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School board committee looks at 518 curriculum

WORTHINGTON -- District 518 School Board Instructional Committee met on Wednesday to discuss several upcoming events within the district.

Worthington High School Principal Paul Karelis presented a new media and computer arts class which will be offered next year.

The course will be offered through the business department and will be an option for students looking to fulfill the one-credit art requirement.

Karelis said he believes the course will complement the yearbook class and graphics program already in place. The course will expand on basic computer skills and will introduce students to various graphic arts software programs.

"I think it's a wise move," he said. "I think it's something that will open opportunities for students as they go through the registration process."

The committee also reviewed the possibility of offering biology, biotechnology, graphic arts and introduction to statistics as concurrent college courses at the high school. There are approximately 15 to 20 juniors and seniors currently enrolled in the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program (PSEO).

Offering these additional four courses will not only expose students to more academic options at the collegiate level, but is financially beneficial as well.

The district currently pays per class for concurrent enrollment, which costs an estimated $1,800. The cost invested in these courses is cheaper than sending students off-campus, according to Karelis.

In other business, the committee on Wednesday:

* Discussed the WHS orchestra's trip to the University of Iowa orchestra invitation Feb. 25-26 in Iowa City.

* Discussed the review of the special education program. The review is still ongoing and will evaluate various aspects of the program and its expenditures. A final review will be discussed at the next committee meeting.

* Discussed the joint staff development day on March 14.

* Discussed the district's coordinator of curriculum and instruction position. The position will be filled by Katie Clark, who will start Monday, Feb. 21.

* Discussed the progress of Dashboard, which tracks a wide spectrum of data within the district. Dashboard is still in the draft stages and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

* Discussed calendar adjustments to make up three snow days. Possible make-up days include April 21 (originally scheduled as part of spring break vacation), May 6 (originally scheduled as a staff in-service day) and adding May 25.

Two additional days will be added to the third quarter at Worthington High School.

* Discussed new guidelines and procedures that will be utilized for volunteers within the district. The guidelines and procedures will be implemented next year.

* Discussed possible Minnesota State High School League football changes. MSHSL is looking to change how games are scheduled, as well as state tournament appearances and adding another class.

A final decision on proposed changes is not expected for another year.

All items discussed at Wednesday's Instructional committee meeting will be presented for the full school board's approval Tuesday.