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NLS considers bringing FACS classes back

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board may bring back the family and consumer sciences program, which teaches kids various life skills, such as money management, cooking and child development.It was cut from the curriculum last year.Rec...

NEW LONDON - The New London-Spicer School Board may bring back the family and consumer sciences program, which teaches kids various life skills, such as money management, cooking and child development.
It was cut from the curriculum last year.
Recent student surveys indicate NLS High School students want the classes. For the first time in at least a dozen years, NLS is not cutting the budget, which allows the school board to add programs to the curriculum.
But even if the decision is made to add family and consumer sciences, it may be difficult to find a full-time teacher for the job.
NLS High School Principal Kevin Acquard said he’s contacted four colleges to check on the availability of new graduates with degrees in the field.
“It’s slim pickings,” Acquard said. “There’s a lack of candidates going into that field.”
There’s been a shortage of math, science and special education teachers for years, but Acquard said it’s also becoming more difficult to find teachers for family and consumer sciences, business, agriculture and information technology classes.
In many cases, college graduates with those teaching degrees are not going to the classroom but are instead seeking commercial jobs.
“Instead of teaching business, they’re going into business,” Acquard said. “Ag is fairly strong, but a high percentage of ag teachers that graduate are going into business.”
Based on “soft data” of survey results, Aquard said NLS students are interested in taking family and consumer science classes, especially the popular culinary arts class.
When students register for classes in March, family and consumer sciences classes will be on the list of electives for students to select.
If enough students actually register for the classes to warrant making it a full-time program, then board action will likely be taken to find a teacher, Acquard said.
“Numbers will dictate how far we’ll pursue this, if at all,” he said.
In the past, NLS had a half-time teacher who was shared with the Willmar School District. But after Willmar cut its program, NLS too cut the program for the 2015-16 school year.
In order to attract a teacher, Acquard said the NLS program will have to be a full-time position with a wide variety of family and consumer sciences classes.
That could mean the return of the culinary arts class, which Acquard knows firsthand can lead students to a professional career.
Acquard’s own daughter Erica, a 2009 NLS graduate who took the cooking class, is also a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and is currently working under a chef in the Twin Cities.

Related Topics: SPICER
Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at clange@wctrib.com or 320-894-9750
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