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New courses approved for South Tama High School

Agriculture and computer offerings expanded

January 31, 2019
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

A new introductory agriculture and three new computer-related courses will join the curriculum offered at South Tama High School this fall. South Tama School Board members approved the additions in a 3-0 voice vote at their regular meeting on Monday night, Jan. 21.

Voting in favor were Board President Penny Tyynismaa and directors Mandy Lekin and Ron Houghton. Absent were Jackie Dvorak and Alan Kline.


Article Photos

Taylor Brown and Jeff Funk

High School agriculture teacher Taylor Brown proposed the course entitled Introduction to Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

The course is designed "to introduce students to the range of agriculture opportunities and the pathways of study they may pursue. Included in the course description are agricultural education, communication methods, science processes, natural resources, plants and animals and agriculture power and technology.

It is planned to be offered to grades 9-12 "with a strong suggestion it is the first course students take - (it) provides an introduction to all of three agriculture courses taken at South Tama County and FFA." It is also geared to "help improve Career Technical Equity (CTE) (by) increasing the diversity of students taking agriculture courses."

Fact Box

Gov. Kim Reynolds announces opening of

Computer Science is Elementary applications

"Tomorrow's workforce is sitting in the classroom right now"

- Gov. Reynolds

DES MOINES - Gov. Kim Reynolds announced last week the Computer Science is Elementary project is taking a crucial next step by inviting eligible Iowa schools to apply between Jan. 22 and March 29 for $50,000 one-time planning grants.

"Tomorrow's workforce is sitting in the classroom right now! Computer Science is Elementary builds on our efforts to expand STEM education across Iowa, including a $1 million fund to train our computer science teacher workforce," said Gov. Reynolds. "With a societal digital transformation under way, computer science is a new basic skill students must have. I want to sincerely thank Westridge and the West Des Moines Community Schools for their commitment to STEM education."

The Governor's STEM Advisory Council and the Iowa Department of Education are partnering with business and industry on the project to transform six high-poverty elementary schools across Iowa into models of innovative computer science instruction. Six schools will be selected - one in each of the six STEM Council regions. This will offer their students opportunities to learn a new basic skill. The six also will serve as a statewide resource for teaching computer science in early grades, building on the work that's already started in some elementary schools.

To be eligible, school districts and nonpublic school systems must have at least one elementary building with at least 40 percent of students taking free or reduced-price lunch. Stand-alone nonpublic schools may also apply.

A total of $350,000 has been raised to provide $50,000 one-time planning grants for each of the six schools. Loess Hills Computer Programming School in Sioux City, which is the inspiration for the Computer Science is Elementary project, also will receive $50,000 to serve as a project resource, including consulting related to curriculum development.

Many generous private-sector partners made this project possible including Collins Aerospace as the lead sponsor, Principal Financial Group, MidAmerican Energy, Kemin Industries, Microsoft, Google, ITC Midwest, Alliant Energy, Technology Association of Iowa, Verizon, Paragon IT, AT&T, School Administrators of Iowa, Workiva, Pella Rolscreen Foundation, Merchant Bonding, Bankers Trust and Linc Kroeger.

Awards will be announced by summer 2019 for implementation by the 2020-2021 school year.

For more information or to apply for the Computer Science is Elementary project, visit


Jeff Funk, high school business teacher included three computer-related courses each of which "targets students interested in computer science more options for classes."

The new course offerings will be:

Computer Science Cybersecurity-; students will learn fundamental topics- digital citizenship and cyber hygiene; basics of cryptography, software security, networking fundamentals and basic system administration.

Computer Science Python- teach the foundation of computer science and basic programming with emphasis on students developing logical thinking and problem solving skills. When completed, students will be able to program in Python coding language/ Will support students who are English Language Learners and Special Education. When completed students will have completed the equivalent of a college-level introductory course in commuter science and be able to program in Python.

Computer Science Web Design- teach the foundation of computer science and basic programming with emphasis on students developing logical thinking and problem solving skills. When complete students will be able to create websites using HTML. Will support students who are English Language Learners and Special Education. Intended to serve students interested in technology as a career. A goal is to actively recruit female and minority students per the district equity plan.

Also on Monday the board:

met in closed session as provided in the Iowa Code "to evaluate the professional competency of an individual whose appointment, hiring, performance or discharge is being considered to prevent needless and irreparable injury to that individual's reputation and that individual requests a closed session."

No action was taken upon the board's return to open session.

approved Samantha Holtz as varsity volleyball coach effective August, 2019.

approved 1st reading of a board policy with minor changes "combining the annual and continuous Notice of nondiscrimination a single Notice because it is identical and added Shauna Smith's name as the equity coordinator.



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