D-G-F moves to handle changes in curriculum
A change in state curriculum requirements is causing concern among educators. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton's high school principal worries the new math and science requirements might tempt some kids to drop out of school. "We've done an excellent job ...
A change in state curriculum requirements is causing concern among educators.
Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton's high school principal worries the new math and science requirements might tempt some kids to drop out of school.
"We've done an excellent job as a district with graduation rates, and I don't want this to turn kids off," said Thomas Gravel, D-G-F High School principal.
Instead of taking two years of math and two years of science, students who will graduate in 2008 or later now have to take three years of each course.
Gravel says about 30 percent of students already take at least three years of math and science. But he says he is concerned about the students who would prefer to take electives like woods, home economics or business courses instead.
"My real concern is those kids who want to go into vocational or have no desire to go on to post-secondary courses, that they don't get disheartened by the third year of math and science," Gravel said.
Gravel guesses 10-15 percent of the students will struggle somewhat because they do not want to take a third year of science or math.
"Our job is to make sure that those kids are successful," Gravel said.
To give all students time to do homework during school hours and to offset the potential impact on elective courses,D-G-F High School is building a 20 minute study hall for every student into its schedule.
An elective 50 minute study hall will no longer be an option, which will require students to take an elective course.
Gravel says now only half of the student body takes study hall.
Gravel says the only problem with the changed schedule is the students who really count on and use the 50-minute study hall.
"What I really want to derive from this is to give students as many opportunities as I can without overloading them but to utilize my staff to the best ability," Gravel said.
Mike Anderson, a D-G-F High School biology and human anatomy/physiology teacher, says the new requirements are a positive change that will pose some challenges.
"The addition of any math or science, I think, is a real plus," Anderson said.
Anderson says the new requirements will better equip students to handle college courses. But, he says, students who do not plan to go to college have other needs that could be better served other ways.
Anderson says the new requirements will affect class sizes as well as how teachers present the material. Teachers will have to accommodate students of varying levels in courses that are now typically taken by top-level students.
Anderson also says since students' abilities determine how much material a teacher can cover, the change might slow down the curriculum.
"For your average or above average students ... it's going to become very favorable for their outcome in the future," Anderson said. "But there are many other students who have other disciplines, I think that they feel they've been railroaded into something."
Gravel says the district will not have to hire any more teachers to accommodate the curriculum change, but may have to buy more textbooks.
The Moorhead School District is also working on curriculum changes to meet the new requirements. The district is adding new math and science courses but does not expect to hire any new teachers.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526