◆ Some content offered by the UW texts will be modified by LCSD No. 2.
Students at Star Valley High School who are interested in earning college credit while attending high school can expect a new concurrent enrollment health course offered through the University of Wyoming as an option in their high school experience.
Jason Horsley, Principal at SVHS, explained to Lincoln County School District No. 2 school board members in the school board meeting on December 8, that, beginning next semester, the school would like to carry a pilot program offered through UW that will allow upperclassmen to take their college level health class while at SVHS.
Interestingly, the agreement between SVHS and UW to implement the pilot program took some negotiating and compromise.
“We were not going to recommend the textbook from the University of Wyoming Health Class for graduate credit because we couldn’t agree on some of the content that centered on chapters 6 and 8,” Horsley told board members in the December school board meeting. “Chapter 6 was on abortion and Chapter 8 was on sexuality and gender roles. We didn’t feel that some of that was age-appropriate and it’s important for those controversial topics to be age-appropriate.”
Horsley and SVHS Health teacher, Patience Jenkins, met with UW officials in a meeting via Zoom in which they explained to UW that some of the content in those chapters was against district policy in its depth level and manner of presentation. Though the current Health curriculum at SVHS does cover those topics, it discusses them in a more age-appropriate way for high school students and covers the content in a manner aligned with district policy.
“I shared with them my concerns about content and age-appropriateness for high school students and how we can have concurrent enrollment options for students that don’t need to go into the depth of those controversial topics,” continued Horsley. “They actually obliged and are really interested and asked us to move forward with a pilot. I told them that anything we do would have to fall under our policies.”
Through that Zoom conversation, Horsley, Jenkins and UW officials came to an agreement that the new pilot health course will include a general outline of the UW course blended with what is currently offered in the SVHS Health curriculum.
“Our agreement is that Patience will be able to use a canvas shell from the University of Wyoming, and our current health curriculum, and then, supplement with some of their content that we, at our discretion, would be able to modify or delete any of the chapters that we feel don’t meet our policy,” stated Horsley.
“The controversial topics have more to do with sexuality and abortion and contraceptive methods that we have a policy about that we have to support. We can actually delete 5% of their curriculum, and they would give us credit. We do actually cover some of those topics in our current approved curriculum in a much more age- appropriate way, and so, by substituting that, then it’s less than 3% of the total content changed in that course. The University of Wyoming is completely comfortable with either the deletion of, or addition of our chosen supplemental material.”
The pilot course is being created by Jenkins in collaboration with Horsley and UW and will reflect the district’s adherence to current content policies for health curriculum. In the event that the pilot course becomes unacceptable to UW or LCSD No. 2, or it deviates from district policy, the program would be discontinued. As the course continues to develop, the school board will need to approve curriculum content, and then approve the completed course before it becomes a permanent part of the SVHS Health curriculum.
“This course would be an additional course at Star Valley High School that is a concurrent enrollment course through the University of Wyoming,” added Horsley. “We anticipate this to be a junior or senior level course in our pre-med or other pathways. This particular course would substitute for our Prevention and Care Trainer Course for next semester.”
With permission from the school board, Horsley and Jenkins are moving forward with creation of the concurrent enrollment coarse and offering it to students in the upcoming school semester.
“I think it’s an exciting endeavor,” concluded Horsley. “I think that when it comes to health and those controversial topics, we need to be on point, and we need to be age-appropriate. Some of those things are more appropriate for college, and I’m not comfortable having those topics taught [in that way] at Star Valley High School.”