High school students in Clintonville will have to wait two weeks to see if four agriculture classes will be available to them for science credit.
At the school board meeting, Monday, Feb. 9, Clintonville School District administration had recommended that the board approve the application to the Department of Public Instruction for four agriculture classes for equivalent options. The move would make the four classes available to students for science credit. The four classes include: ag processing, veterinary science, dairy science, and genetics.
During discussion, board member Jim Schultz said in general, he is in favor of the idea, but cited board policy that, except for emergencies, no decisions should be made before proper research can be done regarding all sides of a problem. He said he did some research and the science department in the district hadn’t heard of this proposal.
He said the science department has a plan as to which classes will be offered and how far out they will be offered.
“It seems to me that this needs to be thought through more carefully than just sort of presented one way,” Schultz said.
He acknowledged that he didn’t think the science department was against the idea, but he thought the science department should be consulted about it. He said he was disappointed it hadn’t been consulted.
“My recommendation would be to take a little more time and get more input from people to make sure this is the right thing they want to do,” Schultz said.
Board member Jim Dins asked if the ag teacher knew about this idea.
School Superintendent Tom O’Toole said she does.
Clintonville High School Principal Lance Bagstad informed the board the ag teacher has taught these course in the past and has gone through the process of ensuring these classes meet the science standards.
“We’re looking at different ways for kids to meet their three credits of math and science,” Bagstad said. “I think to say that all kids should go down a singular path is definitely the wrong way to educate kids. I think we need to have options for kids. I think we need to have these options in science.”
Schultz added that he had no doubt that the ag teacher would do a good job teaching the four classes. He just thought it was premature to act without including the science department.
Bagstad said he has been meeting with students over the last few days helping them choose classes for next year.
“They are taking a variety of courses,” Bagstad said.
He added that if more students don’t take the ag options classes, they won’t be offered anyway.
“What can we offer that’s going to offer the best opportunity for the kids that are walking through the halls at the high school? And if that’s a variety of courses for kids, then I think that’s the true route we need to take,” Bagstad said.
Schultz agreed, but said he felt right now a select few number of people are making those decisions.
“We have leadership in place. We want to encourage our teachers to be leaders. …We have to be open enough to include them in the process,” Schultz said.
Dins asked if students can take these courses next year.
“If you approve it tonight they can,” Bagstad said.
He added that students are signing up for the classes with the understanding the classes are pending approval.
Schultz said to seek input from the science department is “symbolic.”
The board unanimously approved to table the item until the board meeting on Monday, Feb. 23.
Bagstad said he will discuss the idea with the science committee prior to the upcoming board meeting.