Register for YOU-nique Classes

Sophia Ugorets, Staff Writer

At Minnetonka High School, our Skipper Course Log offers a variety of unique classes which provide students with many different opportunities. Although unconventional aspects of some courses may intimidate students, they can be a worthwhile step outside of students’ comfort zones. Heightened independence, out-of-school connection, and a variety of hard and soft skills are all examples of what can make a class “non-traditional”.

Virtual Enterprise (VE), for example, completely ditched the traditional class format. The classroom is an “office space” where students work together on their legitimate business with real products. In addition to a unique in-school environment, students work with outside business professionals who help guide them along the way.

Andrew Werner teaches VE. He describes it as, “something bigger than the individual students.” He elaborates by saying, “success of the company can only be achieved if students are successful in their roles.”

As VE is completely student led, the path of the business is decided by them every day. Werner explains that hard skills (objective and quantifiable skills) like, “entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, HR, operations and technology” can be strengthened daily which in return strengthens the company.

Since VE is a part of a large organization, Werner notes that students “interact with each other online or in-person through attendance at various trade shows” where they buy and exchange each other’s goods and services.

VE is an option for juniors and seniors who are self-driven, growth minded, cooperative, comfortable with ambiguity and have a positive attitude.

Another unique course is Minnetonka Research. It is a science course that gives students who are passionate about science the opportunity to intensively research a subject of their choice. The course offers connections with experienced mentors and an authentic lab setting. 

Emily McNeil ‘23 is currently evaluating a computer science based project — “the extent to which machine learning could be a viable option as a part of the autism diagnostic process.”

McNeil chose Minnetonka Research because she “wanted a smaller class size with a lot of community and collaboration” in addition to “a more hands-on approach than a traditional AP class.”

McNeil explains that Minnetonka Research is different from a regular science class because, “everything is completely individualized,” allowing students to fully pursue their interests. Such an opportunity is very helpful for students looking to explore new interests before going into college.

Besides research opportunities, McNeil shares that she’s gained soft skills (non-technical, interpersonal skills that are beneficial in the workplace) from tasks like, “cold-emailing professors to explaining your project to the superintendent.” 

Many other unique courses are offered at Minnetonka such as App Development with Swift, Ceramics, Physics in Home Renovation and AP Art History. Some more non-traditional classes will be added at MHS including Aviation and VANTAGE International Relations. Although many classes at Minnetonka High School maintain a traditional classroom feel, opting for a non-traditional class would provide students with many opportunities to grow their passions as well as develop life-long skills.