With little discussion Monday evening, the Gordon County School Board voted unanimously to nix the middle school language program next school year.
The board passed the cut in order to accommodate four new connection courses, including a language arts research class, that will help middle school students’ focus on research skills.
Getting rid of the Spanish program is “driven out of two things,” said Superintendent Bill McCown. “One, they need language arts and they don’t have the research skills (class).”
McCown pointed out the Spanish courses are simply an introduction to the language, not an in-depth study.
The current Spanish teacher will teach the language arts course.
“Our kids really struggle in research skills and we’d like to include that in the rotation for connections. With little or no cost involved we already have the tools,” added McCown.
Members of the board also approved a policy change for elementary school students who charge school lunches.
In the past, elementary school students could charge a meal, but next school year, the schools will only receive a limited amount of charge privileges.
“There are a large number of charges and advocates are asking students to fill out the forms,” McCown said.
Members of the board gave an updated report after a recent visit to Walker County’s Ombudsman educational middle and high school.
Ombudsman Educational Centers give middle and high school students who are at risk of not graduating an accredited alternate route to earn a high school diploma.
Nan Barnette and William Tyner shared their thoughts on Ombudsman after they spoke with students in Walker and observed the classroom.
“I thought it was good on paper, but it was even better in person,” said Barnette.
“We talked to the students and didn’t hear anything negative from them like I didn’t wan to be here,” she added.
“They all said it was easy and I said, ‘Why?’” explained Tyner. “It was because they could work at their own pace and they could finish and do it on a schedule.”
He also mentioned that the classroom setting was a good learning environment for a child that has trouble concentrating.
The members of the board will continue to discuss the option of Ombudsman and further investigate the particulars of the program.
The business has more than 100 locations in 16 states, including Calhoun City Schools.
The next meeting is June 14 at 7 p.m. at the Gordon County Board of Education office at 205 Warrior Path Drive.