Friends Offers Dynamic New Courses for ’23-’24

Next year, students can choose 11 new or reimagined courses, from engaging History and Computer Science offerings, to fun new L-block classes.


Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Like travelers who reach this sign post, Friends students picking classes have lots of choices.

Khalil Lovett, Managing Editor

Course selections are due soon – March 7th, in fact – but students have the opportunity to change classes through mid-September. For the 2023-2024 school year, Friends is offering 11 new or reimagined courses, from core History and Computer Science offerings, to new L-block classes. Please see the attached slide presentation for a full list of these classes, and descriptions of all of them. The Quill spoke with a few teachers about their new courses to learn more.


Mathematical Problem Solving

Meets at L-block * Taught by Mr. Kennedy * Offered to students who’ve completed Algebra 1 * No credit

This class comes from new math teacher Patrick Kennedy. He felt Friends needed it because of the growing increase in the interest in math competitions. He did many math competitions in his school years and thought this would be a good way to help students practice for them.


Introduction to Restorative Justice and Circles

Meets at L-block * Taught by Ms. Melchin & Ms. King-Smith * Offered to Juniors & Seniors * ½ credit

This new course, coming from the Upper School counselors, focuses on teaching students restorative justice to use as a community. Both counselors have a lot of experience in restorative justice. Ms. Melchin is a certified restorative justice worker and Ms. King-Smith has taken hours of classes on the topic. They feel that it is an important and useful skill to bring to our community.



Meets at an A-F block * Taught by Mr. Oppel * Offered to Juniors and Seniors * ½ English or Arts credit

While this is not exactly a new class, it now has the option to count for both an English or Arts credit. Originally this course was co-taught by English teacher Helen Berkeley and theater teacher Rob Oppel, but now it will be taught by Mr. Oppel. He says he has always had an interest in playwriting and storytelling, and previously worked in the Everyman Theater. 


Research Seminar in African-American History

Meets at a Fall A-F block * Taught by Ms. Smith and Ms. Washington * Offered to Seniors * ½ credit

This course is also not exactly new but a combination of former African-American History courses and the Research Seminar. This course will be taught by history teacher Molly Smith and Friends alum and Admission Associate Bianca Washington, who have both had experience in the Research Seminar. Ms. Smith says she has a love for unique ways of learning, and the more free nature of this course is absolutely a part of that.


Introduction to Archival Work: WWII Collection

Meets at A-F block * Taught by Mr. Carlin * Offered to Seniors * ½ credit

Mr. Carlin, who will be teaching this specific course, has a history of working with universities in archival work. As universities often accept help with this kind of work, it gives the students of Friends a good chance at making early connections with universities and an introduction into this kind of work, as the name implies.


More Computer Science Courses:

As the teachers are not exactly decided, a short interview with Computer Science teacher Joel Hammer provided a general idea for Computer Science at Friends.

Our CS classes at Friends emphasize the importance of exploration and discovery, en route to mastering the craft of coding,” he said.

As a computer science enthusiast/hobbyist, Mr. Hammer conveyed that computer science at Friends is about giving students ample opportunities to master the craft of coding should they pursue it. New courses the department plans to offer in 2023-24 include

  • Object Oriented Programming (1 credit)
  • Robotics ( ½ credit)
  • Web & The User Experience (½ credit)
  • Capstone Design (Level 1 coding Prerequisite, 1 credit)