A new Education Benchmarks and Paths Policy, new math pathways for middle schoolers, new middle school attendance boundaries, no more Snoqualmie Middle School and a new Freshman Campus in 2013 are just a few changes the Snoqualmie Valley School District has had on its plate this past year. It’s definitely been a busy few months – even years with regards to the often-debated Freshman Campus.
As that new Freshman Campus takes shape, so does its curriculum; a curriculum that’s been making its way to parents over the past two months via school board meetings, parent focus groups and district advisory committees.
As the new 9th grade curriculum becomes clearer, and a newly proposed STEM (acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) class requirement made public, it became clear yesterday that not all parents are completely on board with the curriculum structure, including the STEM class requirement.
Yesterday a new website hit the internet, started by a parent group called Valley Coalition for Curriculum Choice. The group’s website uses a tagline, “Putting up the Periscope to See What Other Districts are Doing.”
According the site’s homepage, the coalition is composed of “parents from throughout the valley who have come together to encourage the Snoqualmie Valley School District and the School Board to make the high school curriculum at the new Freshman campus one infused with choice, pathways, and course offerings equitable for students and similar to the offerings freshman have access to in Washington state.”
One example of a “choice” the group is asking for is for certain science classes to be made available to math-ready students that align with their post-high school plans. This type of move could see current 9th grade Integrated Science 1 pushed down to 8th grade students who are ready.
The website also contains pages about SVSD’s new 9th grade curriculum, college planning, information on curriculum in other area school districts. According to the VCFCC, the “site was created primarily to serve as reference point for parents, or for anyone in our community interested in learning more about trends in education.”
According to the coalition’s website, “We are hopeful that this parent input will be considered at a time when our school district is undergoing significant changes to 6-12th configurations, a curriculum redesign at the 9th grade level, and implementation of our STEM initiative.”
Mount Si Principal John Belcher has stated on numerous occasions that he is a proponent of incorporating community feedback into the school’s new Freshman Campus and bringing all parties to the table.
School board member Carolyn Simpson says, ‘The work of this coalition is very impressive, well-researched and respectful. This group’s Top 5 Points-by-Parents seems to capture the main questions that I have been hearing from the community of parents, teachers and students. The School Board and the public will be learning more about the details of the Freshman Campus during the board meeting this week. I will continue to encourage the board and the administration to address and consider the community’s questions and this coalition’s requests as these curricular offerings are finalized.”
There is a school board meeting tomorrow night, November 29th, in the Snoqualmie City Hall council chambers at 6:30PM. There is a Freshman Campus Update on the meeting agenda for those wishing to hear the latest updates from SVSD administration. There is also public comment time to ask questions and voice opinions.
For more information on this new parent coalition visit VCFCC.com.