Health dropped as required course

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, April 20, 2013

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Decatur High School students will no longer be required to take a semester of health in order to graduate.

The school board Thursday voted to drop the requirement to allow an extra reading class to be offered. Health is currently paired with a semester of speech class.

“What we really see a need for in that freshman year is the flexibility to be able to offer an additional reading class … and with that health class on the other side of speech it’s difficult to do it. This way we can make health an elective and not make it a requirement through the high school,” said Judi Bell, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Bell explained the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) are covered in middle school and high school biology class.

Health will still be offered as an elective.

The district’s sixth-grade campus, which is part of McCarroll Middle School also won a little more independence Thursday. The board voted to make the campus somewhat independent from the middle school campus and apply for a new campus ID from the Texas Education Agency. It would be considered the McCarroll Middle School Sixth Grade Campus.

Superintendent Rod Townsend explained the reason for the change, which he said came at the suggestion of teachers at the campus last spring.

“It would give them an opportunity to individualize their campus a little more, change their scheduling a little bit, give them a little more autonomy and let them have more representation on committees and things like that,” Townsend said.

Campus scores and accountability would also be reported for that campus only.

The only cost would be adding library computer software, he said. Dewayne Tamplen would remain as principal over both campuses, and an assistant principal would stay at the sixth grade campus as site administrator.

In other business, the board:

  • agreed to only purchase materials that cover the TEKS as is required annually.
  • honored Young Elementary music teacher Marvin Saunders and technology department technician Donna McKee as the educator and support staff employee of the month.
  • honored members of the Decatur High School UIL academic team as district champions.
  • honored Place 1 board member Gary Clayton at his last meeting before the May 11 school board election. Clayton did not file to run again. Townsend presented Clayton with a school bell, and fellow board member Jeff Elder presented Clayton, a Texas A&M graduate, a mug with the familiar Texas Longhorn logo displayed along with his name.

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