Board member, parents in Rutland Town want different electivesOctober 10,2012By Cristina Kumka
A review of some of the town school's course options for students late last month elicited adversity by one School Board member and some parents.
New Principal Aaron Boynton told the Board at a meeting Sept. 26 that he has heard a few concerns from parents about electives offered to students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
Some parents of sixth graders, he said, had concerns about their students not getting the elective of their choice, because students in the upper grades had choice first.
The school has eight electives students can choose to take four times a week for 30 minutes each class.
The courses range from Chinese Art and Culture to Chess to a farm to table class and a music class that's intended to “help both vocal and instrumental musicians improve their ability to read music,” according to descriptions provided by the school.
Boynton, in his first year as leader of the school, said the elective courses stopped a few years ago and were reinstated last school year.
Although Boynton called the electives a “nice alternative” to the core curriculum at the school, Board member Nicole McPhee, who is also a parent of a student who takes an elective course, said some of the electives are just great afterschool activities.
At the meeting, McPhee said none of the electives cover what students should know to be academically competitive later in their school lives, including robotics, computer programming, more advanced science or public speaking.
“I know I am not the only sixth-grade parent who feels that way,” McPhee told Boynton and the Board. “I am told (by teachers) there is not enough time in the day to teach them what they need to know.”
Board Chairwoman Lynette Gallipo mentioned she knew of an elective in the past similar to woodshop. She also said students weren't where the Board wanted them to be in foreign languages.
McPhee said, “I would rather see us go back to shop rather than what we have now.”
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