Puyallup schools consider new K-5 science curriculum

Academics: Interactive Science favored for alignment with next-generation standards

of the HeraldMarch 5, 2014 

This week marks an important step in the preliminary stages that will lead to the possible adoption of a new kindergarten through fifth-grade science curriculum for the Puyallup School District.

A team of elementary science teachers and specialists from the district will present their audit findings of the existing K-5 science curriculum to an instructional materials committee today.

“Depending on how the committee likes the presentation, we can move forward with looking at the budget of adopting a new curriculum,” said Christine Moloney, a district director of instructional leadership. “It will go before the school board for a yes or no vote, if we’re able to come up with the money that we need, and a contract is agreed upon by the publisher.”

The process of auditing the K-5 science curriculum, called Science and Technology Concepts, started last October. Moloney said the curriculum was adopted in phases from 2005-07.

“The common cycle across Washington state school districts looking at auditing their curriculum is every seven years,” Moloney said. “However, that timeline could be interrupted by budget constraints or current curriculum not getting the results we need for students.”

Moloney said the October audit involved taking existing curriculum and comparing it against the next-generation science standards.

“We compared it with best practices and how much of a STEM component was in the curriculum,” she said, referring to science, technology, engineering and math.

Next-generation science standards were adopted by the state Legislature last October.

“We will still be tested under Washington state science standards over the next few years,” Moloney said. “These are very similar to the new (generation science) standards. The state has been very progressive, so there is not a huge change.”

The new science curriculum that’s being considered, called Interactive Science, was published in 2012. Moloney said it presents a good alignment with next-generation science standards and also addresses state standards for science.

Other attributes the science team appreciates include meeting students at their individual reading level, a strong STEM component, hands-on learning and inquiry, and online labs that students can complete later if they are absent.

“This is a very exciting process,” Moloney said.

Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at andrew.fickes@puyallupherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.

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