KO adds intriguing electives to curriculum


On Thursday, April 8, Upper School students began the process of selecting their courses for the 2021-2022 school year, and with various new electives in several different departments – including English, history, and science – students had many options to choose from. 

In the science department, biology teacher Kata Baker will be offering a semester-long course titled Anatomy and Physiology for juniors and seniors. The course will start by covering basic topics such as homeostasis and feedback loops before diving specifically into some of the systems of the human body such as the respiratory, digestive, and circulatory systems. This class will also include numerous hands-on activities and will even culminate with a full organism dissection. Since the whole topic of anatomy cannot be crammed into one semester, Mrs. Baker will be offering Anatomy and Physiology II during the 2022-2023 school year. 

Mrs. Baker hopes that this course will teach students content beyond what they learned in biology class, specifically as it relates to anatomy. “The biology curriculum has shifted,” Mrs. Baker said, “because as the scientific community learns more about genetics, that topic is broadening, which means it takes more time, and so the human anatomy and physiology section that we used to have in biology has essentially gotten pushed out.” However, students will now have the opportunity to go beyond their biology studies and dive deeper into the world of anatomy through taking this elective. Furthermore, students that are interested in medicine or are curious about how their bodies work are likely to benefit from taking this elective next year. 

In the English department, English teacher Mela Frye and Latin teacher Maureen Lamb will co-teach a Mythology in Literature class next year. This elective will be a semester-long course and will be open to sophomores and juniors. After exploring ancient Greek epics, students will study a combination of books and films including “Harry Potter,” “Percy Jackson,” “Star Wars,”“Moana,” and “Black Panther,” “[The teachers] want to find interesting contemporary texts that the kids can dive into,” English Department Chair Catherine Schieffelin said. 

In the history department, the new elective Humanism and the Italian Renaissance will be taught by history teacher Stacey Savin. Another new history elective called BIPOC History of Connecticut will also be offered. This course was designed by History Department Chair David Baker, history teachers Katie McCarthy and Tricia Watson, and local historian and KO alumna Allison Kyff ’14.

The BIPOC history of Connecticut course will delve deep into the experiences of people of color and Indigenous people in Connecticut. The history department wanted to offer a course that would teach students about local history that has never been taught at KO before. “Students have never really learned at KO about the history of people who were oppressed and people who didn’t have a voice in Connecticut for so long,”Mr. Baker said. 

Humanism and the Italian Renaissance is a course that aims to transport students into the past. “After spending [the] past year, which was so fraught for a soul, and frightening and distressing, I wanted to transport my students to a different place and time,” Ms. Savin said. This course is based on beauty and wonder and will cover all aspects of the Renaissance including art and the accomplishments of humans during this time. “I wanted to give the students an appreciation for what human beings are capable of throughout different times,” Ms. Savin said. 

With the addition of numerous new electives to the KO course of study, as well as the usual course and elective options, students have so many amazing classes to choose from for next year.