AMES, Iowa — The Ames Community School District has announced it will be offering agricultural career path courses, but due to this change, the district will no longer offer family and consumer sciences (FCS) courses on campus.
The district will offer FCS courses at the middle school level and through the local DMACC campus in Ames.
“There’s going to be about 1600 openings per year in the agricultural field,” said Ames Superintendent of Schools Jenny Risner. “We don’t offer that course or that pathway. It makes sense to do something with the pathway that’s the number one area of demand.”
The Ames School Board Monday night heard from a number of residents who were opposed to taking away FCS classes. Before the comments Supt. Risner apologized for the less than transparent change. She also said the FSC change is not meant to be permanent.
“What I am here for is not my personal things, it’s about the students, said Carol Van Waardhuisen, who teaches serveral FCS Courses for the District. “I think the students that are going to be losing out are those that are most critically needing the programs that we have.”
Risner said the state is now requiring districts to offer courses for at least four career paths, and Ames only had three offerings. The move to add agriculture, as well as meeting a new requirement for all seniors to take financial literacy course, has meant a budget decision needed to be made.
Van Waardhuisen challenged some of the projections indicating FCS was not a path to a career.
Parents also expressed opposition to this new plan on Facebook over the weekend.
“I was just shocked, this is coming at the cost of the whole family consumer science department at Ames High,” said Kathy Vannoy. “It makes no sense. There are many practical skills that students learn.”
Lorinda Everett of Ames values what the FCS teacher Carol Van Waardhuisen has taught her special needs daughter Ayla.
“In our family it’s been a huge blessing to have those classes just to learn the basics,” said Everett. “Through the years, Ayla’s been able to build on what Carol’s taught her.”
Ayla has dreams of owning her own bake shop one day, and now volunteers to make deserts at a local care center.