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St. Croix Central pursues additional science classes

High school ag teacher Bill Emery is taking steps to increase the science offerings at St. Croix Central, he told the school board on Monday night.

He approached the board about turning two of his classes into ag/science crosswalks. The classes, horticulture and small animal science, would then count for credits as science elective classes.

"I'm trying to get the idea out there that there's more to ag than standing behind a plow," Emery told the board. He also wants students and others to know that his classes "aren't easy classes," he added.

The science designations will increase the diversity of students taking ag classes, and incorporate and validate rigor, relevance and relationships in the ag classroom, he said.

Emery has already completed a large portion of the work required by the Department of Public Instruction to make the courses into crosswalks. He talked with DPI officials and SCC science teachers about the idea, aligned his curriculum with state and national ag standards and organized a committee to look over his curriculum application and process.

To continue with the process, Emery said he needed the school board to give their go-ahead, which they "whole heartedly" agreed to do. Next, he'll send his application to the DPI to gain state approval.

Emery said he hopes to offer the two classes as science electives during the 2010-11 school year.

"What a student gets in a botany chapter is one inch deep. Mr. Emery's class can take that to a much deeper level. What this becomes, in essence, is a science elective class," summarized John Hueg, board member and committee person involved in the plan's development.

In other news:

• The board approved a mill rate of 0.010686158 and a tax levy amount of $6,024,743 for the 2009-10 school year.

• All board members present approved the high school's participation in an electronic transcript pilot program through Docufide.

The e-transcripts are currently accepted at all Wisconsin colleges and universities, with schools from other states being added to the program.

There is a $425 installation fee, but that cost be subsidized through a grant. The grant will cover any additional fees of the program for the next three years. St. Croix Central can opt out of the program after the three years are up.

"I'm fine with it," said high school Principal Glenn Webb. "It's a good thing if we do it. It's not a bad thing if we don't."

He also speculated that an electronic transcript system may become mandatory in the future.

Paper transcripts will still be available to those needing or preferring them. The e-transcripts are only available back to 1997.

• District Administrator David Bradley told the board that he and the principals have started looking at the calendar for the 2010-11 school year. They will try not to shorten as many weeks at the beginning of the year. In the eight weeks of this school year, the kids have only had two full five-day weeks due to time off for Labor Day, early releases and conferences.

• The board approved Gretchen Krahn's resignation as high school assistant track coach and accepted her contract as middle school assistant track coach. The board also approved Shane Coach's contract as middle school boys basketball head coach.

• The next meeting of the St. Croix Central School Board will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, in the middle school library, 1295 Vine St., Hammond.