New courses come afloat at EHS


Graphic courtesy of Dela Cruz.

Emma Dela Cruz, Social Media Editor

This previously ran in our December 2021 print issue.

After a successful proposal to the school board, Emmaus High School anticipates the addition of two new courses for the 2022-2023 school year.

The first course, planned to be part of the Wellness and Fitness Department, will serve as an alternate option to the current 10th-grade aquatics requirement, offering lifeguarding and water safety skills to students already familiar in the water. The curriculum will follow that of the American Red Cross, presenting students with an optional Red Cross Lifeguard Certification test at the conclusion of the course.

With required prerequisites such as basic treading and diving skills, Dr. Kate Kieres, principal at Emmaus, expects this course to make required graduation credits more productive and purposeful for swimmers with previous experience.

“Our hope is that this [lifeguarding course] will be more meaningful for those kids who don’t really need to develop those aquatic skills, and we’ll get them the certification that can help them get employed,” Kieres said.

Kieres also highlighted the closure of many local pools over summer break due to a community lack of certified lifeguards, foreseeing that this course may fill part of the gap.

The second course, intended to fall under the Family and Consumer Sciences Department, will cover the science behind happiness and positive well-being skills. This would include topics such as personal finance management, nutrition, and relationship maintenance.

Emmaus hired new FCS teacher Nicole Yaghi, who both wrote and modified the plans for this course at Central Dauphin School District prior to arriving at East Penn, in hopes of widening options for students’ STEM, humanities, and FCS graduation requirements.

“She’s [Yaghi] a certified social studies teacher and family consumer science, and she’s really passionate about students’ wellness and well-being,” Kieres said. “She had authored … and modified [the positive well-being course] for us in the hopes that it would give kids more choices for their FCS requirement.”

As opposed to currently-offered FCS and health courses, the positive well-being course plans to take a more holistic and bigger-picture approach to healthy living. Even though its syllabus may overlap with those found in some health, foods, or finance classes, its unique curriculum covers a broader range of skills pertaining to more modern matters, including social media reduction.

With the foresight of low additional costs, attainable staff demands, and the courses’ potential to broaden student skill sets, the school board responded supportively to science teacher and STEM supervisor Mike Mihalik’s course proposals at the Oct. 25 board meeting.

“The feedback I had from the board that night was that they really appreciate that we emphasize offering a whole lot of different things to students in lots of areas,” Kieres said. “The feedback was really, really positive.”