The Pickerington Local School District Board of Education this week approved the addition of a new high school course designed to challenge students to identify and address community problems, and provide mentoring to local elementary school students.
In its last meeting before the Aug. 13 start of the school year, the board unanimously approved adding a service learning course for students at Pickerington High School Central and Pickerington High School North.
The course will be available to juniors and seniors this school year.
Students can earn 0.5 credits for taking the elective for one semester, or one credit for taking the class for the full year.
According to the district's class description, service learning will seek to involve students in issues of importance throughout the local community, as well as within the district's school buildings.
"Students in this class will collaborate with a small student cohort to research problems in the community, design service learning activities to address those needs, participate in peer mentoring program with a PLSD elementary school and present their service learning projects to a public audience," information added to the district's 2014-15 High School Course Guide stated.
"This experience engages students in projects that serve the community while building social, civic and academic skills," the guide stated.
Service learning students will work with advisers to develop a plan that includes identification of a community need to be addressed, an action plan, reflection and evaluation.
Those who participate in the course are required to provide their own transportation two days a week to a partner elementary school.
Additionally, the board approved the addition of a new, one-semester Comparative Government Dual Credit course for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.
The college-level service course will provide one credit to students who complete it, and its work will include the analysis of patterns in history, institutions, political culture and economy.
In other news from Monday's board meeting, Tom Leach, who lives near the Pickerington Youth Athletic Association complex at 630 Hill Road, addressed the board regarding an Aug. 9 practice he said the PHS North football team held at the PYAA facility.
Leach said he didn't have an issue with the team practicing there, but he was upset what he called "gangster rap" with offensive lyrics was played over the complex's speaker system for 90 minutes, beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Leach said the content of the music, as well as it being played so early in the morning, was disrespectful to neighbors and he questioned the leadership of the football team.
"The bottom line is that happened for an hour and a half with absolutely no consideration for the neighborhood," Leach said.
Pickerington Superintendent Valerie Browning-Thompson said she will "look into that and I'll get back to Mr. Leach."