By Alex Malm
During the Feb. 15 Londonderry School Board meeting the Board reviewed changes to the program of studies for Londonderry Middle School.
Londonderry Middle School Principal William Van Bennekum said that they had some language changes for their programs of study.
“We have a few language changes in our programs of study,” said Van Benekum.
One of the things that was added Van Benekum said is that they added a reading course to their team teaching classes. He said that the course part of the team organizations include english language arts, social studies, science, math and reading.
Another change that was made was in regards to language on how students are promoted to the next grade.
Meaghan Nason, the curriculum coordinator for the middle school said that it stated that students need to pass a certain number of credits in order to be promoted to the next grade.
“As a middle school we actually don’t offer credits,” said Nason.
Under the new language it states “all students must pass at least five core subjects each year, including courses in language arts and mathematics. To be promoted to the next grade, students not meeting these requirements in reading, language arts or math will be required to attend a summer school program. Placement in high school courses does depend on courses taken, and grades achieved at the middle school.”
It was also explained by Nason that they updated their summer programming offerings.
“We will bring back our summer school programming,” said Nason.
The offerings are the following:
Summer School: Students not meeting the requirements of promotion during the regular school year will be required to attend summer school. Programming options will be offered before the end of the final trimester and families will be notified by the school counselor. If students do not attend summer school, they will be required to take an additional block of math, language arts or reading or a recovery course to master the standard and recover the course. This block may be during school or after school depending on the scheduling possible for individual students.
Summer Math Academy: Summer Math Academy is offered to sixth and seventh grade students who need to continue to develop their mathematical skills. This summer academy provides extra time for our students to be ready for the next school year in mathematics. This program offers a fun, unique environment to continue to build math skills necessary for middle school success.
Enrichment: The “Young Readers and Writers Summer Seminar” is fun environment for students who love to read and write. This seminar program offers an opportunity for students to build upon their writing skills, prepare for the next grade and have fun. Students bring together their writing, community and schoolwork in a collaborative way.
Library Time: The LMS Library is open weekly in the summer months to allow students to take out library materials. Some of these materials include reading materials, crafting bags, puzzles, games and more. Students may also participate in our book bag subscription program which allows students to receive a bag of books to read and enjoy.
The School Board ultimately approved the changes for the program of studies.
Also during the meeting the School Board approved a number of different changes to the classes offered at Londonderry High School.
One of those new courses is music interactive.
“This course will provide additional opportunities for students with special needs to access offerings in the music department, while offering those students who have an interest in the field of education an opportunity to work with their classmates toward the common goal of appreciating the arts,” the memo stated. “There is no budgetary impact as a result of this course.”
Another course that was added was a senior college seminar.
“College choices have long lasting academic and financial impacts,” the memo read. “This course will assist students as they navigate these important decisions. Students will have support to build their college plans during the school day with the guidance and resources of the high school’s Counseling Department. There is no budgetary impact as a result of this course.”
Reading for success is another class that was proposed.
“Reading for pleasure is often pushed aside as students juggle the requirements of their course loads in high school, yet research supports the idea that reading for fun is as valuable as reading for academic purposes. We also know that the older students get, the harder it is for them to find time to read,” the memo stated. “A goal of this course would be to provide students with the opportunity to find the joy in reading, which will lead to increased time in front of text, improvement in academic performance, and greater preparedness for college and life beyond. We will do what we find pleasurable. Reading needs to be practiced, just like any other skill. We don’t want students to exercise only in physical education class, we want them to incorporate it into their daily lives. We also know that reading builds background knowledge and empathy, and has the ability to empower students as agents of change in our society. This course is designed to provide student choice and voice. The students will grow as self-directed learners. They will be responsible for self-selecting books and other texts and will be involved in decisions around assessment. While the course will foster communication, collaboration, and critical thinking; the goals include helping students find joy in reading and better prepare for the rigors of academic reading beyond high school. There is no budgetary impact as a result of this course.”
For foreign language a course called french culture through film was also added.
“The study of film is a vehicle for a better understanding of culture. The typical language course does not have time in the curriculum to study the films created by the speakers of the target language,” the memo stated. “This course is designed both for students who want to supplement their language learning as well as those who perhaps are not currently studying a language but want to better understand the world around them. Since the birth of film, the French have been innovators and passionate fans of moving pictures. Today, French films provide an unmatched view of how the French see themselves and others. Meanwhile, Americans and others use film to capture their vision of a culture that attracts people from around the world. In addition, the common practice of American filmmakers remaking French films offers an unparalleled opportunity to compare the two cultures and learn more about each. There is no budgetary impact as a result of this course.”
The School Board ultimately approved the changes to the program of studies.