New state graduation requirements will not be the only change for rising ninth-graders in Columbia County high schools next year.
They also will have new math textbooks, which were approved by the school board at its Tuesday meeting.
Rose Carraway, the director of high school student learning, said Wednesday that high school students in all grades could have new math textbooks, depending on which course they take. However, she said the new instructional materials primarily will be used for ninth- and 12th-graders.
The school board also unanimously approved a high-school rezoning plan for the 2009-10 school year.
The high schools are being rezoned to prepare for the opening of Grovetown High School on Chamblin Road in 2009.
The final plan had slight changes from the original version that was presented to residents earlier this spring.
The changes included rezoning William Few Parkway south of Magnolia Drive to Columbia Road, and Louisville Road south of Heggies Ridge to Columbia Road from Greenbrier to Grovetown High.
Columbia Road from Appling Harlem Road to Louisville Road was rezoned from Greenbrier to Harlem High.
"We are not adding any areas to Greenbrier. It is a total relief to Greenbrier High School," Superintendent Charles Nagle said.
The new plan also included additions to the Harlem Middle School zone.
Three areas-- Columbia Road from Appling Harlem Road to Louisville Road, the area north of Interstate 20 to Cobbham Road and the area north of Cobbham Road west of Ray Owens Road -- were shifted from Greenbrier Middle to Harlem Middle.
The school board approved a rezoning plan for its middle schools, which will go into effect in August, to prepare for the opening of Stallings Island Middle School.
However, Nagle said, the latest changes to the Harlem zone will not go into effect until 2009 because of transportation issues.
Patricia Kissinger, whose home has been rezoned from the Greenbrier to the Harlem schools, has been an outspoken critic of the plan. She repeated her concerns Tuesday that Harlem High's test scores and graduation rate lag behind those of the county's other high schools.
"Rezoning should not be used as a course of action to improve this school's standing," she said.
However, Nagle said he thought the county's high schools would thrive under the new zoning plan.
"I don't think this zoning should be a concern for academic excellence," he said.
School board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco said one of the benefits of rezoning is that the students have friends in every high school in the county.
"This rezoning has actually gone a lot smoother than I thought it would. The plan was solid to start with," board member Mike Sleeper said.
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