By Denise Dick
A black history course is available to students at each of the city school district’s high schools. They just have to sign up to take it.
“We’ve have members of the community who have been asking about black-history classes,” said Marcia Haire-Ellis, a school board member who is chairwoman of the board’s curriculum committee.
The course has been available, she said, although for the past couple of years it hasn’t drawn a lot of students.
“It has been offered,” Haire-Ellis said, adding that she wants students to realize the course is available.
Douglas Hiscox, deputy superintendent for academic affairs, said the semester course, which is part of the social-studies curriculum, is available at East High School, the Chaney Campus and Choffin Career and Technical Center with one teacher at each school. It’s open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.
“Most of the students who have space available are at the senior level,” Hiscox said.
He believes the number of students signing up for the course may have fallen off in recent years as the district moved into block scheduling, requiring double periods of reading and math.
That’s part of the academic recovery plan developed by the Youngstown School District Academic Distress Commission to guide the district out of academic difficulty.
But the block scheduling may not allow some students the time in the schedule to take electives such as black history.
“This year, 75 kids have signed up,” Hiscox said.