Museum class could be introduced to DHS, MVHS
Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students at Monticello Trails Middle School will have the opportunity to take the popular museum connections course again this school year.
Keil Hileman, museum connections teachers, gave an update Monday on the status of the course to the De Soto USD 232 Board of Education.
While the class will be reinstated to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade classes, Hileman said the soonest classes could start would be second quarter. Schedules at the school already have been finalized for first quarter.
In April 2008, Monticello Trails Principal Tobie Waldeck said he decided to change the course, with the support of district administration, because he felt Hileman was capable of reaching out to students in other ways.
At that time, Waldeck presented Hileman, who was the 2004 Kansas Teacher of the Year and one of the district’s finalists for National Teacher of the Year, with the option of being a core social studies teacher or a traveling district museum connections teacher. Hileman chose the latter.
The class, which had been an option to all three grades at Montiello Trails, was available only for seventh- and eighth-graders this school year, and it had been believed it would be limited to eighth-graders in 2009-2010.
Monday night, Hileman shared the possibility for expanding the course to juniors and seniors at Mill Valley and De Soto High Schools, as well.
With the change in district administration, Hileman has worked with interim superintendent Ron Wimmer on the idea to expand the course to the high school level. Hileman said the expansion was still in the research stages as travel, schedules and the ability to offer college credit were hurdles for the course.
Hileman said the vision was to teach an honors or advanced placement archeology course in the afternoons at MVHS and DHS.
The district still would need to determine if Hileman would travel to each high school or if students would come to a central location for the class. A central location would allow for more classes, and mingling between students from the two schools, Hileman said.
Working out a time frame of the course has also proved difficult. The high schools have different seminar and passing times, which make coordinating a time difficult.
Offering college credit though Johnson County Community College also sparked the interest of the district.
Hileman has been working with administrators from Johnson County Community College to determine if credit could be given through the college’s anthropology department.
Hileman said details of college credit would have to be worked out with the class curriculum and the college’s expectations and guidelines.
Wimmer said the district had hoped to offer the course beginning in the fall semester but details on time, travel and credit still need ironed out.
“I had hoped that we could put it together quickly and in terms of offering in the fall, but things like this take more time than I first perceived, but that’s not in anyway a limitation on what we can do. It just might take longer to get started than I hoped,” he said.
Hileman told the board the course could begin with the start of second semester, if all things fell into place.
Still, Hileman warns of the possibility that plans won’t come together for the course at the high school level.
“At this point there is no promise, all we are doing is looking,” he said. “There are other neat ideas that we are looking into.”