The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

Classes offered for next school year

Planning your schedule next year? Take a look at these new classes!
Math teacher, Mrs. Jean Nightingale, who will be teaching blended math, gives notes to student on the Promethean Board

Immigrant Literature

Adding to the offered English courses is Immigrant Literature. This class will offer aspects of literature that aren’t read in other literature classes. The motivation to provide this class option was to give students who enjoy reading and diversity a class where they can pursue these interests. “We are always wanting to broaden our multicultural [options],” department head Mr. Tom Backen said. The course will include learning about cultures of immigration in Minnesota, adding an interesting relevance to the students. “Students will gain knowledge, exposure, and the opportunity to work for social justice,” English teacher Mrs. Katie Belanger said. As this course is introduced, the administration hopes to engage students to learn more about different cultures and interests.

Forensic Science

This full-year forensic science class gives students an opportunity to see the intersection between the three major sciences—biology, chemistry, physics—and apply them to real world situations that law enforcement faces today. The class will cover subjects ranging from blood splatter patterns to DNA samples. The class will be tweaked during the year. The class may have different teachers lecture on the topics that they are most specialized since it covers many different scientific disciplines. “I think that with all of the CSI-type TV shows there is a big interest level in students. It will be a challenging and enjoyable class for students who are diligent about [the sciences],” Mr. Bob Lyons said.

Advanced Spanish III

Adding Advanced Spanish III to the language department extends the options of advanced Spanish classes from levels I and II. However, students don’t have to be enrolled in Advanced Spanish II in order to continue on to Advanced Spanish III. Having this rigorous course added to the program allows students to challenge themselves and remain separate from those that feel challenged by the formal level III of Spanish. “The course will be more project and performance-based, providing students the opportunity to further develop their Spanish skills,” spanish teacher Mr. Matthew McMerty-Brummer said.

Chinese I

The language department plans to add Chinese to its course offerings next year. With French, Latin, and Spanish already being taught, foreign language teachers recognize that Chinese is a rapidly emerging international language. In the past, teachers gauged the interest of those who had private Chinese tutors to offer advanced Chinese, but not enough students signed up. This next school year, however, the department plans to offer Chinese I, which would allow any student to begin learning Chinese. The administration plans to add more Chinese courses after level 1 if there is enough interest. “We will have to see how interested students are. Chinese will definitely be in the [course offerings], but we’ll see if enough students sign up,” senior high principal Dr. Sue Skinner said.

Blended Math

Looking for efficient ways to allow motivated students to learn, the math department will add two classes for the 2013-2014 school year, blended advanced algebra and blended precalculus. These “blended” classes have two components, online and in class. Unlike other math classes, the new courses allow students to independently study, rather than to just listen to a lecture. The mathematics department will offer only regular level classes and there will be a minimum pace that students need to follow. “[Students] really need to be self-motivated. This class is meant for students who get [material] from looking at the books,” math teacher Mrs. Jean Nightingale said.


Photojournalism is the art of communicating news via pictures. As part of the journalism program, this class will start in the 2013-2014 school year being taught by Mrs. Christine Kinney. Photography skills will be taught and then combined with journalism concepts so the pictures can tell a story. With this class in session next year, they will be working on photography for the Knight Errant issues and website. Before adding this class to the course options, the art teachers had to encourage interest in photojournalism. “We’ve been trying to get people interested in working with layout,” art teacher Mrs. Theresa Puffer said.

Graphic Design

As part of the expansion to the journalism program, the art department will offer a graphic design class giving opportunity to students to have hands-on experience with logo design, digital photography, and many other technology artforms. Taught by Mrs. Kelli Rahn, this class will do many real-life projects along with designing the covers of the Knight Errant. The motivation for this class was due to an increase in popularity of this category. “Graphic design is huge. It has grown [in terms of job opportunities],” art teacher Mrs. Theresa Puffer said. Adding this class into the schedule doesn’t permanently eliminate other art classes that already exist; however, silk screen will not be available as an art choice first semester due to the excessive number of art classes that already exist.

Video Journalism

Contributing to the journalism additions is a class that will specifically focus on making online journalistic videos. In this class, students will create videos in conjunction with the rest of the Knight Errant staff. This will allow students to tell a story with a video, rather than writing. “It is a whole other arm to journalism,” said future video journalism teacher Mr. Tom Backen. Adding a profound video portion to the journalism curriculum will let the Knight Errant experience more depth, variety, and prominence. “It will take the Knight Errant to a higher level than it already is,” Mr. Backen said.

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The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN
Classes offered for next school year