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BV approves additional courses to be taught next year

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 3:26 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 3:52 p.m. CDT

MANLIUS — Bureau Valley High School students will have a couple more classes to choose from next year when putting together semester schedules.

The school board on Monday went along with recommendations from the Curriculum Committee, and approved to add Math II and History Through Film courses.

The board also discussed adding a critical thinking elective course, however Superintendent Dennis Thompson said there is a staffing issue on which department would teach the course.

He confirmed the last critical thinking course offered in the high school was taught in the English Department. With less teachers in the English Department, and the ability for any department to teach the course, Thompson said the course didn’t necessarily have to be taught by English teachers.

“(Students) are already doing critical thinking skills in all classes as part of curriculum, but this would be a more in-depth one that would be useful,” he said. “If there was a class that would do a little better on core curriculum or on testing, it would be this.”

“I’m hoping some of the students who are struggling will get into those classes,” he added.

Board president Rick Cernovich said he would have a hard time putting a critical thinking elective course in the curriculum when it would only affect a handful of students.

“If it’s going to be a benefit to them, and they all need it then why wouldn’t it just be a required course at some time during the freshman or sophomore level,” he said.

Board vice president Don King said after hearing teachers talk about what they wanted to accomplish with the course, it sounded like it could help a lot of students.

“Not knowing much about teaching and education, when you walked away from the meeting you were upbeat from it,” he said.

Thompson suggested the board wait and ask teachers what they thought about making the critical thinking course a required class for the freshman and sophomore students, and see what response was like from teachers on what department it should be taught by.

In other news, the board:

• Approved the 2013 district tax levy after a truth-in-taxation hearing. The estimated total property taxes to be levied for 2013 are $6,596,500, which represents a 5.2955 percentage increase over the previous year. These amounts include the monies to cover the district’s bonds. The tax rate is projected to increase from $5.42 to $5.60, per $100 in taxable property value.

• Approved the resignation of head football coach Jeff Ohlson and BV North Special Education Aide Corinne Thomas.

• Approved Jeff Monier as volunteer BV North sixth grade girls’ basketball coach.

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