High school courses change | SteamboatToday.com

High school courses change

Steamboat to add social studies elective, credit internships

— The Steamboat Springs High School course book will undergo some changes before fall.

During Monday’s Steamboat Springs School Board meeting, board members approved the elimination of one course offering, the creation of another, and adjustments to three other courses for the 2007-08 school year.

The course that was eliminated, Computer Concepts, isn’t needed because the school already offers a similar course, officials said.

Senior Odyssey, which was a graduation requirement before this school year, was adjusted so it will become an optional, semester-long course. Also undergoing an adjustment is Work Study, which now will allow students to receive credit for internships.

Theory of Knowledge will be a social studies elective for juniors and seniors who want to explore cultural anthropological and philosophical issues.

School Board President Denise Connelly, a former Spanish teacher, was the lone dissenting vote on the course changes because of concerns about the necessity of Theory of Knowledge.

“Is it part of basic knowledge that colleges want kids to have?” Connelly asked. “We don’t have economics. We don’t have philosophy. We don’t have anthropology. I realize we can’t offer everything because we don’t have the population of, say, Cherry Creek. It sounds interesting, but is this really a course we should be offering?”

Other board members questioned the popularity of such a social studies course, but high school Principal Mike Knezevich, who was a proponent of the course, said the course will be a one-semester elective and then will be evaluated for its effectiveness.

“It would be a pilot program,” he said. “It plays into a need for gifted and talented students, but it serves all kids.”

“It brings a nice link to all disciplines,” Gifted and Talented teacher Lisa Ruff said. “It would be at a level to prepare kids for the academic rigor of college.”

The other course changes approved Monday focused on the career and technical education area at the high school.

Senior Odyssey, which was controversial when it was a graduation requirement, is being altered to try to encourage increased enrollment, instructor Kim Mayer said.

“We talked about how to present this course so more kids will take a risk and challenge themselves,” Mayer said.

Senior Odyssey will be divided into semesters. One semester will be a career and academic planning class open to juniors and seniors. The same class will be offered second semester along with a senior project, which is a separate class.

Kelly Stanford, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, supported Mayer’s decision to extend the class to juniors.

“It provides flexibility and opens it up for more kids,” Stanford said.

The changes to Senior Odyssey mirror the changes to Work Study. Now students will receive elective credits or a career and tech credit for internships they work in the community. Mayer said those internships are a valuable experience for students.

– To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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