Mahomet expands class offerings

Mahomet expands class offerings

MAHOMET – Juniors and seniors at Mahomet-Seymour High School next year can learn more about designing Web pages.

And students in grades 10 through 12 can sign up for an elective that will teach them 3-D animation, a class that can lead to jobs in a variety of fields, said teacher Eric Andracke.

School board members Monday approved requests by teachers Brian Schwarzentraub and Andracke to add both new classes to the curriculum.

The Web page design, will be taught as part of Schwarzentraub's business curriculum, and the 3-D animation will be taught in Andracke's industrial technology classes. Schwarzentraub said his one-semester class will likely also be open to 10th-graders after the first year.

"In the past, it's been an option for our students to go to Parkland College to take Web design, but we feel that's not a good option because they lose flexibility in their class time," he said. "A lot of students are interested. The first semester they'll learn HTML coding and Dreamweaver and they'll have the option of taking a second semester."

Linda Sloat, assistant superintendent, said the district is discussing dual credit possibilities with Parkland, so if students pass the class, they'll have two college credits.

Students in Andracke's class won't get dual credit because the class would have to be too difficult for high school students, Sloat said.

Andracke said it's rare for downstate high schools to offer animation classes. He said he taught the class at Normal and has determined that there's demand at Mahomet. The class is appropriate for students who may want to study architecture or engineering as well as students who may be going to Parkland or going straight to the work force, he said.

"A lot of careers really look for people with 3-D modeling experience," he said.

It will cost the district about $5,400 to purchase materials to start Schwarzentraub's class and about $8,700 for the materials for Andracke's class.

Sloat said students who take the extra electives may sacrifice a study hall or early departure to do so but they won't sacrifice time in other academic subjects.

"Our counselors are looking for more technology options," she said. "We want to beef up this part of our program. We're a comprehensive high school, and we're preparing kids for careers. This is something we don't have as an option."

"It's a big career area and lots of students are interested in it," said counselor Pat Warren. "A lot of people have personal Web pages, and these classes lead to careers and to classes at places like Parkland.

"I think these classes are going to be very popular," Warren said. "Everyone works on the computer. We're using the expertise of our teachers to offer students more."

"Thank you for taking the initiative," board member Terry Greene said. "Most districts don't have these options."

Also Monday, board members reviewed a list of life safety work to be started this school year and completed by the end of the summer. Architects Riley Glerum and Scott Wachter said the bill for the work will be about $540,000, and projects will include work on fire alarms, heating and plumbing and a gym floor at Lincoln Trail School.

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