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more of an emphasis on readying students for the work force.
At the May 18 school board meeting, Director Joseph Kaminski complimented Rasmus and Superintendent Joseph Gorman on restructuring the Crestwood curriculum for next year. “To some, change is frightening. Some will be taken out of their comfort zones…” stated Kaminski. “But make no mistake, this is what is needed.”
At the elementary level, Rasmus and others met with teams of teachers and administrators. They found that Fairview and Rice had a great discrepancy in how each school is run. Fairview’s classes, such as language, math, and science, are run separately while Rice’s students are taught through a team approach.
Next year, instruction at the two schools will be more consistent. “We will operate on a schedule where the two schools are alike,” Rasmus remarked. “We’ll have one elementary school, but two buildings.”
Some teachers will leave the elementary schools and move to the secondary campus while others will be assigned to different roles. With the teachers just being given their new assignments May 30, Rasmus was hesitant to discuss specifics.
As far as administration, Crestwood’s two elementary schools will each have different principals next year. Kevin Seyer, Rice’s current principal will move to Fairview and take over as principal there. He will replace Peg Foster, who will now be a co-principal at the secondary campus. Replacing Seyer at Rice will be Joseph Delluso, assistant principal at the high school.
Secondary Campus Changes
With Delluso leaving, the high school will no longer have an assistant principal, but two coprincipals. Also, there will no longer be a distinction between high school and middle school. They are considered one entity –the secondary campus. Foster and Bonnie Gregory, current middle school principal, will work together as co-principals of the secondary campus.
Chris Gegaris, who has been the high school principal for over a decade, will be promoted to chief of district operations. In that role, he will supervise operations across the district, help Crestwood become more competitive with other schools, and take the lead on new initiatives, such as a district cyber school.
More drastic than the administrative changes will be the reshaping of the curriculum at the secondary campus level. The previous middle school schedule will be dismantled next year and replaced with a five-day schedule of alternating days of double instructional periods for language, math, and science. For example, while those three classes will be 42 minutes long on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they will be 84 minutes long the rest of the week.
“By expanding the instructional time, we’re expanding what we can offer students,” Rasmus stated. “Our district vision is that they use the additional time in the double periods for differentiated instruction, skill-based instruction, enrichment, and supplemental instruction.”
In other words, the second half of the double periods will be used for a more hands-on approach to learning and practical applications of content learned. “And that’s where the real learning occurs,” Rasmus went on. “You’re limited to what you can do in 42 minutes. Now, the teacher can help students at their level. If a student needs additional help, instruction can be reiterated. They have that opportunity.”
Students will remain with the same group of classmates for the language, math, and science classes, and then be exposed to different classmates for elective courses. Starting in seventh grade, 10 new related arts classes will be offered.
The new classes will fit under one of five career clusters –business, communication, social sciences, technology, and science. Rasmus gave the example that a student interested in science will now, in seventh grade, have the option of taking a STEM class and each year take the next level of related instruction, such as STEM 2, integrated technology, pre-engineering, and engineering.
For seventh graders, these arts classes will be offered for half a year, with a different type of class, such as world languages, in the second.
At the high school level, more than 20 new course offerings will help prepare students for college and the work force. In fact, Crestwood opened a dialogue with local colleges in preparing its new curriculum.
The new classes will cover areas such as industry, technology, and mass communications. Students will also be exposed to opportunities at an earlier age, such as science enthusiasts being taught four levels of science in their freshman year, biology in the first marking period and chemistry, physics, and environmental science in the following three.
Other offerings the district is excited about include Early College, an expansion of the Young Scholars program, which allows students to take college courses while in high school, traditionally English, math, or science classes. While the Young Scholars is for students with higher GPA’s, the Early College program is open to any student to explore specific trades by taking extracurricular college courses. This allows them to either find their future calling or rule out possible college majors, all while accumulating transferable college credits.
Rasmus concluded by describing early morning and late-night meetings of administrators working on changes. “Many teachers had to come together to revise and develop brand new curriculum. The level of systematic initiatives this year has been awesome. I compliment the administrative team for its persistence and tenacity. Everyone was committed to this outcome and it was a herculean task.”