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Paynesville Press - April 5, 2006

High school could add two college-credit classes

By Michael Jacobson

Paynesville Area High School could add two college-credit classes to its curriculum in 2006-07 in calculus and economics.

With PAHS having offered a college-credit English class (Honors English) for four years, this would give high school students three college-credit class options.

PAHS has an agreement with Southwest State University (in Marshall) for its college-credit English class. After much research, PAHS will use Fond du Lac Community College in Cloquet for its new college-credit classes.

Possible colleges were researched by the district's Academic Booster Club (ABC), which recommended Fond du Lac for its lower cost and its willingness to allow students to be taking the class for college credit while others just take it for high school credit.

After registration in February, PAHS is expected to have 11 students in calculus next year and 30 in macroeconomics, as well as two sections of Honors English. Exactly how many students will opt to take these classes for college credit will not be known until next fall, said secondary principal Lorie Floura.

These college-credit offerings are still tentative, with school board approval still pending, but the board has made having more college-credit classes a priority, so their approval is expected.

Phil Carlson is slated to teach calculus next year, while Dawn Knoll would teach macroeconomics, which is also a new graduation requirement, not necessarily for college credit, for students in grade 9 and below. (Deb Ficek teaches Honors English at PAHS.)

This year's junior class were the first students in the district to take algebra as eighth graders, a move made with the expectation that another advanced math class would be added for their senior year, which is a main reason for the calculus class, which is expected to be offered on a yearly basis.

Economics, at least as a college-credit class, might rotate every other year with a college-credit class in psychology, which also might be offered through Southwest State University, not Fond du Lac. The first year for college-credit psychology at PAHS is expected to be 2007-08.

Students who take college-credit classes in high school will need to transfer the credits, which should be fairly easy in-state and in the region, said Floura. Even taking the classes without tranferring the credit should better prepare students for the intellectual challenges of college and improve the vigor at PAHS, added Floura.

PAHS would like to explore other college-credit offerings, said Floura, especially one in science, which would give students opportunites to earn college credits in four main academic areas (English, math, social science, and science).

PAHS students can also earn college credits in some vocational classes thru St. Cloud Technical College and Ridgewater College.

In other proposed scheduling changes for 2006-07, band and choir at PAHS would be offered during the same hour of the day. This would allow students to be in both classes - rotating attendance, but earning full credit for both - while using only one hour on their schedules.

The music teachers proposed this measure in an effort to get more students to join both groups again. With more graduation requirements these days, the fine arts teachers have seen less participation due to students needing other credits.

PAHS students also registered this year with only one study hall, which was new. The school board is expected to review this proposal based on the extra staffing this would require.

Budget adjustment proposals for 2006-07 are expected to be brought to the school board in April.

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