Teachers look at new curriculum plan

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— Some Steamboat Springs School Board members expressed concerns Monday about a new curriculum development plan that would take some teachers out of the classroom five to six days per year.

Other board members said the plan is an improvement from the current method. The new plan was presented to the school board during a work session Monday.

The proposal calls for curriculum development teams to be formed for the core content areas of language arts, math, social studies and science, and for specials, encore and electives.

In the core content areas, the teams would have one primary teacher, one intermediate teacher, two to three middle school teachers and two to three high school teachers. Teachers on special assignment and tech coordinators would be attached to specific teams.

The teams would have five and possibly six full-day work sessions to develop curriculum. The teachers would then take the curriculum they develop back to their departments or grade levels, where other teachers would have a chance to give feedback and input on the plans.

For the specials, encore and electives, teams would be made up of two elementary teachers and two secondary teachers when available. A teacher on special assignment and a tech coordinator also would be attached to specific teams, which would meet for six full-day work sessions.

"It identifies the teachers who have the skill and the interest in designing curriculum," said Kelly Stanford, the district's director of curriculum and instruction.

In the current system, high school teachers worked on curriculum during their monthly two-hour meetings on late-start days. At the middle school, departments would work together on curriculum when teachers could coordinate their schedules. At the elementary school, teachers worked on curriculum after school for an hour and a half every week for five weeks.

Teachers also worked on curriculum at different times during the summer.

Under the new proposal, fewer teachers will be writing the curriculum, but all teachers will be able to provide input on the plans.

The proposed budget for the project is $62,530, with $52,000 allocated for substitute teacher fees for 526 substitute teacher days.

The goal is to have the curriculum plan finished in three years and implemented in four, Superintendent Donna Howell said.

School Board member Jeff Troeger said he was very concerned with the money spent on substitute teacher fees and the time regular teachers would spend out of the classroom.

"I hope my kid isn't in the class where the teacher is gone five to six times per year," he said and suggested that teachers use summer time to work on curriculum.

"I think this is stuff we could be doing in the summer and hopefully keep teachers in class," he said.

Board member Pat Gleason said he liked the proposal and thought that teachers would not be willing to give up summer time to work on it or be able to coordinate their schedules to do so.

"I don't have a concern with the five days staff is out," Gleason said. "This is critical. This is the blueprint on how we are going to run our programs in the future."

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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