As the 2015-2016 school year was being planned, CRHS Principal Mr. Falcone decided to add many new classes at Coginchaug in hopes of raising the school’s rank compared to other schools  in Connecticut. While Coginchaug is not the number one school, these new classes have given students the opportunity to learn about things they are interested in which also contributes to college since the courses double as a high school and a college credit.

One of the new classes added for this school year was the University of Connecticut Human Development and Family Studies course taught by UConn certified health teacher Ms. Christen Bertz. This class studies in-depth human life from conception to death. So far, the students have done projects on family roles, and how poverty can affect and infant and their family. They are currently working on group research projects including child bullying, teen pregnancy, and even withholding treatment from medically unstable infants. Bertz hopes to have these projects finished within the first few weeks of the fourth quarter.

Since this is a college-level course, the students are required to have 40 hours of field work. While most of these hours have to be done independently, the class takes field trips which count towards the total hours. They have been to the Hospital for Special Care and toured the facilities, were exposed to a few doctors and their stories, and were able to observe a physical therapist and her patient.

Junior Lauren Donnelly said, “It was incredible to see not only the patient but a group of people working together to give him the ability to walk again, and I hope more people will be able to have opportunities like this in the future.”

Katelynn Branciforte, Carlie Annecchino, Lauren Donnelly, and Emily Mallinson pose on the University of Connecticut campus.

Katelynn Branciforte, Carlie Annecchino, Lauren Donnelly, and Emily Mallinson pose on the University of Connecticut campus.

Bertz also plans to take her class to the UConn campus and sit in on the HDFS class; she hopes to bring them to a morgue when they reach the unit on death.

Senior Carlie Annecchino’s favorite thing about this class is “the freedom; we get to pick what we learn and what we want to go in depth about.” Students are able to choose their topics of study which makes the class much more enjoyable than the standard classes offered.

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