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Parent Forum: Looking at the 6th Grade Program Monday, May 3, 2010 Stony Brook Auditorium 7:00 P.M.

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Presentation on theme: "Parent Forum: Looking at the 6th Grade Program Monday, May 3, 2010 Stony Brook Auditorium 7:00 P.M."— Presentation transcript:

1 Parent Forum: Looking at the 6th Grade Program Monday, May 3, 2010 Stony Brook Auditorium 7:00 P.M.

2 Transitions “Middle School can seem like a scary place for children who are making the transition from elementary to middle school. Students are looking for close relationships with both peers and adults, but moving from class to class every 45 minutes makes this very difficult.” (University of Michigan study)

3 The Goals  Challenge all students at an appropriate level.  Seek a smooth transition between elementary and middle school.  Design a schedule with fewer daily transitions that meets the needs of 6th grade students as well as curricular needs.  Provide opportunities for appropriate interventions.

4 Background  For a number of years, parents of 6th grade students have expressed concerns over the number of transitions and the stress levels of their children.  Intervention opportunities have been limited by the density of the schedule.  To address these concerns, the schools have altered incrementally, the 6th grade schedule as many as 5 times in 7 years at the Stony Brook School and 3 at the Blanchard Middle School, looking for solutions to these challenges.

5 Background  Team Time was created to provide time for interventions for students, since no RRFs or MRFs exist in the middle school classrooms.  More instructional minutes are needed in mathematics to provide a strong foundation for the pre-algebra and proposed algebra for all in 7th and 8th grade.  More instructional minutes in science will provide for greater inquiry-based experiences.  Central office administrators, principals, teachers, and curriculum coordinators have been included in scheduling discussions throughout the year.

6 Why Change the Present Schedule?  The curriculum needs to drive the schedule. The schedule should not drive the curriculum.  Our current curriculum necessitates more time for in-depth instruction.  We want to teach for understanding and not offer a curriculum that is a mile wide and only an inch deep.  Fewer daily transitions benefit 6th graders.

7 Comparisons 5th grade offerings 120 mins of literacy 75 mins of math 45 mins sci- 2-3 x/wk 45 mins ss- 2-3 x/wk 50 mins-Inte. arts 5x/wk (art, music, PE, library, technology) 6th grade offerings mins of ELA mins of math mins of science mins of ss mins of reading 40 mins of For. Lang. 40 mins of Inte. Arts: (art, music, PE, health, technology ed.) GRT-guid/resch/tech 40 mins of T Time 3x/cycle 7th grade offerings 65 mins of ELA 65 mins of math 65 mins of science 65 mins of ss 40 mins of For. Lang. 40 mins Inte. Arts: (art, music, PE, health, technology ed.) GRT-guid/resch/tech 40 mins of T Time 3x/cycle

8 Instructional Minutes Comparison 6th grade offerings Number of total minutes in team classes/ cycle = 306 7th grade offerings Number of total minutes in team classes/ cycle = 360 8th grade offerings Number of total minutes in team classes/ cycle = 360 *Middle schools run on a 6-day cycle, so over the course of a year, 6th graders receive approximately 30 fewer hours of instruction per subject when compared to their 7th/8th grade peers.

9 Why Change the Present Schedule? To accomplish the goals, something needs to change. The present schedule is no longer an option to accomplish the stated goals.

10 Proposals  Four proposed schedules will be explained.  Individual scheduling proposals were designed by central office administrators, principals and teachers.

11 Schedule A  Offer the following subjects:  English Language Arts (ELA)-full year  Mathematics- full year  Science-full year  Reading as a separate subject-half year or every other day  Social Studies-half year or every other day  Looking at the 6th and 7th grade social studies experience as a continuum, with topics addressed throughout both grades. This results in longer learning blocks of 65 minutes each, with some reading integrated into ELA, as well as taught as a separate content area. Reading can also be embedded into other content areas to help students learn to read non-fiction text in science and math. Intervention blocks will occur 3x/cycle for 45 minutes.

12 Schedule B  Offer the following subjects  English Language Arts (ELA)- full year  Mathematics- full year  Science- full year  Social Studies- full year  Reading - full year  This results in learning blocks of 50 minutes each, with some math instruction given each morning by the homeroom teachers for 20 minutes.  Interventions in all subject areas are given by the foreign language teachers 2x/week for 40 minutes, thus reducing the foreign language instruction to 4 days in a 6-day schedule.

13 Schedule C  Offer the following subjects  English Language Arts (ELA)- full year  Mathematics- full year  Science- full year  Social Studies- full year  This results in a rotating/ drop-add schedule with 3 learning blocks of 90 minutes, meeting daily, and a 90 minute intervention block meeting 2x in a 6-day cycle. Reading is no longer a stand-alone subject.  Reading instruction will be integrated into ELA. Reading can also be embedded into the other content areas to help students learn how to read in science, social studies and math.

14 Schedule D  Offer the following subjects  English Language Arts (ELA)- full year  Mathematics- full year  Science- full year  Social Studies- full year  This results in a schedule that mirrors the 65 minute blocks in the 7th and 8th grade schedules. Reading instruction will be integrated into ELA. Reading is no longer a stand-alone subject. Reading can also be embedded into the other content areas to help students learn how to read in science, social studies and math.  Interventions blocks will occur 3x/cycle for 45 minutes each.

15 What Does the Data Show? And Why Consider Integrating Reading into Other Content Areas as Part of the Proposals? In the 2009 MCAS results, 46 out of the 50 top- performing 6th grades across the state, integrate reading into ELA instruction. Westford has 2 of the 4 schools that offer reading as a stand-alone subject in grade 6. In the 2009 MCAS results, 46 out of the 50 top- performing 6th grades across the state, integrate reading into ELA instruction. Westford has 2 of the 4 schools that offer reading as a stand-alone subject in grade 6. Reading was eliminated as a stand-alone subject in 7th grade 10 years ago in Westford and our test scores have continued to rise over the same time period.

16 Summary  The curriculum needs to drive the schedule. The schedule should not drive the curriculum.  To accomplish our goals, something needs to change.  The present schedule is no longer an option to accomplish the stated goals. We welcome your input tonight and through a survey to be ed tomorrow.


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