New Initiatives Set the Stage for Student Success
The decisions we make, the changes that we adopt, the new initiatives that we implement – all done for one reason: to provide our students with the best educational opportunities that we can offer and that they so richly deserve.
Last September, the District implemented the new school uniform policy. This was an unprecedented decision and probably one of the most comprehensive changes our District carried out in recent history, but it was successful because of the collective efforts of everyone involved. There have been minor modifications to the uniform guidelines – mostly with sneakers and shoes – and we look forward to “Year 2” of implementation to be as successful.
The 2014-2015 school year is already busy with implementing new initiatives that will have a positive impact on our students’ futures. Over the summer, our elementary teachers participated in professional development so they would be ready to run with the new Journeys reading program for K-5. This comprehensive program integrates reading with foundation skills, writing, speaking and listening, and language to provide a balanced approach to literacy at every level.
Our middle school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiatives are helping prepare our students for the future. Students are already incorporating the new math series GO Math into daily curriculum. GO Math combines math practice, math reasoning, and technology into a more engaging and interactive approach to learning. ScienceFusion, the new middle school science curriculum, offers virtual labs and hands-on activities that focus on developing critical thinking skills for success in future science courses and the workplace. Our new Project-Based Science Initiative, which is supported by Lehigh University, focuses on integrating project-based learning activities into every day classroom practices.
One of the most exciting new initiatives for our students is the development of the District’s stand-alone Professional Careers Institute (PCI) designed to prepare high school students for college or highly-skilled local industry jobs. At the September 18 School Board Meeting, our School Board of Directors voted to enter into an agreement with Building 21, a non-profit group of school leaders whose mission is to assist school districts in creating a customized secondary education focused on a project-based learning approach – the first step to realizing our PCI concept. This initiative will use project-based strategies to teach high school courses by blending these courses into competency-based projects taken from the world of business. Not only will skills in math, science, social studies, and English be emphasized, but people skills also will be promoted as part of the program. This new high school model is organized into a Common Core aligned, competency-based progression system built on clear and transparent standards for proficiency and graduation. Students in PCI participate in learning experiences that take them into local industry via internships, participate in online courses and dual enrollment. This approach empowers students to conduct research, integrate theory and practice, and apply knowledge and skills to develop a viable solution to a real-world problem.
We must transform our approach to make learning relevant to the real world and offer our students opportunities that they cannot get elsewhere. These are exciting times and together we will prepare our students for great futures.
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