×
×
homepage logo

Getting To The Core

By Staff | Mar 1, 2012

For the past couple years, a push in the educational system for Iowa schools has been to meet the Iowa Core Curriculum. The Core is a set of standards of educational excellence designed to help bring Iowa’s students back to the forefront of the nation in terms of learning excellence. The challenges of meeting the Iowa Core have been an ongoing effort for school districts, including the Emmetsburg Community Schools.

Several proposed changes to the curriculum requirements at Emmetsburg High School were presented to the Emmetsburg School Board during its February meeting on Feb. 20. High School Principal Jay Jurrens discussed four areas in the high school curriculum identified for fine-tuning and explained the reasoning for the changes.

“The Iowa CORE is a minimum standard set by the state, to make sure that every student has the minimum requirements to be successful in life,” Jurrens said. “We’ve looked at our current curriculum and at the Core to see where we need to make changes, and we feel these changes should help our students be able to attain the standards.”

In the area of English Language Arts, four years of English are currently required of high school students. Jurrens explained that a one-credit junior course, Critical Thinking, would now be required of all students for graduation. Formerly, Critical Thinking was an elective course, but now as a requirement, students will still be able to select an elective course in their four years.

Jurrens then shifted to Mathematics. “We currently require three years of math. We are now proposing that all students pass Algebra II. This would be a part of the three-year requirement, and there would be an opportunity for a support period for Algebra II to assist students with the class.”

Another proposed change is in the Social Studies curriculum. Currently, three years of social studies are required for graduation. The proposal calls for all freshmen students to take World Geography and a Survey of Social Studies classes.

“The majority of our freshmen already take these classes,” Jurrens noted, “and by making this a requirement, it would apply to the three-year requirement.”

Jurrens pointed out that in conjunction with the proposed change at the high school level, a change was also being proposed for seventh graders in the Middle School.

“We are also proposing to change the seventh grade curriculum from a history-based class to one of a Survey of Social Studies, which would encompass areas such as Civics and Government as well.”

The final proposal addressed the areas of Keyboarding and Spanish.

“All of our students in grades four through eight take keyboarding and computers. Currently, our eighth graders take keyboarding for a quarter each year,” Jurrens explained. “We would propose dropping the keyboarding and changing to an introductory course in Spanish for the eighth graders, and also add an emphasis in good studying skills. We feel the emphasis on study skills would be very beneficial, as we have been told by freshmen that they often have difficulty in organizing their study time.”

“Jurrens concluded, “As we look at the middle school, we may limit some of the elective offerings in the future for our younger students. Otherwise, with the exception of the keyboarding and Spanish proposals, the changes are being presented so that we will be able to continue to meet the requirements of the Iowa Core Curriculum.

With no questions or comments, the board approved the proposals to go into effect for the 2012-2013 school year.

Getting To The Core

By Staff | Mar 1, 2012

For the past couple years, a push in the educational system for Iowa schools has been to meet the Iowa Core Curriculum. The Core is a set of standards of educational excellence designed to help bring Iowa’s students back to the forefront of the nation in terms of learning excellence. The challenges of meeting the Iowa Core have been an ongoing effort for school districts, including the Emmetsburg Community Schools.

Several proposed changes to the curriculum requirements at Emmetsburg High School were presented to the Emmetsburg School Board during its February meeting on Feb. 20. High School Principal Jay Jurrens discussed four areas in the high school curriculum identified for fine-tuning and explained the reasoning for the changes.

“The Iowa CORE is a minimum standard set by the state, to make sure that every student has the minimum requirements to be successful in life,” Jurrens said. “We’ve looked at our current curriculum and at the Core to see where we need to make changes, and we feel these changes should help our students be able to attain the standards.”

In the area of English Language Arts, four years of English are currently required of high school students. Jurrens explained that a one-credit junior course, Critical Thinking, would now be required of all students for graduation. Formerly, Critical Thinking was an elective course, but now as a requirement, students will still be able to select an elective course in their four years.

Jurrens then shifted to Mathematics. “We currently require three years of math. We are now proposing that all students pass Algebra II. This would be a part of the three-year requirement, and there would be an opportunity for a support period for Algebra II to assist students with the class.”

Another proposed change is in the Social Studies curriculum. Currently, three years of social studies are required for graduation. The proposal calls for all freshmen students to take World Geography and a Survey of Social Studies classes.

“The majority of our freshmen already take these classes,” Jurrens noted, “and by making this a requirement, it would apply to the three-year requirement.”

Jurrens pointed out that in conjunction with the proposed change at the high school level, a change was also being proposed for seventh graders in the Middle School.

“We are also proposing to change the seventh grade curriculum from a history-based class to one of a Survey of Social Studies, which would encompass areas such as Civics and Government as well.”

The final proposal addressed the areas of Keyboarding and Spanish.

“All of our students in grades four through eight take keyboarding and computers. Currently, our eighth graders take keyboarding for a quarter each year,” Jurrens explained. “We would propose dropping the keyboarding and changing to an introductory course in Spanish for the eighth graders, and also add an emphasis in good studying skills. We feel the emphasis on study skills would be very beneficial, as we have been told by freshmen that they often have difficulty in organizing their study time.”

“Jurrens concluded, “As we look at the middle school, we may limit some of the elective offerings in the future for our younger students. Otherwise, with the exception of the keyboarding and Spanish proposals, the changes are being presented so that we will be able to continue to meet the requirements of the Iowa Core Curriculum.

With no questions or comments, the board approved the proposals to go into effect for the 2012-2013 school year.