Do the Benefits Outweigh the Costs?

Sylvia Bindas, Staff Writer

As if the Skipper Log wasn’t already thick enough, Minnetonka’s administration is continuing to find or create additional opportunities and courses for students. Joining the existing options for IB, AP, and PSEO dual enrollment courses are twelve brand new classes along with the Vantage professional studies program.

Understandably, the shiny new specialized classes at Minnetonka have raised some concerns. With more classes comes the need for more teachers, significantly increasing their workload. Also, there are only so many rooms in the high school, and sometimes it seems like there simply isn’t anywhere to squeeze another class without stretching resources too far.

In reality, the benefits of these many options far outweigh the costs. One thing that almost all of these new options have in common is the ability for students to earn college credit in more ways than ever. From saving money to shaving semesters off of time in college, it’s hard not to see earning college credit in high school as a huge advantage. A majority of the twelve new classes being offered will be either AP or IB credits, expanding upon existing classes and on the PSEO alternative of leaving the MHS campus to take college courses. As part of the Vantage program, each student will be prepared to take the AP Macro- and Microeconomics exams as well as the IB Business and Management Exam in addition to completing their other core credit requirements. According to Mr. Pears, in future years the Vantage program will even “expand to other courses beyond just business” such as engineering or computer and data programming.

In both the PSEO and Vantage programs, students are able to earn credits while simultaneously getting experience in the world outside of our high school “bubble”, which also allows the school to expand educational opportunities while freeing up classroom space back at MHS. In the case of Vantage, Mr. Pears believes that this is the greatest advantage for students; “It’s not like school at all,” he says, “students will get the chance to learn and present themselves in a real, professional adult business environment.”

In addition, the expanding class options vary drastically from the standard core subjects, allowing students to take an accelerated class in a much more specific area of interest. As far as I’m concerned, it couldn’t hurt to take a class in Exercise and Health Science, Video Game Design, or any other specialized class before many of us plan the next decades our lives around certain subjects we’ve only briefly studied in a core class. If students can discover their passion in high school through these classes, we are instantly more prepared to make the most of our time after leaving MHS. In the end, the administration knows what they’re in for adding all these new options, so why not make the most of them?