Stew-Stras School Officials Discuss Co-op Ideas

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Published on October 19 2012 7:42 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Stewardson-Strasburg school officials met with about 70 school district residents this week to discuss co-oping with other districts.

Superintendent Steve Harsy said principal Mark Giertz, athletic director Matt Shoaff and the school board members were on hand for the meeting Tuesday.

Asked by one resident why the event was held, Harsy said the district has a responsibility to provide the best possible programs for their students.  With less funding from the State, districts like Stew-Stras are having to do more with less.  One option is to co-op with other districts.

Harsy said co-oping is not like consolidating because each school district maintains its own identity.  Stew-Stras officials have already spoken with Neoga, Windsor and Beecher City school leaders as to where they could work together.  The district already co-ops with Windsor in golf and with Shelbyville in high school girls basketball.  Co-oping in sports also helps where numbers in districts for a particular offering are low.  Harsy said it's not good when you have an eighth grader pitching to a fifth grader, but that is sometimes the case in some junior high programs due to a lack of participants.

Co-op options, though, aren't just limited to athletics, but also extend to academics.  Harsy said two districts should share a teacher who could teach a subject part of the day in one district and the balance of the day in another district.  Students from each district who want to take a class could gather at one location.

Dual credit courses were also discussed.  Lake Land College works with several area districts on courses that yield both high school and college credits.  Harsy, though, said Stewardson-Strasburg now has just one teacher that teaches a dual credit course.

Concerns have also been voiced over maintaining the integrity of elementary buildings, and Harsy said the leaning has been against any sharing at the grade school level, particularly in Grades K-6.

Harsy said the discussion has just begun.  He said a summary of this week's discussion will go in his Superintendent's Corner on the Stew-Stras district website next week.