Providing more academic options for students has been an emphasis of the Cambridge City School District for the past five years. Students in the district during the 2021-2022 school year will have even more choices to help them forward their academic careers.
“Several years ago, the school district attempted to stabilize our financial situation by cutting programs and classes,” Superintendent Dan Coffman said. “It was a difficult time and tough decisions had to be made. What I believe we learned from that experience is that ‘we can’t cut our way to prosperity.’”
Students work with teacher Mr. Hannon in the STEM lab at Cambridge High School.
“Our approach has changed in the past five years,” Coffman continued. “We believe we need to offer students more academic options, more services and more extracurricular activities at all levels. That is why I am excited about what Cambridge City School District is offering.”
In the past few years, CCSD has brought back or added new programs and classes in addition to wrap-around services and student support services.
Partnerships with Muskingum Valley Health Centers, Vision-to-Learn, Allwell Behavioral Health Services, the Nutrition Group, and the City of Cambridge will continue to provide students with basic needs that otherwise may go unmet. But the academic offerings are what stands out as the district heads into the 2021-2022 school year.
At the High School, Principal Jason Bunting has been focused on expanding the College Credit plus offerings in the building.
For several years, students who chose to take college courses would have to leave campus and commute to a nearby college campus. Bunting wants to bring those courses to the students.
This year, students will have the option of taking Sociology and Psychology. Through support from a grant, two additional high school teachers will be credentialed to teach Government and Psychology for college credit.
College Credit Plus programs that were offered last school year included Writing and Rhetoric and Professional Writing through Ohio University and Biology through Zane State College.
Students interested in science and math will like additional STEM course offerings. The STEM lab was established last year and features a Drone Pilot Training course and Introduction to Advanced Robotics course and will be adding a Design Lab/Maker Space program next year. Two computer classes -- Microsoft Applications and Google Suite and Introduction to Computer Science – have been added to fulfill technology requirements.
Another addition last year was the American Sign Language course that was offered as a foreign language credit. This year, French and culture classes in the World Languages department will be added.
Other courses that are being developed for upcoming school year include Industrial Technology II, Family Consumer Sciences, and Advanced Placement Computer Science. Drama/theatre will be re-introduced to the high school.
“One of the goals of Cambridge High School is to continue to add new classes and give students more options for elective courses,” Bunting said. “We are excited to offer more options in areas of study that are of interest to our students, like STEM, foreign languages, industrial arts and family consumer sciences.”
The High School also continues to provide students with experiential learning options. With the help of Career Navigator Lovel Quinn and the guidance department, students can receive career training.
Next year, five students will be participating in the Plumbers and Pipefitters pre-apprenticeship program while other students will be taking welding certification and STNA classes at Belmont College.
“We understand that there are students who want to go right into the workforce after graduating high school,” Bunting said. “We want to make sure they have the skills necessary to be successful when entering the workforce.”
“Providing more options for students at both the High School and the Middle School provides them with more opportunities to explore and experience more potential options for their futures,” Superintended Coffman said. “We are offering many opportunities that we were not offering five years ago. I am excited about the additional academic offerings now available, but this is only the beginning as we plan to continue to add options for our students.”
Editor's note: This is the first in a three-part series about new offerings at Cambridge Schools.