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Outdoor education, other courses proposed for Gainesville High
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Gainesville High School courses next year could include advanced outdoor education, masonry and a reading and writing support class.

The Gainesville Board of Education reviewed a list of proposed courses for the high school’s 2015-2016 school year Monday at its work session.

Sarah Bell, chief academic officer, said she and the instruction department met with high school teachers to determine what courses are needed.

“We don’t anticipate that every one of these courses will be offered,” Bell said.

Two new courses proposed are basic reading and writing 1 and 2, added as additional language arts courses.

“As we met with various department heads ... the message we received was that, in the same way we are able to offer support classes for a small group of students in the area of math, there are students who need a reading and writing support group as well,” Bell said.

Other proposed courses include intermediate and advanced outdoor education.

Bell said the high school used to have a well-established outdoor education program that included some off-campus excursions.

The courses, should they be offered, would aim to redevelop a strong outdoor education program. They would introduce students to camping, fishing, archery and more.

Bell said school officials expect to see great interest in the courses.

There also may be some changes to math courses, pending state board approval. On the potential list of courses, “foundations of algebra” could be offered as an entry-level course at the high school.

Potential changes to mathematics across the state stem from dissatisfaction with “blended” math courses, or math courses that combine different math practices into one.

“This is with the intent of providing a clear transition from the middle-school level to the high-school level,” Bell said of the algebra course. “High school math has proven to be very challenging over the past few years. This is meant, from the state, to ensure our students have those foundations to be successful.”

Gainesville Superintendent Wanda Creel commended Bell for her hard work and for being well-versed in high school courses, ensuring the best for the students.

According to Creel, the high school tries to ensure that courses students are interested in, but cannot for some reason be offered at the school, are made available through other avenues, including online learning, dual enrollment or directed studies.

“We’re really trying to look at individual needs of students and how do we, from a multitude of options, work with the student and their family to ensure what they need in order to meet their graduation requirements,” Creel said.

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