EL-G School Board approves curriculum changes

by Abby Lynn Harvey of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – In discussing the updated course catalog for the Elkhart Lake–Glenbeulah High School, the School Board decided that the current geography course required for freshman would no longer be offered.

“Really, geography isn’t a stand-alone class,” District Administrator Ann Buechel-Haack stated. “Geography should be part of U.S. History, it should be part of World History, it should be integrated within those.”

It was stated that the content which the stand-alone course covered will now be included in new units or simply integrated into existing units of study in other history and Social Studies courses.

“Currently in our Social Studies department, freshman take a semester of World History and a semester of Geography and then they take a semester of U.S. History sophomore year,” Social Studies teacher Jim DeVries explained. “The proposal is that World History becomes a full year course and then the geography is integrated within World History, U.S. History and a couple of the electives that are offered in the school district.”

This is a growing trend among Wisconsin’s schools DeVries stated and would not put EL-G graduates at a disadvantage going into college.

“The integration of geography, which I already do as is, will be enhanced even more in every unit we do in World History, in U.S. History,” DeVries said. “We do maps. We take a look at economic geography. We take a look at human development in geography. The idea is to fold geography into it as far as changing the curriculum.”

Buechel-Haack supported this change, noting much thought was given to the correct way to implement such a change.

“It just seemed like we could actually cover more content by taking it out because it was repetitive,” she said, “They teach geography in the classes and then have to do a separate class on it. We know ourselves when you learn something in the contexts of something else it makes more sense than if you’re learning it in isolation and then asked to apply it later on.”

Another hot topic at Monday evening’s meeting was a proposal by the Athletic Director Bart Larson. A pilot program allowing dual sports participation for the spring sports was approved unanimously.

Although dual participation has not been allowed in the past, participation in spring team sports has been declining while participation in individual sports, such as track or golf has been growing.

It was suggested that if students were allowed to participate in both a team sport and an individual sport, the spring team sport programs would be a bit stronger.

There would be a few occasions when the two sports would cause a conflict, which is one issue that would need to be ironed out.

Possible solutions to this issue would be to have dual participating students sign a contract stating that the team sport would have to come first or that they may have to choose a “major” sport at the beginning of the semester which would take precedence.

An upgrade to the security camera systems at both district schools was discussed. The upgrade was suggested by the safety committee, in the recent facilities study and by the local police force.

Twelve new cameras will be installed at the elementary/middle school to allow for full coverage of the grounds. The existing cameras from that building will be transferred to the high school to increase coverage at the building as well.

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