Archive for Thursday, September 5, 2002

New EHS could handle changes

September 5, 2002

Thanks in part to the new Eudora High School building now under construction, Eudora USD 491 could sail through changes in graduation requirements if the State Board of Education follows through on recent discussions.

At its August meeting, the state board continued to discuss possible changes in the state accreditation system, but the new makeup of the board after November elections could cause a priority shift, and Eudora Superintendent Marty Kobza said potential changes could be put on the back burner.

In any case, he said he thought Eudora would be ready.

"I think we're well prepared with our new building to meet those new requirements," Kobza said. "With the design of our new high school and the space we've created and the technology, we're well outfitted."

In preliminary discussion, the state board discussed making high school students take three units each of math and science rather than two and requiring students to take a fine arts class.

Kobza said students were already required to take a fine arts class, and he said the district was already considering increasing the math and science requirements to three units.

Kobza said the state could require students to take one of three three math units as a junior or senior, meaning students who took Algebra I as eighth-graders would be out of luck, but he said it looked like things would work out.

"The concern there was that the universities were concerned that kids could complete their math requirements and then come to college and not have taken a math class for two years," he said.

If the state also changes the way classes are completed, instead of getting a grade A through F, students' performances in the course would be based on whether they met certain things they were expected to know. That would mean students work at their own pace, which the new high school is prepared to handle.

"We have technology resource centers right outside the classroom door, so if you had students working at different paces, you'd have different places to put them," Kobza said.

Moreover, the computer banks could come in handy for students who need extra help by allowing them to use tutorial software.

Changes in Quality Performance Accreditation mean specifying different categories of accreditation and streamlining the process by which the district receives accreditation. The district will still provide an outside QPA team with information like attendance rates, graduation rates, dropout rates and test scores.

If the numbers showed the district was in good standing, the team wouldn't have to visit the schools and the district won't have to make a presentation to the team.

"We'll still have to pull the numbers together," Kobza said. "We do that every year for our own purposes anyway."

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