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NY Mills School aligns curriculum with standards

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Teachers and administrators in New York Mills School began a formal six-step process this week "to provide a guaranteed and viable curriculum that aligns with state standards and benchmarks," elementary principal Judith Brockway announced to the school board Monday night.

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Brockway said over the years, the curriculum requirements for schools have multiplied, yet the hours in a school day have not.

"It's kind of staggering, all the things that have been added to the plate of teachers and educators," Brockway said. "Because there is so much curriculum and not enough time to teach all of it to master level, teachers are required to identify and prioritize those that they consider essential for students to master at each grade level."

"School wasn't typically designed to get every student at the same level of mastery, but that's what we have to do now," she said.

Brockway said once this happens, a shift occurs in the teaching process: Teachers go from thinking, "'How can I cover everything in my textbook?' to 'What can I do so that all students master the essentials?'"

While working through the process, teachers will recognize gaps and overlaps throughout grades, which will help teachers make district-wide goals and focus on specific benchmarks.

"When everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority," Brockway said.

Working through the process will also make teacher evaluation better, "because they will be able to know what to focus on," Brockway said.

As the process continues and teachers begin implementing and assessing goals in the classroom, the school will be communicating with parents and students on what is expected at each grade level.

Also at the school board meeting:

-Business Manager Marsha Maki presented a school enrollment report. Numbers showed an increase in school enrollment by two pupils.

-The Scholastic book fair was well attended, with sales totaling $4,832. This gave the media center $2,800 to purchase new books, up from last fall's new book purchase of $2,262. On top of that, 61 books were donated to classrooms, up from 53 last October.

-High school conference attendance was down this fall, with 40 percent parent turnout.

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