Experimenting with Electives

Students look to round out their schedules for next year


Jamie Sullivan, Reporter

Every January NAHS students peruse the Academic Handbook in search of electives to fill their schedule. It’s either an additional science, math or social studies class or an elective they may or may not be interested in.

When it comes to electives, students may find it challenging to select ones that they are truly interested in. Senior year, some students had as many as five places on their schedule to fill. As for electives at NAHS, no one understands them better than the art department.

 Mrs. Monica Schotter  teaches ceramics, jewelry, fiber arts, intro to art and AP art. She’s been at NAHS since 2005 and has been teaching for nineteen years, so she’s seen a lot of changes.

“Some electives have changed,” Schotter said. “We’ve offered printmaking in the past and AP Art History,” 

Schotter says that the art department is hoping to bring those options back. With the addition of the new art teacher Mr. Andrew Hardin, it’s more likely than ever to bring the old classes back and have even more classes offered.

“As far as changes to come, we do want to offer new courses next year,” Hardin said. “One of them would be Art History.”

It’s Mr, Hardin’s first year teaching here at NAHS. He teaches Introduction to 2d and 3d Art, as well as a year long painting course. Hardin says he’s very strong in studio art and art history, as he worked in museums prior to teaching.

“I think what we’ve got lined up for next year is pretty exciting,” Hardin said. “We’ve also added Advanced 2d and 3d art.”

Elective course offerings aren’t entirely up to the teachers though. In order for an elective to be added to the schedule, students have to be interested.

“There has to be a certain threshold of students interested in the class before we can offer it,”  Schotter said. “We can throw out all of the things we can teach but it just depends on how many sign up for whatever class.”

As each class graduates and new ones come in, interests can differ. Some electives that were offered in the past were dropped because students found interest in different things, and that trend will likely continue as more students enter the building.

“There are things we’ve previously offered that have kind of fallen off because of waning numbers and interests,” Schotter said. 

Along with student interest, staffing is also an issue when it comes to choosing which electives to offer.

“One year we had nine sections of ceramics,” Schotter said. “All day long all I did was ceramics, and another teacher had three sections,”

The art department and teachers from other departments feel very strongly about how electives are beneficial to students. It’s nice for students of all ages to have something fun to do aside from the regular classes that are required here.

“I think art often gets a bad rep,” Hardin said. “People often think that it’s worthless and there’s no career in it.”

Hardin says the arts in general help build social and creative skills, unlike math or science classes. He says that employers don’t just look at the technical aspects of people’s capabilities, but also how good they are at working with others.

Outside of the art classes, there are other electives that can also be helpful to students. Some electives, similar to the arts, can prepare students for the real world and real experiences in life.

“The culinary arts classes are helpful as well because, I mean, that really is stuff that is beneficial beyond school related things,” Schotter said.

Schotter says that being able to know how to do things for yourself like cook or repair something is a lot better than paying someone else to do it for you.

Schools across the state of Indiana offer different electives, and what is wanted in that regard vary from student to student. NAHS has many electives to choose from that also differ in content and skills. 

“There’s things that should interest everyone really,” Schotter said. “From culinary to the arts and radio, I feel like there’s something for everyone.”

With continuous adding and dropping of courses it can be hard for the staff to decide what exactly well rounded options are. NAHS has made many changes to electives in the past and will likely continue to do so as the years go by. 

“There is such a wide range across the entire school that students can pick from so I think we’ve got a pretty good selection,” Schotter said.