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Science curriculum plan approved by Dist. U-46

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 approved of a secondary science electives curriculum proposal via a 6-0 vote, board member Veronica Noland was absent, at its meeting on Monday, April 6 which was held electronically due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
  The total cost of the curriculum and resource proposal is $1.2 million.
  “The purpose of the work that we did was to adopt curriculum frameworks and resources for secondary science electives and to make sure that we were updating them to the Next Generation Science Standards that include instructional practices for Standards Based Learning and Assessment,” said Deb McMullen, coordinator of K-12 science and planetarium. “And also, to update honors curriculum to feature an expanded scope of competencies while teaching current standards in greater depth than our regular courses.”
  The proposal also included updates to Advanced Placement (AP) courses to align with new College Board standards.
  The implementation is expected to start this spring and summer with professional development with courses starting in the 2020-2021 school year.
  Despite the current shutdown, McMullen said the district is “hopeful that we’re going to be able to begin professional development.”
  Under the course progression, freshmen can choose biology or honors biology, both of which are available in the dual language (DL) program. Sophomores can choose chemistry and honors chemistry as well as integrated physical science (IPS), which is offered sophomore through senior year.
  Juniors can take chemistry (DL), honors chemistry (DL), AP chemistry, physics (DL), AP physics, environmental science (DL), AP environmental science, Earth and space science (DL) and AP biology. Seniors can take the same courses along with AP physics C.
  IPS is listed as an introductory course, and board member Melissa Owens asked why an upperclassman would take an introductory course to which McMullen said: “Typically, a kid would take IPS in their junior/senior year if they didn’t pass their sophomore options.”
  Honors physics will be phased out and Sue Kerr, the board’s president, asked how that will affect students who have already signed up for the class next year. McMullen said it will be offered at some sites and “we’re kind of in this lag year… it’s kind of a weird, wonky year” as the district works on credentialing teachers for AP physics.
  Each course includes three common assessments and Kerr asked if teachers can provide additional assessments as needed and McMullen said they could.
  The cost breakdown for resources include $415,428 for IPS, $227,466 for honors biology, $142,620 for AP biology, $111,914 for honors chemistry, $112,603 for earth and space science, $70,551 for AP physics C, $58,271 for AP chemistry, $52,151 for environmental science and $26,233 for Spanish language resources.
  Board member Eva Porter asked how long the licenses for online resources last and McMullen said six years..





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