Goodbody says the program could be classified as good prevention of drug and alcohol use among students, an idea also advertised by Botvin, the company that created the LifeSkills program. CUSD purchased the license for the 11th grade program from Botvin in 2011.
The November date is a change in the program’s initial scheduling. LifeSkills was originally planned for the end of the 2011-12 school year, but was postponed.
Last year, CHS administrators proposed that social studies classes be used to present LifeSkills, history teacher Marc Stafford reports. “It didn’t get very far,” he says with a laugh. “We revolted.”
“You can’t take 10 [Advanced Placement U.S. History] class periods three weeks before the AP exam,” Stafford says.
When it was proposed that LifeSkills be split between English classes and history classes, teachers rejected it again.
“The school does provide a very broad education for students, and it goes way beyond stereotypical academics,” English teacher Whitney Grummon says. “When a school provides so many opportunities, the academics can feel hit in terms of time.”
Both Grummon and Stafford note that when LifeSkills was proposed, they hadn’t been briefed on any specific content that the program would cover.
LifeSkills was postponed until the 2012-13 school year, when in the second week of school, juniors were informed by email that there was a mandatory supplemental education program scheduled for almost every office hours period in the first quarter of school.
Many students disagree with this decision.
“Office hours are a good time to rest, or a good time to get help in a tough class,” junior Jack Yeatman says. “It’s time that should be left to the students and teachers. It’s not time that should be mandatorily spent doing something.”
Soon after the email to juniors, every CHS student and parent received an email from Principal Rick Lopez announcing the postponement of LifeSkills until an unspecified time. Nov. 19 was eventually picked as the date, and LifeSkills was reconstituted as a one-day program.
“We’ll be doing it in one morning,” Goodbody says.
CUSD officials said that the district “is committed to implementing this program as prescribed.”