Crandall
Theory of Knowledge
Theory of Knowledge shows students a different way of thinking that can help them to have a better understanding of the world around them. This class is two semesters, spring of 11th grade and fall of 12th. It provides an elective credit.
“It has taught me more about life and how to think about everything than any other class, and is applicable to every other class.” Senior Katie Rolle says.
“You learn a lot of interesting information and it gives you a look at street culture.” Says Junior Hannah Kolar.
This semester long class is for sophomores, juniors and seniors and is a great opportunity to build on your knowledge of practical law and gain a Career and Technical Ed credit.
There are eight different art classes offered at Big Sky, choosing which is for you depends on the type of art you would like to create.
In order to take any other art classes you first have to take Intro to Art, a yearlong class offered to all students, for which you get a Fine Arts credit. After taking this class you can take Drawing, Painting, Ceramics and Printmaking. All of which are a semester long and offer a Fine Arts credit. These are open to sophomores, juniors and seniors who have taken Intro to Art. If you enjoyed Ceramics you can then take Ceramics 2, a semester long class offered to sophomores, juniors and seniors who’ve completed Intro to Art and Ceramics. Also available are IB Visual Art, a yearlong class for juniors and seniors who took Intro to Art, and Senior Studio, open to all juniors and seniors.
Any of these classes is a great way for students to express themselves and improve on their skills.
“Personal Finance teaches you good money management skills and how to invest in things.” Says Junior Jackson Amaya.
Personal Finance is offered to all grades, and is a semester long class that teaches many important life skills, such as budgeting and saving. It is extremely relevant to life after high school and is certainly helpful when it comes to understanding money and financing. Personal Finance is 0.5 Career and Technical Ed credits.
Agricultural Ed (AG)
“It is nice to get out of the traditional school setting.” Says Senior Kylee Billingsley.
In the AG Ed program at Big Sky there are eight courses offered. First, students interested in the AG program need to take Intro to Animal and Plant Science, a yearlong Career and Technical Ed class offered to freshman through seniors. After completing this class sophomores, juniors and seniors have their choice of where they would like to go next. Amongst the AG Ed 2 classes there are Forest and Land Management, Horses and Companion Animals, Plant Science and Greenhouse Management, and Applied Vet Science. All of which are yearlong classes for a Career and Technical Ed credit.
AG Ed 3: Vet Assistant Certification is open to any junior or senior who took AG Ed 2: Applied Vet Science. This class is a yearlong class that gives you a Career and Technical Ed credit. The last AG Ed class, Agriculture 3 / 4, is available to any junior or senior who has completed a AG Ed 2 class. It too is a yearlong Career and Technical Ed credit.
There are two years of IB History available, year 1 History of the Americas and year 2 20th Century World History. Both are yearlong Social Studies credits. Year 1 can be taken as a junior and year 2 can be taken as a senior and after completion of year 1.
Nice Things to Say about Teachers
Mr. Beckwith – “Mr. Beckwith is a great teacher,” Nick Scally
Ms. Fillmore – “She’s a great teacher, funny/energetic and someone you can talk to,” Shane Morgan
Mr. Nygren – “He’s a good teacher and makes me relate history to myself currently,” Brookie Gee
Mr. Moe – “He is an awesome teacher, he is funny and cares for the students,” James Clark
Mr. Buck – “Mr. Buck is a phenomenal teacher,” Jackson Maki
Classes with a waiting list
Do you like to help people? In this year-long class, students will participate in assisting other students with special needs during their Vocational Preparation class, learning how to assist and coach students during lessons and jobs. Students will act as a job coach while they are supervising Voc. students at their work experience site. Students will earn a certificate as a Job Coach in Montana. This class is available for sophomores, juniors and seniors who are responsible, good role models, outgoing, and have had some work experience. — Mrs. Shepard
IB Sports Exercise Science
Have you heard anyone mention that they want to be a physical therapist or athletic trainer?! This year-long class is a fast paced, high level look at how the body works and how we learn new skills in sports! We go on trips, hear from people in the sports business, and conduct our own independent studies. This course moves quickly and will prepare you for any course of study beyond high school. You don’t have to take the IB test, but you will be prepared to take it if you choose. Join the fun and learn more about YOUR amazing body!! — Ms. Lindner
Intro to Radio/TV/Film
Do you want to be on the news? In this half-year course, students will learn the basics of both audio and video storytelling for publication, writing and produce news packages, podcasts, public service announcements, commercials, and learn to be an on-air radio or television reporter/anchor. This semester-long course will teach students the basics of video and audio news broadcasting from the pitching a story to finalizing a news piece to be broadcast to the public. This course will serve as a prerequisite for the Media Productions course which includes producing the school’s yearbook, newspaper, website, broadcast and radio programming. It is suggested that students take this course in the same year as Photojournalism. –Mrs. Keintz
This half-year course introduces students to the skills, theory and ethics of photojournalism while learning and practicing the art of photography. Students will learn to handle a digital SLR camera and how to work in a digital darkroom. The emphasis is on storytelling through photographic content, and students will produce images from a variety of areas within photojournalism such as portraits, sports and features. The course will cover the fundamentals of photography, storytelling, interviewing, and media law and ethics and will serve as a prerequisite for the Media Productions course which includes producing the school’s yearbook, newspaper, website, broadcast and radio programming. It is suggested that students take this course in the same year as Intro to TV/Radio/Film. — Mrs. Cook
This yearlong course is based on instructing students in robotics and electronics. Students learn about electronics through the use of “breadboard” kits and creating electronic soldering projects. Once the basics of electronics are learned, we move into creating robotic arms, sophisticated VEX robots, and making “smart” robots. The culminating project will be a robot competition pitting two robots against two opposing robots.
Additional Reporting by Kallie Rodda