Northern Valley continues to expand options for students with new courses

Biomedical Technology and theatre among new course offerings


Alexis Choi and Sohee Kaity Kim

The music department is among multiple departments adding new opportunities and courses for students next year.

Opportunity knocks on the doors of NVOT. The new Biomedical Technology course next year may help determine whether or not sophomore Minhee Song plans on pursuing a career in medicine in the future.

Outside of school, Minhee takes EMS (Emergency Medical Services) training classes in Northvale to expose herself to the field of medicine. She stated that although the classes are difficult, “it’s really fun learning about different skills to help others.”

In her classes, Minhee learns how to help people in an emergency, such as in car accidents, and also how to efficiently transport people to hospitals. According to Minhee’s EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) instructor, the first step in joining the medicine field is through participating in EMS, and Minhee hopes the training will teach her whether or not the medicine field is for her.

“My goals for entering the medicine field are probably to first become an EMT and see if I actually enjoy it,” said Minhee. If she enjoys being an EMT, Minhee then aspires to become either a nurse or an anesthesiologist.

“So far I really enjoy the classes, which is why I also want to take the Biomedical Technology class [at school],” Minhee said. She hopes that taking the EMS class and the Biomedical Technology course will teach her about the other careers in the field that she may enjoy more. Minhee is also motivated by the fact that the class offers an honors option.

The Biomedical Technology 1 and 1H courses will be a part of the new Health and Biomedical Career Pathway. According to Technology Education Supervisor, David Janosz, this course is “a first year course for students interested in pursuing a Biomedical Sciences career pathway.”

In addition, the course includes hands-on activities focusing on applications of biomedical engineering – including the design and construction of medical devices, diagnostics, and monitoring equipment. “Science, mathematics, and technology will be integrated and applied to ethically solving real-world problems,” Janosz added. There will be speakers and field trips “to provide students with an introduction as to how the studies of biomedical engineering and biomedical science provide career opportunities in one of New Jersey’s key industries.”

According to director of guidance Matthew Spatz, “The district administration and Board of Education have worked together over the past several years to revise Northern Valley’s course offerings.  They have introduced many new courses, and even a new department – Theatre Arts.”

The different subject area departments work with teachers and students to gather feedback, in order to decide which classes would be most beneficial to the student body. The members of the curriculum review committee then discuss the courses in order to affirm or revise them. In addition, the board of education administers a second revision through a subcommittee where members review and gather questions about the possible courses. After all concerns are addressed, a proposed class idea can become an actual course for students to take.

Spatz said, “We are always looking to maximize opportunities…and accommodate to a variety of [students’] interests, not just AP but at all academic levels and interests. We think if we help you with your interests, there will be more opportunities for you to know what majors and careers you want.”

There will even be a new Theatre Arts department starting next year, and for sophomore Matthew Genova, Theatre Arts 2 will support his new passion for acting. Genova said that he “loved and enjoyed every minute” of participating in the cast of the all-school musical, Tarzan. Although Genova is unsure if he will be taking Theatre Arts 2 or 2H, he is looking to “hopefully enhance [his] acting abilities”.

However, seniors who will graduate this year, will not be able to take these new courses. Senior Sage Miller sees these new courses as a missed opportunity. She said, “I’m really annoyed about it. There were so many classes that I would have taken if I had been able to, like AP Psychology for sure.”

While some students are upset about not being able to take these new courses, others are already taking them this year. Senior Esther Song, for example, believes that this new course is “definitely helpful since [she is] going to major in music.” In the class, students look at and analyze music. According to Esther, the students not only “do things like figuring out chord progressions and using counterpoint,” but they also learn basic material that would help them play their instruments.

In addition to adding these courses, the board of education has been working to connect them to college courses at universities, including Seton Hall University (SHU), Bergen Community College (BCC), and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Spatz said, “Courses will be indicated on the transcript as being ‘course approved for college credit through dual enrollment.”

According to Spatz, even if a college does not give credit for taking that class, it will be noted on the transcript to show that the student is “capable of college-level work in preparation for the actual experience.”