Gone are the days when high school students could choose only between chemistry and physics, Spanish and French.

Gone are the days when high school students could choose only between chemistry and physics, Spanish and French.

Today’s list of course offerings includes subjects like economics and personal finance; environment systems and societies; film; digital art; materials science; civil engineering; and architecture.

Those are among 34 courses being offered — or will be piloted next year — at Worthington’s high schools and middle schools.

The course descriptions were presented to the Worthington Board of Education on Nov. 28. Teachers were on hand to describe the courses and to answer questions.

“I think this is an incredible achievement,” board president Marc Schare said, adding that no full-time teachers were hired to teach the new courses.

Sixteen of the new courses were designed to meet the requirements of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which will begin next year at Worthington Kilbourne High School if the expected approval is granted.

The school already has completed the necessary applications and a visit from IB inspectors. Word on whether the school has been accepted into the program is expected between January and April, according to Kilbourne teacher John Jordan.

“We’ve been encouraged by the organization,” he told the board.

The IB courses would be taught by Kilbourne teachers. Courses would include some “tried and true,” Jordan said. Others are new.

Among those new are environmental systems and societies; business management; design technology; theory of knowledge; and film.

Teachers are preparing for the new courses and for the traditional courses that will be taught according to IB requirements.

“Continued professional development is going to be vital,” said Kilbourne teacher Jeff Vincent.

Several of the courses piloted in the past year or two are part of the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program, which allows middle and high school students to prepare for careers in the science and technology fields.

At Worthington Kilbourne, 160 are part of the PLTW program. At Thomas Worthington, the number is 140. This is the program’s fifth year.

More recent courses have been introduced at the middle schools to give students an introduction to the program, which stresses science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Among the middle school courses are Design Squad (Gateway to Technology); automation and robotics; and materials processing.

Digital art, a course in its first year at Worthington Kilbourne, is the district’s first online course.

The class had one introductory meeting, but other communication is limited to email and, if needed, scheduled meetings during teacher Brian Riegel’s office hours.

“Even though we’re not meeting face to face, I feel like there is a pretty good communication going,” he told the board.

Thirty signed up for the course, but six or seven have dropped out. The course works out best for students who are self-motivated and good time managers, he said.

Board member Charlie Wilson asked if Riegel believes online courses would be a panacea, freeing up teachers to teach more students.

“Is it feasible to really do classes of 50 or 75?” Wilson asked.

Thirty is more reasonable, Riegel said.

He recommends a more substantial initial meeting and a better means of communication. Email is not fast enough, he said.

Board member David Bressman said he has misgivings.

“I’m a big fan of Worthington kids having seat time with a Worthington teacher,” he said.

Jennifer Wene, director of academic achievement and professional development, said she expects to see a blend of online and classroom teaching in the future.

“We hope to see every teacher use it in some way pretty quickly,” she said.