APS to decide on new science curriculum

ALPENA — The Alpena Public Schools Curriculum and Technology Committee received a recommendation on Tuesday for adoption of science curriculum for sixth through eighth grades at Thunder Bay Junior High for the 2018-19 school year.

The science curriculum is called IQWST and it’s by Activate Learning. Director of K-12 Curriculum/State and Federal Programs Meaghan Gauthier said it makes sense to find resources right now.

“This year, we’ve been focusing the professional development on understanding how instruction changes,” Gauthier said. “We thought it was very important to have a solid base before our kids got into high school.”

Katie Lee, TBJH’s content area leader, worked with state level consultants to determine what curriculum resources currently were published and aligned with the MI Science Standards.

“A lot of science publishers out there for textbooks might make changes and say ‘oh, we’re aligned with the new national standards,’ so what you’re looking for in the curriculum is something that is developed and meets the demands of the new standards instead of revised,” Gauthier said.

After narrowing it to one resource, the science teachers at TBJH agreed to pilot one unit before the end of the school year. The teachers received training from a representative from the company and taught one unit for five weeks. The cost of the pilot was $9,230.98. The materials purchased from the pilot will be used next school year with the adoption of the full science curriculum.

Science teachers met with Gauthier and Lee on May 4 to go through the process of what worked well, what didn’t work well, and all the teachers agreed they had positive outcomes with their unit and the students were engaged.

The costs associated with the adoption to purchase the remaining units is $51,256.52. There are going to be yearly costs to replenish consumables factored into the cost.

Gauthier said the school district is going to use outside vendors to purchase the consumables and those are going to be cheaper costs.

“Once we get through this initial purchase, if approved by the board, then we will able to get a handle on the costs for consumables,” she said.

The TBJH science teachers expressed they would like further training on the curriculum and getting used to the digital platform it offers before next school year. The costs associated with the additional training will come out of the 2018-19 professional development budget.

The recommendation for the adoption of the science curriculum is going to need approval from the board of education during its meeting on Monday.

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.