Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville school officials met Wednesday evening to review the elective courses each district currently offers to students and examine potential new classes the merger will allow them to add.
“Electives are more down the road. Right now, we are trying to get the newly merged district together,” said Oppenheim-Ephratah Board of Education President Ben Conte. “However, the teachers should talk and come up with new ideas.”
He added the merged Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville school district most likely would not add new electives until a year or two after the district begins operations.
“Some of these classes won’t be available when the doors open on Sept. 1. This is a work in progress. We need to be patient,” said St. Johnsville Board of Education President Christopher Mosher. “I know everyone wants to have all of these new classes now, but these are things we might not be able to offer until further down the line. We’ll get to this point, but before we do we need to make sure all the necessities are in place.”
Oppenheim-Ephratah Principal Brett Barr provided the boards with information on the close to 80 electives the two districts currently offer to students and shared ideas for potential new electives, including additional honors and Advanced Placement classes, anatomy and physiology and businesses classes.
“As a former business teacher I was excited about the possible addition of business classes to the schedule, especially since they would have the potential to teach students about such things as balancing a check book, credit and home buying,” he said.
Barr said before electives can be added, the merged district will have to set its master schedule. “That will determine how many slots are available,” he said. “After the required courses are scheduled, then electives could be added.”
“This is a chance for our teachers to think outside the box,” said Oppenheim-Ephratah Board of Education member Susan Sammons. “Our teachers should be thinking about all of the different things that are out there that can be offered to students.”
St. Johnsville Superintendent Laura Campione Lawrence said students will have the opportunity to voice their opinion on what electives will be offered.
“Student input will be an important part of this process,” she said. “If there is a class they want offered, we would be interested to hear about it.”
The two boards of education will next meet together on March 13 at 7 p.m. at St. Johnsville Junior-Senior High School. The discussion will focus on a draft budget for the merged district that will begin operations on July 1.