New advanced courses for 2020-2021 school year


Senior Justine Wheeler works on project for sculpture class.

Abby Knuth, Staff Reporter

De Soto High School is a place where teachers want to help students discover their full academic potential. Teachers at DHS have been working with the administration to add new advanced courses for students to enroll in next year.

This upcoming year, Phillip Hamilton, an English teacher at DHS, will be teaching AP Seminar, a full-on research training class.

“Students will be learning how to present and how to write,” Hamilton said. “In some ways, this class will be an extension of what we do in APLAC. In other ways, it will have the presentation aspects and will be way more in depth with research especially.”

Some students are hesitant to take new classes because they are not familiar with certain aspects of the class. The amount of homework is always questioned when students sign up to take AP classes.

“This will be a pretty average class where students will have 30-45 minutes of homework in between blocks,” Hamilton said. “Students can expect the same amount of homework as APLAC or AP Literature. There will be a consistent stream of reading sources, looking up sources and then writing about it.”

Principal Sam Ruff brought this class to Hamilton’s attention due to the advantages it will bring students. Hamilton is excited to teach a new class that is within his realm of expertise.

“This class will prepare students for AP Calculus, for AP Literature and for whatever college classes [they take]. This fits right into what I do because I love AP Language in the aspect of that which translates to other classes,” Hamilton said. “This is kind of just a tangential similar thing that focuses on slightly different skills a little bit more which I think will make it even more universal and it will be awesome.”

AP Seminar is not the only advanced class added to the course selection for next year.

Tim Mispagel, an art teacher at DHS, will be teaching Advanced Sculpture next year.

“In advanced sculpture students will have already had an experience with 3D modelling software, 3D printing and working in ceramics and clay,” Mispagel said. “Students will have more time on projects because they will be more extensive and bigger in size.”

Mispagel has been recruiting students that have been performing well in his sculpture class for next year’s advanced course.

“The basic sculpture class qualifies a student to be in Advanced Sculpture. Although, it does not apply to everyone,” Mispagel said. “This class is for the advanced kids who are truly taking it seriously, paying attention to detail, and understand how to connect clay to clay.”

Many students want to expand their knowledge and become better at sculpture, which has led them to retake the normal sculpture class.

“Mr. Ruff suggested adding a sculpture class because he noticed that lots of students have been retaking sculpture,” Mispagel said. “It has happened forever and it makes more sense. “

  Mispagel has high hopes for what his new class will entail. He wants to add more in-depth materials for students to explore.

“My goal is to add more wheel throwing with the pottery wheel. It takes a lot of time to learn how to use the wheel so they would actually have time to focus on that. Students could also work with metal or try welding,” Mispagel said. “I would also like to bring in a mold-making component where you make different parts and put them together to make something bigger.”

These new and advanced courses will be added next year to help students enhance previous skills. This will assist students at DHS in preparing for college and expanding their knowledge.