The opening of Capital City High School in the fall will mean new course opportunities for Jefferson City Public Schools' high school students — especially for freshmen and student athletes.
Hundreds of people came out Tuesday to Thomas Jefferson Middle School for a freshmen orientation night for Capital City High School. Starting with the 2019-20 school year, Thomas Jefferson's students will go from middle school to CCHS.
In Thomas Jefferson's cafeteria, families heard from current staff of Simonsen 9th Grade Center who previewed the academic and extracurricular offerings at CCHS.
Simonsen is set to close at the end of the current school year. At least some of the staff who spoke to families said they are going on to work at CCHS, though JCPS said final determinations will be made prior to the start of the coming school year based on "student enrollment, course requests and other factors."
CCHS' core administrative team of current Simonsen staff has been previously announced — including Ben Meldrum, who will be the first principal at CCHS after being Simonsen's principal, and Tim Ritter, who will go on from being a school counselor at Simonsen to being CCHS' counselor director.
Amanda Moreland — who is currently the lead English teacher at Simonsen — highlighted in her part of the presentation Tuesday on academic offerings at CCHS. She said for the first time, English I will be offered to students in one of two options: as a separate course or integrated with a Missouri Studies social studies course that itself would be another standalone option.
According to a flier available at the event, Moreland will be a student council advisor at CCHS, along with Tony Miriani, who currently teaches English at Simonsen. Moreland added student council will meet over the summer to prepare for the first year at CCHS.
Ritter said Missouri Studies is a tweaked version of the current Perspectives of Citizenship class, and it will be available at CCHS and Jefferson City High School. It's "not a complete overhaul (of Perspectives of Citizenship), by any means," with many of the same academic standards, he added.
A description of Missouri Studies states "students will read literature and nonfiction texts while learning about the political and historical development of the state. Students will take a journey through the history of the state from its origins as Native American territory to the state's pivotal role in the nation's history. In addition, students will have opportunities to engage in narrative, expository and persuasive writing while learning the practical application of the state governmental system to their daily lives."
The class will also include group discussions, presentations and a requirement to pass a test that assesses students' knowledge of the Missouri Constitution.
Ritter said though specific course offerings haven't necessarily been finalized and he did not anticipate a lot of course offering changes overall, freshmen students at the district's high schools will particularly have opportunities to take elective classes that haven't been available to them.
CCHS Activities Director Robert Ndessokia mentioned an opportunity for student athletes that will be available at both of the district's high schools next year — the services of a strength and conditioning coach who will design in and off-season workouts specific to athletes' sports and team positions.
To go with that, there will be a physical education class — "Athletic Advanced Strength Training" — available at both of the high schools that "will be offering athletes the opportunity to weight train and condition during the school day. This will decrease the amount of time asked of student athletes outside the school day. Many big high schools offer this type of class to their athletes. If you are an athlete, you are encouraged to enroll in Athletic Advanced Strength Training," according to a flier available at the orientation.
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Another description for the class includes CCHS students who want to enroll in it must be an athlete or have taken two other prerequisite body conditioning classes.
Ndessokia also introduced the head coaches and activities directors who have been hired so far and previously announced — including band, orchestra, choir, football, softball, cross country, boys and girls golf, and soccer.
CCHS' tennis, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, cheer, dance, scholar bowl, speech and debate, baseball, and track and field coaches and directors have not yet been announced. Ndessokia told a student who asked that an archery sponsor is also being sought.
Nichols Career Center staff said CCHS' students would attend Nichols just as other schools who send students do, and a class option for freshmen would include an Introduction to Agriculture course.