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Local News

YSD115 to launch forensic science class at Yorkville High

Staff also provides officials with update on Chromebooks for students

Robert Brenart (right), vice-president for the Yorkville School District 115 Board of Education, talks as Superintendent Tim Shimp (left) listens during the committee meeting Monday, June 10 at the district's Center for Innovation, 604B Center Parkway in Yorkville.
Robert Brenart (right), vice-president for the Yorkville School District 115 Board of Education, talks as Superintendent Tim Shimp (left) listens during the committee meeting Monday, June 10 at the district's Center for Innovation, 604B Center Parkway in Yorkville.

YORKVILLE – Yorkville High School students will get their own taste of Forensic Files starting this fall.

The Yorkville School District 115 Board of Education discussed what will be involved in the forensic science class, specifically about curriculum and class materials, during the board’s committee meeting Monday, June 10 at the district’s Center for Innovation, 604B Center Parkway. Board Secretary Ashley Rhea Shields was absent from the meeting.

The proposed curriculum includes students learning about the necessary steps in a crime scene investigation, how to distinguish between direct and circumstantial evidence, how to determine time and cause of death, and about ballistics and DNA evidence and how it’s collected, according to school board documents.

Robert Brenart, vice-president for the Yorkville School District 115 Board of Education, said he would want to make sure that the curriculum tests students enough in a cross-disciplinary way. He said he’d like to see some required prerequisites for the class, which would include proficiency in subjects like anatomy, chemistry and physics.

“This should be a hard class,” Brenart said.

Yorkville School District 115 Superintendent Tim Shimp said the forensic science course at Yorkville High School is being offered primarily to upperclassmen starting this coming fall and was originally approved at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

“It’s fairly common in the area” for the course to be offered at the high school level, Shimp said.

Shimp said it would cost the district $46 per student license for the textbook and online resource for the class, which will be a blended online and traditional classroom setting class. He said he believe the district would be absorbing the costs like it would for a textbook or any other class resource.

The curriculum and resources as it was presented in committee will be up for approval during the next full school board meeting scheduled for June 24.

Chromebooks for Y115
students update

In other committee matters, school officials discussed expanding the district’s one-to-one student-to-Chromebook initiative to include fourth through 12th grades during the Monday, June 11 meeting.

Ryan Adkins, director of technology for Yorkville School District 115, said he recommended the purchase of 1,200 Dell Chromebooks, with 850 going to fourth and seventh grade students and 350 devices that would replace laptops that are at the end of their lease. He said it would cost the district about $315,000 over a three-year lease agreement for the new machines.

Adkins said there’s currently a $35 technology fee for students, which includes the actual laptops and accompanying software.

The plan is expected to go before the full school board during the June 24 meeting.

School board officials and district staff also discussed the possibility of expanding available student technology to include each third-grader getting their own Chromebook, having two students to one Chromebook at the second and first grade levels, and having four students to one Chrome tablet at the kindergarten level, which would be set up more like a classroom technology center.

Adkins said the plan is to have the lower grades technology expansion go into effect next school year. He said it would begin with teacher training in the fall and the devices being in kids’ hands later on.

“I don’t see them being rolled out in classrooms until November,” Adkins said.

The kindergarten through third grade plan will go back to district staff to figure out final costs and associated fees. The final plan is anticipated to go before the full school board during their July 29 meeting.

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