Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Steamboat Springs Senior Odyssey, math, physical education and foreign language requirements are some of the areas Steamboat Springs School Board members say should be reviewed when high school graduation requirements are revised this fall.
School Board members discussed the graduation requirements at their meeting Monday. A committee of school and community representatives is being formed to look at the requirements during a series of meetings, which will begin Sept. 27.
In January, the committee will recommend to the School Board whether and how to revise the district's graduation requirements. The School Board will make the final decision about requirement changes.
School Board member Tom Miller-Freutel said Monday there is an obvious need to take another look at the Senior Odyssey program requirement, which was challenged by some parents and students during the summer.
School Board member Mich--ael Loomis agreed, saying the issue is a "driving force" for the district's goal of revising graduation requirements by early next year so they can go into effect for the 2006-07 school year.
School Board member Jeff Troeger said math and foreign language requirements were important to him.
"For our students going off to college, we're not giving them enough math, we're not giving them enough language," he said.
He also asked why all students are required to take a credit of physical education, regardless of whether they are involved with varsity sports or physical education classes at Colorado Mountain College.
Overall, Troeger said, he wanted more variety in the classes offered to students.
"I would like to give students a little bit more choice, a little bit more of a buffet table," he said.
School Board member Pat Gleason said it might be helpful to offer a degree option for students, such as a vocational education degree that would have a different academic emphasis than the typical high school degree.
Loomis encouraged the committee to look at work done when graduation requirements were reviewed about eight years ago. It took several years of work to decide on and implement those changes.
"Let's not reinvent the wheel," Loomis said. "Let's at least go back and see what the history is, because that might help us in our discussions."
School Board members agreed that consistent communication between the committee working on graduation requirements and the School Board will be key and will prevent surprises when a recommendation is made to the School Board.
Ann Sims, the district's director of curriculum and instruction, will be the committee's chairwoman.
The committee will include two teachers from the high school and one from each of the district's other schools, building principals, a representative from Colorado Mountain College and one from the School Board. It also will include a parent from each district school, a representative from the business community, a high school student, a former student and a community member.
-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail email@example.com