Changes to Science Curriculum Addressed at Madison BOE Meeting

May 13, 2014 at 11:13 PM

MADISON, NJ – Tom Paterson, supervisor of Science and Technology, provided an overview of new courses to the Madison Board of Education at its meeting on Tuesday.

Paterson said two additional courses have been added to the curriculum, Ecology and Astronomy.

“We surveyed other schools in the area and found most of them offer four to six additional electives,” he said. Among those surveyed were Chatham and Morristown. A committee also surveyed students and found there was strong interest in those particular areas. The latter includes forensics, which he said students are exposed to through such television shows as "CSI."

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“We’ve had a 6 percent enrollment increase and a 5.8 percent increase in students who are opting for science courses,” he said. There has been a strong preference for science and technology, he said, especially with college applications.  

Paterson said feedback from students has shown that they realize there is a math component with every science course. “It’s encouraging to know that students see relationships among these different courses,” he said.  

Parent Steve Wells asked about students doubling up on science courses, which means they would have no study halls. “A student who does that has no life,” he said. “Is there pressure from the staff at colleges?”

Paterson he is also aware of the possibility of burnout. “I can’t speak for the Guidance Department,” he said. “Students don’t have to double up. But it’s their choice.” Paterson explained that each year a different science course is offered: Physics in ninth grade, Chemistry in 10th grade and Biology in 11th grade.

In other business, the board discussed overnight trips and how payment for transportation is handled.

The board approved a grant for window and door systems replacement at the high school.  A number of textbooks were approved, including “The American Pageant” for U.S. History, “Learn Chinese With Me” for Chinese V,  “College Physics” for AP Physics and “Chemistry: the Central Science” for AP Chemistry.

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 27 in the high school media center. 

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