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Changes would slash local arts, music classes

Staff Writer

The 2013-2014 school year will face some curriculum changes, as courses are deleted, changed and added to the area high schools registration guide next year.
A High School Curriculum Committee, comprised of assistant principals, guidance counselors and other education officials, has been meeting to discuss revisions needed for the following school year, in response to low enrollment numbers in certain classes, and the need to create new courses to meet the changing needs of students in Lincoln County.
Director of High School Education Teresa Hawley, Sheryl Nixon and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Elaine Boysworth met with the committee to determine where the needs are and what modifications need to be made for upcoming options for ninth through 12th-graders, and reported their results to the Board of Education Curriculum Committee this week.
The overall trend seemed to be deletion of various arts courses, cited as being due to changes by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), such as Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band classes and the elimination of Art III and IV at all local high schools.
More advanced vocal classes will no longer be available to county students of the four public high schools, along with trimming Landscaping courses at West, due to insufficient class sizes over the last three years, and the Turf Grass Management course at East that is facing similar challenges with getting students to take the course.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, students will now have additional computer applications classes (Microsoft Excel and Access) and financial planning courses with sections dealing with accounting, investments and insurance options to help prepare youth for their financial futures, along with an array of other new options to choose from.
The biggest and what officials anticipate to see the biggest response to, is the addition of Health Science II and the honors course to follow offered at all high schools, along with a leadership course and an additional creative writing class at East. The latter additions were offered to all four, but only East Lincoln chose to add the duo to its options for its students.
“East Lincoln is creating strong writers who are excited about having another creative writing class,” Hawley reported to the Curriculum Committee this week.
Various students approached guidance counselors and other faculty at ELHS, asking why there weren’t more options after Creative Writing I.
The school’s recent establishment of the Renaissance program — a club that recognizes students based on academic merit — will partner with the leadership course and will serve as a “medium” for getting students involved with the group.
School Board member Bob Silver expressed concerns that students shouldn’t be turned away because of high class volume, or lack of teachers to lead a particular course. However, Lincoln County School of Technology Executive Director Mitch Sherrill responded that with an allotted amount of hours of employment and tight budgets, there isn’t much that can be done right now if too many students enroll for a certain course.
The curriculum committee motion carried to accept the changes to the list of courses offered to high school students in the county, and will be presented to the full School Board at its meeting on Dec. 12.

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