CASPER, Wyo. — What's 10.67 multiplied by 6?
While one math teacher reached for a calculator, another converted the numbers to fractions and calculated 64.
The group of high school math teachers was doing real-world math, trying to figure out how many classes would be needed at the Natrona County School District's high schools when the new Center for Advanced and Professional Studies opens.
Teachers are continuing preliminary planning for courses to be offered at the new high school campus. The campus will house Roosevelt High School, the Transitions credit recovery program and 600 CAPS students from Kelly Walsh and Natrona County high schools.
CAPS students will take courses in one of four academies: creative arts, communication and design; business, agriculture and natural resources; architecture, construction, manufacturing and engineering; and health sciences and human services.
New needs, new courses
Representatives of all high schools have discussed each academy's focus, building needs and possible new courses during the past few weeks. Using current enrollment numbers, educators mapped the number of courses to be offered at each campus and how many people would be needed to teach them.
When courses switched campuses or were newly created, teachers had to subtract those courses from the total. Teachers had to think about which sections they could modify or “give up” to another site.
New courses would stress core knowledge and tie into career-based pathways. For example, the math teachers proposed a technical math course that would extend algebra and statistics basics to industrial situations. High-level literature courses would be aimed at students in arts and communications paths.
Casper isn't big enough to have separate math courses for each individual path, but courses can be designed to apply lessons to real-world situations, said Mark Mathern, the district's associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
“It's not giving things up, it's a transformation,” Mathern said. “We want kids who are working on film production to have that strong sense with literature so what they produce is valuable.”
Planning the type and number of classes in each building will aid architects in designing the new campus and renovations to Kelly Walsh and NCHS. Construction project committees finished checking references of short-listed architects and construction managers at risk last week.
The committees will receive project proposals and conduct interviews in December.
Design charettes — planning sessions between architects and community members — are planned for February or March. Teachers will meet in academy groups before the charette process.
Board members suggested the district designate teachers to work full time on the process, which has been done in the past. Most recently, five teachers and one principal were paid regular salaries to plan Summit Elementary the year before it opened.
Many details still need to be fleshed out, such as school schedules and when and how students will travel. Mathern said efforts will be made to create efficiencies among the programs.
“We know it can change, but that's OK,” Mathern told teachers last week. “But it's further fleshed out than it was.”
Contact Jackie Borchardt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-266-0593.