District 84 board gets curriculum update

SLEEPY EYE – The District 84 Board of Education received a curriculum update Thursday from Media Specialist Nancy Moore and Social Studies instructor Kevin Schneider.

“It’s an on-going, constantly changing process to establish clear, valid curriculum measurements,” Moore said.

Recent curriculum accomplishments include “flipped” high school math instruction, K-12 English Language Arts, revised high school independent study and tutoring applications, new high school Social Studies electives and core curriculum.

Schneider said he felt middle school students working on reading and math skills every other day during seventh period are able to work their way out of skill deficits. If they don’t improve, the principal intervenes.

“Parents say they like the program. Some asked about using it for high school grades too,” Schneider said.

“It’s building a competence level for kids we were worried about,” Moore said.

Schneider said teachers learned about the concept at a Willmar workshop.

“People really bought into it,” said Sleepy Eye Supt. John Cselovszki. “This will put us over the top.”

Moore said District 84 is exceeding the state math score average.

“The elementary school is now ‘celebration eligible’ under the state rating system,” Moore said. The news, which means the school rank just below the highest level of the test results, caused the board to cheer.

Schneider said the social studies department is considering writing iBooks instead of buying new social studies books that cost about $100 each. Teachers would be given iPads under the program. Students would be assigned iPads to take home for school work, but they would be monitored closely by school personnel.

Moore said technology and curriculum must fit together. “We don’t just add new technology for technology’s sake,” she said.

“We meet in collaborative teams to talk about what is being taught and what works well,” Moore said. “We learn from the young and the old. We’re really excited about our latest state test scores. The kids are really doing well. It shows we’re doing something right.”

Board member Casey Coulson said elementary and high school student intervention programs are time well spent.

Cselovszki said the district received 10 enroll “in” requests for migrant parents who work in Sleepy Eye but were not able to find housing in Sleepy Eye, so they are living in New Ulm. There was one enroll “out” request to Cedar Mountain Public School.

The board approved:

A Minnesota School Employee Association (MSEA) contract (for non-union, special education paraprofessionals) for 2013-15 school years. The contract includes a 5.8 percent total package hike over a two-year period.

Donations of $100 to the library and $40 to PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention & Support) programs by Dan and Sheila Schmid on behalf of Jane Hurley; orange athletic schedules by McCabe’s Ace Hardware, $1,218.84 to the elementary school and $514.99 to the high school from the Target Take Charge of Education program.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com

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