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Columbus High School in upcoming years will offer a pair of new classes promoting career and technical education and STEM education.

The Columbus Public Schools Board of Education during Monday's meeting unanimously approved the addition of the two courses to the CHS curriculum. First, a ninth-grade career education course has been added that will provide a possible exploration of students' potential career paths. In addition, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) course specializing in engineering has also been added to the curriculum.

CPS Superintendent Troy Loeffelholz met with CHS Principal Dave Hiebner about the possibility of adding two new courses in order to provide more options for the school’s growing student base. Loeffelholz and Hiebner met with CPS Executive Director of Business Operations/Human Relations Dave Melick in order to finalize the new roles.

“Mr. Melick and I have talked about adding two new positions at this time at the high school,” Loeffelholz said. “Hopefully, state aid and calculations can continue to go up and we can do more at a later date.”

Hiebner noted that the career education course will likely be taught in a different manner than other career courses currently at CHS. The teacher hired will also help with the transition to high school for ninth-graders in a manner not unlike what is seen in programs like CHS 101.

“They can focus in on the skills that are needed and focus on some of the skills that our students need to be successful, (while) also getting that career education needed to move forward,” Hiebner said. “The reality is, what does it mean to be a citizen of Columbus? What does it mean to be a CHS individual? How does that transfer over to being a sophomore to being a junior to being a senior? We truly believe that we can make some improvements in that transition.”

As for the STEM course, Hiebner noted that it will likely also look at opportunities available in Columbus while focusing on construction and other engineering-related fields.

“We are open to seeing what the applicants look like in regards to their certification,” Hiebner said. “They could come from a wide variety of areas. We want to put the best person in front of our kids while filling our programs.”

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In other school board happenings:

*West Park Elementary School principal Paula Lawrence gave a presentation regarding the school’s activities and performance during the first semester of the school year. She mainly spoke about student standards and partnerships with the YMCA.

*The board approved a bid for gas, motor oil, antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid from Farmers Pride of Battle Creek. The products in question will be sent to the district’s automotive shop, where bus drivers and faculty members can use them.

Zach Roth is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at zachary.roth@lee.net.

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