Argyle ISD board of trustees approved over 20 new high school and middle school courses for the 2024-25 academic year at their Jan. 17 meeting.

Students, staff members, and campus and district leaders gave input that helped form the recommendation Assistant Superintendent Dawn Jordan outlined last month. Most of the classes are additions to the district’s Career and Technical Education program.

The details

The program offers pathways in accounting and financial services, business management, culinary arts, digital communications; marketing and sales; cybersecurity; engineering; programming and software development; health care; law enforcement; and teaching and training. Admission to these programs is based on completion of prerequisites, if any, according to the district website.

These pathways are categorized under three academic fields—business and industry; public services; and science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM—each aiming to prepare students for diverse careers after graduation. Each pathway contains several courses of varying levels that form a complete area of study, while outlining a trajectory for students into their respective field after graduation.

New high school CTE courses include:
  • Advanced Culinary Arts level 3
  • Law Enforcement II
  • Civil Engineering and Architecture level 3
  • Securities and Investments level 4
  • Social Media Marketing level 3
  • Court Systems and Practices level 2
  • Sports and Entertainment Marketing II
  • Digital Forensics level 3
Additionally, courses in video game design, fundamentals of real estate, interpersonal studies and child development were also approved. Classes such as fundamentals of real estate will allow 18-year-old students who complete the course to become a certified Realtor, Jordan said.

The board also approved several new high school courses unaffiliated with the CTE program, such as Personal Financial Literacy and Economics, Dance Wellness, and Jazz Band 1, 2, 3 and 4. Like their CTE counterparts, each of those courses may carry different prerequisite requirements, according to district documents.

Fundamentals of Accounting 1, 2 and 3 were redesigned as dual credit courses although they existed in the curriculum previously, Jordan said.

More details

Principles of Applied Engineering will be offered at both high school and middle school levels. Detailed descriptions of all new courses across both campuses can be found here.

New middle school CTE courses include:
  • Project-Based Research and Design
  • Principles of Health Science level 1
  • Fundamentals of Computer Science level 1
  • Principles of Business, Finance, and Marketing level 1
Some courses previously offered in high school are now eligible in middle school and were designed to help flesh out a path for students into the high school program, Jordan said. The new courses will also expand Argyle Middle School's CTE program to include health science and business fields alongside the engineering field already in place.

“If we start them on a pathway in middle school, we have a greater likelihood for them to complete the pathway,” she said.

Zooming in

CTE classes also qualify the district to receive weighted state funding dependent upon the course level and enrollment, according to the Texas Education Agency.

Were the district to offer all the new courses, it would need to hire two new CTE teachers: one for fundamentals of real estate, which will require hiring an instructor who is a licensed Realtor, and another for video game design. But part if not all of the cost could be covered with CTE course funds, Jordan said.

“With enough students, these courses can pay for themselves,” Jordan said.

If additional teachers are needed, the district would then present the anticipated funding generated by the courses and its impact in the overall budget. But Jordan said she doesn’t expect funding to greatly affect class options, adding that not all courses can be offered at once.

“There wouldn’t even be room in the master schedule for us to add all of them,” she said. “I think we’ll be able to add the ones with the highest interest regardless of funding.”

Looking ahead

Following the approval, the district will add the courses to the catalog for student selection to determine which garner interest. Generally, at least 15 students must sign up for a class for it to make, Jordan said.

However, not all proposed courses will be added this year. Apart from student interest, the district will also consider staffing and financial logistics, and examine the master schedule to see what courses fit, which may lead to some courses being cut or offered in subsequent years, she said.

“It's hard to predict which ones our students will have interest in, but we want them to be forward thinking and say, ‘Maybe I can’t fit it in my schedule next year, but I love this pathway, and I look forward to taking it in a future year,’” she said.