PUBLIC SCHOOLS ; Curriculum Changes in Kanawha Advance

By Quinn, Ryan | Charleston Gazette Mail, April 5, 2016 | Go to article overview

PUBLIC SCHOOLS ; Curriculum Changes in Kanawha Advance


Quinn, Ryan, Charleston Gazette Mail


The Kanawha County school board moved Monday toward making curriculum changes - including some local teacher customizations - in several subjects. The board, which voted unanimously in all decisions Monday, approved three new Capital High elective literature courses that Missy Ruddle, Kanawha's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said teachers developed for students there. They are Medieval Epic Literature, Hillbilly Highway: A Journey Through Appalachian Literature and Speculative Literature: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Magical Realism.

The county board also OK'd seeking a waiver from the state Board of Education to be allowed to use local teacher-designed custom curricula - instead of adopting state school board-approved textbooks and other instructional materials - for the high school chemistry, physics and physical science elective courses.

The state plans to make Earth and space science the statewide mandatory ninth-grade science course next school year, meaning the current ninth-grade requirement of physical science would become optional.

Ruddle said the elective science courses will each have a non- textbook curriculum that will provide students everything they need on their school-issued tablet computers.

Rosalie Rhodes, Kanawha's science curriculum specialist for the middle and high school levels, said about five high schools have been piloting the curriculum this school year. She said they've had great success, and not purchasing textbooks could free up money to buy more science materials for "hands-on activities.

Rhodes said the county also plans to use a custom curriculum for the high school environmental science elective, but the local school board doesn't have to request state approval for that because the state has no approved "multiple list of instructional materials for that course.

The West Virginia Department of Education pushed a bill in this year's Legislative session that would have given counties more flexibility in selecting instructional materials by moving away from the "multiple list, from which local school boards are currently limited to choosing their primary resources. …

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