School Committee approves course changes at High School

Jan 7, 2023

Wareham High School students could soon be learning EMT skills, personal finance and baking after the School Committee approved curriculum changes at its meeting on Thursday, Jan. 5. 

“These are courses that we could offer,” Principal Scott Palladino said. “Not every course can run. We could run these courses if there is enough interest.”

New opportunities such as EMT classes, a personal finance literacy course and a baking class have been added to the curriculum for students to choose from. The Committee also approved changes to already-existing courses, such as adding a science lab to the eighth grade science courses and removing a tech design lab that was required for students taking business classes.

Humanities Department Head Michael Murray proposed an International Baccalaureate English course for 11th graders. 

International Baccalaureate courses give high schoolers a taste of college-level courses and offer a more robust curriculum. 

“My hope is that it brings a level of literature and student engagement to a more inclusive level,” Murray said.

Students enrolled in special education courses would have a chance to take the advanced course. 

“The idea on the table is that testing will be optional,” said International Baccalaureate coordinator Ashilie Yates. “It’s about removing a lot of the barriers.”

Some members of the School Committee were pleased with the idea of “leveling the field” for students, but were unsure of how useful the class would be for Wareham. 

According to Palladino, seven students graduated from Wareham High School with an International Baccalaureate diploma last year. So far, only two seniors will graduate with an International Baccalaureate diploma this year.

“I still worry about the 80% or 90% of students who are not in an IB course and never will take an IB course in Wareham,” said School Committee Vice Chair Geoff Swett. “What are we doing for them?”

School Committee member Apryl Rossi said that some students, including her son, take International Baccalaureate classes for reasons other than getting the diploma. 

“It’s still beneficial to them,” she said. “If they succeed in those classes, it can make the transition into college easier.”