Revised curriculum guidebook examined

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

By Holly Fesperman Lee

Salisbury Post

EAST SPENCER — Members of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education were presented a first draft of the revised high school curriculum guidebook Monday.

The presentation came during the board’s monthly meeting.

The report included adding 14 new courses to Rowan-Salisbury’s offerings for the coming school year.

Director of Secondary Education Kathy McDuffie told board members the guidebook review committee wanted to make the book more user-friendly for parents while providing consistency among core course offerings at each high school.

Each high school sent a team composed of the principal, a guidance counselor and the career development director, to partner with McDuffie, Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom, Eric Leazer, director of career and technical education, and other school officials.

The full committee met once in September and twice in November to discuss the addition and deletion of courses.

“We went through every course in the guidebook,” McDuffie told board members.

McDuffie also said the book is more concise and features high school guidelines in the front rather than the back.

The committee felt that some people stopped reading after the course descriptions and never saw the high school guidelines, some of the most important information, McDuffie said.

A separate, more specific guidebook will be published for ninth-graders. Only the courses ninth-grade students are eligible to take will be included.

Proposed course additions include:

* Structured Writing (fall 10th grade) — will assist students who need additional writing support prior to the 10th grade writing test.

* Intro to Algebraic Thinking has been renamed Intro to Algebra.

* Introduction to Biological Sciences — will assist students who need additional support with the biology curriculum.

* Forensic Science — will study the scientific investigation of crimes leading to solving crimes.

* Honors U.S. History — will provide an additional level between standard U.S. History and Advanced Placement U.S. History.

* American Indian History — an additional course on the diversity of the United States will look at the history and culture of American Indians.

* Freshman Seminar — will assist ninth-graders with the transition from middle to high school.

* Academic Support — will provide opportunities for schools to offer additional academic assistance to help meet the needs of students.

* N.C. Teacher Cadet II — will provide a second level course for students who want to pursue a teaching career.

* Biotechnology and Agriscience I and II — will provide instruction in the technology advances of agriculture and life sciences.

* Prostart I and II — will provide instruction in a food services venue with real world opportunities.

* Biomedical Technology — will provide opportunities for students to learn about the technology in the medical and health care world.

* Introduction to Biotechnology — will show how biotechnology affects their lives.

* Pharmacy Technology — will train pharmacy technicians with real world work opportunities.

McDuffie pointed out that while the core courses will be consistent at each school, some electives and career and technical education courses may not be offered at every high school.

The system will still try to make accommodations for students to take courses on other campuses if they can provide their own transportation, McDuffie said.

School board Chairman Bryce Beard asked if the virtual high school program or other distance-learning programs could be used for new offerings.

McDuffie said that possibility was being investigated and would come to the board for review in February. She cautioned that the system takes lots of funding and resources.

Board member Linda Freeze asked McDuffie if the committee investigated having an SAT preparation course.

“There was really not a lot of talk about that,” McDuffie said.

She said she felt that when students are pulled out for an entire course on SAT prep, it hampers their ability to take other courses.

“I think there are other ways we can address that in the classrooms,” McDuffie said.

The final draft of the high school curriculum guidebook will be completed later this month and come back to the school board for final review in January.

Contact Holly Lee at 704-797-7683 or