Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • The Devils Lake School Board: New classes for next year’s freshmen

  • The ninth grade curriculum will look a little different for next year's incoming freshman class.


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  • The ninth grade curriculum will look a little different for next year's incoming freshman class.
    On Monday night the Devils Lake School Board approved a proposal that added two one-semester classes to the ninth grade lineup: Freshman Enrichment and Career Quest.
    “Mr. Hanson believes that the Freshman Enrichment class will help improve reading skills at DLHS and the Career Quest Class will help students better prepare for their post high school life,” said Superintendent Steve Swiontek.
    “To clear up room (in the freshman schedule), we should have done it years ago, is move POD (Problems of Democracy) to the senior class,” Hanson said.
    He said the Problems of Democracy class is more relevant and appropriate for the older students and the only current requirement for seniors is senior English, so they would have time available for one more class.
    Board member Veronica Nicla said her son is a student at the high school and agrees the class may be better suited for older students.
    “It's a discussion class,” she said. “You'll get better discussion with seniors than freshmen.”
    “Exactly!” Hanson chimed in.
    He said the drive behind the changes is to empower the freshmen as they enter the high school, by introducing them to a number of educators and community members and showing them what career options are out there.
    “We are really looking at the freshmen,” Hanson reiterated. “If a kid fails freshman year, the chance of dropping out skyrockets.”
    The change will affect the number of credits required for graduation. This year's graduating seniors must have 24 credits to graduate, while the incoming freshmen (class of 2016) will be the first to require 25 credits.
    “I'm glad you're increasing the graduation requirements, we wouldn't want to take out anything else,” said Nicla.
    Hanson said if a student does not pass the class they will be required to complete additional work or attend summer school to get the credit.
    “It would not work to have sophomores or juniors in the class with the freshmen,” he said.
    Other business
    • Principal Josh Johnson said the emergency drill held at Central Middle School recently was ruled a success. The school was locked down and students evacuated because of a mock intruder.
    “The local law enforcement and emergency services did a good job of getting the kids safely out of the building,” he said. “I hope it never happens, but I think we'd be prepared.”
    Swiontek said there were a few glitches to work out, such as areas not covered by cameras and doors that were difficult to open quickly, but they plan to remedy those situations soon.
    A similar drill is planned at the high school either this fall or next spring.
    Page 2 of 2 - • Board members approved the resignations of four teachers: Megan Crawford, grade four teacher at Minnie H; William Demke, social studies teacher at DLHS; Lindsay Keith, grade one teacher at Prairie View; and Julie Faul, Alternative High School English teacher.
    “Julie is also the head volleyball coach,” said Swiontek. “That one scares me a little bit.”
    The board also approved hiring Sarah Frith as a first grade teacher at Sweetwater.
    “This is a new position due to the large kindergarten enrollment we had in the district during the current school year,” Swiontek said.
    Board members then agreed that Marsha Samson would be the environmental science teacher for the Sullys Hill classroom. She has been a teacher with the district for 16 years.
    • The board approved a pilot program called “Project Lead the Way,” which encourages STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). A five year grant was received to cover the bulk of the costs.
    “At the middle school we will be offering Gateway to Technology to eighth grade students,” said Swiontek. The class will include automation, robotics, design and modeling. “At the high school level we will be offering introduction to engineering design to 10th, 11th and 12th grade students.”
    The following year, the classes will be expanded to include other area schools.
    Hanson said the only problem is that many students have already made their schedule for next fall, but a number of students have verbally committed to taking the class.
    “Right now we have 22, if we get half of that we can work with it,” he said.
    • SkillsUSA Advisor Marla Luehring was at the board meeting to request out-of-state travel for 18 of her students to attend the National SkillsUSA Competition in Kansas City, Mo. She said they are currently fundraising for the trip. The board approved the request.
    • The board approved the revised Bullying Policy, as well as the investigation process and bullying report form, which is available on all of the public school's websites.
    • Board members approved the candidates for graduation, which will be held this Sunday at the Sports Center. Phyllis Kadrmas, the DLPS Teacher of the Year, will be the speaker.
    • The board gave the business manager permission to advertise for bids for two new copiers. The current copiers have been in place since August 2007 and have made nearly 10 million copies each.

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