No change for home ec next year at Hauser

? Despite a recommendation to upgrade the curriculum and overhaul the facility, the D96 board won't pull the trigger.

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By BOB UPHUES

? Due to an error, an earlier version of this story was published in the print edition of the Landmark.This is the correct version of the story, and it will be reprinted in its entirety in next week's newspaper. The Landmark apologizes for the error and for any resulting confusion.

The Family/Consumer Sciences will remain part of the curriculum at Hauser Junior High School, but its focus will not become broader and its facility won't be renovated for the 2005-06 school year.

Yesterday morning, District 96 Superintendent Dr. David Bonnette said that the board would table a vote on a plan to revamp the curriculum at its regular meeting last night. The announcement came in the wake of an Education Committee meeting last week, at which four of the seven board members expressed support for the upgrade in FCS, which would have virtually guaranteed its passage.

"In the minds of several committee members there were some lingering questions," Bonnette said. "Rather than make that investment now, when they are having second thoughts ... we will run the same program next year and give it some further study."

Hauser Principal Joel Benton outlined the proposed upgrade to the curriculum at the April 12 Education Committee meeting, which was well attended, drawing approximately 20 Hauser staff and parents.

"I recommend that we move forward with expansion and improvement of the existing curriculum and renovation of the facility to include technology modules for effective delivery systems for some of the curriculum we want to include. It'll be a hybrid program similar to what we did with Industrial Technology."

Benton outlined a three-year program for FCS that emphasized some of the traditional elements of the program, such as cooking and nutrition, while expanding areas such as consumer education, family and community support issues. It also included new areas of study, such as cartography, global travel and event planning.

In the meantime, it downplayed sewing. Currently, the curriculum includes sewing at the sixth seventh and eighth grade levels. In the new model, sewing would have been diminished to a week during seventh grade.

The facility upgrade would have included "$15,000 to $30,000" in renovations to the kitchen area of the FCS classroom, including new range/ovens, cabinets, countertops, sinks, and refrigerator. In addition several computer stations would have been planned into the space. Hardware, software and furniture costs for the modules alone are estimated to cost over $80,000.

The result, Benton said, will be "a cutting-edge approach, better than anything I saw in other schools when we visited."

The education meeting was also attended by five members of the District 96 board, four of whom?"Nancy Jensen, Linda Bade, Richard Volpe and Giles McCarthy?"appeared to throw their support behind the planned change in the FCS curriculum, although Volpe and Jensen expressed some concern about over-reliance on technology modules versus teacher-led lessons.

But Benton explained that the program did not rely too much on technology and that the modules were worthwhile aspects of the new curriculum.

"I see the modules as very much not canned, and it's teacher-driven as well," Benton said, adding that there would be opportunities for team teaching during parts of the curriculum.

But school board President Cheryl Berdelle remained unconvinced that enhancing the FCS program was the way to go, and suggested more study before committing to the program at all.

"I want to know we're doing the best curriculum we can," Berdelle said. "I'm not convinced we are here. I don't think we've taken enough time [to study other options], and I'm troubled that not enough of it is teacher driven."

Benton disagreed, saying that he had spent "too much time" on the issue, saying "it's been nine years since I've been looking at this program, and we're finally sitting here addressing it."

Berdelle suggested that the school administration explore including electives such as video production, publishing and computer science. Benton responded by saying that those are all things that have been integrated into other areas of the curriculum. It would be difficult to integrate FCS curriculum into others.

"I don't want any of this to come at the expense of Family/Consumer Science," Benton said. "I don't think we want to scrap that. These are important, critical things for kids to know."

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