Sep 232011

By Teri Walker–

Joseph City High School students will need additional science and math credits to graduate, according to the new requirements unveiled at last week’s Joseph City Unified School District Governing Board meeting.

Starting with students graduating in May 2013, four units of math and three units of science must be among the 24 units students earned during their high school years.

The district reduced the number of electives required from nine units to seven to accommodate the new science and math units, so there isn’t an overall increase in the number of units required for graduation.

“The community has pretty high expectations for us in terms of preparing students for going on to life after high school,” said Superintendent Robert Klein. “This mix of credits provides for greater preparedness.”

The new credit requirements call for four English units, four math units, three science units and a number of other units in subjects such as U.S. and Arizona history and government, economics, physical education and health, world history and geography, and electives.

It’s the district’s requirement of a full unit each of fine arts and career and technical education that Klein thinks sets Joseph City Schools apart.

“In many districts it’s either/or–you take career and technical ed or fine arts,” said Klein. “Our extra requirements help our students to be better prepared, but also give more breadth and depth to their high school experience.

“By being required to take these courses, students may tap into heretofore undiscovered interests or abilities that open up whole new experiences and opportunities.”

Joseph City’s requirement of 24 units is higher than the state-required 22. Klein said his district’s ratio of English, math and science requirements is in line with national trends in college preparation standards.

The changes to graduation requirements affect this year’s junior class, but Klein said it shouldn’t present a problem for any Joseph City students, because the district has planned on making these adjustments for some time so all of the affected students are on track for completion.

In other business, the board announced the annual public meeting on the budget override will be held in conjunction with the next school board meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11. The meeting will be informational regarding what has been accomplished with the $5.2 million in override funds approved by voters in 2008. The funds were used to construct classrooms and athletic facilities, and to perform renovations on school facilities throughout the district. The override expired in February 2011, with $10,610 remaining in the fund. District Business Manager Carol Henderson said the remaining funds will be used to pay interest on loans acquired for the override projects.

The board also approved a number of personnel appointments and student work opportunities. Rachele Baldwin has been hired as a music accompanist; Robyn Button, Jennifer Hill, Regina Johnson and Holli Turley are substitute teachers. Elementary classroom volunteers are Phyllis Christensen, Julie Davis, Jerelene Kinlicheenie, Vicki Palmer and Mario Parra. Kimber Tuckfield is a cheer sponsor volunteer, and Rachele Baldwin has been approved as a music volunteer. Several students will be auditorium workers, including Wyatt Bain, Dallin Baldwin, Garrett Gardner, Emily Hunt and Mikayla Rogers.