Elected Electives

by Sean A. Riley, PhD

This year has been a fantastic year for Stony Brook academics.  What were new courses in the fall now seem like indispensable elements of a Stony Brook education.  New teachers have become beloved mentors, and new classmates have begun lifelong friendships.  We have had record numbers of students on the honor rolls, excellent early college admissions decisions, and success in academic competitions.  Student clubs have sprung up and have proven that when given the opportunity to pursue their passions, our students can do amazing things.  And we are just getting started. 

Currently under development for next year are some exciting new elective courses, which students will have the opportunity to sign up for in April.  Last month I sought input from the student body, and the results of the survey indicated strong desire for a few key new elective courses.  Our goal in creating these new courses is to give students the opportunity to pursue their passions and develop the 21st century skills they will need on their quest for truth, beauty, and goodness.  To foster communication and creativity, we will be offering courses in Creative Writing and Drama and Rhetoric.  In pursuit of cultural competency and communication we are graduating our Chinese I students to Chinese II.  Our beautiful new Innovation Lab will now house not only our popular Engineering Innovation and Design course, but also an advanced version of that course and three new computer programming courses.  Creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking will also abound in our new AP Microeconomics, Entrepreneurship, and Design Studio courses.  We are also seriously exploring starting a debate team.  At the heart of all of our courses, new and old, is our commitment to Christian faith and character formation.

Please sit down with your child to discuss core class requirements and elective opportunities before they sign up.  The goal should be to select classes that are difficult enough to challenge them without not overwhelm them.  We want our kids to do what they love while at the same time preparing them well for college admissions.  Remember that the transcript is the most important part of the college admissions process.

A version of this post originally appeared in the March 2015 Parents Plus Monthly

seanrileysbs

Sean A. Riley earned his Ph.D in philosophy from Baylor University in 2011. He has chaired the history department, taught English, Humanities, AP European History and two philosophy courses, coached football, tennis, and the Ethics Bowl team, and served as a dorm dad at The Stony Brook School on Long Island. He has also led summer travel courses to Greece, Turkey, and China. Prior to teaching at The Stony Brook School, he taught courses at Baylor University, McLennan Community College, and Live Oak Classical School in Waco, Texas. Sean is the author of Recovering the Saints from Modern Moral Theory, available on Kindle. He lives in Stony Brook with his wife, Emily, and his four children, Aidan, Liam, Honora, and Quinn.

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