Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Curriculum May Change in Programs
Fort Zumwalt School Board members will consider curricular changes to enhance a new vocational and technological program.
The curricular changes affect all students, but mostly those headed for vocational and technical training, administrators say. The changes are part of a regular review of district programs.
This year, district teams updated sciences, performing arts, family and consumer education and technology education. Languages were revised this year after an update last year.
"One of our most exciting programs is technology education," said Larry Smith, associate superintendent for instruction. "It is an important part of our V-Tech initiative."
The program, for seventh- and eighth-graders, will allow students to work with partners on a variety of hands-on activities. Students will work in technological modules to study such areas as robotics, laser technology, fiber optics, engineering and electronics, satellite communications, video production and editing and flight training, Smith said.
All seventh- and eighth-graders who are not involved in orchestra, band or choir will take the course, Smith said. The middle-school philosophy is to introduce students to a range of opportunities, he said.
"We want to provide exploration experiences that introduce technologies inherent in the work place today," Smith said. "The program will more tightly link middle school exploration with high school education and technology."
Starting with the eighth grade next year, students will choose a plan of study that's college-bound or vocational-technological. The vocational aspect will provide students with courses that emphasize practical application in all subjects. Smith said the new middle school technology program will introduce students to a variety of careers and allow students to specialize in high school.
Seventh- and eighth-grade students now take industrial technology that emphasizes research, testing and development, Smith said. Students make practical items in shop, he said.
"For a time, that practical emphasis met our needs and was appropriate," Smith said. "Now we see a need for more exploration of technological areas."
Because the program will call for equipment changes, only the new DuBray Middle School, now under construction, will be set up to offer courses in the fall, Smith said. …