District teachers complete latest cycle of East Providence school curriculum reviews

Administration announces move to high school campus, preparations continue for 2019-20 term

By Mike Rego
Posted 8/15/19

EAST PROVIDENCE — The district has finished its most recent cycle of curriculum reviews begun upon the arrival of Superintendent Kathryn Crowley three-plus years ago, the last few undertaken, …

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District teachers complete latest cycle of East Providence school curriculum reviews

Administration announces move to high school campus, preparations continue for 2019-20 term

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The district has finished its most recent cycle of curriculum reviews begun upon the arrival of Superintendent Kathryn Crowley three-plus years ago, the last few undertaken, Art and Music along with middle school Social Studies, presented to the School Committee at its August 13 forum.
Mrs. Crowley lauded the efforts of staff, saying now the “curriculum is by the teachers for the kids.”
The revised Music and Art curriculum is based upon new national standards set to take effect with the start of the 2019-20 term. It also includes aspects taught in nearby states such as Massachusetts, Vermont and New York.
The committee was told a key element of the curriculum for Art and Music considered allowing for continued creativity by teachers in their instruction while adhering to the standards.
In addition, the curriculum is alignment from Kindergarten through 12th grade. It seeks to offer a “common thread” so students are aware of concepts from the beginning of their education leading up to the more specialized courses offered at the high school level.
The updated middle school Social Studies curriculum, aimed at seventh and eighth graders, follows what was termed a “very successful” revamp of the sixth grade level last year. The committee was told the World Geography course taught as students enter middle school is seen as the “basis for everything learn going forward.”
With that in mind, while preparing the new instruction middle school teachers sought out the advice of East Providence High School Social Studies Department Chairman Mike Silva and State Representative Gregg Amore, the latter a former long-time teacher of the discipline at the high school and someone who was intimately involved in crafting state-wide education reform earlier this year.
The new seventh grade curriculum is based on Contemporary United States History while the eighth grade focuses on Ancient World History. Among the corresponding aspects included in curriculum throughout the three grades are culture, religion, economics, government, international relations and technology
The middle school curriculum leads into high school where in ninth grade the course is Civics, 10th World History and 11th U.S. History. There is no Social Studies requirement for 12th grade.
Mrs. Crowley reminded the committee about the aims of the curriculum revisions, noting when she came on board in late 2015 it followed a “top-down” trajectory with little interlocking values from grade to grade.
She said after this recent review period, the “curriculum is the work of the teachers in this district, and it has really been outstanding. And it is a K-12 articulation now.”
Finance update
District Finance Director Craig Enos, who has appeared at several recent committee meetings discussing the upcoming 2019-20 budget, made brief remarks last week.
He highlighted the tuition the district receives from students who attend the Career and Technical Center from outside the city. To date, there is in increase of nearly $20,000 to over $250,000 total the district has been paid.
Mr. Enos called the amount “really, really good,” adding “I think it speaks to the quality of the programs that are happening at the CTC.”
More notes
Superintendent Crowley called the revised 2019-2020 Elementary School Handbook approved by the committee last week, a “proactive document rather than a reactive document.”
The superintendent said work on refurbishing the “all-purpose” room at Waddington Elementary School continues in preparation for the increase in enrollment due to the reorganization plan there set to begin this fall. The district is awaiting delivery of the new flooring with the hope it can be installed before classes start in earnest in two weeks.
The administration, the superintendent explained, studied the viability of installing what is termed a “store front” door at the entrance of Riverside Middle School to enhance security at the building and is prepared to move forward. The “secured entrance renovation” at RMS will be undertaken shortly after the committee approved an action item last week.
Superintendent Crowley said she and her staff are still seeking to resolve the limited parking situation at East Providence High School with the construction of the new building now well underway. A lottery was recently held for the 104 spaces available in the student lot. Ten more spots for student parking were made available in the teachers’ lot. She said a number of other off-campus spaces are being considered as alternatives.
The committee was told the administration is planning a move from the third floor of City Hall into available space at the Career and Tech Center. The superintendent said it is doing so in part to allow for preparation of integrating Career and Tech education into the new high school building in two years.
The superintendent, her assistants and the Human Resources director will start the move immediately. Current CTC Principal Karen Mellen and two guidance counselors formerly situated there will take up available space in the high school’s administrative offices. Finance, IT and the rest of the district departments will follow to the CTC  soon after.

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