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School Board approves course changes

Recognition at the Jamestown Public School Board meeting Monday, included Roger Haut, left, school board president, who received the Veteran Board Member Award from the North Dakota School Boards Association; and Jamestown High School students, Ryder Pringle, sophomore, All-Conference: Boys Tennis; Jeremy Williams, junior, First Team All-State: Football, and Marcus Hochhalter, senior, First Team All-State: Football. Tom LaVenture / The Sun

The Jamestown Public School Board on Monday unanimously approved course changes next year at Jamestown High School and James Valley Career and Technology Center.

JHS Principal Adam Gehlhar said each department researched where courses needed to grow and evolve. The courses still teach to the standards but are more relevant and consistent, he said.

“Students are coming in with new skills that we haven’t had to teach in the past and there is a lot of that learning embedded in the course work,” Gehlhar said. “We are now building on those core set skills.”

There will be a nurse assisting course; sports and health classes to include living sports, dance, strength development and conditioning, food and fitness; business information and technology courses, and new math courses to include college level classes.

The changes are in line with industry expectations for 21st century learning, Gehlhar said. Computer science is being reviewed to better satisfy prerequisites in the accounting, business, multimedia and web design curriculum, he said.

Diane Hanson, board member, said she appreciated the changes to physical education. The new curriculum does more to integrate diet and physical activity, she said.

“We always talk about obesity and the lack of physical activity,” Hanson said. “This is an example of doing something about it.”

Robert Lech, superintendent of Jamestown Public School District, said these teacher-driven changes occur when needed and not on a schedule. The focus is on offering students courses with real-life applications for students intending to go to college, two-year schools, the military or into the workforce.

“We want to make sure that our offerings are providing that relevance and rigorous experience so that they are prepared after secondary school,” Lech said.

Gehlhar also presented on 10 students doing internships in the community. The experience is to help students discover identify career goals and understand workforce skills prior to selecting a career, he said.

Gehlhar brought JHS students Isabella Backstrom and Catlyn Raap to report on the flexible learning Wednesday mornings. Area business and community members can suggest a 20-minute talk on a given topic for small and large groups.

This week students will learn about aviation, Italian food culture and French language. Past sessions include sign language, sports officiating, knitting, mindfulness, yoga and conservation.

Jarron Larson presented on the progress with the first JHS robotics program. The program now has 15 students who will train at Lake Itasca this Saturday in preparation for their first competition in March.

In other business the school board approved:

  • The annual board retreat for 5:15 p.m. Jan. 7 at the Middle School.
  • The annual audit report.