Panel mulls graduation requirements

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— The committee looking at graduation requirements for Steamboat Springs students met for the first time last week.

The group discussed the process used the last time requirements were revised and compared the current beliefs, vision and mission of the school district and high school to what they were at the time.

The purpose of the meeting was to make sure members of the committee understood the history of the issues and agreed on goals of the committee, said Ann Sims, the district's director of curriculum and instruction and the chairwoman of the committee.

While the group will consider whether graduation requirements should be revised, there will not be a full-blown rewrite.

"Our goal is to review graduation requirements," Sims said. "It is not to change graduation requirements."

By January, the committee will make a recommendation to the superintendent and the School Board on if and how changes should be made.

All meetings are open to the public. At the next meeting, the committee will discuss data from the high school that covers specifics such as what classes students have taken.

"We want to have some really solid background and some rationale as we begin to delve into these hot topics," Sims said.

Those key issues include: math, foreign language, physical education and Senior Odyssey.

The committee is composed of Sims, principals from each Steamboat school, teachers, parents, community representatives, one School Board member, a current student and a high school graduate.

When the School Board was given an update on the committee Monday, members asked how members were chosen. School Board member Pat Gleason said it was important to make sure the committee has "good, comprehensive discussions."

Superintendent Donna How--ell said the facilitator, Lynn Kelley, should help ensure that all sides of the issues are heard and considered.

Sims said principals chose their parent and teacher representatives, taking volunteers or recruiting representatives if there were no volunteers.

Steamboat Springs High School Principal Mike Knez--evich said the parent and teacher representatives for the high school were part of the last effort to review requirements, which began about eight years ago and took place over several years. Those people, he said, would bring information on the history and process that happened previously.

Sims and Howell chose the community representatives, working to get a mix of volunteers with different backgrounds.

Three volunteers were not chosen, Sims said. The public will be given a chance to address the committee during meetings.

The next meeting is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at the boardroom of the George P. Sauer Human Services Center.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail scunningham@steamboatpilot.com

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