This is in response to the letter written by Nancy Branch printed on August 6, 2013.
As a first year principal at South Fork High School during the 2012-13 school year, I shared the same sentiments as Nancy. I felt South Fork High School needed to have more electives offered to all students. South Fork is a small but necessary high school, and our students deserve the same attention to class offerings as any other high school in the county. So, to adequately reflect the needs of students, many steps were taken to hear their voice.
Students were given a survey of current elective offerings and past elective offerings. After tallying the responses from all students, it was determined how to best address the needs of students. It was clear that students wanted more hands-on career technical education opportunities. So with that information, there were changes made to class offerings that reflected what students wanted to take.
South Fork High School is pleased to share the new elective offerings to students for the 2013-14 school year: woodshop, metal shop, advanced PE, computer literacy, personal finance, marketing/merchandising, media productions, 8th and 9th grade academic literacy, and gardening/culinary arts. South Fork High School will continue to offer Spanish 1/2/3, art, ceramics, band, Madd Jazz, drama, culinary arts, office occupations, study hall, BYU online classes, CR classes, physics/chemistry, and marine biology.
Also, during the last school year, superintendent Scott and I had discussions with the Humboldt County Office of Education. The County superintendent, Garry Eagles, has been very supportive and trusts our efforts at South Fork High School. At the end of the 2012-13 school year he sent a team of two teachers and an administrator to evaluate the current state of the woodshop facilities. HCOE has committed funding for equipment and mentoring to South Fork High School in a favorable, collaborative partnership. The Southern Humboldt Unified School District is very fortunate to have the support and expertise that HCOE is extending to the district. HCOE believes in South Fork High School, as does the community. There have been donations by community members to explicitly support woodshop classes at the high school.
Next, I would like to address Nancy’s suggestions to have students perform maintenance, grounds keeping, and painting on the campus as electives. It is not the insurance companies that are not allowing these activities, it is the many other rules and regulations that schools must follow. The reasons are due to the California Education Code, health and safety codes, environmental regulations, and a host of other regulations and policies that all schools must follow. There is a balancing act that a school district faces complying with all the state and federal codes. We need to remember the ultimate goal is to educate students to the best of our ability and that the safety of students, staff, and community are of the utmost priority.
Increased student involvement in their school and community is a positive and beneficial activity for all concerned. I would be glad to work with interested community and student body members to explore additional ways this can be done.
I believe we are headed in the right direction in providing elective courses that high school students want to take and that we are preparing them for whatever journey they would like to take after graduating from South Fork High School.
I encourage any parent or community member who would like to donate anything to help the new and existing elective courses to come by for a visit at any time. Also, please feel free to call me at 943-3144 with any questions, suggestions, or concerns that you may have.
Thank you for your continued support for all students at South Fork High School.
South Fork High School