By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
BELMONT — If you could go back to high school, what would you change? That's the question before Shaker School Board members, who are considering tracking how graduates fare in the work world, and determine whether changes to the high school curriculum ought to be made.
As an example, one board member said her children told her that while in college they were expected to make oral presentations and wished they had had some public speaking experience in high school.
Board member Gretta Olsen-Wilder brought up the topic Tuesday night by telling the board that a development plan sent from Shaker Regional School District to the State Department of Education says the school is already tracking graduates.
"I though we had started it more formally in 2014 but there is no evidence of it," Wilder said.
Not all of the board members were supportive of tracking alumni because of privacy concerns. Others, like Chairman Sean Embree and Vice Chairman Bob Reed, wanted to know what kind of information the school would gather and how it would use the information.
Olsen-Wilder said typically the information relates to the kind of jobs graduates have, whether or not they are in college or the military and how the school district helped or didn't help them as they move through early adulthood.
Member Heidi Cheney and Superintendent Michael Tursi said there are things that can be learned about current curriculum from recent graduates, but both insisted that each student should be allowed to opt out of tracking.
Business Administrator Debbie Thompson said companies typically charge between $3.50 to $15 per student, depending on how long the school district wants to track them, and the school district determines the context of the questionnaire. She said a former student can opt not to complete the survey.
Olsen said any tracking could be done internally by the school counselors because there are only 90 to 100 graduates per year and most of them maintain close links to their home communities.
Tursi said his suggestion would be that if some kind of post-high-school tracking was to be used he would first like all of the students to be told about tracking during their senior year so they are "not blindsided."
He added that he would like to see what burdens would be placed on staff if the district decides to evaluate internally. If the district decides it should go to an outside company, he said the staff should be clear on the specific questions.
No decisions were made Tuesday night, but staff will be reporting back to the board at a later date.
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