Fort Dodge Senior High is not only on a trimester schedule this year, it has made changes to its classes.
A financial literacy class is being emphasized, and its government class is now for seniors only.
According to Dave Keane, FDSH principal, financial literacy is an Iowa Core requirement.
"We brought an advisory group together of bankers and financial advisors, small business owners, and we took a look at the Iowa Core in the financial literacy piece and said, I'm not sure we're covering this in other courses. How much of this do you think is crucial for students to have before they graduate?" Keane said. "They were overwhelmingly in favor of identifying specific targets they think all kids should know before they graduate."
A recommendation was made to take the financial literacy requirement to the Fort Dodge Community School District board's policy committee to be adopted.
"Sometime during this year I'm almost guaranteeing the board will adjust the graduation requirement to include financial literacy," Keane said.
Keane advocates the requirement, but is also in favor of students being able to opt out through assessment.
"There are a lot of kids that do have parents at home that involve them in a lot of those types of things," he said. "If they're already proficient in those areas, and they're able to take a test and demonstrate they're proficient, they don't have to take the entire course."
He added, "I would venture to guess that not many students would do that."
Government is now being offered for seniors only. According to Keane, most juniors aren't able to participate in actual government when taking the course.
"We felt if we were to move it to a senior year class they would be closer to their actual ability to participate in elections and government," Keane said. "We felt they were developmentally probably more ready for a government course, a more mature, more interested maybe in what is going on."
A sequences of courses has been put into place, as well, that would lead up to government, Keane said.
"Their junior year they're required to take either understanding social systems or civics," he said. "We talk about local government and an understanding of how you can get involved. That preps them to take a look at the national government, which is a little more complex."