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Local News

Yorkville District 115, Waubonsee to offer dual-credit computer science courses

Troy Courtney (left), director of human resources for Yorkville School District 115, listens as Nick Baughman (right), associate superintendent for learning and instruction for the district, talks during the district's school board meeting on Monday, Aug. 19 at Yorkville High School.
Troy Courtney (left), director of human resources for Yorkville School District 115, listens as Nick Baughman (right), associate superintendent for learning and instruction for the district, talks during the district's school board meeting on Monday, Aug. 19 at Yorkville High School.

YORKVILLE – Yorkville High School students involved in the AP computer science program will soon have course options in the wake of the school not being able to find someone qualified to teach the courses, according to District 115 officials.

District officials gave an update on where the high school stands regarding the district not being able to find an AP computer science teacher during the Board of Education meeting on Monday, Aug. 19 at Yorkville High School.

Nick Baughman, associate superintendent for learning and instruction for the district, said the district intends to provide an online dual-credit Introduction to Programming course with Waubonsee Community College. He said the class would run from Oct. 14 to Dec. 14, or students could take a traditional 16-week dual-credit course in person or online in the spring.

Baughman said 11 students were enrolled in the class. He said the district is footing the bill for the dual credit courses this time around and anticipates that it will cost the district $400 to $500 per student.

Even with footing the bill as opposed to hiring someone to teach the high school courses, Baughman said, the district could still expect to save between $5,000 and $10,000.

"We still have to communicate with those families about what they would prefer," Baughman said.

Yorkville Schools Superintendent Tim Shimp said the district doesn't typically pay for dual credit.

“But given the situation that we’re in with a late resignation and a hard-to-fill position, we felt it was the right thing to do,” Shimp said.

The CIS 115 course was offered this semester at the Waubonsee Community College's Sugar Grove and downtown Aurora campuses, along with one online section, according to the WCC website. Either registration was closed or the section was full for those courses, aside from the new eight-week online section opened for the affected YHS students.

The school board also voted, 5-0, to approve additional teaching hours for Kim O’Connell to support the AP Computer Science Principles course and the same for Brianna Stallter to open another section of sociology and psychology as additional high school elective course options. Board members Gary Katula and Ashley Rhea Shields were absent from the meeting.

Troy Courtney, director of human resources for the district, said the action comes after the district was not able to fill the AP computer science teacher position at the high school.

“So using the curriculum that is available through College Board, through code.org, we’re able to use another teacher to facilitate those courses” so students can still participate in the class, Courtney said.

Lynn Burks, president of the school board, had said students have a hard time getting college credit for AP computer science courses as is.

Burks said she appreciates Yorkville High School principal David Travis, who was also at the meeting, for efforts to keep course an option for students.

“I actually believe that, with dual credit, we’ll be in a much better position than with AP," Burks said. "So [it's] a challenge that turns into actually a much better opportunity for students.”

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