Butler Junior High to change electives
Instead of having art and music classes every other day, Butler Junior High students will be able to choose two elective courses, which they can take every day. | Tamara Bell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 15, 2012 6:16AM
Art and music classes at Butler Junior High will become part of a larger Exploratory Electives program for students, starting with the 2012-2013 school year.
Through the end of the 2011-2012 school year, Butler students had art and music classes every other day, Principal Stephanie Palmer said. Now, art and music offerings have joined the likes of drama, speech, language, math, science, politics, psychology and writing electives.
Along with those more typical academic offerings, another elective class being offered is Elective Guided Study. The class focuses on helping students establish positive routines and skills to become effective, efficient, successful students at Butler and in the future, according to the course description.
For each semester, students select two elective classes, which are offered daily during eighth period. Parents must sign off on elective class choices.
“There has been a misconception that we are cutting back on art and music,” Palmer said. “That’s not what is happening at all. Our board and administration asked what was wanted, and there was an overwhelming cry for more opportunities for students. Any students who are interested can still take music and art classes as their elective choices, but now we have additional choices, too.”
Longtime Butler art teacher Gail Klinger retired at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. Mike Divelbiss, the art teacher at Brook Forest School, will teach art classes at both Butler Elementary District 53 schools. Palmer said declining enrollment in the district makes that move possible.
Palmer said she believes students in sixth through eight grades will benefit from selecting classes.
“Students need to start dipping their toes into choice,” she said. “It’s something they will have to do in high school, and this is a good way for them to begin that process.”
Classes selected for the Exploratory Electives program were based on a student interest survey and the availability of teachers with appropriate knowledge for those courses.
“We were able to include everything that had some good interest, except for cooking, and we hope to possibly add that in the future,” Palmer said.