OSKALOOSA — Next school year, upperclassmen at Oskaloosa High School will have a “guided choice” of English classes.
Curriculum Director Angie Hanson said currently there is no required junior-year English class; but rather, a variety of elective courses. Hanson and the English Arts team looked at test results and data as well as sample transcripts from past students, examining what English classes they took and whether they met the standards needed.
“What we found was some kids were getting everything they needed,” she said, “but some kids in junior and senior year, because they had so many elective choices, were not getting the rigor of what they really needed to be prepared.”
Students have a certain amount of English credits needed to graduate. In the 2020-2021 school year, 11th grade students will have three pathway options. The first path includes 11th grade English, a writing class and an elective. The second option would be American literature, a written communications class and a grammar for composition class. The third option would be a pathway to AP literature.
“Instead of just doing whatever you want to do and we hope that it meets what it’s supposed to meet,” Hanson said, “the combination you pick would get you everything you need.”
Hanson said the course changes would ensure every student, upon graduation, would have the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills they would need to be successful.
“And then the other piece is having two options of bands for kids to get into those college credit classes,” she said, “so that when they get there, they are very well prepared to do those dual credit classes as a senior and be successful.”
Physical education course changes
Hanson and physical education teacher Kista Grosshans explained a proposed change to next year’s high school PE courses.
Grosshans said Karry Dolash currently teaches a sports nutrition class that meets every day. Traditional PE classes are held every other day.
“Sports nutrition is a two-credit class and it was proposed as a health elective originally. After Karry, Chas and I talked at the high school, she is meeting a lot of the national standards that we follow for PE,” she said. “They’re in the weight room two or three times a week. They do a lot of sessions that are set up in the weight room similar to CrossFit. Karry is a certified CrossFit trainer, but she introduces very basic lifts and form and weigh troom, that’s what she focuses on.”
The students also go into the classroom, Grosshans said.
“They might do a project based around that,” she said. “They might go into depth of nutrition on what they’re eating. So we said why don’t we make it one credit health, one credit PE.”
Grosshans said the PE team started diving into national standards and discovered Dolash’s class meets both health standards and PE standards.
This trimester, Grosshans said, there are between 15 and 20 students in the elective course.
“There is one freshman but mostly sophomores and a couple of juniors. A lot of sophomore boys that are in between seasons right now,” she said. “And she has six non-athletes who have never participated in a high school sport who wanted something different than traditional PE. “
Hanson reminded the board that typical PE classes are every other day, opposite a study hall; and Dolash’s class would be an every day class.
“I think that’s just important to understand,” she said, “how that is still a little bit different from PE in that you can get PE in as well as standards around sports nutrition that connects to what you’re doing.”
The Oskaloosa Community School District Board of Directors approved the proposed English and PE courses, as well as proposed verbiage cleanup of other courses.
Other board business:
• Seven employees will be taking the early retirement option offered by the board. Additionally, there was one resignation, effective at the end of the year.
• The final reading of board policy regarding service and assistance animals was approved.
• A plan and request for supplemental funds for dropout prevention was approved.
Managing Editor Angie Holland can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @OskyAngie.