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Governor MIfflin School Board details proposed changes to curriculum

By Greg Didyoung, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 17 2012 10:07:38 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 18 2012 05:42:26 AM CST
SHILLINGTON Pa. -

Students could see big changes in their school schedule if proposed curriculum alterations are approved.

Board members were shown a presentation Monday night that described how cutting the number of classes could better prepare students for standardized testing. The proposals include cutting middle school from nine 43-minutes classes to seven 56-minute classes, integrating science and social studies, and altering course offerings for ninth-graders.

The seven period classes were proposed for the middle and high school, however, board members said schedule changes would only occur in middle school if the plans are approved.

"We are not ready as a board to come before you with a seven period high school day," Superintendent Daniel Bulinski said

Shortening the number of classes would allow for students to focus on the core subjects of Math, Science, English, and Social Studies. Board members say such a focus is needed to ensure that students are adequately prepared for the Keystone Exams.

"There is a movement to add more time in education without increasing funding...instead of adding time, we would better utilize the time they have now," Bulinski said.

Many residents were concerned about what students would lose if the proposal were approved. Adding more time on core courses would cut the amount of time students would spend in Art, Computer Application, Tech-ed, FCS, Music, Geography, Reading, and World language.

Student Luke Myers questioned to need to shorten elective courses saying " decreasing elective credits means less time to for use to try new things and define ourselves."

Social studies teacher Eric Marsh expressed concern about the amount of time students would spend on core courses just to achieve standardized testing results. "I'm afraid students will burn-out with more and more focus on core courses."

 The presentation also laid out plans to integrate science and social studies to reduce redundancy of topics. earth and space sciences would be moved to the middle school to support PSSA testing in middle school. The move would allow high school students more time to focus on biology and chemistry.

Ninth-graders could also see changes in their curriculum. Plans include separate lunches for the freshman and possible classrooms for major subjects. The proposal would condense Consumer Education, FCS, Technology Education, and Phys-ed so students could complete them all within their first year. The board says such a move allows for greater flexibility once the freshman become juniors and seniors.

The board will vote on each of the proposals separately at their next meeting January 21st.