NORTH ZULCH – The North Zulch School Board approved several curriculum changes last week that they believe will help better prepare students for college and the workforce.
Kori Batten, who oversees college/career readiness and testing, interviewed students from eighth grade through 11th grade and worked with North Zulch High School Principal Rick Panter to develop the changes.
The approved changes include the following:
•Eliminate independent studies, environmental systems and speech as course offerings
•Change to traditional curriculum sequence of English I through English IV
•Change to traditional curriculum sequence of biology, chemistry, physics and anatomy and physiology
•Change the weights for honors and dual credit courses
“This gives them a chance to look at different things and broaden their horizons,” Panter said. “A lot of times they don’t know what they want to do until they take these courses. This gives them choices, and they need more choices.”
He added that they proposed the changes so students have a plan as they go through high school.
“They can change it as they go through but they’ll have a plan,” Panter said. “All we’re doing is giving them a specific path to follow.”
The principal noted that the district is “not where we need to be academically.”
“Do we want to have things on paper that make us look good or something that prepares [the students] academically?” he said. “Our kids need to have classes that mean something. They’re going to leave here smarter.”
Batten said the students have struggled with the way the current curriculum is structured.
School board member Tammy Gilbert suggested it may be time to revisit the hiring of a staff member solely to oversee curriculum.
Panter suggested that improved communication could address some of the issues.
“The third-grade math teacher needs to meet with the high school math teacher, and that communication isn’t happening,” he said. “That’s called vertical alignment. We need to put them in a room together. We’re going to do that in all the core subjects.”
In other matters, the school board:
•Recognized Elementary School Student of the Month Kadynce Giles, Junior High Student of the Month Zoraida Medina, High School Student of the Month Andi McWhorter (not present), Teacher of the Month Alexa Alderson and Employee of the Month Kim Brown.
•Approved changes to recruitment and retention incentives for educators.
•Approved changes to Local Policy DEC including compensation and benefits, leave and absences.