by LAURA HAYES
Middle school students may have more opportunities to explore art and family and consumer sciences (FACS) classes in the upcoming school year, while high school students may be offered a new "expanded guided study hall course" and new IT internship possibilities assisting teachers.
The Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) Curriculum Advisory Committee (CAC), made up of district teachers, principals, a School Board member, and community representatives, heard proposals from teachers and principals for new courses at Winona Middle School (WMS) and Winona Senior High School (WSHS). Of the 11 new courses proposed for WMS, 10 are art or FACS classes.
“We talked in the past about making sure the middle school is an exploratory opportunity and getting kids into places that they can explore in areas of interest and prepare them for high school,” WMS Principal Mark Anderson said.
High school students could also see new courses, including a name change of “technology and broadcasting” to “video production and technology” to entice more students to register; a new internship, costing $200 in curriculum writing, for students who want to go into information technology careers to gain experience by troubleshooting technology problems for teachers and students on a day-to-day basis; and an expanded guided study hall.
The expanded guided study hall course would require an additional .5 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee and could cost $1,500 in curriculum writing. According to the course proposal, it would equip students with study skills such as time management and organization.
WMS teachers also proposed a music class called “music creation with technology.” This course would allow students to both create and study music. With the price of a music composition program for Chromebooks and headphones, the course is estimated to cost $1,019.
All of the proposed FACS and art courses are targeted to seventh and/or eighth graders. Under the allied arts requirement, seventh and eighth graders currently have the option of taking art or FACS, and seventh graders have the additional option to take innovative design.
All of the proposed FACS courses would replace the current seventh and eighth grade FACS course. Three of the five proposed classes deal with the culinary side of FACS. One of the proposed classes, “culture and cuisine,” would allow students to explore cultures around the world through food. “Culture and cuisine” would cost an estimated $400 in curriculum writing and food purchases.
Anderson explained that Madison Elementary School currently hosts the district's Spanish Language Immersion Program, which includes instruction in Spanish 90 percent of the day. “At some point those kids are going to move from fourth grade to fifth grade, sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade to our building,” he stated. “When they come, we want our students to understand what international culture and cuisine is.” He added that the class would connect to social studies lessons.
One of the other FACS food-related courses, “performance foods,” would teach students what foods to eat to help them perform better in school or sports, costing approximately $400. In the other proposed FACS class, “science in the kitchen,” students would learn about connects between science and FACS, such as how to preserve and dehydrate food and make rock candy and root beer. This course would cost around $350 in both curriculum writing and food expenses.
FACS teachers proposed two additional courses. “Sew creative,” a course teaching students basic sewing skills and how to turn unused materials into something new, would cost $250 in curriculum writing because the school already owned sewing materials and students would pay for their own supplies. The other course, “who’s minding the store,” would teach students business skills by marketing and selling a good.
While this course is estimated to cost $400, WMS social studies teacher Cory Hanson said that when he talked to FACS teacher Kristine Traxler, she said that the course would make back every thing that it spent.
Middle school art teachers proposed five art courses, three — art works, clay works, and digital art tech — would be brand new courses, while the other two — 3D art design and 2D art design — would replace eighth grade art.
It is uncertain how much art works, a seventh grade class combining ceramics and digital art, and digital art tech, using drawing and photo editing iPad applications, would cost. 2D art design, which focuses on drawing, painting, and mixed media, would cost around $500 in curriculum writing. With a cost of around $150 in curriculum writing, 3D art would focus on ceramics, wire, wood, and papier maché.
Anderson said many students requested a ceramics and pottery class, resulting in clay works, costing around $500 in curriculum writing. “This is ceramics. This is pottery. This is kids getting their hands dirty with clay on a daily basis,” Anderson explained.
None of the new art classes would require a prerequisite course.
Jefferson Elementary Principal Arthur Williams asked about students’ opportunity for advancement in pottery when they reached the high school.
Anderson responded that students would already have pottery skills when they entered WSHS. Currently, pottery is only available at the high school for juniors and seniors.
“We’re opening questions for [WSHS Principal Ryan Jensen] next year and the future for what does pottery look like at the high school,” Anderson said.
The CAC passed all of the art and FACS courses proposed by middle school and high school teachers.
The proposed courses will be presented to School Board members at one of their upcoming meetings.