With Superintendent Parker’s vision and the steadfast support and input from the Board, district instruction team, and school staff, we have developed a dynamic curriculum that will help all students thrive.
The most significant change for 2018-19 is the 6th grade transition to middle school. As Superintendent Parker has emphasized, the purpose for this transition is academic. Moving 6th grade to the middle school provides students more opportunities to elective courses, academic advancement, and stronger middle school connections.
Last school year, I had the honor of leading a broad-based committee to explore all options of the transition. The committee convened for months to brainstorm ideas, study model systems, connect with high achieving schools across the nation, and develop the framework that we ultimately adopted.
The 6th grade transition brings exciting renovations to Liberty Middle and Discovery Middle, but the new course opportunities will also pique students’ interest. Rising 6th grade students will now have the opportunity to take advanced Mathematics and Language Arts in addition to 24 elective courses ranging from Chess to Scholars Bowl to Fine Arts to Greenpower Racing. All 6th graders will participate in at least one World Languages course with the options including Latin, German, French, and Mandarin Chinese. The curriculum revisions extend to 7th and 8th grade with the addition of STEM courses such as Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Energy and the Environment and PLTW Magic of Electrons. Revisions also include the expansion of several current offerings such as Theatre and Visual Arts, now making these a sequence of courses students can take during their three years in middle school.
Every year we undergo extensive revisions to ensure that we provide a viable curriculum for our students that not only meets the needs of 21st century learners but also aligns to workforce development demands. I am excited to share that with Superintendent Parker’s vision, we are expanding our elementary Spanish program, adding an advanced 5th grade math opportunity, and expanding curriculum resources for elementary math teachers to better support the learning of all students.
For high school, we are adding new opportunities for students that complement our existing 30 AP course offerings and the vast number of elective courses. For 2018-19, students can now take Accounting to develop a solid understanding of the basic principles of the accounting cycle in addition to being exposed to many aspects of the financial industry. PLTW Digital Electronics is a highlight for students with an interest in learning more about digital circuits found in devices such as video games and digital cameras and how digital devices are used to control automated equipment.
Over the years, we have tried to think beyond traditional school, and the 2018-2019 school year brings another opportunity with an Integrated Modern US History and AP Language course that will challenge students to refine their awareness of language and also to consider the ways in which literature reflects American politics and society. American history and American literature are the perfect pairing for an integrated course as the content students are studying naturally complements one another.
We are excited to enter this year with new opportunities for all students.