Board considers classes for new district

Robert Blackford/Editor

Members of the Mercer County School District Board continued to speak with high school teachers about curriculum possibilities at a Thursday, Feb. 12 "Committee of the Whole" meeting. Traci Cook from the AHS science department spoke briefly about what offerings the science department had. She noted that the department would like to move away from the applied science course being offered at AHS toward chemistry and a chemistry concepts course.

Cook and board members spoke about Advanced Placement courses as well and making sure students that graduate from Mercer County can do well once they take college courses at the University of Illinois.

The department is recommending that four teachers be in place for the new curriculum in math. They also spoke about the need for text books.

Cook said she is having some electrical problems, but said she could get by with what she had.

Boucher said an electrical engineer said the school was only using about one eighth of the school's abilities but the circuit breaker is maxed out that is hooked up to the chemistry lab.

Board member Steve Willits asked how many of the district's students move on to college after graduation.

AHS guidance counselor Jan Hennenfent noted that 64-68 percent of students initially go on to attend either a two- or four-year college.

Rusty Ruggles and Anita Heard spoke briefly about the music department at Aledo noting the importance of giving students in the new district the opportunity to take music. She asked the board to make sure any schedule for the new school year does not have band or choir against any courses that were only offered once during the day.

Ruggles said, "We have been successful because we meet every day." He noted that the pep band performs 40-50 times a year considering contests and football and basketball games. He noted that 50 percent of the school is in choir or band at Aledo while at most schools that percentage is in the 20s.

The P.E. and health teachers said that more lockers need to be available at the high school with more students being added to the building.

Members of the social studies department at Aledo led by Mark Artcher and Adam Link spoke about the need for a U.S. History course for seniors as an advanced placement course and possibly adding a semester of Illinois History that would lean heavy on research.

The board talked about special education students and the need to include them in the classroom whenever possible. While no system is perfect both districts seem to be doing something similar.

Aledo High School Principal Kathy Albert noted that it was the school's goal to challege each student in accordance with their abilities.