Committee may change graduation requirements

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— Steamboat Springs High School students may get a chance to take more "fun" classes in the upcoming years if the Curriculum Committee decides next week to change the number of elective courses required to graduate.

In a school board study session Monday night, Steamboat Springs High School Principal David Schmid told board members of the possible change in required elective credits and of a slight alteration in the concept of the senior project.

The current number of required elective courses is 5.5, along with the 16.5 required core credits. If the committee decides the change will be more advantageous, students may be required to take more than 22 credits, a decreasing change is less likely, Schmid said.

Schmid reassured the board members that the possibility of increasing the number of required credits is not meant just to add more for the sake of it, but to add more meaning to the curriculum.

"We want to allow kids to explore the areas they have a passion in," Schmid said of the future discussion.

The notion of allowing students to explore more open areas was Schmid's main discussion at the study session.

"There needs to be a better balance of academics and electives," Schmid said.

After three years of review, the committee thought graduation requirements needed an update. Schmid said along with the idea to increase elective credits, the committee has decided to change the senior project to the "senior experience."

The change in language means that an emphasis will be placed on students working with the community, Schmid said.

"The community becomes an adviser for students' early interests," Schmid said. "They get to use the community as a resource."

The curriculum committee has made 11 presentations at community forums, to the school board, staff and others encouraging and promoting positive thinking in the students' curriculum, Schmid said.

The senior experience still is a requirement to graduate, but changing the language opens up more opportunity for the students.

"We don't want to place the emphasis on completing a project, but the experience that students take with them," Schmid said.

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