The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

New Classes Offered

Four New Classes for the 2024-2025 School Year Give Students Unique Opportunities

Next fall, the school is introducing four new classes to the approximately 250 in its course catalog. Among the additions are Spanish for Heritage or Native Speakers, designed to enhance language skills for Hispanic students, and Principles of Banking which will explore fundamental financial concepts. For those interested in the intersection of sports and digital media, Sports Digital Media offers an exciting opportunity, and Organic Chemistry caters to students interested in learning more about carbon compounds. These courses aim to provide a diverse range of educational opportunities, allowing students to pursue their academic goals. 

Spanish Heritage for Native speakers will be offered with the purpose of helping Native Spanish-speaking students improve their writing skills. Head Counselor Kim Williams argues this class will be beneficial for Hispanic students. 

“We have found that many of our native speakers coming to Central from Honduras, Mexico, and South America speak Spanish fluently; however, they have a hard time writing the language,” said Williams. 

Marco Dorfsman, the current Spanish 2 and AP Spanish teacher who will also teach the new course, voices the same opinion as Williams on the purpose of the class. He will also tailor the course to fit the unique needs of these students.

“At Central, there are more and more Hispanics, and they have different needs than your average student,” said Dorfsman. “What I tried to do with this course is tailor the pedagogy to help them with reading and especially writing to help them improve in that direction so that they feel more comfortable in both their speaking, reading, and writing.”

The class will also alleviate the struggle for these students when finding a Spanish class that suits them.

“Since many come from Spanish-speaking families, they may only be able to speak orally and be able to survive in Spanish, but they’ve never had education in writing, reading, and grammar,” said Dorfsman. “They often end up in Spanish one or two, but that’s not what they need. That’s baby Spanish, but they don’t need baby Spanish. However, they also don’t fit in an advanced class like AP Spanish, so it’s extraordinary. They need a different kind of pedagogy that works for them.” 

Not only will this class help improve Spanish writing skills, but it will also help students improve their English. 

“This course will also address the needs of some students who may not speak English well. Then, they can be in their Spanish course and get instruction in Spanish, but they can also get guidance and help for their other English courses when their English is not very good. It’s another part of this new support system,” said Dorfsman.

In a similar light, some students want more than pre-AP chem but don’t feel quite ready for AP chem, leading to the creation of an organic chemistry class that will be taught by the current science teacher, Doug Hammon.

“Mr. Hammon successfully taught the course for many years over at Parkview; the prerequisite for that course is pre-AP Biology and pre-AP chemistry, so it’s a course for students who may or may not be ready for AP chemistry but want some more practice before they participate,” said Williams. 

Organic chemistry is a standard college-level course taken by science majors, which is commonly known for being a difficult college course.

 “Organic chemistry is usually taken in college, and back in the day, we called it the weed out course for all pre-med, pre-pharmacy, pre-vet, and pre-dentistry students because organic chemistry is often the class that makes people change their mind, drop that pre-professional track, and choose something else,” said Hammon. 

Hammon is hopeful that this course will help prepare students to take the course in college and allow them to gain an advantage over students who have no organic chemistry experience. He also hopes that this class will increase the number of students in the science profession. 

“For students that want to go into a medical field, we want to offer this course to give them a leg up on their competitors when they get to college so that they’re better prepared for organic chemistry. With that, hopefully we will be able to crank out more medical and health-related students,” said Hammon.

Organic Chemistry differs from the current class, AP Chemistry, as it will be less math-based and will have a stronger focus on naming molecules. Organic Chemistry will also give students the opportunity to experience unique labs.

“Organic chemistry is less math-focused and more process-focused, so we will actually spend nearly the first nine weeks just learning how to name molecules. Honestly, I could probably spend a whole year teaching people how to name compounds because there are so many different rules, so we’ll learn how to name things and learn about essential organic reactions,” said Hammon. “We get to do some really terrific labs, and some of those labs take over a week to complete. We’ll do some synthesis activities in which we’re actually making stuff, so I’m looking forward to offering this curriculum.”

A current math teacher, Caleb Surly, will lead sports digital media, a class for students interested in learning how social media is run for sports events. Surly has a background in running social media for ESPN events, so he will use this experience to teach students how social media runs behind the scenes, such as live updates at sports events. In addition to the course, students will attend athletic events on assignment to get real experience in this field. 

The final class will be Principles of Banking for students interested in careers in banking and finance, and they will be able to get experience in these fields through the help of Southern Bancorp. 

“Southern Bancorp is a local bank that has a branch on 12th street, and they’re trying to play a larger role in this community. What better way to be a part of the community than to partner with Little Rock Central?” said Andrew Cash, a finance teacher who will help teach this new class with help from the Arkansas-based bank.

“I’m going to be teaching the curriculum behind banking, and then Southern Bancorp is going to come in and relate that to what they are doing every day within their branches.”

There is also talk of a student-led bank; however, the legal details and regulations still need to be fully worked out. Students, Mr. Cash, and Southern Bancorp will work together to make this idea come to life. 

“There’s a lot of legal regulations that goes into starting a bank, especially when it’s in an atypical place like a school, so next year, me, the bank and the students that are taking the original class are going to work together, discussing what we want the bank to look like and what kind of services we want to offer at Central,” said Cash. “Southern Bancorp will work with us, and hopefully we’ll make it happen.”

In addition to these new courses, students will have the opportunity to enroll in concurrent credit classes through UALR in the following: AP English Language, AP US History, AP Pre-Calculus, and AP Spanish Language. This means with addition to taking the AP course and getting exam credit, students enrolled in concurrent credit will get guaranteed college credit at University of Arkansas at Little Rock upon passing the class. Students interested should contact Kim Williams in the guidance office to sign up. 

Current freshman and sophomore students will also now have a coding requirement because of LEARNS Act requirements. Courses that fulfill this credit are Mobile App Development, Computer Science, and AP Computer Science Programming.

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About the Contributor
Sybil Curran
Sybil Curran, News Editor
This is my second year on staff and I am passionate about sharing and learning about the community and giving everyone a voice. Outside of Tiger News, I play tennis and enjoy hanging out with my friends.

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