Alder might add unique courses, from film shooting to mythology

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(Posted May 20, 2014)

By Sandi Latimer, staff writer

Students at Jonathan Alder High School may be taking some innovative courses this coming year.

High School Principal Phil Harris and Superintendent Gary Chapman introduced the proposed courses at the May 12 school board meeting.

The proposal was developed after Harris and teachers looked into an Innovative Learning Center in Hilliard.

“We wanted to know what we can do to get students engaged in learning,” Harris said.

To gauge interest, the staff presented students with a list of about 30 possible courses. Students expressed interest in classes pertaining to genealogy, zoology, film shooting, microbiology, electronics, financial investing, classic and world mythology, young adult fiction, and computer programming.

“These are classes that drew interest from at least five students,” Harris said. “Some of them had as many as 20 students interested.”

More information will be presented to the board at the June meeting, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. June 19.

Harris said that once these innovative classes catch on, “I can see it growing.”

“I love the concept,” said board President Steve Votaw.

If approved, the classes would be electives taught by current staff members. Harris said the classes are possible due to the recent passage of an income tax increase for the district.

Switzerland trip and Canaan lock-in

Board members approved two special activities for students, including the opportunity for as many as a dozen students to go to Switzerland next summer.

Students who attend the Global Leadership Summit June 19-29, 2015, in Switzerland could earn school credits.

Six to 12 Jonathan Alder students could take part in the summit. Students and their families would be responsible for the $5,000 cost.

Also approved was an overnight lock-in May 23 for sixth-grade students at Canaan Middle School. During the event, students will reflect on their work over the past year, participate in problem-solving activities and talk about what they want to do in the coming years. Pizza and ice cream sundaes will be part of the program.

Administrator contracts extended

Board members approved a three-year contract for Tom Vargo to continue as athletic director and dean of students and a three-year contract for Ron Castle as director of technology. Harris was given another one-year contract as high school principal.

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