The 2021-2022 school year is coming to end but the 2022-2023 year is right around the corner. When McNick students return and freshman begin their first high school courses, some things will have changed around the school. From new classes and teachers to improvements within the school, McNick will be new again. Most of what was new in the 2022 school year will stay the same, but some of the “old things” will have a better look.
The first noticeable change will be with teachers. Art teacher Willy Corbett and Theatre teacher Teresa De Zarn have decided to retire. Other teachers will be finding new homes in the McNick community. Freshman English teacher Gretchen Thomas will still teach two classes of English as well as journalism, but for half of the week, she will be in the Rocket Learning Community (RLC) as the sophomore Social Studies teacher. Current English co-teacher Andrea Wheeler will become a full time English teacher for freshmen and sophomores.
Along with some teachers teaching new subjects, there are also many new electives for students to consider. AP Research and Catholic Discipline will only be available to only seniors. AP Research is a full year course and requires students to have taken AP Seminar. Catholic Discipline is a semester class and requires social justice class and a recommendation from a Theology teacher. Culinary Chemistry, Robotic Engineering, and Leadership will be available for both juniors and seniors. Culinary Chemistry is a full year class, it will be taught by Jessica Boese, one of the science teachers, and it doesn’t require any prerequisites. Robotic engineering is a semester course, it will be taught by math teacher, Matthew Brunner, and requires students to have completed Algebra II and chemistry. Leadership is a semester course and doesn’t require anything from students.
In addition to course changes, other areas around the school will look different. Students will no longer be allowed to wear uniforms with the old McNick logo. “It just helps us to project that fresh kind of system,” Principal David Mueller said. The school will also be getting new cafeteria tables. Mueller said the old ones may still be used in classrooms. The area Rockets call Paradise is also receiving a facelift with the installation of new turf for Klonne-Schmidt Field. Summer work plans also include the addition of air conditioning in the Larry Bogenschutz gym as well as an upgraded heating system and electrical system for the entire school.
The 2022-2023 school year is also the inaugural year for the implementation of the Rocket Learning Community (RLC) for a select group of sophomores. According to the information provided about the RLC, it is for students who are “self-motivated…comfortable working in a group setting… [naturally curious] …thinkers and doers who want to take control of their learning.” In the RLC, students will be taking science, social studies, English, and theology and will be learning each through interdisciplinary teaching. The RLC will be a different type of learning area including varied types of seating and spaces meant to be comfortable and conducive to group learning. The RLC also includes off-campus experiential learning and partnerships with alumni.
McNick’s weekly schedule of one 8-bell day and four days of block periods will remain the same with the only possible new adjustment being with having CREW in the middle of A and B bells instead of beginning the day with it. “It provides a nice change of pace between two long periods. So, if you have A bell, CREW, B bell, lunch, C [bell], D [bell], for at least three transitions you’ve got something between two long classes,” Mueller said. “We have tried to continue to develop the fun and learning that happens in crew and we think that there might be a little more student ownership of it if it happens not the first thing in the morning.” This proposed change hasn’t been finalized yet.