Little feedback given on Steamboat graduation changes
School Board to consider graduation requirements next month
November 1, 2010
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs School Board is poised to approve new district graduation requirements next month. And with little feedback during a recent public meeting and Monday's board meeting, Marty Lamansky, the assistant principal at Steamboat Springs High School, doesn't expect any major changes from what has been proposed.
"We haven't had a huge outcry from the community that says there's something wrong," Lamansky said Monday.
Lamansky, who has worked as a facilitator for the district's curriculum committee, presented the School Board with the proposed changes Monday. The changes include increasing credit requirements to 25 from 23. He said 84 percent of students in the past three graduating classes earned at least 25 credits.
The changes also include additions of 0.5 credits in math, 0.5 credits of personal financial literacy and 1 credit of world languages. Also, the number of language arts credits would remain at 4, but 1 world literature credit requirement would be added.
The School Board didn't suggest any changes, but a parent spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.
Laila Powers, who has four children in the district, including three at the high school, expressed concern with the physical education graduation requirements, which haven't been proposed to change. They are 1.5 credits, including 0.5 credits of health and 0.5 credits of team or lifetime sports.
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Powers said most of the high school students were very active. She worried that the requirements forced students to take physical education classes when they could take another academic credit. Powers said that was the case with two of her children.
"I think we should do P.E., but not at the expense of an academic credit," she said.
Lamansky said the new graduation requirements would direct the curriculum and assist with what programs the high school offers. He added that with online courses and courses at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus, students have more options than ever.
"We felt those options are really expanding," he said. "We're not as limited as we were even three years ago."
Last month, Lamansky presented School Board members with information about the curriculum committee, composed of Principal Kevin Taulman, a faculty member from each high school department, parents and students.
They started working to amend the district's graduation requirements in March 2009, the first comprehensive review in more than a decade. Superintendent Shalee Cunningham said she supported a regular review of the requirements.
Senate Bill 212, Colorado's Achievement Plan for Kids, in 2008 required that school districts review their graduation requirements.
The School Board will consider approving the proposed graduation requirement changes Dec. 13.
In other action Monday, the School Board gave Cunningham her quarterly review per district policy. Before being praised by a couple of board members, Cunningham explained that she finally put together a list of her accomplishments, which School Board President Robin Crossan had asked her to do. Cunningham prefaced that the accomplishments, which included things such as developing relationships with other education-related entities, reorganizing staff, creating new programs and completing major tasks and projects, were not her own. She said they were the district's.
"I continue to appreciate all you do, and I hear about it whether it's in the schools with staff or in the supermarket," Crossan told Cunningham.
Also, the School Board proclaimed this week "Dot Haberlan Week." The Colorado Association of School Nurses named Haberlan, who oversees health services for all Routt County schools for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, the School Nurse of the Year for 2010. She will be recognized Friday night in Breckenridge.