New Providence BOE Hears Curriculum Report

Credits: Marianne Ivers
Credits: Marianne Ivers
Credits: Marianne Ivers

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Ann Marie Inzano, Interim Director of the Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision, opened the district curriculum report presentation at the Thursday, Feb. 23 Board of Education (BOE) meeting.

In her opening remarks Inzano commended the New Providence School community - its amazing staff, wonderful students and supportive parents – for the “wonderful things” that are taking place in all district schools. She also thanked the administrative staff and all those staff members who contributed to the presentation. The curriculum enhancements are designed to teach students to access and analyze information as well as to provide them with problem solving skills.

Technology Specialist Sandra Anderson provided the presentation on Personalized Learning Initiative which is designed to support individualized learning experiences in high school. The students have been using I-pads at school with access to a variety of apps. However, the teaching staff noticed that the usage of some apps was disruptive in class and all I-pads were reset during the holiday break.  

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Now the students have access to the New Providence Apps store which offers over 130 apps to choose from for their educational needs. The school approved apps are interactive tools helping students to maximize their learning experience. Students may also request other apps which have to be approved by the school. All apps will update automatically, Andersen said.

Susan Rembetsy gave a presentation regarding Honors Calculus which will be available for students next year. She explained that this new course was “driven by need”. It is designed for students that are willing to move up from regular calculus to a more challenging class, but who find the AP level class too demanding. The course will be added to the Program of Studies. Rembetsy also explained that the course will utilize the existing material used in both regular and AP Calculus.

Middle School Principal Jay Richter told the board about a new Junior Engineering Exploratory Course to be offered for seventh grade students next year. The course was designed based on the feedback from parents, students and teachers. The course will allow students to explore engineering design process and challenges. The course work includes building bridges and towers among other structures.

James McGeechan, Science Department Head, briefed the BOE about the New Jersey Student Learning Standard for Science (NJSLS-S). The program was previously known as the Next Generation Science Standards. The program provides a comprehensive K–12 science learning experience that sets the expectations for what students should know and be able to do in science so as to ready themselves for college and careers. Teachers are participating in professional development sessions and collaborating in developing instructional strategies.

Department Head of Science Jon Keaney provided a presentation regarding STEM related curriculum news. The STEM initiative is a long term process of curriculum integration and extracurricular opportunities, he said. Keaney brought with him groups of students, from elementary to high school level, who demonstrated the development of basic coding skills to challenging engineering and programming projects.

Elementary school students demonstrated how to utilize a simple color based coding to control “Ozobots”. High school students showed their project which demonstrated “real world context” and problem solving skills. Keaney explained that some students focus on coding while others concentrate on engineering tasks when designing their projects. This replicates the real work place environment where “not everybody knows everything.” Instead, students learn to collaborate with others.

Next year there will be three new STEM related courses available for high school students: Architecture and Engineering Design and Environmental Sustainability will be available for students in all grade levels. Aerospace Engineering will be offered to junior and senior class students. In addition to classes there are multiple STEM related extracurricular activities available for students is all district schools, Keaney said.

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