I want to provide clarity on the decision to make programming changes at Ames High School next fall. Following an evaluation of our Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming, the addition of a financial literacy requirement, and an assessment of our immediate high school staffing needs, the decision was made to not offer Family and Consumer Science (FCS) classes next year.
Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, the state requires each school district provide 4 out of 6 complete service areas within CTE. Those service areas must offer 4 years of course study in an area to prepare students for post-secondary careers and/or education.
Additionally, beginning with next year’s class of 2020, the state has mandated all students complete a course in financial literacy before graduating. At Ames High School, with a graduating class of over 300 students, one teacher will be dedicated to ensuring all students receive this class before graduating.
As we evaluate our other immediate staffing needs at Ames High School, we have identified many core area classes at or near capacity. We will be prioritizing these staffing needs in next year’s budget.
The current FCS class structure does not provide a complete pathway as defined by the state. We are able to offer the agricultural service area with one teacher next year that will fulfill the 4-year pathway, and Future Ready Iowa has identified the agricultural service area as a top workforce area for employment in the State of Iowa.
Family and Consumer Science classes will still be offered to Ames Middle School students, and through DMACC for our high school students. We will continue to provide special education students with life skills as directed by their Individualized Education Plans. Work has already been done to strengthen our health curriculum to ensure that it provides students an education on nutrition and exercise.
Based on an assessment of the budget, CTE program review, our partnership with DMACC, feedback from the business community, and information from Future Ready Iowa, we made the difficult decision to not offer FCS courses for next year. Looking to the future as we navigate through state mandates and funding limitations, we want to offer the best educational opportunities for our students. This requires difficult decisions to be made, and sometimes that includes changes in programming that we offer students.
— Superintendent Risner