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School board to look at courses for elective credit
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During its meeting tonight, the Kershaw County Board of Trustees will review, and possibly take action on, a proposal to award credit to high school students in the Kershaw County School District (KCSD) for three courses: journalism, yearbook and unified physical education.

According to information attached to tonight’s proposed agenda, the journalism course would have students studying the history, law and ethics of journalism by learning and using interviewing, writing, editing, and photography and desktop publishing skills to produce their respective school’s student newspaper. The course would also teach business management skills.

In a similar vein, the yearbook course would have students honing the same skills but put them to use creating their schools’ yearbooks.

Both classes are honors-level classes -- Honors Newspaper Production 3/4 or Honors Yearbook Production 3/4. Students must already have at least a B average in previous journalism courses: Journalism I, Newspaper Production and/or Yearbook Production 1 and 2.

In their applications, Camden High School (CHS) newspaper and yearbook advisors Amy Goodwin and Samantha Argondizzo noted that a growing trend in high school journalism programs is a lack of honors and advanced placement students willing to take classes beyond their sophomore years. This is because, they said, “…these classes do not carry an honors weight. Because of the way that the GPAs are calculated, upper level students’ GPAs are affected negatively if they take the class, even if they receive top marks. The publications, which are the primary historical documents for and of the school, suffer for this reason.”

Goodwin and Argondizzo suggested that students who have devoted three or even four years of their high school careers toward their school’s respective newspaper or yearbook “are no longer working as novices, but are progressing independently and at a faster pace and with more depth than beginners. These students are highly attuned to their audiences and the purposes of their publications through which they are communicating.”

As for the unified physical education course, it would provide “a unique opportunity for students with and without disabilities to come together through ongoing educational and physical activities, using the power of Special Olympics.” Such students may have the opportunity to participate in competitions with other schools or attend Special Olympics events.

Non-disabled students wishing to participate must already have one physical education credit, a 3.0 GPA, have no major discipline infractions, and a desire to assist Special Olympics-eligible students.

Also on tonight’s agenda:

• Second reading and possible action on several board policy changes.

• A review of May 2019 financials by KCSD Chief Financial Officer Donnie Wilson.

• A review of, led by KCSD Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins, and possible action on a proposed change to the district’s policy on admitting non-resident students to classes.

• Robbins will also make a “Future Project Presentation.” No information regarding this topic was attached to the agenda.

The board will also enter executive session to discuss undisclosed “employment matters.”

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the board room of the KCSD offices, 2029 West DeKalb St. in Camden, and is open to the public.