The Poynette School Board approved two curriculum changes within the district at its May 17 meeting. One of the changes comes at the elementary school, while the other is at the high school.

At Poynette High School, the district will transition into a whole new curriculum for all classes within the math department. The goal of the district was to review its current math instruction at the high school, analyze student data and possibly recommend new resources for the department at PHS.

A planning process began in January 2019. Several meetings and planning sessions took place over the last 28 months — talking about various topics — trying to utilize the best resources for instructors to teach math courses to the high school students.

Through the process, it was found that the current curriculum base (Glencoe) was poorly rated and that the district did not want to continue with those instruction techniques. Instead, the district chose to go with the College Preparatory Mathematics curriculum, which is also being used at Poynette Middle School for its level of classes.

The College Preparatory Mathematics Core Connections Traditional curriculum features Algebra I-II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Statistics and Calculus courses for all high school students.

All necessary materials, plus shipping, to make the switch in curriculum at the high school is estimated to cost between $37,000-$38,000. Within the board’s approval, President Jeff Noble added a stipulation that the overall total to switch the math curriculum does not exceed $45,000.

The district will purchase the curriculum and allow teachers to work on their revisions throughout the 2021-22 school year. The College Preparatory Math curriculum will then be implemented at PHS beginning in the 2022-23 academic year.

Changing of curriculum at Poynette Elementary School

A revision of courses at Poynette Elementary School will transition into a World Explorer section for all grades. It will fall within in the ELA, Social Studies and science departments and the credits will be in core/elementary rotation.

“For 2020-21, we shifted the teacher from Elementary World Language (Spanish) to kindergarten, in order to provide more social distancing for some of our youngest students,” District Administrator Matt Shappell noted to the board. “For 2021-22, we propose to shift again — this time closer to a World Cultures curriculum, but with a non-fiction focus on reading and writing. The pandemic impacted some of our students’ learning and we feel shifting this position will help close the gaps.”

The course will follow the Common Core standards for reading and writing. PES will also be assessing students on the Wisconsin Social Studies, Science and ITSE standards as well, to create its own reporting standards.

According to a district report, elementary student data from the recent school years affected by the COVID-19 pandemic identified certain areas of need, which will be addressed with the new course. In addition, the course is focusing on non-fiction texts and writing skills, which research indicates has a significant impact on student achievement. A focus on world cultures will further expand the students’ understanding and appreciation of other cultures — one of the learning goals described within the course outline.

Under another learning goal, the course would expand the district’s Science, Social Studies and ITSE standards that haven’t been covered with the current curriculum.

Within the course description, it states that students will explore different parts of the world, different cultures and sciences, and use new skills to create projects that show their understanding of the various topics of which they are learning. There will be a whole group, small groups and individual learning opportunities for all students.

The change at PES will go into effect starting in fall 2021.

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