New classes will teach students new skills and perspectives


Karl Griffin teaching trigonometry to his Honors Geometry class. Next year he will be teaching AP Computer Science Principles, a class that is new to south and has students excited. “I can’t wait because the teacher Mr. Griffin is actually letting us make our own projects and I have a lot of ideas of what I’m going to be programing so I’m quite excited,” said Junior Jennifer Njugo.

From women’s studies and computer science to aerobic fitness, South has come out with a variety of new classes that has students looking forward to what next year will bring. These classes are giving students more choices in what they learn and is teaching them things they are interested in and haven’t learned about before.

The class Contemporary Literature-Women’s Studies taught by English teacher Tanya Hodge is a class that can be taken as an elective or as an english credit. Hodge describes how she has had this idea to teach a women’s studies class in 1999, her first year teaching at South in a meeting with the Department Chair. “The [department chair] says what would be your dream class or your dream schedule and I said I would really love to teach a women’s studies class.”  

Hodge explains how she has been thinking about the class and gathering ideas for the last 18 years. The class will be featuring variety of women authors. “Reading rich and deep and complex pieces by great authors like Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Lewis Eldridge,” lists Hodge. The class will also feature a woman from the community as a guest speaker once a week “I’ve already talked about having Mercedes Reynolds our assistant principal, just a lot of woman I know in the community,” said Hodge

When learning about history the focus can lean more to what men did in this country and there is a lack of knowledge towards what woman have accomplished. “There’s a lot of stuff I know about woman in history but there’s a ton of stuff I’ve never even heard about,” explained sophomore Kaiya Woller.

Knowing about other woman in history who have accomplished something can also have an impact in what future generations of woman do. “As a woman, how am I supposed to know to do anything important if I’m not learning about important things woman did in history,” explained sophomore Ciara Williams.

Hodge hopes this class will be one for all students. “I see this class being for males, identifies as males, females, transgender just all students, all humans, even though it’s women’s studies class I think it’s one of those classes that for me are the voices that aren’t always heard.” She went on to say “I just think there’s a power in literature in voices and exposing students to those and exposing myself to their voices to.”

 Another new class at south is AP Computer Science Principles taught by Karl Griffin. It  is an introductory programing class “It is going to offer students the opportunity to develop programs based on their own interests,” explained Griffin. He also explains how the class is a response to needing more people with skills in computer science. “There’s more and more jobs for people with computer programming skills because we have those jobs available and we don’t have people to fill them.”

Junior Jennifer Njugo who plans to take the class, agrees with Griffin, “It’s something that’s very well promoted and supported these days since not much people do the course or do it as a career.”

Njugo who plans on going to college and studying to be a robotics inventor said  “I wanted to take the class so I can be ready for the actual classes when I get into college and to get a head start,” She goes on to say “I can’t wait because the teacher Mr. Griffin is actually letting us make our own projects and I have a lot of ideas of what I’m going to be programing so i’m quite excited,”

Griffins explains that  what he hopes to gain from the class is “to get a lot of people out of here to take on these jobs and it would be helpful for all of the students, for the city and as a teacher I want Minneapolis to be a great place to live and getting people ready to have these jobs is one of the ways I can do that.”

South has also expanded their gym classes. One of the new classes is Recreation and Lifetime Sports which includes badminton, bowling, and ping-pong along with other games. “Kind of like backyard games,” explained Carol Allery, a physical education teacher. The other class is Aerobic Fitness which will teach Zumba, yoga, kickboxing. “We’ll do a whole bunch of things in there but concentrating more on cardiovascular and strengthening,” said Allery.

South’s new classes will give students more options on what to do with their time. Women’s studies will show the things women have accomplished and life from their point of view. Computer science will teach students programming and get students ready for jobs in computer science. Lastly, new physical education electives will let students interested in fitness have more activities to choose from.