Newly approved courses feature teacher interests, unique opportunities (additional)


Written by Tim Sun and Grace Tramack 

16 new courses were approved by the Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education on Jan. 24. Eight of these courses will be available at Gunn: Advanced Authentic Research (AAR) Advanced Placement (AP) Seminar, AAR AP Capstone Research, AP Computer Science Principles, Chinese Civilization and Culture, Multimedia Journalism, The Art of Visual Storytelling, Topics in Applied Mathematics and Yoga and Mindfulness.

Here are the final two course overviews: AP Computer Science Principles and Yoga and Mindfulness. To read about the other five courses, please visit this link: Newly approved courses feature teacher interests, unique opportunities

AP Computer Science Principles

A new computer science course, AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP), will be offered next year. The year-long course goes through many big ideas in computer science, from abstraction to algorithms. “We do lots of coding and the programming language that we use is very visual,” computer science teacher Chris Bell said. “So it’s very quick and easy to make awesome games that you can share with other people.”

AP CSP also covers how computer science plays a role in society, through examinations of global impact, privacy and the internet.

AP CSP is open to all students and is recommended for those who are seeking just one year of computer science education. “[Students] can basically get in the conversation of technology in our world,” Bell said. “They can expect to gain a better understanding of computer science, an understanding of how to code and some hands-on experience with coding.”

Yoga and Mindfulness

English teacher Diane Ichikawa recently had her new course, Yoga and Mindfulness, approved after years of thinking about it. “I was certified to teach yoga a little over 10 years ago, and I really wanted it to be a PE class here, but it never really quite worked out until this past year,” she said.

This class will spend two days each week focusing on practicing Asana flow and coming into poses safely. The third day will be spent on journaling and reflecting on students’ own thoughts and life patterns.

Ichikawa encourages all students to consider taking Yoga and Mindfulness, no matter their flexibility, to help them de-stress and learn breathing techniques. “I’m hoping that people who take this class will have a better appreciation for and understanding for how everything is more connected than we may think,” Ichikawa said. “It’s not just…about meditation, and it’s not just about breathing but about everything together.”