School Board OKs transition

— The 138 members of next year's senior class can breathe a little easier.

At its meeting Monday night, the Steamboat Springs School Board approved a plan that will provide more ways for students in the Class of 2007 at Steamboat Springs High School to adjust their schedules and fulfill graduation requirements now that the Senior Odyssey program is an elective.

High school Principal Mike Knezevich presented the plan with Ann Sims, director of curriculum and instruction for the school district. The plan combines classes in the career and technology department with classes in the school's business department and requires students to earn two credits -- or four semesters -- in any of the 22 classes on the combined list, provided that students take Computer Concepts or Microcomputers.

"We are in a transition year (in 2006-07), but hopefully with the number of options out there, these students will be able to find things that work for them," Knezevich said.

After months of work by a district-appointed Graduation Requirements Committee and several public forums that inspired sometimes emotional discussion, the School Board voted to make the yearlong Odyssey program an elective, rather than a requirement, at its Jan. 23 meeting.

An argument raised often by parents who opposed making Odyssey an elective was potential scheduling conflicts for students who had planned for Odyssey to fulfill the high school's one-credit Career and Technology requirement.

Although the transition plan approved Monday does not reduce the number of credits required for students, it increase sthe number of ways that students can earn those credits by combining the two departments.

With the new flexibility, the plan states, 34 students in the class of 2007 will fulfill the two-credit requirement by the end of this school year. Twenty-eight students will need only half a credit more next year, and 76 will need one credit or more.

Steamboat resident Laura Anderson, who is the parent of a high school junior, expressed concern with the plan.

"I want some assurance that each of those 22 options will be available," she said, pointing out that not all of the listed classes will be scheduled every semester.

Knezevich said that classes will be made available according to student enrollment and staffing ability and that students also will be allowed to take applicable classes at Colorado Mountain College if they are not offered at the high school.

"I think this proposal is the best of all worlds," board member Pat Gleason said, praising high school staff for finding a solution to scheduling challenges.

The next School Board meeting is March 6.

-- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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