This has been a good year for our school district. We have hired new management, we have established financial accountability, and we are looking to the future. Our next step is to strengthen the curriculum and begin to focus on individual student learning as well as our group averages.
On student learning, our new superintendent, Kris Harrison, who is an expert in academic accountability, will be creating a system for following student progress throughout the school year. No longer will we be forced to rely upon after-the-fact, once-a-year snapshots from the State tests to tell us how we’re doing.
On curriculum, at the top of my list are: replacement of Math Trailblazers with “Singapore Math” or another program of its caliber; creation of a K-12 reading program rich in the classics of Western and World literature; and expansion of 5th and 6th grade foreign language instruction into a core subject.
The classics are very inexpensive, and a new math curriculum does not have to be a big-ticket item. However, a rigorous foreign language program in grades 5 and 6 will be costly, and finding the money to fund it will not be easy. For that reason, I reluctantly chose to vote against hiring a new Curriculum Director last March. There is no getting around it; the district faces severe financial challenges in the years ahead.
Yet, our children’s educational future is bright.
Robyne Camp, Irvington