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Watkins teachers present on curriculum changes

    WATKINS GLEN—Three teachers presented to the Watkins School board on changes being implemented to the curriculum, Monday, April 16.
    Two presentations were given on senior teacher projects. The first was from fourth grade teachers Claudia LaFace and Judy VanSkiver. They showed how all fourth grade lessons are now more integrated into one curriculum, as opposed to being focused in separate subjects. VanSkiver explained this meant that the different subject areas intertwine with each other. One example she gave is when covering the Revolutionary War in social studies, the students also read a novel about the subject.
“It adds depth to learning,” said VanSkiver.
    Their new curriculum covers and incorporates science, art, technology, etc. VanSkiver said, “gone are the days of solely relying on textbooks.” LaFace added that this new curriculum also lines up with the state’s mandated “common core standards.” She said the two teachers started working on their curriculum when the state released the changes. However, the two added that they are still working on a defined ending to the fourth grade piece because of the common core. LaFace said that what they created is a “living document” and can be adjusted as needed because of future changes by the state.
    Art teacher Karen Hansen explained how she has incorporated local community resources into the fifth through eighth grade art program. She said students have used the Watkins Glen State Park gorge, Corning Museum of Glass, and the Schuyler County Humane Society as inspirations for projects. Hansen said one project had the students examining the art of James Hope from the late 1800s. She explained he had an art studio in Watkins Glen at one point.
    Elementary Principal Rod Weeden also presented on proposed changes to the report cards. He said it would make it easier at the end of the year for the elementary teachers to transfer the online grading system to the report card format.
    The next school board meeting is Monday, May 7, at 6:30 p.m. This will also be the hearing on the 2012-13 budget.



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