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Terry Slack and Kathy Anderson listen as Wisconsin Dells High School principal Hugh Gaston, not pictured, updates the school board on changes to the course catalog.

The School District of Wisconsin Dells will offer additional dual credit courses during the 2019-2020 school year while also changing the allocation of credits for students taking Advanced Placement classes.

District Administrator Terry Slack spoke to the school board during the meeting Jan. 14 about a recommended change from the Laude Committee to the method of awarding credit for Advanced Placement classes. Under the newly proposed system students would receive a half credit for taking an Advanced Placement class, and an additional half credit for taking the Advanced Placement test near the end of the term. Currently, students receive the whole additional credit for taking the Advanced Placement class, with no additional credit for taking the Advanced Placement test.

According to Slack, the change is being considered as a way to offer students additional incentives to take Advanced Placement tests once they have signed up for Advanced Placement classes. The credit allocation would not be contingent on a passing score since scores are not released until after a term has already been completed.

The district approved changes to the course catalog that includes additional dual credit options in Plant Science and Anatomy and Physiology, both offered due to the course teachers receiving certification through Madison College.

Jennifer Gavinski

Jennifer Gavinski

“I applaud the dual credit with Plant Science and A and P,” said board member Jennifer Gavinski. “(The credits) can literally save a student from a very tough semester… to be far ahead in relation to their peers.”

The high school will attempt to add an additional dual credit option for art by either adding an Adobe Photoshop or Computer Art class dual credit during the next application cycle, as the application for the current year did not allow dual credit licensure in these areas.

“A dual credit option in every content area is our goal,” Wisconsin Dells High School Principal Hugh Gaston said. “Dual credit is a high bar.”

Hugh Gaston

Gaston

A further change to the course catalog for high school students includes a new requirement that the principal approves the dropping of Advanced Placement courses for any student wishing to drop an Advanced Placement course. According to Gaston, some students have tried to drop Advanced Placement courses due to “cold feet” or their friends dropping the class, and principal approval is a way for the school to cut down on “frivolous” reasons for students dropping Advanced Placement classes.

Open Enrollment

Due to classroom space issues, the district confirmed during the Jan. 14 school board meeting that no open enrollment spaces will be offered for the 2019-2020 school year at the high school level.

Projected enrollment for the high school “greatly exceeds” capacity until the new high school has been finished. According to Slack, open enrollment for high school students will be reconsidered next year as the mew high school should open for the 2020-2021 school year, alleviating capacity issues.

Open enrollment for grades 4K through 7th grade are less affected by capacity issues, and the district will continue to offer open enrollment for those grades. The district will not offer any open enrollment for special education due to the current special education caseloads.

Other actions

In other action before the board, the board:

  • Approved the purchase of portable radio equipment for each school. The district accepted bids from five companies, with the low proposal comming from Baycom, Inc., in the amount of $46,134.80. The board accepted the bid from Baycom, Inc.
  • Found that there were no GP-10 Conflicts of Interest for the board to review.
  • Received an update on the school calendar for the 2019-2020 school year. Based on current projections, school will likely begin Sept. 3, 2019, and end June 4, 2020. Winter break is projected to begin Dec. 20, 2019. The district will attempt to line up spring break with Reedsburg and Baraboo school districts as the three districts share some employees.

Reach Christopher Jardine on Twitter @ChrisJJardine or contact him at 608-432-6591.

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Wisconsin Dells Events reporter