FCPS spices up course selection for upcoming school year


Sakina Tahir

New courses for the subsequent school year include Forensic Science and Athletic & Sports Leadership 4.

Sakina Tahir, Staff Writer

From providing an introduction to the networking field to showcasing career opportunities in an abundance of areas, the diversified course selection for the upcoming school year is a resource students can utilize in order to get an idea of pathways they may want to pursue in the future. Starting in the 2023-24 school year, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will be administering new course offerings and course designation changes for a variety of classes. Course additions include new Dual Enrollment (DE) classes such as Food and Hospitality Management, along with Virtual Virginia DE courses like Art Appreciation and Network Basics.

“As far as the content goes, and the depth and the level of writing, [DE] seems a little less stressful, especially for students that are taking multiple AP classes in addition to dual enrollment,” History DE teacher Ross Bosse said. “It’s just trying to find the right balance of what’s going to work for your course load, plus the guaranteed credit transfer in Virginia is helpful in the long term.” 

FCPS will also be making certain course designation changes. Cyber: Security + Capstone will be gaining an additional 1.0 weight added to its GPA value, while certain advanced music and theater classes will add an additional 0.5 weight.

“I think it’s a good thing, especially because people in the different advanced music and theater classes spend a lot of time outside of the actual class working on [their craft], but still get the same amount of class credits as people get in regular classes,” junior Sasha Smith said. “It’s a good way to recognize the work that people are putting in.”

These new classes may allow students the opportunity to strengthen and acquire skills in a myriad of different areas, but they must also consider what they want to do after high school during the annual course selection process. College and Career Specialist Khristie Greiner emphasized the importance of prioritizing core classes.

“You can do some exploring when you get out of high school, but getting the high school diploma and concentrating on those five core subjects: English, math, history, science and even world languages will make you the most marketable student there is,” Greiner said.

Adequate student enrollment is a substantial factor in whether or not these new courses are offered at CHS. The average goal for any class is at least 25 students, and the number of students in each class must be regulated in order to ensure no class is too big or too small; depending on the popularity of the course, some classes may have multiple sections offered, while others may only have one or two sections offered throughout the school day.

However, for students who want to branch out and explore their interests along with potential future careers, FCPS will be offering three new elective courses: Athletic and Sports Leadership 4, Forensic Science and Film Study II. While Athletic and Sports Leadership 4 provides leadership training for students interested in the sports industry, Film Study II enables students to build on knowledge obtained in the prerequisite course Film Study I. Additionally, forensic science courses, which cover an aspect of the criminal justice system, typically have a curriculum involving the study of what professionals in the field do on a daily basis, such as the investigation of ballistics and trace evidence analysis.

“We want you to explore those subjects because we want you to find out whether or not you like them or not,” Greiner said. “There are many ways to explore what you get out of high school. What else do you like to do with all the time that you spend outside of school, the time you spend after school, the time you spend on the weekends, and the time you spend on your summer break and your holidays? These are important questions to answer in order to help you love what you do later on in life.”