The Fountain Hills Unified School District is already deeply engaged in preparations for the upcoming school year, with Superintendent Kelly Glass recently issuing a statement updating local families on everything from new vocational and technical education (CTE) programs in high school for dual enrollment. / simultaneous enrollment possibilities for local students. Glass also answered several questions that district staff have received in recent weeks.
As reported earlier this year, Glass noted that Fountain Hills High School will be implementing a trio of new CTE classes next year, including culinary arts, business management and sports medicine.
“New clubs and career development opportunities through these CTE programs are underway for our students for the 2021-22 school year,” added Glass. “We have been fortunate to have hired excellent teachers to run these three programs.
Glass said the teachers who will lead this department have a wealth of experience in these disciplines to teach and share with FHHS students.
“All three programs have already reached total registrations for fall,” said Glass. “In addition to these on-site CTE offerings, our students will continue to have the opportunity to participate in CTE programming at the EVIT campus in Mesa. “
Advancement Through Individual Determination (AVID) is a college and career preparation program that provides high school students with support to prepare for education and life. Glass said that a team of staff carried out an in-depth review of the AVID program at FHHS during the 2020-21 school year and that the resulting improvements, which relied heavily on student feedback, include additional course periods and a more progressive structure to provide different content. in the following years of participation.
“Additionally, Laura Herron, who has tremendous experience as an AVID coordinator, will lead this program,” said Glass. “His wealth of knowledge about the AVID program will allow us to offer even more to our students through this offering. Laura is also one of our math teachers at FHMS. We are delighted to be able to share his talents in high school as well. “
FHUSD strives to increase the opportunities for students to earn college credit while taking high school courses or taking college courses instead of high school courses. Glass said it would give students a step forward if they choose to go to college after high school.
“The hiring we have made to date has been done with this in mind, and many of the new hires are trained to teach dual-enrollment courses at local community colleges,” added Glass.
“Over the past two weeks, we’ve received several emails regarding concerns about our excellent school district, especially high school,” Glass said in the update. “We hope to address some of the concerns that have been brought to our attention regarding the high school’s viability for the 2021-22 school year. We will be as transparent as possible while maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of our staff. “
The first concern Glass pointed out was the staffing of the high school, particularly the fact that many of the teachers would not be returning for the upcoming school year.
“We have a small staff in high school – only 22 teachers,” Glass said. “Four teachers retired at the end of this school year and others chose to leave for a variety of reasons, including to work closer to home, for family obligations, for leadership opportunities and for positions at full time that our district was not able to afford, given our student. registration.
“The year 2020-21 has been incredibly difficult for everyone, but especially for the teaching staff. COVID, teaching methods (online and in person at the same time), personal health issues, and having your own family at home during the pandemic has been stressful and exhausting. These are not excuses, but situations and factors that we had to consider as we worked on staff departures at all of our FHUSD schools.
“We are sad to see these staff members leave. In conversations with other district and school leaders, this happens in every school and district across the state. To date, we have only a few positions left to fill in high school. You will find many biographies and photos of our new staff members on our District Facebook page. We are extremely excited about the new teachers we have hired to be part of our Falcon family.
Glass said that FHUSD has also heard concerns that art and music classes won’t return in the fall, which they haven’t.
“Of the departures mentioned above, two of them were our high school music and art teachers,” Glass continued. “None of these programs, music and art, are eliminated from our high school offerings. We are focused on improving these courses to build the music and art programs starting in middle school and progressing into high school. We have many students whose talents lie in the arts, and we want to continue to provide them with exceptional arts programs. “
Likewise, Glass said it heard concerns that Advanced Placement (AP) and AP Capstone courses would be phased out next year.
“It is not,” she said. “All previous AP and AP Capstone courses will be available to high school students next year. We are also planning to expand the AP offering for the 2022-2023 school year, particularly in the visual arts.
Glass said the teachers and staff at FHUSD pride themselves on providing the best programs for local students.
“Although we may be a small town, we have many possibilities at our disposal to provide every FHUSD student with a world class education,” she concluded. As always, we encourage you to contact us directly if you have any concerns or questions. The district office is open all summer, Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can reach us by phone or email. We are always happy to help. “