For the 2017-2018 school year, Muscatine Community School District is piloting some new curriculum for middle school and elementary schools, as well as implementing some new curriculum for the upcoming year.
There will be a new ELA (Language arts) curriculum called Collections for the middle schools, which the school board purchased through a company called HMH. This is a program that was piloted last year, and for which teachers gave fantastic feedback. There will be a district training for teachers using the new program starting August 10. Students will receive new textbooks for the program as well as access to an online portion. They can access their books and study tools online, and there is even a parent online component where parents can access everything that the students do.
K-12 will start piloting a new science curriculum. This will be the school board’s next big textbook purchase if they end up going with the new program. Statewide, schools are testing new curriculum for science. Some schools have started new science programs already, but Muscatine was waiting for the National Science Standards to come out. By the end of the year, there will be a set science curriculum that will meet the National Science Standards.
For grades 5-8, the schools will now offer Pre-AP classes, which is something completely new to the school district. Fifth graders will have the option to take Pre-AP math and sixth through eighth graders will have the option for Pre-AP math and language arts. Muscatine is the only school in Iowa offering Pre-AP to grades as low as 5-8. Parents have been informed of the new class options and must approve of their students taking these advanced classes before they could be placed in them.
“All kids should be given the chance to take these classes if they have the drive to do it,” says Becky Whichers. She says they want to give every student the chance to take these advanced classes if they want to put in the work for them. These are faster-paced classes with more rigorous material to get students ready for AP classes in high school. This will give eighth grade students exposure to Algebra 1 a year early and get them further ahead in classes. Preparing students with these classes now can prepare them to take AP classes in high school that go toward college credit. The main goal of the school district is to prepare students for post-secondary plans and make them successful wherever they decide to go to after school.
Muscatine Community School District strives to better their curriculum every year.