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Lodi Unified School District delays vote on requirements

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Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 12:00 am

It's not clear how Lodi Unified School District trustees will eventually vote on how to incorporate classroom driver education and a six-class unit on HIV and AIDS for students whose schedule includes honors classes.

Trustees discussed recommendations by district administrators, but no formal action was taken at Tuesday's school board meeting. Trustees may make a decision at the May 21 board meeting, said Dawn Vetica, the district's assistant superintendent for secondary schools.

Vetica and Curriculum Director Lisa Kotowski presented three options that would be available for students:

Option 1: A quarter of classroom education, a quarter of health and safety, and a semester of family living or geography. Most students will follow this path, which represents no change to the current requirement, Kotowski said.

Option 2: One year of AVID, a special college readiness program designed to accelerate student learning; a quarter of driver education; and incorporation of health and safety into the freshman physical education curriculum.

Option 3: One year of Advanced Placement human geography, a quarter of driver education; and incorporation of health and safety into freshman P.E.

Kotowski and Vetica are advising the board to remove driver education as a graduation requirement for students enrolled in either AVID or AP human geography. Teens must take driver education anyway, because they can't get a learner's permit without taking the course, Vetica said.

Driver education is available for a fee from private companies as an online course, Vetica said.

The state requires all high schools to provide instruction in HIV and AIDS, so it must be addressed somewhere, whether it be in a separate health class or as part of the freshman P.E. curriculum.

Trustees Bonnie Cassel and Ron Heberle said they don't like the idea of AVID and AP human geography students being required to pay for online driver education when other students could take the course for free.

Superintendent Cathy Nichols-Washer said that the district would have to fund driver education if the board continues to make it a graduation requirement.

Trustees also questioned how to weight AP classes when determining the school valedictorian. Administrators propose that candidates for valedictorian must have a grade-point average of 4.0 or higher, and have no grade less than an A except in an AP or University of California-approved course. From that group, the student with the highest GPA for University of California and California State University courses would be the valedictorian.

The recommended change would include teaching assistants or students at risk of failing the California Exit Exam. Exceptions would be students who receive a special education waiver. Pass/fail grades would be eliminated.

Not only could the changes affect who becomes valedictorian, but they could also affect college scholarship opportunities, Tokay High teacher Susan Heberle said.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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