SALISBURY TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
The curriculum and technology committee met at Salisbury Middle School Feb. 6 and were impressed by the presentations made by the students.
Stations were set up for committee members, administrators, parents and community members to observe the various projects being worked on by students, who have incorporated technology into their sophisticated projects.
Students presented their projects ranging from challenged based learning to iMovies, showing their research and the final results of the projects. Committee members were impressed with the research and presentations made and especially liked the idea of visiting stations to observe the various projects.
The committee received an update on the recent graduation projects presented at the high school. A total of 269 11th and 12th grade students presented projects ranging from job shadowing and community service to creative work pathways.
Board president Russell Giordano said he believes graduation projects are a valuable use of the students' time and asked if they were not required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, should the district continue the requirement.
Salisbury High School Principal Heather Morningstar said the students get out of it what they put in. She said the caliber of the projects has elevated over the years and many of the presentations are exceptional. Morningstar said there are valuable components that could be served as part of the curriculum if PDE did not require the graduation projects.
Board member John Moyer said he would be interested in seeing a graduation project.
Assistant Superintendent Randy Ziegenfuss said when the state mandated Keystone tests become a requirement to graduate, the graduation projects will no longer be required by the state. This will begin with the current eighth grade class.
Board member Sam DeFrank said he would like to keep the requirement of volunteering and Superintendent Michael Roth said volunteering currently begins at the elementary school level.
Board member Brian Bobeck said career exposure is good for the students and Morningstar said medicine and engineering are the two most difficult careers for students to job shadow.
Another update was provided by Morningstar on the Keystone exams taken recently as she held meetings with both teachers and students assessing their reactions to the testing.
Students told Morningstar the biggest challenge was not taking the test in connection with the course; they found the computer to be most challenging in biology. They said they wanted to look back at a previously used term and found the computer posed a problem. Other students found algebra to be a problem when using the computer to take the test.
The results of the Keystone testing will be given March 4. Two-thirds of the students will take Keystone tests in May students will take end of course exams and retakes.
The program of studies for the 2013-2014 school year was approved by the committee and it will be placed on the agenda for the Feb. 13 regular school board meeting for approval.
Once approved, the courses offered will be placed on the website.
Some changes were made to the courses with input from teachers and a Media Management II course was approved as well as an advanced instrumental studies course.
Only two dual enrollment courses will be offered, if approved, and advanced art and advanced physiology have been removed as dual enrollment courses due to staffing requirements.
An update was provided regarding Teaching and Learning 2014 and survey results were given to the committee. Ziegenfuss said they will continue to collect and post data and share with board members.
Lynn Fuini-Hetten provided an update on Salisbury's cyber school, VAST. At this time, 12 students are enrolled and she continues to encourage Salisbury students to participate in the Salisbury cyber school rather than other cyber or charter schools.
Giordano asked for an update on the Lifesmarts class at a future curriculum meeting.